Kathryn’s Windfall

Dad

Episode 1: The Transsexual Stumbles

By James R. McGuire



Fall, 2004

                        BRANDON

(to AUDIENCE. Beat. SFX phone ringing) The phone rings and it’s my transsexual father. I allow the voicemail to pick up as always. Then, two minutes later, I retrieve the message…

                        KATHRYN

(on voicemail) Brandon, I’ve called you three times. I guess you’re never home. I have something important to tell you…

                        BRANDON

The last time Dad had something important to tell me it was that he had decided to start a television series called Coon-Yo! about an international arms dealer octoroon named Domino. Domino would fly jets around the world killing people with several high tech guns, but be a pussycat with his wife who’s a transsexual.

Before that it was a movie idea based on a book he wrote called Texas Jesus about a transsexual who gives birth to the Messiah, a bloody-mary-drinking-guitar-playing girl named Jesus. My father stands at six foot three, wears size eleven shoes, shoulder pads and is now legally named Kathryn. I telephone Dad right back.

                        KATHRYN

I knew you were there. You know what your problem is? You’re not curious enough to answer the phone. Otherwise, you’d have picked it up on the first ring.

                        BRANDON

(to KATHRYN) I’m also not curious enough to transition through surgery to become a female.

                        KATHRYN

I’m moving to San Antonio to start a brewery called Chick Beer with your Uncle Lester. There’s going to be drag queens on the label.

                        BRANDON

What?

                        KATHRYN

I’m done with this ghetto.

                        BRANDON

(to AUDIENCE) Dad claims to be the only attractive white girl in the ‘hood in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where he now lives. A few weeks ago, he negotiated a windfall, about a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, from his millionaire Texas construction days. He sold some equipment. Now, he’s trying to decide what to do with the money.

                        KATHRYN

Yeah. Chick Beer. But… I’m going to sell it in my own bar and grill. And, get this. I’m going to decorate the bar like a deer lease. What do you think? You want to invest some money in it?

                        BRANDON

A deer lease is a camp that hunters lease to go and shoot deer.

                        KATHRYN

Hell, I thought we’d put some deer blinds in there, a fake wood forest right in the middle. We could put up some guns, some stuffed hunters wearing orange dayglo or camouflage, and of course deer heads. It’ll be fun!

                        BRANDON

(to AUDIENCE) I like deer meat and am not one of these people who gets all sappy about wanting to save a bunch of Bambis’ lives, only to have them run out in the highways and damage SUV’s or eat people’s dandelions. I just don’t want their stuffed heads staring at me while I’m trying to eat a venison burger. It sounds creepy. My father and I, when he was a man and I was straight, used to go and hunt deer all the time. Now that we’ve both changed more than a little, we’ve decided to mellow out on the killing of small helpless creatures. Dad, however, still sleeps with a shotgun.

                        KATHRYN

So, what do you think?

                        BRANDON

(to KATHRYN) I… Uh. Well…

                        KATHRYN

You don’t sound good. Are you sick?

                        BRANDON

No, no, I’m fine. I’m just tired.

                        KATHRYN

Well, you’re always tired. At your age it’s not healthy. When I was your age I was working in construction non-stop.

                        BRANDON

(to AUDIENCE) This beer idea might be good because Dad, after the sex change, has had a hard time finding a job. Not only does he have to deal with ageism, but transgender prejudice as well. Dad has tried to become, since moving up to Brooklyn, a Ruth Chris’ Steak House hostess, an office receptionist and an author. He’s also tried to become a fashion model at the suggestion of my friend Paul, which turned out to be a big misunderstanding. Paul had suggested, to my other friend Greg, that my father should be an agent for models, because they like unusual people in the fashion world. Greg constantly got things confused and said to me that my father should be a model. So, I informed Dad, who then went and spent several hundred dollars to buy a digital camera to take pictures of himself. Dad is in his early sixties, but thought the modeling was a good idea because, as he puts it, ‘It’s just crazy enough that it might work.’ (to KATHRYN) Why don’t you just stay in New York? You don’t need another scheme.

                        KATHRYN

Scheme? Chick Beer is not a scheme. Anyway, life ain’t about sitting around. Man, Brandon, I decided to do this and that’s what I’m doing. It was like when you were living with that neo-pagan in Park Slope. Once you made up your mind to get outta there, you got outta there.

                        BRANDON

(to AUDIENCE) I roomed with Terry, a neo-pagan, for two months before realizing he was casting spells on me. Terry also had a lot of friends and kept insulting my self-help books as shallow

                        BRANDON (cont’d)

and needy. (to KATHRYN) Well, what am I going to do, Dad? I’ll be so lonely without you.

                        KATHRYN

Brandon, you never come to visit me out here in Brooklyn. It’s been six months. You’ve only been here one time!

                        BRANDON                     

I know, but it’s nice to know I can if I want to.

                        KATHRYN

Well, I’ll tell you who is going to miss me are all these blacks out here in Flatbush. They see a hot woman like me coming down the street. Boobs out to here, legs down to there, they know it’s not something you see every day.

                        BRANDON

Yeah, I guess that’s true.

                        KATHRYN

Shoot, man. I’ve got them all trained. They know I’m the one keeping the neighborhood safe and clean. One of them said to the other one the other day, ‘Do you think that’s a man?’ But, the other one said, ‘you crazy, that’s a woman.’

                        BRANDON

Dad, I understand. Can you just keep quiet for a bit? I’m trying to think.

                        KATHRYN

You think too much, if you ask me. Life isn’t about sitting around thinking. It’s about doing.

                        BRANDON

You want to start a brewery? Back in Texas?

                        KATHRYN

Are you sure you’re all right? Are you on drugs? You can tell me the truth.

                        BRANDON

(to Audience) Dad doesn’t come across as your average transsexual because he was a big socialite, was the first crossdresser to run for public office in the city of Houston and was featured on several talk shows when he first came out. Most crossdressers shun the spotlight. My dad loves it. He’s still

                        BRANDON (cont’d)

encouraging me to be an actor, even though things are clearly not working out in that department. (To KATHRYN) Did you tell Mom that you want to start a brewery?

                        KATHRYN

Yes, and she suggested I see a priest. As always. What in the hell is a priest going to say to me?

                        BRANDON

Well, at least she didn’t tell you how you need to get a corporate job. That’s all she ever tells me. (to AUDIENCE) I need to get off the phone so that I can phone my sister and somehow get Dad to change his mind. And stay put in New York. And not lose his money. (to KATHRYN) I gotta run. I’ll… Uh… I’ll call you back. I don’t feel…

                        KATHRYN

But… Wait… I…

                        BRANDON

(to AUDIENCE) Normally I would never hang up on Dad. But this is an emergency. (To KATHRYN) Dad. Good-bye (SFX. Phone click).


James McGuire

James Royce McGuire’s plays have been performed at Circle Rep, The Drama Book Shop and Cornelia Street Café in New York among many others. His first full length play, “Daddy Kathryn”, was originally produced at HERE, was filmed for the BBC and featured in several national papers. It received readings at Ensemble Studio Theatre, a staged reading at The Abingdon Theater Company, and a production at The New York International Fringe Festival. His one-act, “The Dating Cyclone”, was produced by LoveCreek Productions at The John Houseman Theater and his play “A Texas Funeral” was performed at The Actor’s Studio New Play Festival and The Last Frontier Theater Conference. His play, “The Seventh Chakra” was a PlayLab Selection at GPTC. His fiction has been published in HGMLQ, Ellipsis, The Story Shack, The Legendary, Ars Notoria and his work is archived in the permanent collection of plays in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Literary readings include the 92Y and KGB. He is an alumnus of BMI Musical Theater Workshop and a Hawthorden Fellow. He now lives in Palm Springs, CA.