Just Another Day at the Beach
Another sweltering summer Saturday meant another day at the beach for Karlene. She didn’t always handle the summer heat very well, but she always found balance with it since she loved few things more than showing off her beautiful curves with a tight swimsuit. It was all the better on this particular Saturday as she had just gotten through a rough week at work. She had also lost her trusty cell phone as well, though it had turned up just yesterday. So, things were looking up and it was shaping up to be a well-deserved day of relaxation at the beach with her niece.
In her typical fashion of showing off, Karlene pulled the phone out of her beach bag, posed at the edge of the sidewalk, loaded up the camera app and pressed the shutter button to snap a quick selfie. It was at this point that things took a turn for the bizarre. Momentarily blacking out, her first thought of dread was that the seizures she had suffered as a young child had suddenly returned. It had been years since her last one but she could still remember the feeling like it was yesterday. But this one felt different. It wasn’t until 15 seconds after the whole thing started (which to her felt more like 5 minutes) that she suddenly realized: “I can’t move!” “Help!” she tried to call but her mouth wouldn’t cooperate any more than the rest of her body. This whole situation was made all the more strange because she could see her surroundings moving along as if nothing had happened! She stood there, helpless, for what seemed an eternity until she felt hands grasp her hips from behind, seemingly effortlessly pick her up and place her face up on some plush surface in the back of a van. A few moments later she felt something else placed next to her, heard a door slam and then felt the van start moving. If she wasn’t panicking already, she was now – yet at the same time the whole experience of being picked up also caused a strange erotic sensation she had never felt before. Overcome by the whole situation, she blacked out again.
When she finally came to, Karlene realized she was standing upright again, this time in front of some kind of large window overlooking a busy street full of people and parked cars. Try as she might, she still couldn’t move and now had a strangely pleasurable sensation in her vagina, as if it were stuffed full. She could see that her phone was still in her hand, wholly in her field of vision and still displaying some constantly shifting display – it looked like some kind of error reporting – that she had noticed earlier while on the sidewalk and continuing while in the van. “What is that? I’ve never seen it do that before” she thought. The surroundings beyond the glass were different as well, but not too different and in fact somehow very familiar. No, she hadn’t been moved very far, but where? Dusk was approaching, and the overhead lights in the space she was in flickered into life. With the lights came her faint but recognizable reflection in the window and the events of the day started to become clearer – still inexplicable – but clearer to her. “I’ve been...what...no...I don’t get it...how...no, this isn’t right. But why...” It wasn’t until now that she realized that her outstretched arm, clearly in her field of view the whole time, didn’t look like flesh and bone but “Plastic? My wrist...that looks like a seam on a...mannequin! I’ve somehow been turned into a mannequin? Could I actually...how is that possible?! Am I delusional? And what’s going on with this phone? What time is it?” Focusing back on the window, she now saw the reason for the sensation in her vagina and also realized where she was. “I’m at the swimwear store! That’s it! Somehow. I’m a mannequin, some pole stuck in my crotch, probably hollowed out like a freaking pumpkin, standing in the window of my favorite store. How? Why? What did I do?” The thought was accompanied by a mix of panic, disbelief, butterflies and...erotic bliss? “This is wrong. I’m not a mannequin. This can’t be right. But why...why does it feel so...good?” Finally, she noticed the reflection of a smaller figure to her right. She sensed it in her peripheral vision before, but now it too became obvious. “Kenzie! It happened to you too? Noooo... How...?”
Hours passed, and eventually night fell and the hustle and bustle of the street outside subsided. The lights in Karlene’s display window remained on throughout the night, affording her plenty of time to come to grips with her predicament and wonder about how long it would last. As the night wore on, she felt her panic subside somewhat and a part of her started to actually enjoy it. “I guess this isn’t so bad. No...what am I thinking? Well, maybe I’ll get to show off bathing suits all day. I wonder if anybody will recognize me? The draft from the air conditioning also feels really nice on my sk-, ummm plastic skin. Wow, that just doesn’t seem right.” Some more time had passed by when she noticed her phone had just suddenly went black. “And there goes the battery” she thought.
The mannequin that was once Karlene instantly became the shop’s primary display figure and often drew favorable comments from customers and passers-by. During the winter, the shop focuses more on lingerie sales, so Karlene can expect to see full-time duty year-round for years to come. She would gradually become accustomed to and even enjoy her new lot in life, her memories of being a flesh and blood human eventually becoming vague recollections similar to when someone claims to have experienced memories from a past life. She is occasionally reunited with her old cell phone, adopting the selfie pose which proved to be the last movement she ever made on her own. Mannequinized Kenzie, Karlene’s former niece, would also come to see extensive use as the shop could finally display children’s swimwear; however, she would spend most of the winter either in the stock room or on loan to the sister store across town.
So just what exactly happened to the cell phone, anyway?
As it turns out, when Karlene lost her phone, it was in this particular shop. Karlene was a frequent visitor and this did not go unnoticed by Teresa, the shop’s owner. When Teresa found the phone, she recalled that her close friend she contracted with to design and maintain the web-based side of her store was also an experienced app designer and often did contract work for major cell phone manufacturers. She hired him to hack the phone’s camera to do two things: broadcast the phone’s location to her own cell phone and emit a short-range signal which would be picked up by a discrete tag she would attach during checkout to all pieces of clothing that Karlene would purchase going forward. This tag would be covered in a special talc-like substance so as to ensure it would not cause a skin irritation that might lead to its intentional removal. Upon activation, the tag would release an almost imperceptible electrical charge. This charge would cause a reaction with the substance if it was in contact with human skin, with the result being a rapidly spreading chain reaction which would render the wearer a hollow mannequin within 5 seconds. The contract was satisfied within days and on Friday, Karlene entered the store to purchase the new swimsuit which the following day would ultimately be the last piece of clothing she would put on herself; at which time she was also reunited with her phone to great relief. When Karlene pressed the shutter button on her phone, the tag in her tight-fitting swimsuit worked as exactly as planned. Unfortunately for Kenzie, she had the misfortune of also being within range of the signal as she just happened to be carrying, by the tag no less, a shawl Karlene had purchased to go with her suit. Teresa soon received the location signal and dispatched an employee to retrieve the new acquisition - or acquisitions, as it turned out.
There was one additional “feature” Teresa requested be baked into the phone hack – a failsafe. Teresa only desired to acquire Karlene, so there needed to be a fallback in the event the wrong person was transformed. The “error screen” that Karlene observed was actually an encrypted countdown sequence during which an override code could be entered which would reverse the process, provided the accidentally mannequinized person was in contract with the one of the substance-coated tags. Teresa had considered reverting Kenzie back to a human state, but chose not to because it was actually something of a happy accident – she had been looking for a child mannequin for some time but there always seemed to be more important things to be done.
Teresa’s final specification was for the phone’s operating system to essentially corrupt itself if no override had been entered before 12 hours had elapsed from the initiation of the mannequinization process, irreversibly bricking the phone and rendering the process permanent. What Karlene noticed as the battery dying was actually this self-destruction of the phone. Little did she know that her future as a fully sentient plastic object was sealed at that very moment; ironically, unaware that she held the power to reverse it all along – though not that she would have been able to even had she known.