With a muffled ‘thup,’ Nana claps closed her volume of:

Poems from Greek Mythology.

Often she has read this account of how the first hermaphrodite was created and how it got the name—a compound term defining a compound creature, having twofold significance, at once evoking a vagary of antiquity and a verity here and now, in the palace of a Prince, tucked aloft in the Himalaya Mountains, isolated from cultures, politics, religions (orthodox or otherwise), ruled not from without but from a bachelor code within, a Shangri-La of sorts, if occupying real space and time, latitude and longitude as closely kept a secret as the Prince’s source of wealth (boundless apt to apply when describing the Royal Treasury and its undisclosed location).

SRY is a gene that triggers masculinization (a contemporary version of Salmacis’ Randy Youth), predisposing girls to develop into boys, and carried, under normal circumstances, on their father’s Y chromosome—which I, alas, lack, suggesting I am no more likely to have originated than my mythological prototype. Nonetheless "I think, therefore I am" and I think I am manufactured (as in genetically engineered), by him who, as of yet, is without face or moniker; even his gender is unconfirmed, save by my disproportionately "feminine" intuition.

For I am more Salmacis than I am Hermaphroditus. Most of my 'accoutrements' express themselves as 'hers,' that is to say 'female,' from the contour of my breasts to the texture of my skin, from the roundness of my hips (though they be slender) to the sparseness of my body hair (except upon my scalp where it grows in dark profusion). Even wherein I deviate, the flesh presents as womanly, tender to the touch, finely pored, my complexion Asiatic-fair—meaning buttery with a blush, especially when aroused.

Surely I conform, then, more to a macho sexual fantasy, as verified by my status with the hale and hearty Prince (though Hermione’s admiration is not without its precedents), leading me to suspect that my creator is / was male, youthful at the time, keenly intelligent, and fuelled no doubt by a surplus of devil-to-pay testosterone. Speculation, granted, but my search is closing in—my avenue: cyberspace, my motive: knowing who I am.