Dressed for Disasterbythrillerauthor©
After a last look at himself in the full-length mirror on the closet door, Pat put his magnetic key in his purse and left his hotel room.
He had done this enough times to be almost calm as he waited for the elevator. When the door opened, he was relieved to be greeted by an empty lift. It always took him a few minutes to gain the required confidence to melt into his alter ego, and being drawn into a conversation with a stranger on an elevator was not an easy way to begin the transition.
Pat Summers had been fascinated by women's clothing for as long as he could remember. As he grew up, furtive sessions trying on articles from his older sister's wardrobe had produced his first erections, and his discovery of a world of kindred souls on the Internet had fueled his strange fixation. The intense sexual arousal which he experienced, combined with the excitement brought about by the forbidden nature of his activity, had produced a compulsion to dress up as a girl, which became addictive as grew from boyhood into a young man.
Pat had always been a careful and meticulous person, which enabled him to hide his secret from his family and girlfriends. In fact, Pat was a true heterosexual, and for a time during his teenage years he had abandoned his fetish as his energies were absorbed by the pursuit and conquest of girls. But it was always there in the background, and now, in his late twenties, happily married with a young daughter, it had reemerged with renewed zest. Sex with his wife had tapered off, and in some ways crossdressing served as a harmless alternative to chasing other women.
On this particular occasion, Pat was on a business trip to the New York financial district. He had covertly accumulated an expensive wig and a collection of skirts, dresses, lingerie, makeup and accessories over the past several years, which he took with him when he traveled in order to indulge his hidden passion. At first, he was content to make himself over in the privacy of his hotel room. However, as he perfected his techniques, he found himself drawn to expose his new persona to the outside world, which took the form of excursions from his hotel rooms to museums, department stores, and other public places.
Pat's outings were carefully designed to minimize interaction or intense scrutiny. He had trained himself in the use of a female voice, but he was not confident in his ability to maintain it in a sustained conversation. His slight frame and fine features enabled him to pass convincingly as a woman, and although he was rarely read as a man, on the rare occasions when this did occur the humiliation was devastating. Perhaps the risk of discovery and exposure added to the excitement he felt as he moved through the world as a woman.
Pat's self-feminization inevitably resulted in an explosive orgasm, followed by a brief period of shame and self-loathing before the compulsion arose again. Now, as he rode the elevator to the lobby of his hotel in the World Trade Center, his pulse was racing from the intoxicating scent of his perfume, and from the feeling of nylon stockings on his freshly shaved legs.
Pat emerged from the elevator and demurely wove his way past the crowd of impatient guests waiting to enter it. As always, he was relieved to experience no stares or double-takes as he made his way through the lobby, the clicking of his heels on the marble floor secretly thrilling him. He smiled at the doorman and joined the throng on the busy sidewalk.
It was just before nine o'clock on a beautiful September morning. Pat's knee-length shirtdress billowed in the light breeze, and as he waited for a light to change on Liberty Street, he removed a cigarette from his purse, lighting it with feminine grace. Pat inhaled deeply, and the smoke in his lungs added a beat to his racing heart.
His plan for the morning was to browse through the underground shopping mall located a few blocks from his hotel, stopping to buy some nylons and sip a coffee at the local Starbucks, before walking over to the New York Stock Exchange for a glimpse from the visitors’ gallery. His first meeting of the day was a noon lunch appointment on Wall Street, which gave him a good two hours before he had to be back in his room to scrub off his makeup and change into his business suit.
Suddenly, a shattering explosion from far above Pat sent him sprawling to the pavement. Screams filled the air as Pat gasped for breath. His stockings were torn from scraping his knees against the curb, and one of his shoes had fallen off. He was about to get up when a man tumbled against him and sent him back down again.
Pat rolled onto his rear end, in a state of shock, and pulled his dress over his bloody knees. He looked up to see an enormous fireball rising from one of the towers of the World Trade Center. As he tried to grasp what was happening, pieces of debris began to rain down onto the sidewalk. Shaken and confused, he got to his feet and began to search for his missing shoe.
A police officer appeared and began urging people to move away from the area. Spotting his shoe, Pat brushed past him and reached down for it. The policeman took his arm and steadied him as he struggled to slip it back on. "Are you okay, Miss?"
Pat struggled to maintain his composure, deliberately reaching for his female voice. "Yes, thanks" he replied. Pat had learned to speak in short, simple phrases when posing as a woman, and the years of practice did not desert him. "What happened?"
"Not sure. Looks like a plane crashed into the north tower. Can't believe it."
Several other passersby joined them. "Was it an accident?"
"Did you see the plane hit?"
"Look out!" a woman cried and pointed to an object hurtling down from the flaming building. As it hit the ground a few yards away, the horrified crowd realized that it was a body.
"Oh my God!"
"Clear this area now!" the policeman ordered. "Everybody head away from the World Trade Center."
As Pat began to move with the crowd, his mind was reeling. To Pat, the real and immediate danger was not from the explosion and fire above him. Rather, he was terrified that he might not be able to get back to his hotel room and return to his male identity. If the hotel was blocked off, and he was stranded on the street in woman's clothing, he would never be able to make it out of New York without being found out. His marriage and his six-figure income were suddenly in jeopardy.
Pat turned around and began to walk against the flow of pedestrian traffic back towards his hotel. He made it about halfway there when there was another terrific explosion. Looking up, Pat saw the remains of a jet aircraft slicing through the other tower, and watched in horror as pieces of airplane and building cascaded towards the ground.
"Evacuate the area!" he heard above the screams and the wail of sirens. The stream of humanity moving away from the stricken buildings swelled into a flood, and it was all Pat could do to hold his ground as he pressed himself against a shattered storefront. He could see his reflection in the cracked plate glass window, and instinctively paused to adjust his wig and examine his profile to make sure he was still passable.
Looking back at him was a dazed young woman, with strands of hair falling across her forehead. Her blue dress was torn at the hem, and her legs were a bloody mess. But she was definitely a woman, not that anyone in the crowd would have taken the time to study her. They had more important things on their minds.
For Pat, however, the enormity of the surrounding tragedy was dwarfed by his fear that he would be discovered to be a man wearing a dress. He tried to force his way against the tide of humanity, eventually returning to the revolving doors of his hotel. Two policemen blocked his way.
"I have to get back to my room."
"Sorry, lady, this area has been sealed off. Nobody gets in."
"You heard me. We have a lot of injured people here. Please move on."
Pat could see that the situation was hopeless. As he joined the frantic crowd on the sidewalk, he forced himself to think about a new plan. If he could not return to his hotel room, he would have to find some other way to get out of his clothes and get into something presentable. Then, he could ride out the crisis until things returned to normal.
Mentally, Pat inventoried the contents of his purse. Hotel room key, lipstick, compact, cigarettes and lighter, breath mints, tissues, hairbrush, and a woman's wallet with - how much? $80! Not very much to establish a new identity. Pat did not have a credit card for his female persona, and he had decided against carrying his ATM card. A new pair of pantyhose, a café latte, and an admission ticket to the stock exchange were the only things he had planned to spend any money on that morning.
So he would have to get by on the bare minimum required to strip away any traces of femininity. Looking to his left, he saw a 24-hour drug store, and went inside. The registers were crowded with people buying bottled water and gauze facemasks to help them breathe the acrid air outside.
First to the cosmetics aisle. Pat grabbed a small bottle of nail polish remover, and found a travel pack of pads to wipe off his makeup. Then to an aisle displaying inexpensive athletic clothing. He found a cheap pair of cotton navy sweatpants, and a white long sleeve tee shirt which said "I Love New York." A pair of white sox went into his basket, and he began to search for something to walk in. He found some white canvas sneakers, which were priced higher than he expected, and he tallied up the cost of what he had found. With sales tax, it came to almost $70, which meant he would be penniless if he bought anything else.
In order to leave himself enough change for a subway token and a phone call, he would have to keep wearing his white satin panties. He quickly decided that that was the least of his problems. He could always take them off before he got home, if he got home. Joining the long line at the registers, he started to plan his next objective: finding a place where he could get out of his dress and heels, change into his new clothes, and re-emerge as Patrick Summers.
The teenage clerk at the register looked at his odd assortment of purchases, and saw right through him. Damn! He had always had the most trouble with teenage girls!
"Having fun today, sir?"
Pat smiled and put on his best face. "Ich spreche keine Englisch." Lame, but he has used it in the past in similar situations.
"Whatever," she said with a shrug as she rang up the sale. Pat fumbled in his purse for his wallet, and pulled out four twenty-dollar bills. As she counted out his change, she noticed his torn dress and stockings. "Hey, I'm sorry, mister. Here you go."
Pat took his change and gave her a forced smile. He did not look back to see whether any of the people waiting in line had witnessed his mortification. Taking his plastic shopping bag, he walked out of the drug store and back into the bedlam on the sidewalk.
The smoke, the sirens, and the utter pandemonium shocked him. Yet in the midst of this incredible catastrophe, he had somehow managed to concentrate on his immediate predicament. Although there was panic all around him, he had no concerns about his personal safety. All he could think about was protecting his secret and preserving his reputation.
He spotted a large hotel a few blocks from where he had been staying, and approached the front entrance. There were no doormen to be seen, and he went into a large glass and brass revolving door, emerging into a lobby which was eerily calm. Several fire department officials were setting up a makeshift command post in the lobby bar, and as he walked towards the restrooms, an assistant manager approached him with a look of concern.
"Are you all right, Miss?"
Pat realized that he must look a sight. "Yes, thanks, I'm fine." Pat did not want to get into a conversation about where he was staying, and he certainly did not want to alert the hotel staff that he was about the enter the ladies' room. The incident with the clerk at the drugstore was still fresh on his mind.
"Why don't you sit down for a few minutes, and I'll find you a doctor. Those cuts look pretty nasty."
"Really, I'm fine," Pat assured the young man. Moving away, he found his way to the ladies room and walked in without hesitating. His plan was simple: change in one of the stalls, and wait until there was nobody else in the restroom before leaving it as a man.
The restroom was unoccupied, and he went into the handicapped stall and started to work. First, he scrubbed the makeup off his face with several of the towelettes. Next, he unbuttoned his dress and stepped out of it. Using the dress as a rag, he doused a corner of it with nail polish remover, and began stripping off the coat of quick dry polish, which he had applied the night before. When he was through, he slid off his white slip, pulled off his bloody pantyhose, and unhooked his padded bra.
Dressed only in his satin panties, Pat rummaged through the sack from the drugstore and found the white cotton sox. Next, the tee shirt and sweatpants. As he bent down to put on his sneakers, for the first time in over an hour, Pat allowed himself to relax a bit. He fished through his purse, and salvaged the remaining bills and coins. Now all he had to do was wait until the coast was clear, have a quick look at himself in the mirror, and duck out of the ladies room. He heard someone moving about by one of the sinks, so he settled in to wait.
Suddenly, the lights went dark, and there was a terrible roar. The whole building seemed to rock, and the cacophony of noises was deafening. For a moment, it seemed like the end of the world. Pat fell to his knees and waited for the floor to stop quaking.
Finally, the noise stopped, replaced by a sensation that Pat had never experienced. He could feel the grit in the air as it went into his lungs, bringing about a drowning sensation that sent him gagging and choking to his feet. Pat staggered out of the restroom and into the wreckage of the hotel lobby. The sight before him was unbelievable.
Broken glass was all over the place, and the assistant manager he had spoken to a few minutes before lay unconscious on the floor, a deep gash in his forehead. Dust was everywhere, on everything, and the bright September sun had been replaced by deep gray gloom. Sirens, screams, and garbled transmissions from police and fire department radios filled the air.
Pat realized what had happened. One of the twin towers must have collapsed, covering an area several city blocks wide with debris. The other tower could still be seen through the awful haze, and next to it stood his hotel. Although his immediate problems were behind him, Pat was still deathly afraid that his secret would be discovered when the hotel staff or authorities opened his room. The thought of someone calling his office or his wife to ask them where to send his skirts and high heels tormented him.
Once again, ignoring the larger risk to his personal safety, Pat set out towards his hotel. Maybe now he could make it back inside, bundle up the rest of his incriminating wardrobe, and dump it outside of his room. If he were lucky, he would also be able to retrieve his laptop computer, with its hard drive full of transvestite literature.
He was halfway back to the hotel when someone screamed, "The other tower is starting to go!" Pat looked up in time to see the monumental television antennae on the roof pitch to one side, signaling the beginning of the end. He turned and joined the frantic crowd racing away from the World Trade Center. Someone ahead of him ducked into a doorway, and he followed an instant before a hurricane of debris swept through the concrete canyon, filling the air again with choking dust. Once more, the sky became dark, and time stood still as Pat huddled in the doorway, waiting for the tumult to subside.
Then it was quiet, and Pat stepped back into the deserted street. He knew that he had just witnessed the deaths of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, and suddenly his pathetic problems seemed insignificant. He was just thankful to be alive. Slowly, he joined the parade of refugees heading north, away from the disaster, some limping, others bleeding, many crying hysterically.
He had a special empathy for the women, professionals and secretaries, in their dusty suits and skirts, hobbling along in their high heels. Many abandoned their painful shoes, and trooped through the filthy streets in their stockings or bare feet. He couldn't help thinking how lucky he was to have gotten out of his woman's clothing. Looking at the misery around him, he felt ashamed to have given that a thought.
As they approached Washington Square Park, he saw several television crews with mini-cams interviewing passersby. One of the reporters waved at him and motioned him over. Pat stepped out of the crowd and approached her.
"How about a quick interview?"
Why not? Pat said to himself. He was totally in the clear. Maybe his wife, parents and co-workers would see him on TV. They had to be wondering about him. His cell phone was back in his hotel room, undoubtedly crushed under tons of steel and concrete, as unrecognizable as the clothing and computer that he had worried so much about.
"Okay," Pat said to the newswoman. She was cute, with short blonde hair, and she had an impish smile as she pointed him towards her cameraman. She was not accustomed to doing hard news, and she seemed desperate for something to break the tension of reporting the traumatic events of the past two hours.
"What is your name?" she asked him as he stared into the camera.
"Where are you from, Mr. Summers?"
"Chicago." His escape had been a catharsis, and he began to feel almost giddy.
"What were you doing when the towers were attacked?"
Pat hesitated momentarily, thinking about his response. "Parading around the streets of New York in a dress and high heels" would not be a good answer. Remembering that he was dressed in sweatpants and sneakers, he replied, "I was out for a jog before my business meeting."
"Did you see the impact?"
"I was getting a cigarette out of my purse" would be another bad answer. "No, but I heard the explosion," Pat said.
"And did you get away from the area before the buildings came down?" the reporter asked him.
Pat did not tell her that he was changing out of his lingerie and stockings at the moment the first tower collapsed. "No, I had ducked into a building."
"Well, you were very fortunate, Mr. Summers. I have only one more question. Why are you wearing a wig and earrings?"
By the author of The Jessica Project.
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