Jeanne Cordova

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A Tale of Two Brothers

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TOMBOYS; DYKE DERRING-DO
Published by Alyson Publications
An extract.

The sun baked the cement street plains of West Covina, California in 1958 just as surely as it caked the hills at the battle of Little Big Horn, Wyoming 1792. But I had my armies readied for my last stand. And so did Billy, my Chief Sitting Bull of a little brother.

By the late 50's hordes of boomer-babes had come to Southern California for the good life. Troops of children ran the streets flanked by a cavalry of tricycles, two wheelers and po-go sticks.

It had taken all morning to gather the toy soldiers from the neighborhood and get Billy to agree that I, naturally, had to be General Custard. He'd finally given in and taken the part of Sitting Bull, pouting, "What's the difference, I'm gonna kill you anyway."

When it came to power, it was love and hate with Billy and I. I never realized how deep it ran until I found him in bed with my girlfriend, a decade later.

But it wasn't always that way. We'd begun life together so easily. Both of our birth certificates read the same: "Child born abroad of American parents, Bremen, Germany." It was many years later before I understood the critical difference; his read "male," mine "female." Our differences had grown up by that dusty afternoon Billy and I met for the battle the Little Big Horn. "Maybe Custard didn't really die," I yelled at him waving my cork rifle in his face. "Maybe I'll kill you first!"

 

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