From Stan to Loretta
Loretta lay on his bed staring up at the ceiling listening as his
fellow PFJ members slept soundly around him. He glanced over and stared
at the empty cot beside him. That was for their newest member, Brian.
However, Brian still hadn’t returned from the mission Reg had sent him
on earlier in the day. Loretta hoped he hadn’t been caught. He wasn’t
thinking just of his safety though, he was also thinking of the safety
of the PFJ and it’s members. If Brian had been tortured by the Romans
and forced to confess the whereabouts of their group; that would be it
for them. They would be crucified in a heartbeat. Loretta looked down
at his hand and flinched as he pictured the nail going into his palm.
He shook his head to clear his mind of the thought. Worrying about it
wouldn’t do any good. If it was going to happen, it would and there was
nothing he could do to stop it. He put his hand behind his head and
sighed as he stared up at the ceiling once more. Brian and his mission
wasn’t the only thing on his mind. Today, he had finally got up enough
courage to confess his secret. The fact that ever since he was a young
man, all he had ever really wanted to be was a woman.
Granted, he didn’t start out the day going to the coliseum with the
intention of revealing his deepest, darkest secret. But, as Rogers kept
talking about their goals, he found to his annoyance that he would only
say, “Man” and not add “ and Woman” when he was speaking. A slip he
found even more puzzling considering that Judith was sitting right next
to him and she was one of the senior leaders of the group. So, as
Rogers went on talking, he just felt he had to keep correcting him. Not
only for himself, but also for Judith whom he admired greatly. It was
this need to correct that finally led to Reg and Rogers angrily asking
him why he was on about women all the time.
He had hesitated for just a moment and then he decided that he had
known the others long enough to trust them with his secret.
“I want to be one.” He blurted out.
He glanced over and saw Reg’s eyes were bulging out of his head as he
replied “What?” Loretta swallowed and tried to ignore Reg as he sat and
stared at him like he was suddenly an escape lunatic in their midst.
“I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me Loretta.”
He blurted out quickly.
There was an uneasy silence as everyone stared at him in disbelief.
“What?” Reg finally got out.
“It’s my right as a man.” he said, not caring how odd that sounded.
Judith, finally found the words to speak.
“Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?” she asked, as gently as
“I want to have babies.”
He groaned inwardly as he noticed Reg’s eyeballs almost popping out of
his head. Loretta was begin to wish he had a way to take back
everything he had just said to them.
“You want to have babies?” he said in disbelief.
Loretta kept telling himself to shut up, but the way they were looking
at him, he was afraid any minute Reg was gonna go find a couple of
guards and have them haul him away to an institution.
“It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.” he said
weakly, hoping against hope that they would understand.
He was wrong.
“But…but, you can’t have babies!” Reg protested.
Loretta began to get indignant.
“Don’t you oppress me!” he said, defensively.
Reg’s mouth dropped open.
“I’m not oppressing you, Stan. You haven’t got a womb! Where’s the
fetus gonna gestate? You gonna keep it in a box?”
Loretta knew he was right. He knew how ridiculous the argument was. He
knew full well that he could never bear children. But if Reg and the
others could see his past and see how he grew up, they’d understand his
need to be a woman.
As Loretta lay in the darkness, he began to think back through his life
to the time of his childhood…
From the time of his birth, Loretta or Stan as he was called then, had
everything stacked against him.
His father, a sheepherder by trade, had never thought much of him. In
fact he tried not to think of him at all. The reason was simply because
he had been born a boy.
His father, Joshua, had never wanted a boy. He had grown up in a family
where his father had abandoned his mother and ran off with another
woman. His mother had been forced to raise him and his five sisters as
best she could. The abandonment of his father coupled with the fact
that none of the male relatives offered to take his mother in with them
colored his perception of men from an early age. He got along well with
his sisters and adored his mother with all his heart, and so decided
that if he ever had a family of his own; it would be all girls.
He eventually met a woman named Rebecca from Nazareth and after a brief
courtship; the two of them settled just outside Nazareth and began to
make a family for themselves.
At first all was well. Their first 3 children were all girls. The
oldest was Rebecca; named in honor of her mother. The second was named
Rachel and the third was called Mary.
With the introduction of these three girls into Joshua’s life, his
father felt like his life was complete. He doted on the three girls as
they grew up and spoiled them rotten. With his children and his wife at
his side, he felt as though life couldn’t get much better.
And then, came the news of a forth pregnancy. Joshua was overjoyed. He
couldn’t wait for his wife to give birth. The thought of another little
girl to fuss over made his heart overflow with joy.
And then, came the fateful night when Rebecca went into labor. Joshua
and his daughters assisted their mother as much as they could. But they
could see this was a difficult pregnancy for her. Joshua begged God not
to let her die as she screamed and moaned in agony. But, his pleas went
unanswered. His beloved wife, Rebecca, died in his arms just shortly
after giving birth to their…
Joshua stared down at the wriggling infant in his arms. He stared in
confusion at an odd protrusion that was between his little girl’s legs.
Slowly, it dawned on him what the protrusion was and his eyes widened
with horror as he realized he was holding a boy. His shock turned to
anger as he stared down at the tiny boy in his arms.
“You…killed my wife!” he spat out.
He glared at the boy for a moment before he shoved it into his oldest
“Here, clean this off.” He said. “I want to spend some time alone with
As the daughters hurried off with the infant, Joshua picked his wife’s
head up and laid it in his lap. As he stroked her hair tenderly, he
began to weep.
“A boy.” He sobbed. “Why did it have to be a boy?”
(6 years later…
Stan leaned back against a tree and sighed as he kept his eyes on the
sheep herd he was guarding. He stared at the sheep grazing contentedly
in the afternoon sun and tried to stay awake as boredom started to set
For as long as he could remember, this had been his job in life. Every
morning, he drove the sheep out to pasture and sat with them as he kept
his eyes peeled for wolves and other predators. He hated the job
intensely, but his father insisted he do it.
“If you’re out there with the sheep, I won’t have to look at you as
much.” Stan remembered him muttering when he had finally gotten up
enough courage to protest.
Stan never really understood what that meant. His father rarely spoke
to him choosing instead to concentrate all his attention on his three
older sisters. His three older sisters in turn never let Stan forget
that they were his father’s favorites. Every time he would come back in
the evening, there they would be; telling him about all the attention
they had gotten or showing him some new trinket his father had gotten
for them. Then, they would all run away laughing as Stan stood in the
shadows and wondered why everyone hated him so much.
The other thing Stan wondered about was where his mother had gone. No
one really talked to him except to yell at him or criticize or gloat in
his face so he really had no clue.
One night, when they were at dinner eating silently, Stan finally got
up enough courage to ask.
“Father?” Stan said tentatively as they ate. “Whatever happened to
Stan’s eyes widened as his father and sisters dropped their spoons into
their bowls simultaneously and glared at him.
“I was just asking.” Stan said softly.
He began to squirm uncomfortably as his father continued to glare at
“You killed her! That’s what happened to her!” the father finally said,
pushing away from the table.
Stan watched as the girls followed suit and as they stomped out of the
room, Stan sat alone and stared at their bowls in silent shock.