Version date 01-03-15
Dean Fontain was too wild for his sedate parents to control. But their neighbors, the Boelkes, recognized what their friends were going through and told them about the secret that had changed their lives: the secret of Pleasure Island. What the Fontains learned that night astonished them and they couldn't help but think that their neighbors were playing a bad joke. They were actually saying that their pretty and well-behaved daughter Carla used to be a very bad boy, Carl.
"That's ridiculous," said Mrs. Fontain. "I remember when you brought that precious little girl home from the hospital eighteen years ago."
Mrs. Boelke shook her head and almost smiled. "There's magic involved. The first time you saw Carl as a girl, the enchantment he brought from Pleasure Island put false memories into your mind. We remember what really happened because the island people give parents a protective charm, but everyone else sees no change when a boy comes back different. Because of the spell you can't remember how badly Carl behaved, and even that you complained that he was tempting your Dean into so much trouble.”
“No,” replied Mr. Fontain curtly, “we certainly don't remember anything like that.”
"It's all true," said Mr. Boelke. The neighbors then offered to let the Fontains wear their charms overnight, telling them that the enchanted metal would take away all their false memories. Dean’s parents thought the idea was silly, but still something made them both go along with the joke. But by morning they knew that it was no joke. The charms had worked like, well, like a charm. They had awakened up knowing everything about Carl Boelke. The pair immediately went over to their friends’ home.
Carla was there with them, finishing the breakfast dishes. She was a pretty, upbeat teen who usually dressed in a way that would catch the attention of the neighborhood boys. It was hard for the Fontains not to stare, now remembering what a sour loudmouth Carl Boelke had been.
To get some privacy for her visitors, Carla's mother gave the girl some money to spend at the ice cream shop. A minute later, Carla had gone out the door and the four adults were left free to confer.
"How did you find out about Pleasure Island?" Mrs. Fontain asked.
"A friend at the hospital told me," replied her neighbor. "She had a boy who was hooked up with drug dealers and she had found out about Pleasure Island just in time to save him. Now he's a cheerleader who's doing well in school."
Mr. Fontain reached into his pocket and handed back the charms. "These things took the wool away from our eyes. We'd give almost anything if Dean were just as well behaved as your Carla is, even if it means that we have to exchange a son for a daughter. But can't the Island people fix a boy's bad personality without changing his sex, too?"
"All I'm sure of is that there's a good reason why they don’t want to do it that way. A sexual reversal gives off an energy that they call mana and they're able to capture and store it for use later. A gender change is actually not what they're after; it’s just a by-product of the mana-harvesting."
Mr. Fontain frowned. "What exactly is mana?"
Mr. Boelke looked at him very seriously. "All we know is what we've been told. Mana is what magic is made of, and it's also the energy that makes some babies develop into males in the womb. Developing infants who don't have the mana-absorbing gene are born female. Have you see films about how a boy and girl fetus look exactly the same until after a period of development? They develop into different sexes because the baby with the mana-gene is drawing in mana that enables its development into a male.
"Remove that energy from a male, even when he is fully grown, and he will go to the human default form, female. Younger males have the most potent mana, so the wizards do all they can to recruit mana donors at a young age. But not at too young an age, because exploiting children is against another one of their rules. With parental consent, they can take the mana from an older child, because Pleasure Island has a law that says that a child is not a legal adult until twenty-one. If on Pleasure Island, a contract with the parents or legal guardian is makes donation without the boy's consent legal to to that age of maturity. They are not very much interested in taking mana from males over twenty-one for some reason."
"Hiring wizards must be expensive," Mr. Fontain suggested.
“Not very,” said Mr. Boelke.
This surprised the other couple. “Are you saying that they don’t care about money because because what they are really after is the mana?" asked Mrs. Fontain.
“It seems so. In fact, I've heard that they can make gold out of lead; money means little to them. They want mana."
"You're lucky that Carla turned out to be so pretty," Mrs. Fontain said. "I felt so sorry for the homely girls at my old school. They always seemed either angry or sad. A lot of the angry ones became feminists."
Mrs. Boelke shook her head. "Becoming girls won't necessarily, make a boy pretty. Beauty is in their genes. But the Island people explained that ex-boys are always happiest as girls if they're popular. If sent home after the shock of having a sex-change, they might lash out and cause trouble. But if a boy is popular with his friends, it’s easier to enjoy his new life. Haven’t you noticed that except for Hollywood actors, popular people don't usually become troublemakers? They offered for no extra charge to use a little of Carl's mana to power a magic spell to make him angelic-looking, no matter what his genes said."
“What's the island like? They aren't rough with the boys, are they?” asked Mrs. Fontain.
"Not at all," Mr. Boelke assured them. "The management gives them all sorts of ways to have innocent fun. But any boy can get himself into trouble if he's determined to make the effort. Once our fees were paid, the Island's reservation office sent Carl a registered letter. It said that he had won a free two-week vacation on Pleasure Island. That's the usual ploy they use to lure boys there without arousing suspicion.
"Carl was the type that didn't trust anything, so he checked on the internet and found that Pleasure Island really existed. He also found out that it was an independent island entirely without blue laws that affect older teens: no curfews, legalized drugs and bawdy shows, and a very low drinking age. He told us he was thinking about going. That's when we tried some negative psychology, telling him that it sounded like he would be allowed to run wild in Europe and that we didn’t think that it seemed like a good idea. He absolutely insisted on going after that.”
"Remembering what Carl used to be like,” said Mrs. Fontain, “I can understand how you would have been made desperate. But I can't believe that our Dean is totally bad, deep down. Pleasure Island seems so drastic."
Mr. Boelke smiled. As a neighbor of many years, he knew that Dean was Dennis the Menace to the nth degree, and had also been a thief and a vandal, a good Sundance Kid to Carl's Butch Cassidy. "We had to take the Island's word for it,” he explained, “but their people tell us that the magic doesn't work on good kids. They won't even accept boys that don't already have a long record of getting into trouble. They also won't take on faith everything that parents and guardians say about a boy. Some people might have motives to lie. Instead, they do their own background checks. In a little while, they confirmed that Carl's record was perfectly awful. Our councilor said that anyone as good at being naughty as our son would change very rapidly on Pleasure Island."
"Incredible," said Mrs. Fontain.
"Because the illusions conceal the truth, a boy won't become frightened or try to escape. As soon as he becomes a true she, a boy is able to see what they really look like and that's always a shock. But while they are still in a daze, that's the time to send them home. The management gives him -- her -- new identity papers and puts her on a plane. That is, unless her parents have already contracted to have the boy -- the former boy, that is -- sent to one of the special schools on the mainland. The schools will board transformed boys and help speed along their adjustment to the thousand and one details of living life in a new sex. We understand that their record of success is very high."
"I can imagine that Carl would have been furious," ventured Mrs. Fontain.
Mr. Boelke nodded. “We'd thought that he'd have become easier to handle as a girl, but he -- she -- wasn't. We had to ask Pleasure Island for help."
"You sent him -- her -- to a school?" asked Mr. Fontain.
“No, we didn't want to send her away. They have sleep-teaching CDs that are very low-priced. But we thought we needed professional help, so we chose the option of a private tutor, one who was licensed with the resort. The lady found a rental house over in Oakdale and we had Carla stay with her. Carla was a much better person when she came back. She had even started to like boys. That's good, because to attract a boy, a girl will naturally want to look and act the way that the popular girls do."
"I noticed she likes miniskirts," Mrs. Fontain offered.
"Yes. Carla's making frequent trips to the beauty parlor and I've even seen her practicing how to walk like in the mirror."
The Fontains looked into one another's faces, amazed and thinking about the possibilities.
* * * *
Dean's parents did some discreet inquiry and were able to back up independently many of the things that the Boelkes had been telling them. They wondered; did the government know that boys were being turned into girls? It had to be against the law, but, then again, crime and terrorism was everywhere and the administration was dong nothing to stop it. There were so many laws that no one was enforcing, it was small wonder that wizards could get away with anything, too. The couple used the contact number that the Boelkes had provided and started a negotiation with the resort representatives. In a week, the Island called back. They had confirmed that Dean was by all accounts a very bad kid. They said that they would be pleased to help change him for the better on Pleasure Island. It wasn't long before the younger Fontain was on a plane bound for his vacation spot. In just over two weeks, he -- she -- was back.
Like most former boys, Dean -- now Deanne -- was fit to be tied. She bawled out her folks and promised to call in the law for child abuse. That didn't go well. Social services only suggested to the Fontains that their daughter needed psychotherapy. Also, everyone in the neighborhood had magically forgotten about Dean. Whenever she told anyone the truth, she only creeped them out and sounded like a nut case. When she got some documents proving she had been male, the bureaucrats simply corrected the errors and made her officially female from birth. She sulked in her room for days, until concocting a scheme to get even. If her folks were expecting to get a good girl out of all this, she was going to give them just the opposite. She intended to make them sorry that they had ever asked for a daughter.
Deanne had a stash of cash left over from Dean's occasionally illegal activities. This she used to buy the sexiest outfits on the Internet and went to school wearing them. Her parents were scandalized, but she didn’t stop there. She did everything she could to upset them. And Deanne was always very public about her misbehavior, wanting the whole town to know that the Fontains didn't know how to raise a girl right.
Moreover, being just as hormonal as Deanne as ever Dean was, she hooked up with the best-looking gay girls in school and openly took them to the hot spots. That cost a lot, and so she started stealing again. At first, Deanne didn't care much for girl-on-girl sex, but it was an acquirable taste and she started to go along with it more and more. She also began casting her net wider to get action out of some of the naive and inexperienced girls who weren't natural lesbians. Best of all, Deanne knew that her folks, being traditional types, were being devastated by all the scandalous talk.
Then, one day, the pattern changed. Deanne noticed how super the class president, George Gravely, looked. She tried to fight the attraction, but over the next few days she realized that a lot of other boys were looking ultra-cool, too. She thought she was losing her mind. Even though Carla used her formidable will power to steer clear of the attractive boys, she would lie awake for hours having fantasies about being with them. As for the girls, it soon became hard even to remember their faces. How could she, with boys occupying so much of her mind? Pretty soon, Deanne thought she'd burst if she didn't soon get her arms around a real live boy.
Deanne didn't know that her desperate parents had sent for a set of Pleasure Island sleep-teaching discs. Deanne would hear the lessons subliminally, without being aware that she was receiving lessons that urged her to accept new patterns of behavior and attitudes that were socially current with other teenaged girls. Each night after midnight, the hidden device in Deanne room would start up and play discs. The one that it never failed to play every night was called "The Lesbian Cure."
After a couple weeks, the programming of the Cure had begun to affect her thoughts and actions. Deanne's revenge plot fell apart, totally, as she stopped hanging with the girls, but instead thought about coming up with lots of different excuses to meet boys. At first, when cornered all alone with some randy guy, she'd get furious at all the aggressive kissing and groping. But her sleep-teaching was telling her not to be a quitter and so Deanne always came back for more. In fact, she even lost her old attitudes against having sex with boys. Her own personal female personality was developing and she wasn't always choosy about whom she hooked up with. The wild and crazy ones – especially the band guys -- were her favorites.
A few months of intense social activity, life slammed her with a shocking surprise. As soon as the Fontain's discovered what was bothering their daughter, they moved swiftly. Every night, in every room in the house, they secretly played the disc "Proud Mommy, Happy Mommy."
Deanne graduated and had her baby three months later. It didn't take long for the vigorous, healthy girl to get her figure back. Needing a job, she signed with a modeling agency, which sounded like easy work. It turned out not to be so easy, but it suited her. At first, Deanne attracted wide notice for doing cheesecake-style car and motorcycle advertising, and then her agent lined her up with some really glamorous gigs, swimsuit modeling and lingerie ads. Her career was going so swimmingly that it was like Deanne had fairy godparents looking out for her. She was able to assist with the increased household expenses by contributing generously. Furthermore, as a proud and happy parent herself, she started putting some money each month into a child's college fund.