Friday, 17 October 2014

Fashionista by Naomi Elana Zener


Cavorting around in a pair of diminutive leiderhosen, his chartreuse and fuschia-feathered Tyrolean hat tipped over his left eye, Adolf Hitler made his way through the Reichstag, waving his baton in the air with flair. It was late Spring, Hitler’s favorite time of year, for it was the season for wearing socks with sandals. Although his signature, perfectly trimmed moustache made it difficult to discern whether he was sporting a happy grin, or an evil one, the bounce in his step made it clear that he was in a good mood. That was until he came upon Herr Himmler.

“Nein! Nein! Nein!” Adolf shrieked, freezing mid-goosestep. Himmler’s attire brought the Fuhrer great displeasure. “Vat is zee meaning of zis?”

“Vat do you mean Mein Fuhrer?” Himmler asked.

“Who told you that you could vear zat?” Hitler shoved his baton into Himmler’s shoulder, it’s sharp end puncturing Himmler’s jacket.

Himmler said nothing—he merely quivered in his military boots.

“I’m zee only one who can vear zee double breasted suit viz a cape!” Hitler raged. “How dare you try to copy me you insolent, little scheisskopf. Next thing I know, I’ll see you vearing zee same facial hair as me.”

Himmler hung his head, his cheeks smoldering crimson with humiliation. It was as though the Fuhrer could read his thoughts. He’d never before been so grateful for having thought twice before leaving the house unshaven that morning. Had he not done so, Hitler would’ve taken note of the budding follicles above his upper lip—the genesis of the hair accessory he’d shaved—and Himmler would surely have been sent off to Auschwitz for being a wannabe usurper.

“I’ve told you Himmler, your legs vere made for stovepipe pants. Nicht zis heavy tailored vide-legged pants bullscheiss.”

“Ya, Mein Fuhrer. I von’t make zee same mistake twice. I’ll fire my tailor at once.”

“Don’t bother. I vill take care of him. Go, macht schnell, and see my Hugo Boss today—he vill make you a whole new vardrobe. His new spring line is filled mit zee vonderful brown shirts I commissioned for zee SS.”

Hitler’s outstretched arm was a signal for Himmler to hand over his offending cape. Hitler gave it the once over and removed one of his gloves. He smiled as he rubbed the fabric between his thumb and forefinger. “Is cashmere?” Himmler nodded. “Who made zis for you? A German tailor?”

Himmler nodded his head again. “But, nicht my Hugo? Not zee Boss?” Himmler shook it this time.

“Fine. Zat vill be all.” Hitler waved Himmler away with his baton.

“Heil Hitler!” Himmler nodded his head profusely and backed away, while simultaneously saluting his commander-in-chief. Hitler continued on his merry way to his office, Himmler’s cape thrown over his shoulder.

“Get me Hugo on the phone,” Hitler barked at his secretary, as he stormed into his office.

“Guten Morgen, Dolfie,” Eva chimed. She hopped off of Hitler’s secretary’s desk, where she’d been waiting for him to arrive. Hitler pecked her on both cheeks, lightly tickling her with his moustache. She tapped her watch. “You’re late.”

“I’m never late. If I’ve arrived, I’m on time. You shouldn’t call me Dolfie. We’ve talked about zis, Frau Braun, ya?” Hitler grabbed Eva by the hand, marched her into his office, and slammed the door.  “In zee office, it’s ‘Herr Hitler’ or ‘Mein Fuhrer.’ None of zis sweet scheiss.”

“Oh, you worry too much. It’s only your secretary, and she knows I’m your little schatz.”

“Yes, but sometimes you can be my little shit.” Hitler gave Eva the once over. “Nice outfit, by zee vay.”

Eva was wearing one of the ensembles he’d picked out for her: a green silk blouse that topped off a silk, black-and-white polka-dotted skirt. He loved seeing Eva in polka dots.

“You like my new cape?” Eva nodded her head obligingly. In truth, she hated Hitler’s affinity for the whimsical accessory, finding it too feminine for his already somewhat effeminate fashion sensibilities. But, she was smart enough to keep her mouth shut.

“I have Hugo,” Hitler’s secretary advised over the intercom. Hitler waved Eva away, and pointed toward once of the club chairs. She knew he wanted her to sit there instead of perching on his desk. He hated it when she sat on desks—it caused wrinkles in her clothing.

“Guten Morgen, Hugo,” Hitler boomed into the phone. “Ya, ya. Zat’s great. Now, Hugo, I’m sending Herr Himmler to see you today. Make him a nice new vardrobe. And, nicht a single cape—zey are verbieten for him.”

The conversation progressed in an amiable fashion, with Adolf letting loose a chuckle here and there. Suddenly, Hitler began to shake his head vigorously. Only able to hear one side of the conversation, Eva did her best to make out what Hugo was saying.

“I’m telling you, Hugo, make zee shorts shorter.  Our fair young Aryan maidens vant to see zee bulging muscles of our strong SS officers in bold daylight. Enough mit zee long leiderhosen. Long leiderhosen don’t say springtime for Germany or for Hitler, isn’t that right, Eva?” Like a good soldier, Eva nodded her head again deceptively. She hated seeing Hitler in his short leiderhosen, and she had no desire to see a legion of SS officers goosestepping in them while wearing socks and sandals in front of the Reichstag.  However, to contradict her Fuhrer meant she’d be the recipient of a one-way ticket to Bergen-Belsen.

“Vat do you mean zat socks mit sandals is a bad look for anyone?” Hitler’s cheeks were getting flushed.

“I’m telling you, I’m zee Boss, not you. I’ve been wearing my short leiderhosen mit my socks and sandals for a month now, and everyone loves them. Zey keep asking vere I got zem.”

Hitler’s face suddenly looked as though it was set to explode.

“Vat do you mean you hope I didn’t tell anyone you made zem for me?”

Eva withdrew into her chair, her nails digging into the leather, too scared to breathe.

“How dare you tell me I have no fashion sense. I wrote all about Aryan fashion in Mein Kampf.  I’m zee Fuhrer, I invented Nazi chic—I am Fashion. If I say I want to see zee entire German army vearing short leiderhosen mit socks and sandals, then that’s vat zey vill vear. Be careful Herr Boss. You do as I say, or you’ll be vearing something in stripes before zee day is finished.”

Hitler slammed down the phone and slumped into his chair, taking note of Eva’s petrified look on her face. “Vat does Hugo Boss know about fashion?”

“Nothing at all, my schatz,” Eva stammered, practically curled up in the fetal position in her chair.

“Mark my words, if not for me, Hugo Boss vould be nothing. And, if Germany loses zis var, I can promise you that no one vill ever hear of him again. His career vill be over!”

© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.



Friday, 3 October 2014

Wobbly Knobby by Naomi Elana Zener

The weather was like any other bright, humid, and sticky Texas summer day. And, like every morning, dressed in jeans, white shirt, navy blue blazer, and red cowboy boots, Marcus walked down the cement paver lined path from his double wide to pick up his mail from the trailer park community’s mailbox. Rifling through the mail in hand, he headed over to the parking lot to his pickup truck. But unlike every other morning, as he opened his mail, which was littered with unwanted paper junk still legally polluting mailboxes all over the great U.S. of A, unlike electronic spam now illegal to send via e-mail, he took in the fact that he was now living in a new America. With a little extra bounce in his step, Marcus hopped into his truck before speeding off to work.

As a fifteen year veteran employee of Wobbly Knobby, America’s premier chain doors and knobs, pharmacy, and guns and ammo store, he knew that by virtue of waking up that day a red-blooded American male, he held more rights than those of his female counterparts. Well, at least the ones he worked with at Wobbly Knobby. Marcus reflected on how his future was transformed overnight. The day before, the Supreme Court of the United States, also known as SCOTUS, handed down a decision in The Department of Justice vs. Wobbly Knobby stating that any closely held company, whose ownership sincerely held a religious belief disavowing female contraception, could deny paying for its female employees’ birth control under its company provided medical insurance plan. The Wobbly Knobby Brown family was thrilled. A closely held company, Wobbly Knobby would no longer have to pay for a woman’s device of abortion, which they believed to be a weapon of the Devil.

A virile, single, semi-handsome, high school dropout, who’d become a gun loving and toting Texan by way the of the Ozarks, Marcus began his career working for the Evangelical Christian bible thumping Brown-family owned Wobbly Knobby empire when he was only fifteen years old, after his family died from eating tainted possum road kill. His vegetarianism had saved him from the fate that befell his parents and twelve brothers and sisters. Wobbly Knobby had accepted him with open arms as one of their own, herding the wayward sheep that he was into their flock. He started out first as a janitor, then stock boy, followed by cashier, finally moving his way up the ranks to manager of the company’s San Antonio flagship store.

Upon arriving at work, he bee-lined through the company’s signature gold gilded automatic doors to its pharmacy, where Earl, the pharmacist, was manning the counter.

“Mornin’ Earl.”

“Mornin’ Marcus. Great day to be an American, don’tchya think?”

“Yup.”

Marcus was a man of few words due to his reserved demeanor, not because of his lack of a high school diploma.

“What can I do ya fer today? The usual?”

“Yup, but with a twist. Triple my order.”

“Okie Dokie. It’s only Wobbly Knobby’s money. Good thing you ain’t a woman.”

“Yup.”

Earl disappeared into the back, as Marcus flipped through a Good Housekeeping magazine he found lying about lazily on the counter. Five minutes later, Earl returned with five bottles full of little blue pills.

“So, this is a six month supply. Will you be needin’ anythin’ else?”

“Nope. Just my Viagra.”

Marcus took his generic white bag containing his penis party pills. He marched into the employee lounge and punched in his time card. 7:52a.m. Eight minutes until his shift began. He walked over to his locker. After opening his locker, he dropped off his wallet, keys, and virility medicine. It’s gonna be one busy day, Marcus mused to himself.

“Hiya Marcus,” a young nineteen-year-old woman named Lucinda cried out. She was sitting on the employee lounge’s sofa flanked by two of her female coworkers: twenty-four year old Sally Mae, and thirty-two year old Jeanine. All three women were dressed in company issued blue polyester pants, white t-shirt, and red smock. All three women worked in shipping and receiving.

“Mornin’ ladies. How’s it goin’?”

“Fine,” Lucinda said in her deep southern drawl.

“No different than last night when we were chattin’ online,” Sally Mae replied.

“We still on for our 10:00a.m. ciggie break?” Jeanine inquired.

“Yup,” Marcus confirmed.

“And, lunch?” Sally Mae added.

“Yup,” Marcus advised.

“Don’t forget coffee at 4:30p.m.” Lucinda reminded him.

Marcus nodded his head.

“Just remember ladies, I punch out at 6:00p.m. sharp.”

The ladies nodded their heads in agreement. The 8:00a.m. whistle blew signaling a shift changeover.  The four parted ways. The women walked off to the shipping dock, and Marcus stalked off towards his office to relieve the night manager.  They were nothing if not hardworking, loyal Wobbly Knobby employees.

Marcus and the ladies met throughout the day as planned, and by 5:46p.m., he was clock-watching, antsy to leave for the night. When the 6:00 o’clock end of shift whistle blew, Marcus hightailed it back to his locker, picked up his wallet, keys, and pills, before he headed out to his noble steed. He drove over to the bar adjacent to his trailer park to drink beers, get shit-face drunk, and shoot pool until it was time to hit the hay so he’d be refreshed for work the following day. By the end of the night, Marcus was drunk as a skunk and ready for some shut-eye. His life had been on cruise control until that very day. His work and after work routine were set in stone. But, he knew that soon enough things would change. They had to. Lucinda, Sally Mae, and Jeanine made it clear that they were not going to take the Wobbly Knobby decision lying down.

Two months passed. Marcus’ life post-Wobbly Knobby decision was hummed along on rinse and repeat, until one early Monday morning when it came to an abrupt end. Walking into the employee lounge, his dream-like bubble was burst when Lucinda, Sally Mae, and Jeanine cornered him with very stern looks on their faces. Their expressions told Marcus that they meant business.

“Mornin’ ladies.”

“Mornin’ Daddy,” the women chimed in unison.

“S’cuse me?”

“You heard us. You gonna be a daddy times three,” Lucinda advised.

“You shittin’ me?” Marcus asked.

“Nope,” Jeanine stated.

“That’s whatchya get when you don’t have no money to buy no birth control,” Sally Mae stated.

“What’s that?” Marcus asked.

“Babies,” Sally Mae answered.

Marcus’ dumbfounded expression was quickly replaced with a Cheshire grin when the women waved three positive Wobbly Knobby home pregnancy test sticks in his face.

“Guess I ain’t gonna be needin’ them little blue pills here no more,” Marcus pondered aloud, digging his Viagra bottle out of his pocket.

The three women’s sexual appetite over the past few months had become voracious. No longer able to regulate their hormonal surges since they couldn’t afford to pay for birth control on their minimum wage salaries, their inner horn dogs emerged. Luckily for them, Marcus was a willing and able participant, whose company-paid for Viagra enabled him to satisfy their needs.

“Don’t be getting your hitch caught up in your giddyup, ladies. The Browns are gonna be so damn pleased with this miracle from Jesus. You’ll see,” Marcus offered. “Hallelujah, I’m gonna be a daddy!”

Marcus was right. News of the triple immoral conception that was anything but immaculate, spread far and wide, even farther than the ladies’ legs had spread to offer Marcus’ manly member warmth and shelter. Management heralded the news, sending it up the chain directly to Mr. President and C.E.O., Jep Brown, himself.  Upon getting word of the eventual birth his employees’ bundles of joy, Mr. Brown flew down to San Antonio from his polar bear hunting compound in Alaska to congratulate Marcus, Lucinda, Sally Mae, and Jeanine in person. Mr. Brown was self-congratulatory, for he knew that his hard fought and won Supreme Court victory had allowed him to do God’s work on Earth by compelling his female employees to play host to Marcus’ seed. To celebrate his fine, fertile employees, in a Canadian-like gesture, he offered each of the women and Marcus a full year’s paid maternity and paternity leave, respectively. Mr. Brown also promoted Marcus to regional manager, which came with a significant bump in salary, annual bonus, and lifetime job security, so that Marcus could provide for his growing family. Mr. Brown even bought Marcus a house, putting title in Marcus’ name, so that he, Lucinda, Sally Mae, Jeanine, and their brood could live in Wobbly Knobby-sanctioned sin. Marcus and his three Mary-like baby mamas were going to be poster children for his anti-female contraception crusade.

As news of Mr. Brown’s beneficence spread across the company, the number of male Wobbly Knobby employee Viagra prescriptions quadrupled, overshadowing the non-existent IUD sales to their female cohorts. Mr. Brown was happier than a pig in feces since Viagra was far cheaper than those damn devices of abortion. However, now an expectant father, Marcus was the only one on the Wobbly Knobby team not participating in the erection-enabling mechanism-buying bonanza. Instead, as if channeling the first American pioneers before him, he opted to go the route less traveled. He bought himself a company-paid for vasectomy. He’d made his baby bed and was ready to lie in it.

Mr. Brown didn’t give Marcus’ decision a second thought when he’d learned about it. He’d enjoyed his own company insurance provided vasectomy after having his sixth child with his fifth wife, and Mr. Brown was not one to be labeled a hypocrite. Even though his company invested its employees’ 401K plan in contraception manufacturers in China, Mr. Brown was still no charlatan. Rather, he was a shrewd businessman who knew how to make money for his hardworking staff—helping them to save for their retirement. To him, investing in the companies that produced female contraception that he denied his women staff was not double-dealing. It was justifiable God’s work, for it was an instrument of population control in a godless land. And, when those birth control tools were exported, finally making their way to the golden American shores, Mr. Brown turned a blind eye in good conscience because his pastor told him that it was ok to do so. And, anything his pastor told him was as good as scripture.

Mr. Brown didn’t even bat an eyelash when his company’s chief religious health “hall monitor” officer reported to him that Marcus’ health insurance account contained personal prescriptions for estrogen and progesterone.

“We have no business snooping into the health, bedroom, or personal lives of our employees,” Mr. Brown admonished. “I don’t abide by that kind of behavior. Your job is to just keep an eye on any attempts by employees, especially the women ones, to buy birth control. Since it ain’t birth control, we’ve got to pay for it. Anything else doesn’t jive with my sincerely held religious belief against paying for female contraception that was upheld by the highest court of this land. Got that?”

Mr. Brown’s birth control snitch nodded, acquiescing to his boss’ missive.

Six months passed. Lucinda, Sally Mae, and Jeanine ballooned in size as their babies grew. With the women nearly at full term, not having taken any time off in two years, Marcus booked a four-week vacation with Mr. Brown’s blessing. After all, he was set to become a father of three. Unfortunately, the women’s maternity leave would begin only once the babies were born. Having no vacation to use in order to rest up as their respective third trimesters drew to a close, Lucinda, Sally Mae, and Jeanine continued to work until their due dates, which all happened to be on the same day. Thanks to the constant sex and the fact that the woman weren’t on any birth control to regulate their cycles, they all ovulated and got pregnant at the same time. Seeing that fact as bearing the hand of God, Mr. Brown, a fervent disciple of Jesus, took it upon himself to ensure that the babies entered the world safely. With Marcus gone, Mr. Brown promised to be there for the women when they went into labor just in case their babies’ daddy didn’t make it back in time for the due date.

Without warning, and one week prematurely, all three women’s waters broke on the shipping and receiving floor. Mr. Brown, who lived in San Antonio, drove his new BMW to the store to take charge. He commandeered a company cargo van to drive the women to the hospital since he didn’t want to ruin his brand new car’s leather seats.  He instructed his staff to move hell and high water to track down Marcus, who’d failed to leave word of his whereabouts. Once at the hospital, Mr. Brown played Lamaze coach for each Mother Mary laboring conveniently in neighboring rooms. He only popped out to read a flurry of texts from his minions informing him that Marcus was nowhere to be found. Eighteen hours and three healthy baby boys born later, the boys shared a birthday, while the brothers’ different mothers shared a public four-person ward hospital room. The company insurance plan didn’t pay for semi-private or private rooms. Mr. Brown justified this policy in the circumstances given that all three women’s children shared a father. It didn’t matter that they also shared the room with a ninety-two year old palliative care patient who was suffering in pain from E.Coli infected and oozing bed sores.

“Praise be the Lord!” Mr. Brown preached to Lucinda, Sally Mae, and Jeanine. “Marcus is the man. Father of three strapping boys who will grow to become men, leaders of tomorrow, who’ll help lead this great nation of ours. I’m so grateful to those five learned judges who didn’t force me to pay for the lady abortion pills. Aren’t y’all just so happy to be mamas?”

Each woman was passed out. They’d experienced natural childbirth by default thanks to the company imposed birth plan that didn’t include paying for an epidural. Mr. Brown believed that if God intended for women to use an epidural, then Mary would’ve been offered one in the manger.

“I’m only sorry Marcus couldn’t be here to see this,” Mr. Brown said to no one in particular. Even the palliative care patient was in a morphine-induced coma and was paying him no heed. Without warning, a young, thirtyish-year old woman wheeled herself into the wardroom.

“Hello there young lady!” Mr. Brown exclaimed, jumping up from his lounge chair. “Did you hear about this great revelation and come to give these laboring mamas your best wishes?”

“No, sir. I came here to see my kin.”

“Oh, are you related to one of my employees? Are you the sister of one of these women?” Mr. Brown wagged his finger at each of Sally Mae, Lucinda, and Jeanine.

“Nope.”

“Are you Marcus’ sister?”

“Nope.”

“How are you related to them then?”

“These be my babies.” The woman pointed at the mewling infants swaddled in their bassinettes.

“Ma’am, with respect, I think you’re mistaken. You see those women sleeping over there? Those are these babies’ mamas.”

“Sir, it’s me, Marcus.” Marcus looked down at his body and realized that Mr. Brown didn’t recognize him anymore. “Shit, my apologies. I go by MacKayla now.”

Mr. Brown turned white as a ghost.

“What?” Mr. Brown asked.

“I had my man parts rearranged into womanly ones.”

“I, uh….I, er,” Mr. Brown stammered.

“It’s ok, sir. I see that you’re confused. Thanks to you, and your court case, I used my company health insurance to make my lifelong dream of becomin’ a woman come true.”

“I, um….ah, I…”

“I’ve always believed that I was born a girl trapped inside a boy’s body. I’d scrimped and saved fer years fer meetins with all the doctors: a vagina doctor, urologist—you know a pecker doctor, head shrinker, even a hormones doctor, to tell me what I had to do, so that I’d be all systems go when I had the money to pay to Bobbitt my little Marcus off. But, I never had enough to go through with it. When the Supreme Court said the only thing you could deny an employee under the company health insurance was birth control, I knew I could finally undergo the sex reassignment surgery I’d been dreamin’ ‘bout on your dime.”

Mr. Brown looked ready to pass out on the floor.

“Since none of these ladies could afford birth control no more, and never wanted to be mamas out of wedlock, we created a plan fer dem to have my babies, so I could be both their mama and their biological daddy. Company paid-fer Viagra helped me knock ‘em up fast and furious, and the company paid-fer vasectomy was the first step I took to become a lady. Wobbly Knobby’s health insurance covered all pregnancy-related costs, so Lucinda, Jeannine and Sally Mae didn’t have any out of pocket expenses to be my surrogates. Your generous accepted offer of paid maternity allowed these women to save more than enough money over the last nine months to buy IUDs out of their own pockets. Now, they’ll have time to recover from pregnancy, labor, and delivery in the house you gave me. I got to become a woman, getting rid of my own wobbly knobby in the process, and you have to continue to pay fer my lifetime supply of estrogen and progesterone since I have lifetime job security. As the biological daddy on the boys’ birth certificates, according to my ACLU lawyers, the law can’t be takin’ dem away from me. At least that’s what Misters Stein, Goldberg, Shenkowitz, and Chu told me. I’m so grateful to you and the Supreme Court fer all you’ve done fer me and my boys. And, to ease your troubled mind, you’ll never need to worry about my wantin’ you to pay fer my birth control, even though the law says you don’t be needin’ too, cuz medical science says I won’t been needin’ none.”

© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: As my readers know, I satirize everything, so it may evoke reactions that were never in my mind when writing the piece. I am a PROUD supporter of the Lesbian, Gay, Queer, Transgendered, and Bisexual communities, all racial and ethnic communities, and people from all walks of life. To be clear, the ONLY things I'm openly mocking in this story are SCOTUS, misogyny, and religion, while making a scrupulous transgendered female and group of women the heroes of the story. No one character in this piece was written as being of a particular race or ethnicity, with the exception of the owner of Wobbly Knobby. The point of this piece is that you don't need an education to be smart and to outsmart those who have one (i.e. SCOTUS) and who, by virtue of said education and place in societal hierarchy, try to destroy the rights of others, namely women, who were the subject of the discriminatory law upheld by the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision. I thought putting a story together where those who are marginalized most in society come out on top—circumventing a law set by the middle-aged, wealthy, privileged, white boys club, who helped push through a theocratic sexist agenda—proving that they have more brains than the majority of the highest court did, was the best way to get my satirical point across. The only butts of my jokes are the men behind the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision and the Hobby Lobby company itself. Feel free to ask me questions courteously and respectfully. I loathe the Hobby Lobby decision because it will further marginalize women across all races and ethnicities, the poor, and the young. To me, Marcus, a transgendered woman, is a genius hero who comes to the rescue of the other women in the story!