“But what ever happened to that asshole co-worker of yours?” Jasmine asked while she sipped from her cup of tea.
Leila sighed and looked at her roommate. “Joey? It’s complicated.” She was nestled comfortably in the plush cushions of her couch when she heard suddenly her cell phone buzzing from a notification. The low hum of the city night was just a faint murmur beyond her apartment windows as she looked down at the nearby screen. She reached at it with her hands, the soft glow illuminating her face as she scrolled through an endless stream of social media posts from a very familiar person. “No fucking way.”
Suddenly, she paused, her thumb hovering over a particular picture. He disappeared when he fully quit his government job, and this was the first time she was looking at him since she last saw him at his last doctor’s examination. Apparently, Joey had decided to settle down with the German guy he hooked up with. His engagement ring had the biggest diamond she’d ever seen. “I … never mind. I shouldn’t bring it up. I’m not actually allowed to.”
“Is it Joey related?”
Leila nodded. Five months ago, Joey was a test subject for the government's experimental transformation wig, a device meant to allow one to seamlessly assume another person’s appearance. It was specifically made for spies. She observed his every move and was tasked with making sure to document everything.
Everything was experimental. But Joey had worn it too long, and after spending a night alone with a German hottie, the wig had fused with his skin. Leila knew that sex could have a negative effect, but she had no idea that the wig would become permanently fused with his body.
The doctors had tried to remove it, but it was inextricably linked to him, and the risk of causing permanent damage was too great. The issue was fixed in the newer models, but for Joey, it was too late. He had remained a woman, and he seemed happy about it. The doctors deactivated the AI assistance software to see if that would help, but Joey remained optimistic about being stuck as a girl forever. “Promise not to tell anybody?” She asked her roommate as she nodded. “This is him. He transitioned.”
Jasmine’s eyes lit up. “Holy shit, she’s gorgeous!” Leila couldn't help the pang of jealousy that hit her as she looked at the radiant woman in the picture, a woman who used to be the man she'd served as an assistant for so long. Joey had always been dismissive of her, often leading her on with false hopes and breaking them without a second thought. Yet here he was, living a seemingly happy life, having embraced his new life. “Josephine, huh? Is she actually Joey, though?”
Leila sighed again. “She used to be him…” She wished she could have her own transformation wig, to change the parts of her that she was self-conscious about. But she knew better. With a sigh, she switched off her phone and set it aside, her gaze drifting to the city lights twinkling beyond her window. She could only hope that Joey, or rather Josephine, was happy. Happy with the unexpected turn of events, happy with the new life, and more than anything, happy with the new self.
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