Becoming Alice

My sister's been walking on clouds all year. She's going to Glastonbury with a bunch of friends and I'm really quite jealous. I'm almost seventeen and my sister has just turned eighteen, and in spite of the fact that sixteen and seventeen year olds are allowed to attend the festival unaccompanied, I wasn't even allowed to register because Mum thinks I'm 'a bit too young'... so I'm sulking in the back ground as spring draws to a close whilst my sister and her pals are getting over-exited about tents, wellies and festival outfits. Six of them are going; Claire (my sister), Rebecca (her best friend), Sally and Hannah (college friends), Shannon (Hannah's sister) and Alice (our cousin). Alice isn't much older than me so it's doubly annoying they she was given permission to go and I wasn't. Mum tells me that I can apply for a ticket next year but... next year is going to be a 'fallow' year which means there'll be no Glastonbury festival for two years.


I resign myself to the fact that it's not going to happen. My sister's going with a group of girls so I’d be completely out of place anyway. Saying that, my envy increases when they're sat round the kitchen table with a big Glastonbury map and programme, planning where they'll camp and which acts they'll go and see. Like me, they're 'alternative' types so will be avoiding the top pop acts and hitting the smaller stages and DJ tents. They watch sets from previous years on the iPlayer, but spend as much time watching the audience as they do the performers. Being girls, what they're going to wear is just as important as getting there and they're all diving head first into 'hippy chic'.

Claire, my lucky fucking sister has been charity shopping and came home with two cute sun dresses, some dungaree shorts and a CND T shirt. She models them for Mum, wearing her rainbow wellies and knee socks with each. “Converse would look better than wellies.” I say when she asks my opinion.

“Yeah but it's gonna be muddy in places, even if it doesn't rain.” she replied. “Anyway, Glastonbury’s all about the wellies.”

“I thought it was all about the music.” I dryly retorted.

It's the first week of June and my sister Claire and our cousin Alice have just bought their tent, sleeping bags and mats. They test their camping gear out by camping in the back garden. I can hear them talking long into the early hours... mostly about next week's festival. I sigh myself to sleep, wishing I could go too.

A couple of days after that, I overheard my mum talking to uncle Paul on the telephone and it's not good news. Alice has broken her ankle in a college hockey match and will not be going to Glastonbury. We visited her the next day. Her foot is in plaster from toe to knee and she needs crutches to get around. I was gutted for her. She was so looking forward to it but now, she'll have to watch it on TV with her foot in a cast whilst the other five have the weekend of a lifetime. I guess she knows how I feel now. To make things doubly disappointing, it's far too late to get a refund, so the £240 ticket money has gone down the drain. The ticket isn't transferable either, since it has a photo of Alice printed on it. She tells us that she was so angry that she almost ripped the ticket to pieces, but instead is going to keep it as a reminder of the weekend of a lifetime she almost had. “I wouldn't mind but I packed my bag on Thursday afternoon, I was all set to go... then on Thursday evening.. this!” she moaned, sneering at her plaster cast.

My sister laughed that she'd packed so early, suggesting it might have been bad luck to do so. “I'm gonna pack on Tuesday night, at the very last minute... just to make sure.” she claimed.

It's Monday afternoon and Claire, Rebecca, Sally, Hannah and Shannon are sat around the table, along with my Mum. They're assuring her that they won't do anything stupid. I sat in the lounge, eavesdropping and watching TV whilst they discussed how to make the most of their festival experience. No drinking to excess, no drugs, no smoking in the tents, etc. Their plan is to drive over night and Hannah, the eldest at twenty will be driving. They're hiring a minibus and aim to arrive in the early hours of Wednesday morning so they can get a decent camping spot before the huge crowds arrive on Thursday and Friday. Mum tells them to be aware of pick-pockets and scammers and to be wary of strangers offering drinks... especially the scrumpy at £1 per gallon. “It will get you drunk but it will give you an apocalyptic hangover.” Mum claimed. “Nothing bad is going to happen if you smoke a bit of weed... it's the speed, LSD, ecstasy and anything described as a 'legal' high you want to avoid.”

Both my mum and dad went in their youth and said it was a very different festival back then. Both Hannah and Shannon went last year and said it was really well organised with really tight security. In my parents' day there'd be people openly selling hash for cash, magic mushrooms and even crack and smack. My jaw dropped a little when Mum told them an anecdote regarding the purchase of a bag of weed from a scruffy looking hippy. It turned out the be the most expensive bag of colts foot ever. “You tried to buy weed?!” my sister exclaimed.

“We were all young once.” Mum shrugged. “Now, Hannah, are you sure you're going to be OK driving over night?”

Hannah said she was and would be spending most of Tuesday sleeping, and both Rebecca and Sally have a driving license so either could take over if necessary. “I've planned two stops along the way so I can have a break and stretch my legs... one near Crewe and another near Gloucester.” she explained. She's also found a 24 Asda where they can stock up on supplies.

“Well it sounds like you've thought everything through.” Mum said. “I'm sure you'll all have the time of your life.”

On Tuesday, we visit Alice who seems to have come round to the fact that she won't be going. She's still hobbling about on crutches and will be for the next month or two. It's not just Glastonbury she'll miss, but the whole summer.. which is a real bummer. However like me, she's hoping to get there in two years time. Her plaster cast is covered with signatures and messages from her friends. The mantle is home to a number of get well soon cards. I feel more sorry for her than I do myself. At least I've spent all year knowing I'm not going whilst she'd spent it thinking she was. I suggest she spends the weekend at our house. She can have Claire's room and we could watch all the coverage on TV, sharing our misery that we're not there. “Nice idea... but I'm sure you've got better things to do than look after an invalid.” she said.

I got the feeling that something was going on. When I moaned about us having to wait two whole years for our next chance to go, Alice said well you never know. I presumed she meant that it wasn't a certainty since the tickets are a lottery, but when I overheard my sister and Alice talking in hushed tones in the hallway, I grew suspicious of something. Maybe Alice was going to smuggle something in and now Claire's going to instead? Could it be a case full of booze? I doubt it would be drugs but who knows? I sit in the lounge, watching TV with my aunt, uncle and parents whilst trying to pick up on what's going on in the hall. I hear the front door open, the car unlock, the boot slam shut and then Claire returns. We say our goodbyes and leave shortly afterwards. “What did you put in the boot?” I asked as we drove off.

“Just some stuff that Alice got for the festival.” Claire replied.

“You're not smuggling booze in are you?” I asked.

“No.” she replied. “You're allowed to take booze in, so long as it's not in glass.”

“Oh.” I said. Maybe it was just 'stuff'. Stuff such as picnic gear and a camping stove, long life food and UHT milk. But if that is the case, why all the hushed tones and whispering in the hallway?

We went home and Claire began packing. Her tent, sleeping bag, camping mat and folding chair sat waiting in the hallway. We sat around the table and ate supper. Claire said something about this being her last 'proper' meal before she returns, and by 'proper' she meant at a table, with a knife and fork and a proper plate rather than a polystyrene tray or plastic dish. Five days of burger and hot dogs and camping food. It sounds awful. They planned to set off around 11pm, taking it easy, having decent breaks and aimed to arrive around 7am. The rest of the gang arrived at around 9pm and double, then triple checked that they had everything before loading the minibus. I happily helped and got excited on their behalf. Just before they were ready to set off, my sister opened the boot of our car and asked me to help her fetch 'Alice's stuff.' She handed me a hardshell case, the one I presumed contained booze but more likely contains all their cooking gear. I took it to the van and Claire followed. Hannah was organising the stowage, putting the hard cases in first, then the chairs and tents, followed by the lighter items such as mats, jackets and sleeping bags on top. I didn't really pay much attention as I handed her what she wanted. Once the van was loaded, Mum and Dad gave Claire a big hug and a final little pep-talk. “...and make sure you look after your brother.” Mum added as she cast me a suspicious glance.

“We will.” Claire said as she turned to me. “In you get.” she grinned.

“What?”

“In you get.” she repeated. “You're coming too.”

My jaw dropped. “Really!?” I yelped. “But... I haven't got...”

“A ticket?” Claire smiled. “Yes you have.”

I looked at my parents who both smiled and nodded. I looked into the minibus and the four grinning faces, each beckoning me in. I'm not sure if I climbed in or was bundled on by my sister, but before I could even get my head round the news that i was going too, I was inside the minibus and we were off. I couldn't believe they'd got me a ticket and kept it a secret. I was shocked. I was excited. I was positively flabbergasted. I was told that I'd be going in on Alice's ticket and that my parents had paid for it. I presumed that they'd somehow managed to get her ticket transferred into my name.

We drove through the night down winding country lanes for a good hour before finally reaching the M6 motorway. After another hour we turned off near Crewe and went to a 24hour supermarket and spent half an hour in its cafĂ©. Hannah topped up on caffeine and sugar. We sat and snacked and drank and enthused over what's to come. “I still can't believe you managed to get the ticket transferred into my name. This is going to be so awesome!” I exclaimed. The others grinned and agreed. Claire told me that Alice's ticket hasn't 'exactly' been transferred into my name. “What do you mean, not exactly?” I asked.

“Well..." she began. "It was too late for a refund and they refused to transfer the ticket in spite of the fact she broke her ankle, which is bang out of order.” my sister told me. “So...” she continued as my jaw slowly dropped. “Don't worry." she insisted. "It's only to get you though the gate.”

“But... I don't look like Alice.” I said.

“There's a clear family resemblance.” Claire said. She showed me Alice’s ticket and said that all I need is some eye-liner and a bit of lippy and I'll look similar enough to the image on the ticket. Despite the fact that there is a strong family resemblance, I claimed I wouldn't look like my cousin even with make-up on, pointing out Alice's well defined eyebrows as one glaring difference. “That can all be sorted with make-up.” Claire told me. “And once we're in you can wash it off.”

“And what if they don't let me in?”

“They will.” the girls collectively assured me. Hannah said that they'd already discussed that outcome and have made a pact. “If one of us doesn't get in, none of us go in.”

Shannon, Hannah's younger sister told me that they won't look that closely because there's going to be thousands of people going through the gate. "They'll glance at your ticket, glance at you and so long as both look vaguely the same, they'll let you through." she claimed. “It's a production line. Bish bash bosh. They're more interested in what's in your bags than anything.”

Hannah agreed. Since both have been before they know better than the rest of us. “You'll have to dress like a girl too... just to be on the safe side.” Hannah added. "Are you OK with that?" she asked.

I gulped. “Just until I’m through the gate?”

They nodded. “That's the only place they're going to check the photo.” my sister assured me."Once you're in you're in."

“Don't they do random spot checks inside?” I asked.

“No.” Hannah claimed. “They might say they do but there's a hundred-and-seventy thousand people.... it would be pointless. You'd need photo ID for buying booze, which you won't be so you've nothing to worry about.”

“Apart from trying to pass myself off as my female cousin.”

“Leave that to us.” Rebecca said. “Anyway, it won't be the first time we've dressed you as a girl.”

Claire and Rebecca have been friends since junior school. They used to be practically joined at the hip and I recall a couple of times when I was about six or seven when we played dress-up and they put me in one of Claire's old dresses. Being a bit of an Emo, I’m no stranger to wearing a bit of eye-liner and painting my nails black, although I don't make a habit out of it. I still wasn't so sure it'd work and slumped into my hands and realised that by morning, I'll have a bit more stubble than Alice has on the ticket. “You could have told me sooner that I could have at least had a shave.”

“Already thought of that.” Claire said. “There's a razor and foam in your case.” she informed me. “And Alice said she packed you plenty of boyish clothes to see you through 'til Monday.”

“Boyish?” I quizzed. I didn't like the sound of 'boyish'."Surely you had the forethought to pack me some of my own clothes?"

Claire grinned. She had. There's a case in the minibus with my things in it. "...but you'll have to carry Alice's case through the gate and leave yours in the minibus."

"Why?" I quizzed

Having visited before, Hannah and Shannon told me that they security guards are only really interested in what's in our bags. They want to keep out drugs and weapons which means all of our bags will likely be thoroughly searched. “What we don't want is them to see you with a bag full of boy's stuff and then double check your photo ID, so you're going in with a bag full of Alice's clothes.” they told me.

“You've proper planned this haven't you.” I said as it was all explained to me. I'll go in disguised as Alice and once we've got our wristbands, we'll be able to come and go without our tickets and I (or one of them) can return to the minibus to collect my case of clothes. The case will be searched but my ID won't be checked so I'll get back in no problem.

“The only problem I can think of where they might discover that you're not really called Alice is if they do a full search.” my sister told me. Apparently, drugs are often concealed in a bra. “If they say they're going to do that, just tell them you're trans and have been living as a female since the age of eleven. They'll still search your bra but they can't discriminate on gender so they'll have to let you in.”

“Will I be wearing a bra?” I asked. All five of them nodded. I bit my lip.

We continued on our journey from Crewe down through Birmingham and towards Cheltenham and Gloucester where we'll be stopping once more so Hannah can have another rest. This second and final stop, I'm told is when I'll become Alice for a few hours. I was silently crapping myself. The others tried to get some sleep but I couldn't. I sat upfront and kept Hannah company whilst they dozed in the back. Dawn broke and the Mendip hills looked stunning; shrouded in mist. “I still can't believe I'm actually going to Glastonbury.” I said. “I hope we get in.”

“We will.” Hannah assured. She told me that I, my sister and Alice all have a look of each other and that my hair is easily long enough to do something with.

“I've been thinking of getting it cut.” I said as a swept my fringe off my face. “Good job I didn't.”

“I could put French braids in of you want.” she said.

“What are those?” I asked. She described two rows of plaits from fringe to neck and reckoned that my moppish hair would be long enough. She also suggested cutting some bangs. I didn't know what that meant either. Hannah told me that in America, they call a fringe 'bangs'. The term always makes her smile so she uses it whenever possible. Alice does have a fringe on the ticket photo (she still does), but it is six months old and she could have grown it out. “I think I'll stick to those French things.” I replied.

“So... Becky said it's not the first time you've dressed like a girl.” Hannah said after a short comfortable silence. “What was that like?” she asked.

“Er... just dressing up really. I was little and they were bored. They wanted to play schools so they dressed me up.”

“As a school girl?” I nodded. It was a yellow gingham dress. I described the other time when they put me in a bridesmaid's dress. I guess it was when gay marriage was legalised. I remember them saying that now two women or two men can marry each other, then boys can be bridesmaids and girls can be page boys. Rebecca had recently been a bridesmaid so it was her dress they put me in. Hannah asked if I felt like a princess. I dryly told her that I felt like a boy in a bridesmaid's dress. She grinned. I grinned. "You won't have been quite so little though." she said. "Gay marriage only came in three years ago."

"Err... yeah." I cautiously replied. Maybe I've said too much, I figured. I was hoping she'd presume I was young an impressionable but I was thirteen at the time. I didn't really want to wear a bridesmaid's dress but they pestered me into it whilst Mum and Dad were out. "I felt like a dork but it felt kind of elegant." I sheepishly confessed.

“Did they put make-up on you?” she asked.

“When I was a bridesmaid?” I asked. She nodded. I nodded and said that it didn't look very good, before telling her that I do wear eye-liner occasionally. “...but it's nothing like how Alice does hers.”

“It will be when we stop off at Gloucester.” she said, casting me a friendly grin. .

I grimaced at the thought of it. I like my cousin and I know that she's pretty and cool and always looks good, but the idea of me trying to look just like her? I can try but I'm not convinced it'll work. “This better work.” I grumbled. “It'll be such a disappointment to drive all this way only to be turned away.”

“It would. But it won't. You've got think positive.” she advised. “You've got Alice's ticket, Alice's ID, a case full of Alice's clothes and as fair as the goon at the gate is concerned, Alice's face too.” she said. Quite convincingly too, I might add. “Just make sure you have a really close shave.”

“I will.” I hesitantly replied. “What if I get a rash?” I asked.

“We'll cover it with foundation.” she said.

“Are you gonna shave your legs too?” A voice murmured from the back. A couple of sniggers followed.

“No.” I defensively whined. “I'll wear tights if I have to.”

“If you shaved your legs you wouldn't have to.” Claire said in a jovial yet drowsy tone.

“I thought you lot were asleep.” I said.

“Nah. Just dozing.” Rebecca replied."It's sweet that you remember playing schools."

"How could I forget?" I dryly added.

"And you didn't need much pestering to wear my bridesmaid's dress." she added.

"Only because I had a crush on you and I was putty in your hands." I repleid.

"You still have." Rebecca grinned.

"Nah... not anymore. You're not my type." I replied. I did have a crush on her for years but that waned after I got myself an actual girlfriend. It didn't last very long but it broadened my horizons, by which point, my big sister's best friend wasn't on it.

"And who is your type?" Rebecca asked.

"Not telling." I replied as I cast her a grin. I don't have a 'type' as in blonde hair or big boobs, but I do find Hannah incredibly attractive, and her sister Shannon is gorgeous. Sally's really cute too and Rebecca's still a babe. I guess I'm at the age where I have a fondness for lots of girls regardless of 'type'. If they look nice and seem friendly then they'll catch my eye and occasionally my heart.

We witnessed a spectacular sunrise as we pulled off at junction 11A and followed the sat-nav into the town centre. Rather than paying extortionate service station prices, Hannah had located the 24hr supermarkets prior to setting off where we wouldn't be ripped off. We pulled into the huge empty car park and got out. Becky, Shannon and Sally headed inside. I hung back with Claire and Hannah whilst they routed through the pile of luggage. “Ah... here you are.” Claire said, passing me a purple backpack which contained my toiletries. “Go and have a shave, and make sure it's a good one.” she said. “Then come back here.”

I did as I was told and took myself to the gents. Inside the backpack is a wash-bag in inside that I find a razor and some foam. I sigh since it's a pink Venus and a cannister of ladies shaving foam, but waste no time getting on with shaving my face. The last thing I want is someone walking in to find me shaving with a ladies razor. Thankfully the girls didn't insist on me shaving my legs. I rinsed and checked there was no sign of stubble before exiting and returning to the minibus. “Where's Claire?” I asked.

“Inside making sure they don't buy loads of crap.” Hannah replied. An open vanity case sat menacingly on one of the seats. A flowery dress hung over the back of the same seat threatened me. Hannah drew my attention to a crop top, some panties and some tights. She suggested that I get into character whilst she has a smoke. I said I didn't need the panties but Hannah claimed that in the unlikely event that I have to use the 'trans' excuse, then I would need them because if I was trans, the last thing I'd be wearing would be boy's undies.

She left me alone in the minibus, shut the door and turned her back, as if standing guard. I changed into the clothes as discreetly as I could. The panties and tights were OK, but I felt I had to kneel down to don the crop top and the strappy summery dress to avoid being through the minibus's windows... not that there was another vehicle or person in the car park at this early hour. Once dressed, I tapped on the window before opening the door. Hannah turned and smiled. “Cute.” she said.

“Is there a t shirt or a top I could wear?” I asked.

“There is, but first you need some tits.” she told me before stuffing my crop top with two pairs of tights and moulding them into a convincing shape. I gladly donned a T shirt even though it was a girl's one with a psychedelic butterfly print. “I'll do your hair first.” she said. I sat and let her brush it. Then she pulled some 'product' through it with a comb which apparently makes it more manageable. I sat silent and still with my hands on my lap. The hem of my dress lands halfway down where my opaque black tights take over. I've worn dresses before but never tights. They feel more comfortable than I expected, if a little warm. “This is really relaxing.” I say as she plaits one side of my hair. “Does it look OK?” I asked.

“It's going to look fab.” she replied.

“If we do pull this off... it's going to be the only time in my life that I'll be thankful I'm only five six.” I said. “If I was normal height we'd have no chance.”

When she'd finished I had a look at my reflection. My hair has been growing over my face for so long that I'd forgotten what it looks like 'off' my face. A don't look anything like my cousin though, but with the neat plaits arching back, I do look a little bit girlie. Hannah got out the van to have another cigarette. She offered me one but I declined. But I did stand with her since the minibus was beginning to feel like a greenhouse. With my stocking feet in my own trainers. The breeze whipping around my thinly clad legs, my frock flapping against my lap and my hair not flapping at all. I felt like I'd jumped out of one skin and into another. “This feels weird.” I said.

“You look OK.” she told me. “Even without make-up.”

“Really?” I asked. She nodded.

“I don't look much like my cousin though.”

“No but you will.” she claimed as she looked me up and down. I looked me up and down too. She told me that my legs looked nice in tights.

“You reckon?” I replied. She nodded and told me that everyone's legs look nice in tights, before stubbing out her cigarette butt on the tarmac.

“Come on.” she said. “Let's get you finished.” We climbed back in the van. She began applying concealer and foundation before carefully painting my eyes with thick black eye-liner. “It probably feels like I’m putting quite a lot on...” she said as I tried my best to remain completely still and most importantly, to not blink. “...but she does wear it very heavy.” she added.

Hannah switched from one eye to the other, presumably to get both even. “How's it looking?” I asked.

“OK.” she cautiously replied. “Have you got her ticket?”

“Er...” I rummaged through Claire's bag and dug it out. “Here.”

Hannah held it next to me. “Yeah we're getting there.” she claimed. “I might have to pluck your eyebrows though... just a little.”

I bit my lip and asked if they'd grow back. She assured me they would. “How quickly?”

“A few weeks.” she replied.

“OK.” I said. “Do what you have to.”

“You sure?”

I nodded. “We've come this far.” I gulped.

She rummaged in her vanity case and removed a pair of tweezers. She cocked my head to one side and began plucking. “Does it hurt?” she asked.

“No.” I said. “Not really.” I added. She pushed my head the other way and began working on the other brow, then, after few minutes of plucking, she evened them up before defining them with a pencil. She sat back and smiled at me. “I've never put make-up on a boy before.” she said.

“Well there's a first time for everything I guess.”

“There certainly is... Alice.” she replied.

“Can I have a look?” I asked.

“In a bit.” she replied. “You need eye-shadow, mascara and lippy first.”

She began with the eye-shadow which took a couple of minutes. Then she carefully brushed the mascara into my lashes. “I can't imagine having to do this every day.” I said as she selected a lipstick, using the photo on the ticket as a guide. “I guess it's a bit quicker when you're doing your own.”

“It depends.” she replied. “Some days I wear just a touch, some days I wear loads... I guess it depends on how ugly I feel.”

“You're not ugly.” I said.

She smiled and said “Neither are you.” before finally choosing a suitable shade of lipstick. “In fact...” she said as she removed the lid. “You're a bit of a babe.” she claimed before painting my lips in a pinky red.

“I'm sure you're only saying that.” I grumbled. She handed me a mirror and I look at myself. “Blimey... that really doesn't look like me!” I exclaimed. “I'm not sure it looks like Alice either.”

“It's near enough.” she claimed.

She held the ticket alongside the mirror so I could see my reflection alongside the photo of my cousin. “You reckon?”

“I think so.” she said, adding “I hope so!”

“I like my eyebrows.” I said. “...although I’m not sure what Mum & Dad'll say next Monday.” Where once there were slugs now sits a pair of slender symmetrical arches. Not too thin and not too thick, tapering elegantly towards my temples. “In fact I'm not sure what anyone will say when they see me like this.” I added. Half an hour ago I was more worried about wearing a dress and tights than wearing make-up... but if there's one thing that really makes me look like a girl, it's the make-up.

“Your Mum & Dad'll be fine. The only person who didn't know you'd be becoming Alice was you.”

“And given the choice I’d have never gone through with it.” I said.

“We know.” she grinned. I noticed my sister and the others exiting the supermarket pushing a trolley full of supplies. Hannah turned. “About time!” she said. “I was just about to send you in to find them.”

As they approached, Hannah slid open the door opf the minibus and stepped out. “You were ages!” she said.

“We had to wait 'til 6am before they'd sell us any booze.” Shannon replied.

“And you're ID was OK?” Hannah asked. Shannon grinned and nodded.

Knowing that Shannon isn't much older than myself, and is therefore under age... “You've got fake ID!?” I exclaimed as I peered out of the door.

Shannon began to reply but her dropping jaw silenced her. I gulped and glanced at the others. “Peter you look ace!” my sister exclaimed.

“Alice!” Hannah corrected as I shyly stepped out. “We can't make any mistakes like that at the gate.”

A shower of compliments came from each of them. They love my hair, my make up, my legs look nice but the comment that makes me feel most embarrassed is 'nice tits'. According to them, they're small, but not too small. Rebecca described them as unpretentious. “I don't even know what that means.” I bashfully replied. “Do you reckon I'll pass as Alice or will they see right through me?” I asked.

“You'll pass.” they claimed.

I wasn't so sure. I figured my make-over was complete but it wasn't quite over. Apparently I need 'accessories'. A simple silver chain was placed around my neck along with a string of beads. Numerous metal and leather bangles were hung around my wrists along with a friendship band, some more beads, a purple charity wristband and finally, a small girl's watch. “Hello Kitty.” I dryly said as I observed its girlie face and pink strap. “Cute.” I sarcastically added.

“You are.” my sister said as she asked the girls' opinion on a choker. “Black, green or burgundy?” she asked, holding three inch wide lengths of velvet. A small ferule and silver clasp is attached to the ends and each has its own metal pendant. Sally liked the black one with a metal daisy whilst Rebecca liked the green one with an Om symbol. I preferred the burgundy one since that has a CND sign hanging from it, but questioned why I needed a choker as well as the necklaces. “To conceal your Adam's apple.” she said. I allowed her to fasten it around my neck as the others smiled and grinned at me. Hannah told me that I wouldn't have to say very much at all at the gate, but advised me to try to speak softly when I do. “Too camp.” Claire said when I softly replied.

“What about this?” I attempted.

“That's just a whisper.” Shannon giggled.

I sighed. “OK... no...” I took a breath. “OK.” I said.

“Better, but a bit meek.”

“This is never going to work.” I growled.

“Couldn't he pretend to be mute?” Sally suggested. “Do you know sign language?”

“No.” I groaned, just as Hannah corrected her with 'she'. I gulped.

We packed the supplies with the rest of the luggage, which was a complex game of tetris. The jackets, wellies, sleeping bags, mats and camping chairs came out, the bags of food, bottles of water and far too many cans of beer went in, followed by all the lightweight stuff. Claire gave me a pair of wellies and told me I'd need them. “Daisies.” I sneered.

“Well her other pair were pink with polka dots.” Claire told me. “We figured you'd prefer these.” she added. The shiny black Wellington boots are covered in white and yellow daisies. She also gave me a pair of rather thick knee socks, or 'welly socks' as she called them. At least these were rather sedate, being burgundy. I sat in the minibus, kicked off my trainers and donned the socks and boots.

I figured I was finally ready but Claire told me that I needed one more thing. “What are those?” I asked as she opened her hand.

“Earrings.” she replied. “Don't worry... they're magnetic.” she added. She placed one on each lobe and I could certainly feel them pinching me. They're uncomfortable, but I guess it's better than actually having to have them pierced, and Alice is wearing earrings on both her photo ID and festival ticket.

We embark on the final leg of our journey and rejoined the M5 so far as Bridgewater, then we hit the A roads once more and for the first time on our overnight journey... traffic. From Glastonbury town to the festival site we crawled at an absolute snail's pace. It would have been quicker to walk those final few miles. I've been stuck in traffic jams before but never in one like this. On the upside, this one has a real atmosphere. There's plenty of foot traffic too. People with larger than life rucksacks form an almost unbroken chain alongside the slow moving vehicles. It's as if the festival vibe is emanating from the site, pulling people in from far and wide and they will get there no matter what. Everyone is smiling or grinning. Everyone is getting excited. They wave and say hello as our eyes catch there's. We wave back but I remain silent, wondering if they can see who I’m pretending to be... or who I really am.

The slow crawl goes on and on. And on and on. And on and on it goes. Rebecca takes over at the wheel. Hannah and Sally stroll alongside smoking cigarettes. Even with all the windows open, and it being barely 7am, it's hot and humid inside the minibus. I've long since kicked of my Wellington boots and thick wellie socks. Claire suggests I get out and walk for a while, or take my tights and T shirt off. I can't take my tights off because of my legs and I’m reluctant to leave the van because there's too many people, but I do remove my T shirt, revealing my short strappy frock in its entirety and the broad lacy straps of the crop top beneath. “So... what's it feel like? Being a girl?” Claire asked.

“Er... weird.” I said as I looked down at myself and my chest in particular. It's certainly an experience I won't forget in a hurry. “I presume Mum and Dad know that this is what you had in mind?” I asked.

She grinned and nodded and told me that the only reason they didn't tell me is because I'd never go through with it. “...plus...” she added. “Nothing beats a surprise.” she grinned.

“It's certainly a surprise.” I said. “I still can't quite believe it. I keep thinking I'll wake up and find myself at home in my own bed.”

“And if you did...” Shannon asked. “Would it have been a good dream or a bad dream?”

“Er...” I thought for a moment. “A good dream I guess... but it would be pretty bad to wake up and discover that I'm not going to Glastonbury after all.”

“Good answer.” Rebecca grinned."...and I don't think anyone would mistake you for a boy."

"I certainly hope not." I frowned.

The slow crawl toward the site was nothing compared to the virtual standstill on site. By the time we'd reached the vehicle gate it was 8.30am and by the time we'd finally parked the minibus it was just gone 9.15am. We unpacked, taking a rucksack, a sleeping bag, camping mat and folding chair each. Sally, Shannon and myself also carried a tent each plus a carrier bag full of supplies. Claire, Rebecca and Hannah carried a crate of booze each. We left some stuff in the van but nothing of value to us or anyone else... although one bag does contain my male clothes. The girl's began using the name Alice very often as we bundled all our gear toward the pedestrian gate and the security guards. I tried to speak softly and effeminately when replying, with varying degrees of success. I found myself uttering an elongated 'yeahhh' more often than anything else. It's easier when it's just the one syllable that hangs somewhere between my normal voice and a higher falsetto. I keep telling myself that my name is Alice Jackson and I'm 18 years old. I'm more worried about getting my age wrong more than my name, although either would be equally disastrous.

I check the time on my girlie watch. It's almost 10am and we're still queueing to get through security. But now that we're actually parked up and slowly approaching the gate, it's finally sinking in that I'm really here and its not some very vivid dream. I gulp with the realisation that a mere twelve hours ago, I had no idea that I'd be coming, let alone disguising myself as my cousin... in fact that bit still hasn't sunk in. In my peripheral vision I spy the lumps on my chest. I worry that they're not convincing. Maybe they're too high, too low or too small. Maybe they've gone wonky. In spite of the constant worry that I'm not convincing enough, I feel strangely confident. After all I'm just one face amongst hundreds. Thousands even. I've shared glances with plenty of strangers and no one, so far as I can tell has batted an eyelid. I glance at my sister, Hannah and Shannon before casting my eyes at those around me. There's people of all ages and all types; goths & emos, punks, hippies, townies, chavs... even some 'normal' people. Lots, in fact.

All the standing and shuffling is tiresome. The day begins to catch up on us. I haven't slept since I got up yesterday and the others have only dosed. My eyes become heavy and I'm not the only one to emit a discreet yawn. Finally we're at the first check point. I hand over my ticket. The guard looks at it, then me, then the ticket once more and hands it back. And that's it. I didn't even have to say anything. I join Hannah and Shannon on the other side and we loiter for Claire, Rebecca and Sally. We dump our bags on a big table where another team of security guards check them. They don't root through every bag but do at least have a quick peep and give them a squeeze. I place my bag on the table and she asked if it was my bag. I nod and mutter “Yeah.”

“Been travelling all night?” she asked as she unzipped my case. I nodded and smiled through pursed lips, trying not to yawn. I became nervous as she opened it all the way to reveal a case full of clearly girl's clothing. There's a pair of pink Converse hi-tops which she rummages inside of. A bag of make-up, a small mirror and various toiletries that she checks. She lifts a few layers of clothing to check beneath. I spy underwear with lace and gulp. She checks beneath those and reveals a pack of sanitary towels. I gulp again. She shuts the case, zips it closed and hands it back to me.

“Thanks.” I meekly say. They had a good search through one of our tents and Hannah, who was wearing cargo pants had her pockets turned out, but my case was the only one they checked.

Getting our wristbands was almost as uneventful as getting through the first level. They looked at my ticket then looked at me. Looked at the ticket once more, then tore off the stub and handed it back, before fastening a band around my wrist. I felt a huge grin sweep my face as I approached my sister who'd gone through first. “We're in.” she grinned.

“We are.” I grinned. “Can I get changed now?”

“Why so keen? You look ace.” she said."Your eyes look gorgeous!"

“I was only joking... anyway, my clothes are back in the van.” I replied.

“Oh yeah.” she realised, before reminding me that Alice did pack some 'boyish' clothes for me.

“They didn't look very boyish when it was being searched.” I said. “Good job you thought of that.”

“Gotta give Alice the credit for that one.”

“Was it all her idea?” I asked.

“Not all of it.” Claire replied. “It was Dad's idea to buy her ticket and surprise you with it. But when it couldn't be transferred, it was Mum who said that all you'd need is bit of make-up and you'd more or less match the photograph on the ticket... and it kind of snowballed from there.” she told me.

"I wish you'd told me beforehand... but I'm kinda glad you didn't." I said. "I'd have only got cold feet and backed out."

"Oh I dunno. you've dressed as girl before." my sister reminded me.

"not in public though."

"You have now." she smiled. I certainly have, I thought. “Finally!” Claire exclaimed as Hannah came through the gate. “What took you?”

“Needed the loo.” she sighed. “I've drank far too much coffee today.”

“I bet you have.” I said. “Hey... well done for getting us here.” I added."It can't have been easy doing all the driving."

“It wasn't bad, and you're welcome.” she smiled. “I feel like I could sleep for a week though.” she added.

“Me too.” I replied, chuckling. The others soon followed through the gate, proudly waving their wristbands and grinning from ear to ear. We trudged through the camp grounds, lugging all our gear between us. Hannah and Shannon knew exactly where we should camp and it seemed like about three miles from the gate. They wanted to be close to some big trees to shield our tents from the morning sun as well as away from any major thoroughfare. Us novices would have just camped anywhere but Hannah and her sister were adamant the the right spot will make all the difference. We trudged and trudged over the grass, past tents and toilets and huge piles of firewood, headed toward some distant trees. “I guess we don't want to be too close to those trees...” I suggested. “They're gonna become one big toilet.”

“That's a good point Pe... er... Alice.” Shannon said. “So long as we're in their shadow when it counts.”

“And we're not down wind of them.” I added. We decided on a patch and put down our tents. They went up quite quickly and we wasted no time getting inside and trying to get our heads down for a while. “It's nice finally getting these off.” I said as I pulled of my tights.

“It's always nice taking tights off.” Claire grinned. “Were they itchy?”

“Not really.” I replied. “Just a bit thick for the middle of summer I guess.” I said. “I wonder if Alice packed some thin ones.” I wondered as I got myself horizontal and pulled my sleeping bag over my lower half.

Claire began to speak but paused. “So... you're not planning on going back to the van any time soon?” she asked.

“I might go back after a kip but I might stay...” I mimed the quotes. “...as Alice... for a bit longer... 'til we've done a proper recce.”

“A proper recce?” Claire quizzed.

“Yeah." I repleid. "They might have upped security this year, they might check IDs on they way into the main stages... who knows until we've had a proper look around?”

“We're in. All you need is the wristband and they don't have a name on them.”

“I know but... I'm just paranoid I guess. I got in under false pretences and I don't want to get thrown out.” I said. “Plus...” I paused.

“What?” Claire eventually asked.

“Ah nothing.” I said.

“Go on.” she prompted.

“Well... there's me and five girls. Will I fit in if I'm just me? Would I feel out of place as the only guy? ...or... should I just...” I looked down at my frock and chest, still bulging with two spare pairs of tights. “Actually.” I said, reaching in and pulling them out of my crop-top.

“What?” Claire asked.

“Thin tights.” I said, holding two pairs of scrunched up 'nude' coloured tights. “They are like what Mum wears but... they'll be OK won't they?” I said. “To hide my hairs?” I added.

“Peter.” my sister said. “If you're going to spend the next five days...” she mimed the quotes. “...as Alice... then you're going to shave your legs, and your pits.”

“Hmm. Maybe not.” I said.

“I get your thinking though... and you have come this far... maybe it would be more fun if we were all girls together?” she said. “Your clothes are in the minibus if you change your mind.”

“True.” I said. “I'll see how I feel after some sleep.” I said as put my head on my pillow. “I might wake up and think it was stupid idea.”

“You might wake up and find yourself at home.” she grinned. “...and it was all just a really good dream.” she smiled.

“Oh I hope not.” I said as my eyelids grew heavier, and heavier, and heavier.

9 comments:

  1. Quickly penned and not proof read... apologies for any excess of errors.

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  2. A little different than your school girl stories, but a good fun one. I like the school girl stories because I think those short pleated plaid skirts are cool and sexy :-) Didn't notice any errors - either typing or grammar. Thanks for another neat story, PJ

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  3. A fun tale, Well there be a part two?

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    1. Glad you liked it. Not sure about a part two... but we can safely assume that the bag of boy clothes stays in the minibus :)

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  4. Awesome again missing the school tales but as always great fun reading ur stories

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    1. Thank you :). There will be short school story soon.

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  5. Another GREAT story, with a bit of a different theme this time. Thanks again for writing and posting it! Your stories are always TOPS!

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  6. Thoroughly enjoyed your story a bit different than the others but enjoyable all the same.

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