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MARGARET MEAD WAS WRONG

by

Frederick Zackel

Copyright © 2001 - 2000
All Rights Reserved





Bumper sticker seen in Samoa:

MARGARET MEAD WAS WRONG



A trio of transvestites were eating outside the fish-n-chips store on Geary Boulevard at Polk. To me, they looked like the three witches from Macbeth at a costume party. But I live in this San Francisco. To my friends from Ohio, they were stranger than the Man in the Moon.

Annette stared at them. "They really do look like prostitutes."

"They are men," I told her.

"Ugly men," Walter said.

Annette indicated one TV wolfing down fast food, sitting slouched on a fireplug, legs demurely crossed. "What about that one?"

"She's a boy," I said. "San Francisco has lots of TVs working the streets. In fact, one old joke the cops tell is how come the hookers don't wear short shorts in the summer."

"Why is that?" Walter asked.

"They'd freeze their balls off."

Annette and Walter ignored me.

Annette was looking around the street corner, was surprised. "There are some awfully good-looking men out here!"

I said, "Yes, there are."

"How do they get their legs so good?"

She shouldn't have said anything. The transvestite busy wolfing down fish-n-chips noticed her staring at him and commenting about him to her passengers. He stopped chewing his fish and started stalking us.

Annette made a second mistake. She fumbled for the electric window switch. The window began humming up. The transvestite came close enough to stick his nose in the window. The window just barely closed in time.

"Weirdos don't think they're weirdos," I said. "They think they're as normal as everybody else, only just not so boring."

The transvestite howled like a mad dog at Annette. She panicked and power-locked the doors. The TV smashed both palms on the window and screamed at her. Surprised, Annette screamed back. The transvestite smeared his vinegar-soaked fish on the glass. Then he spat on the window.

Annette slammed down the door locks for a second time. The transvestite broke the window. Glass showered us, covered us.

Annette spun and faced me, her eyes as wide and terrified as an alley cat caught off-guard.

Walter, startled, came alive, went for his door handle, started to go after the maniac TV. I grabbed his shoulder, squeezed until he gasped in pain.

"You stay inside!" I insisted.

Horrified, Walter faced me. "Aren't you going to do something?"

"She got a green light," I said. I nudged Annette's shoulder. "You have a green light, Annette," I indicated.

Annette punched the gas pedal and the red Rover shot forward, roared off, leaving behind the teeniest patch of rubber and the teeniest squeal of tire.

I looked back. The transvestite stood in the street, giving us the finger and grabbing at her crotch, giving us a hideous eyeful of her underpants. She was screaming obscenities at us, her face contorted and ugly like a monkey choking on poison.

Annette roared down Geary Boulevard in first gear.

"Second gear!" Walter called out.

Annette hit second gear like a born Indy racer. The red Rover gasped, thought about stalling, then whooshed forward.


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