"Could I talk to you?"

"Yeah," Jenny said, not looking up from whatever she was drawing.

Mark sat down at the table. "I wish so much that there was something I could do."

"No, I don't think there's anything that you can do. I think you did it," Jenny said, still not looking up.

"When I moved in here, I was the type of guy who was capable of doing shit like this, but I am not that guy anymore. I know that I've said it before, but you and Shane have made me a better man."

"Oh, fuck off, Mark," Jenny flared, now giving him her full attention. "It's not my job to make you a better man, and I don't give a shit if I've made you a better man. It's not a fucking woman's job to be consumed and invaded and spat out so that some fucking man can evolve." She said the word "evolve" like it was a bitter medicine.

"That's not what I meant."

"What the fuck are you talking about, then, Mark? You give me one reason why you think that I should forgive you."

"Because, Jenny, I made a big, big mistake. But from that, I have learned how difficult it is to be a woman."

Jenny hissed, "Oh, pleeeeease." She stood suddenly, slapping her notebook down on the table, and marched off into the living room. Mark followed her.

"Wait, Jenny! Hey!"

Jenny stopped and turned. She stared at him, watching in disbelief as he peeled his sweater up off over his head.

"Hey. Look at this," he said, taking off his T-shirt and unzipping and dropping his pants. He pulled his boxers down to his ankles.

"What are you doing?" Jenny asked.

He kicked his clothes off and stood, completely naked.

"Is this what you want?"

"No!" Jenny said, and threw her drawing pen at him. He flinched when it hit him, not from pain but just surprise.

"What I want is for you to write 'fuck me' on your chest," she said.

Mark's hands dropped to cover his crotch. He stared at the floor.

"Write it! Do it!" Jenny shouted at him. "And then I want you to walk out that door, and I want you to walk down the street, and anybody that wants to fuck you, say, 'Sure, sure, no problem.' And when they do, you have to say, 'Thank you very, very much,' and make sure that you have a smile on your face, and then, you stupid fucking coward, you're going to know what it feels like to be a woman!"

Jenny spun around and stalked off to her bedroom and slammed the door. Mark stood, naked and stunned, then started to put his clothes back on. Shane came out of her room to see what the shouting was all about and stopped dead in her tracks when she saw Mark fumbling to pull his boxers up. He saw her, embarrassment and humiliation flooding into his face. "Shane, I'm just--" he tried to say, but Shane just rolled her eyes in disgust and retreated back down the hall to her room.


The Gay Pride parade was a success, as it had been in previous years, and each year it grew bigger and better. One consequence, though, was the the better the day was, the more tired and exhausted and worn out the participants were that night ... not that it stopped anyone from partying their brains out. Gay Pride Night was the biggest event of the year at The Planet, and Kit and Carmen had worked closely together for weeks, planning, organizing, decorating. It was exactly the kind of thing Carmen excelled at, and Kit was grateful to have someone so good and so competent as her deputy. As her confidence in Carmen grew, she herself was able to step back and concentrate on the day-to-day operations of The Planet while Carmen took more and more responsibility for Pride Night itself.
Carmen hired two DJs to handle the early shifts from 2 p.

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