Miss Anne Thrope

bythrillerauthor©

© 2004 by Thrillerauthor

As I write this tale of woe, the sight of manicured fingers flitting over my keyboard evokes the utter misery of my situation. Not long ago, I was vice president of a major pharmaceutical firm, with a six figure salary and a corner office. Now I am sitting in a secretary's cubicle, trying to keep from snagging my pantyhose each time I escape from my pathetic little desk. How did this ever happen to me?

It all began one fateful morning when one of the geniuses in research and development came into my office with a hangdog expression on his face. I was busy packing up my briefcase for a two week road show which would launch our new diet miracle product, Metabolean. The test results had been sensational, and I sold the board of directors on an aggressive plan to market Metabolean to our target customers, overweight females, through a network of kiosks at shopping centers and strip malls throughout the country.

Because Metabolean was technically an herb, our company lawyers found a way to skate around FDA testing requirements. Our own research had shown that regular doses of Metabolean resulted in a weight loss of anywhere between five to ten pounds per week, without any significant side-effects. Or so I thought until Dr. Gefuhlgut broke the news to me that morning. "Uh, there is a little problem with Metabolean that we need to talk about," he stammered.

"Problem? What kind of problem? You're not going to tell me about production delays, are you? We're already committed to a huge media buy, the lawyers have tied up sites around the country with long-term leases, and I'm leaving for the airport in ten minutes to kickoff our marketing plan."

"No, production is right on schedule. The problem is with the product."

"What are you talking about?" I asked impatiently.

Dr. Gefuhlgut wrung his hands. "Some of our early test subjects have developed an unexpected condition."

I stopped packing my briefcase and looked him square in the eyes. "What kind of condition?"

"Well, as you know, Metabolean was given first to inmates at federal correctional facilities who volunteered to take part in clinical trials. Both male and female institutions participated in the first round of tests. Now, the good news is that none of the male inmates have exhibited any form of side-effects."

"And the bad news?"

Dr. Gefuhlgut pulled an 8x10 photograph from an inside pocked of his white lab coat. When he handed it to me, I actually laughed out loud. It was a group portrait of around twenty female prisoners. "As you know," Dr. Gefuhlgut said, "the inmates were divided into two groups: a control group who were given placebos, and the inmates who were administered doses of Metabolean."

There was no doubt who was who in the photograph I was staring at. Half of the women were enormously fat, and the other half had beards and mustaches. "My God," I said, "it looks like a casting call for a freak show! We have the fat lady candidates over here, and the bearded lady candidates over there."

"Yes, well, that is one way of putting it. What are we going to do?"

"Absolutely nothing."

"What?"

"Look, this is only the first group of test subjects, right?"

"Yes, but you would expect any symptoms to be exhibited by them first. The other groups haven't had enough time to experience the side-effects."

"Maybe. Or maybe this is a coincidence of some kind. Anyway, you can't expect me to shitcan a multi-million dollar campaign at the last minute based on one test result, can you?"

"You can't be serious!"

"Come on, what's a little facial hair? Just between us girls, I think the chicks with the beards are hotter than the porkers, don't you? Anyway, worse comes to worse, they can dress up as guys." Tears of laughter rolled down my cheeks as I inserted the photograph into the shredder beside my credenza.

Had I been thinking clearly, I would have realized that Dr. Gefuhlgut could make another copy of the photograph. What I couldn't have known was that he had a tape recorder in the side pocket of his lab coat.

SETTLEMENT REACHED IN METABOLEAN CASE

Chicago – Class action lawyers for thousands of woman made hirsute by Metabolean expressed "gratification" with the terms of a settlement reached with the pharmaceutical giant which manufactured the ill-fated diet pill. The multi-billion dollar settlement was hammered out in a mediation held behind closed doors on the eve of trial. Although specific terms were not disclosed, Aaron Thrope, the executive responsible for the Metabolean disaster, is said to have been "reassigned" to another position in the company.

* * *

Reassigned, indeed. The mediator was a tough-ass bitch who looked like Jesse Ventura in drag, and it was clear from the beginning that the company was prepared to throw me to the wolves. I watched helplessly as a parade of bearded ladies sobbed out their pathetic stories, trying to look sympathetic while the gallows was constructed around me. The feds were all over the company too, and their lawyers tried desperately to pin the whole fiasco on me. Still, my defense of ignorance was holding up well until Dr. Gefuhlgut did me in. The transcript of the tape recording he made to cover his ass was devastating.

MR. THROPE: "My God, it looks like a casting call for a freak show! We have the fat lady candidates over here, and the bearded lady candidates over there."

DR. GEFUHLGUT: "Yes, well, that is one way of putting it. What are we going to do?"

MR. THROPE: "Absolutely nothing."

DR. GEFUHLGUT: "What?"

MR. THROPE "Look, this is only the first group of test subjects, right?"

DR. GEFUHLGUT: "Yes, but you would expect any symptoms to be exhibited by them first. The other groups haven't had enough time to experience the side-effects."

MR. THROPE: "Maybe. Or maybe this is a coincidence of some kind. Anyway, you can't expect me to shitcan a multi-million dollar campaign at the last minute based on one test result, can you?"

DR. GEFUHLGUT: "You can't be serious!"

MR. THROPE: "Come on, what's a little facial hair? Just between us girls, I think the chicks with the beards are hotter than the porkers, don't you? Anyway, worse comes to worse, they can dress up as guys. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

I felt like crawling under the table as the tape recorder played on. The rest of the mediation was a blur as the lawyers shouted at each other and divvied up the spoils. I knew my job was history, but the prospect of personal liability and maybe even jail time loomed. Just when it seemed like all was lost, the mediator swiveled her guns on me. The transcript tells the tale.

THE MEDIATOR: "It would seem, Mr. Thrope, that you are the culprit in this drama."

MR. THROPE: "I was only doing my job."

THE MEDIATOR: "Do you know what you are, Mr. Thrope?"

MR. THROPE: "Broke and out of work?"

THE MEDIATOR: "You, Mr. Thrope, are a misanthrope."

MR. THROPE: "A what?"

THE MEDIATOR: "A misanthrope. It means you have a hatred for mankind. You are not fit to live amongst civilized society, Mr. Thrope. At least not as you are. Fortunately, I have had time to fashion a remedy for this situation. A remedy which is uniquely tailored to the suffering you have brought about."

MR. THROPE: "I have my rights!"

THE MEDIATOR: "Of course you do, Mr. Thrope. You have every right to walk out of this room, and spend the rest of your life paying damages in the millions. Or, you can accept the terms which I am about to impose on you."

MR. THROPE: "What terms?"

THE MEDIATOR: "When you were confronted with the side-effects of Metabolean, you joked about how your unfortunate victims could dress up as the opposite sex to conceal their shame and embarrassment. I have similar conditions in mind for you."

MR. THROPE: "What conditions?"

THE MEDIATOR: "Because of you, thousands of women were forced to endure the humiliation of being transformed against their will. The very essence of their being, their femininity, was taken from them. As a condition to accepting the monetary settlement which your employer has put on the table, representatives of the plaintiffs have demanded that you atone for your misdoings. When I shared my idea with them, they were delighted with it."

MR. THROPE: "What idea?"

THE MEDIATOR: "Just between us girls, I am going to turn you into one."

MR. THROPE: "What?"

THE MEDIATOR: "Immediately after these proceedings are adjourned, you will be required to live as a woman for a term of one year. During this period of time, you will be required to work as an entry level employee for the company which you so recklessly misguided."

MR. SNEAD: "You can't make me do that!"

THE MEDIATOR: "You are entirely right. The choice will be yours, not mine. Your employers have agreed not to seek indemnification from you for the billions of dollars which you have cost their shareholders, and to keep you on the payroll, if you comply with my conditions."

MR. THROPE: "This is insane!"

THE MEDIATOR: "Think it over, Mr. Thrope. Or should I say, Miss Anne Thrope? You will be issued identification befitting your new gender, and the company has even agreed to pay for a complete makeover and a new wardrobe for you. Of course, you will have to move into a smaller apartment, something you can afford on the salary of a working girl. Think it over, Miss Thrope."

* * *

At the end of the day, what choice did I have? That's what I kept telling myself as I signed the Consent Decree which required me to "act, dress and live as a member of the female sex until one year from the date of this agreement." Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to read the fine print in the twenty page document. If I had, there's no doubt in my mind that I would have jumped out one of the conference room windows before I signed it.

A Special Mistress was appointed by the mediator to oversee my transformation. Her name was Donna Mae Trix. Donna was about thirty, very attractive in a mannish sort of way, and under other circumstances I might have tried to get into her pants. As I was soon to learn, those days were gone forever, or at least for the next year of my life.

The nightmare began when Donna escorted me out of the mediation to the hoots and catcalls of a mob of mustachioed harpies. After we ran the gauntlet, I was ushered into a waiting minivan and driven to salon in the gay area of Chicago known as "Boys Town". When Donna and I entered the salon, an evil-looking woman was waiting for us in the lobby.

"You must be Mr. Thrope," she said with elaborate courtesy. "I am delighted to meet you at last. Welcome to my salon."

"All hope abandon, ye who enter here!" Donna said with fiendish grin.

"Now Donna, let's not be melodramatic. My name is Cassandra. Until recently, the vast majority of my customers were men, but I am greatly indebted to you for tripling my business this year. Now, over half of my customers are women seeking to undo the side-effects of Metabolean. I have been doing a land-office business in laser hair removal."

"Which is exactly what we have in mind for Mr. Thrope," Donna said. "Although from now on, please refer to her as Anne."

The significance of Donna's words was soon to become apparent. In my naiveté, I had assumed that I would simply have to wear dresses for a year, which would be humiliating enough. Little could I have imagined the misfortunes that awaited me.

Donna handed a copy of the Consent Decree to Cassandra. For what seemed like an eternity, she flipped through the pages, nodding and cackling to herself occasionally. Finally she put it down and rubbed her hands together. "Congratulations, Anne," she said. "Your employers have agreed to splurge on the Lass-E-Dream Treatment. Please follow me." With Donna prodding me from behind, I followed Cassandra into a windowless room with an examination table, a scale, and a piece of machinery that looked like a washing machine with wires attached to it.

"Please strip down to your shorts," Cassandra told me. When I hesitated, she dropped all pretense of politeness. "Off with your clothes, at once! My instructions are to notify the mediator immediately if there is the slightest lack of cooperation." That was enough to goad me into taking off my shoes, shirt and slacks, which Donna scooped up and tossed into a trash bag. I started to protest, but thought the better of it and bit my tongue. "Get on the scale," Cassandra instructed me, and without hesitation I complied.

She stepped behind the scale and measured my height before fiddling with the weights. After pronouncing that I was five feet nine inches tall and weighed one hundred and fifty-five pounds, she appraised my physique with a critical eye. "How old are you?" she asked.

"Thirty-eight."

"You have kept yourself remarkably fit, Anne. Best of all, with your dark hair and fair complexion, you are an ideal candidate for laser treatments. As I mentioned, the Lass-E-Dream program has been selected, for which you should be very grateful. One of the downsides to laser hair removal is temporary swelling and reddening of the skin afterwards, and with the amount of body and facial hair we have to remove from you, several weeks of treatments would ordinarily be required. Take this," she said, handing me a pill and a paper cup.

"What is it?" I asked, looking warily at the little white pill in my hand.

"Don't be alarmed," she chuckled. "It is just a sedative to make you drowsy."

"Why do you want to put me to sleep?" I asked nervously.

Cassandra sighed with obvious irritation. "If you want to drag this out, be my guest. I get paid the same either way. With the Lass-E-Dream program, we are able to remove all of your hair in one session, and by the time you wake up, the worst of the swelling will be over."

I knew I was trapped either way, but some instinct told me to prolong the inevitable. "What if I'd rather take it a little slower?"

"That is entirely your prerogative," Donna chimed in. "However, under the terms of the Consent Decree you signed, the clock on your year as a female does not start running until your makeover is complete." For the first time, I realized that I had made a colossal mistake in not reading the agreement. Too proud to admit my stupidity, I swallowed the pill and washed it down. "Excellent," Cassandra said. "Why don't you lie down while we get ready to start on you." I was already beginning to feel lightheaded, and it was all I could do to hoist myself onto the examination table before I passed out.

* * *

When I awakened, I found myself in a strange room. Sunlight streamed in through windows adorned with floral curtains, and reflected off bright yellow walls and antique white furniture to assault my bleary eyes. I squinted at my surroundings, and slowly realized that I was lying under a pile of covers in a queen sized bed. I lifted my head off the plush pillows and started to pull back the covers when everything hit me at once.

What the hell have I got on? Holy shit, what happened to my arm? There's no hair on it. And why is there hair hanging down over my eyes? When I reached up to brush it away from my face, I found myself staring at polished fingernails. Tearing off the covers, I saw my legs, sleek and hairless, under the hem of my satin nightgown. I fell back onto the pillows as it all came back to me. The realization that I had been made over in my sleep to look like a woman was slowly sinking in when I heard the door open.

"Good morning, Anne. I was beginning to think you'd sleep through the whole year," Donna said with exaggerated sweetness. I opened my eyes to see her hovering over the bed, a look of triumph on her face.

"Where am I?"

"In your new apartment, of course."

"Apartment? What happened to...Cassandra?"

"That was days ago. Once she finished with your laser treatments, there was a little more swelling than we anticipated, so we decided to let you sleep until your skin was back to normal. Of course, this gave us plenty of time to decide on a hairstyle for you and weave it into place, and it also let your fingernails grow just long enough for us to do something with."

"Do you mean the laser treatments are finished?" I asked as I tried to get up. I was still feeling a little light-headed, and Donna had to grasp my arm as I got unsteadily to my feet. When I looked down and saw that my toenails had been polished too, I nearly passed out again.

"Oh yes, your body and facial hair are gone forever."

That shocked me back into reality. "What do you mean, gone forever?"

"Anne, the Consent Decree required you to subject yourself to the same treatments prescribed for the female victims of Metabolean. Laser hair removal is permanent. The follicles absorb energy from the laser until they die and can no longer grow hair."

"Nobody told me that!"

"Cheer up! Now you'll never have to shave again."

"You little bitch! I'll get you for this!"

Donna whipped a pistol out of her purse and pointed it at me. "The mediator was afraid you might react this way. The dart in this gun is filled enough female hormones to knock the stuffing out of you. Bend over."

I pushed her aside and made a dash for the door. I heard a thwack and felt a sharp pain in my ass. Too late, I reached back and tried desperately to pull the dart out of my skin, but by the time I was able to find it in the satin folds of my nightgown, its awful payload was coursing through my system.

Holding the dart in my hand, I looked at my knees shaking under my nightgown, and for the first time in memory I started to cry. "Oh my," Donna observed. "I had no idea the estrogen would start in so quickly!"

I slammed the door in her face and crawled back into bed, broken down with misery.

* * *

Later that day, I came to terms with my fate. Maybe it was the psychological impact of having my body laced with female hormones, or maybe it was the stark language of the Consent Decree that I finally got around to reading. As I sat in bed on my sore ass, pouring over page after page, the enormity of my predicament sank in:

"Defendant's legal name will be changed to Anne Thrope."

"Defendant is to present herself as a woman at all times. Female hormones will be administered if necessary to modify defendant's behavior."

"The wearing of any articles of male clothing by defendant during the term of this agreement is prohibited."

On and on it went, stripping me of any vestige of masculinity, making me sick to my stomach. The kicker came at the very end: "Any violation of the conditions of this agreement shall have the effect of extending the term hereof for an additional period of one year." That meant if I slipped up even once, I would be forced to start my year as a woman all over again, or subject myself to millions of dollars of civil liability to Metabolean victims Once I realized that I was trapped, I resigned myself to coping as best I could with the maniacal agreement I had so foolishly signed.

When I finally opened my bedroom door to throw in the towel, Donna was waiting for me in the small living room. "Hello, Anne. Are you ready to get dressed?"

"Not really, but what choice to I have?"

"That's the spirit! Why don't we start with a nice hot bath?" She led the way into the bathroom, and I watched disconsolately as she poured a capful of bubble bath into the tub and started filling it with steaming water. The sight of myself in the mirror above the vanity was truly shocking: my face was smooth, without any trace of stubble, and long dark hair fell down around the shoulders of my nightgown. When I looked at myself more closely, I realized that I had a small stud in each ear. Donna saw me fingering them and said, "You should be ready for nice earrings today."

I wondered what else they might have done to me. With trepidation, I lifted up my nightgown and stared at the panties around my waist. "I'll leave you now, Anne. Don't forget to shampoo and condition your hair. I'll help you style it after you're out of the tub." After Donna left, I pulled down my panties and relieved myself, feeling strangely ridiculous standing there holding up my nightgown. I pulled it off and sank into the tub, and as my manhood disappeared beneath the bubbles, my smooth arms and legs looked just like those of a woman.

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