BY CMQ 03-98
Vickie waited in the reception area nervously. This was her first day of modeling at the prestigious Billington's Ladies Fashions store. It had been renowned for years for its extravagant, yet affordable women's clothing but perhaps even more so for the fantastic displays it set up in the windows and throughout the store. These weren't mere window dressings but fantastically elaborate settings and situations for what were described as the most realistic mannequins ever seen.
Vickie had been a model for just over two years now, stumbling into the profession while still in college, but she had made rapid advances through the industry in her brief time. It was surprising when the agency approached her for a job at Billington's. As far as she knew, they never used models in their displays, just mannequins. Very realistic mannequins, she recalled from her previous shopping excursions, but mannequins nonetheless. At any rate, if Billington's wanted me to model for them, who am I to turn them down? They had major outlets all across the world, Europe, Asia, the Americas. This could turn out to be something big for me.
"Excuse me, Miss Summers?" asked an attractive brunette woman dressed in a violet business ensemble that showed off quite a bit of her long legs.
"Yes, that's me. Vickie Summers," Vickie answered. Her own white business skirt was cut a few inches above the knee and matched the two buttoned jacket she wore over her pink chemise. Her longish blonde hair shone radiantly.
"I'm Samantha Cartwright, I spoke to you earlier on the phone?"
"Oh, yes I remember. How are you?" Vickie asked.
"Fine, let's talk in my office, this way," Samantha motioned through the wooden door.
Vickie entered the office and sat down on one of the plush chairs. Samantha took a seat behind the well kept desk. "I hope you understand what kind of opportunity it is we are offering you. We are very particular as to who works for us."
"Oh I understand fully," Vickie replied. "I think this is a wonderful oppor-"
"I don't think you truly understand. To model for us requires sacrifice, some would consider it extreme sacrifice. But the rewards for your hard work are beyond monetary." Samantha countered. "We need to know if you're really willing to put us above everything else in your life. That means virtually no social life, no going out all night, or having much contact with your friends and family. You're really going to have to work very hard during your stay with us. Very hard."
"Oh, by all means! I'm a very hard worker! I understand precisely what you want," answered Vickie. Gee, it's almost like she's trying to get me to turn the job down, she thought. They must really take this seriously. "I'm prepared to make whatever sacrifices necessary to be an exemplary model." Vickie said evenly and determinedly.
Samantha looked at Vickie, reflecting on what the young blonde woman had said. She was an excellent judge of character and weighed what the girl had said and observed her body language. Vickie's posture showed sincerity, commitment, and determination. I think she's legit, Samantha thought. "All right, Vickie, I think you'll work out well for us. I need you to take care of whatever affairs you have outstanding and come back here at 9:00 p.m. on the twelfth. That should give you enough time to tell people you'll be going away for a while."
"Okay!" Vickie replied enthusiastically. "Where am I going? Paris? London? How much do I need to pack for? How long will I be gone?"
Samantha shook her head slightly and suppressed a knowing smile. "Don't worry about packing anything. Billington's will supply you with whatever you need. And your time away will depend on the contract you sign on the twelfth, so you might want to warn your friends ahead of time that you may be out of touch for quite a while."
"I'll take care of everything!" Vickie said and reached out to shake Samantha's hand. "And I'll see you on the twelfth!"
"Until the twelfth," Samantha smiled.
Vickie spent the bulk of the week contacting friends and family and putting her things into storage. Her roomate, Randi, thought it was crazy that she didn't even know how long the job would be for. Vickie kept telling her "It's Billingtons! Billingtons!"
On the twelfth Vickie arrived at the front entrance to Billingtons Ladies Fashions. It had three large window displays on the street level. One display had an amazing setup with the mannequins dressed like gymnasts working out. One, wearing clad in a pink bodysuit and a navy blue g-string bikini worn on the outside, had a white terry cloth towel wrapped around her neck. She held both ends of the towel with her hands and wore a light blue sweatband around her auburn hair which was pulled back in a ponytail. She was watching, so to speak, another mannequin on a full-size set of parallel bars. That mannequin, with shoulder length black hair, wore a sleeveless, low-cut blue halter exercise top and yellow biking shorts-like tights with a blue g-string bottom worn on the outside. The mannequin was holding onto the upper set of parallel bars, her bare midriff touching the second, lower set of bars, and had her legs held tightly pointed forward as if in mid swing. They sure go all out for these displays, Vickie noted.
Billington's was world famous for its eye-catching displays, and it did seem to be confirmed as small groups of people would stop and just stare at the displays as they passing by. Further to the right of the gym scene was a third, wavy dark brown haired, mannequin dressed in shimmery red one piece leotard decorated and posed as if practicing a balance beam routine. She was about three feet off the ground, as if in mid leap, doing the splits with her arms held out to either side for balance. Only a single pole between her legs held her aloft over the six inch high practice beam laid out along the floor. Wow, I didn't know they made mannequins like that, Vickie thought. Two more mannequins dressed in tight fitting biking shorts and tank tops were posed jogging in mid stride. It was a fantastically elaborate example of window dressing.
As she entered the store, Vickie took in the sights. It was near closing time, but the main floor was still an awesome sight. The high ceiling and almost unobstructed view to the back wall was breathtaking. The walls were all covered in rich looking wood panels, and ornate lighting fixtures made the store look more like a lavish club rather than a department store. To her left and right were what were considered Billington's trademark dioramas. A full scale living room was on her left, complete with couches, tables and chairs. To her right was a kitchen setting connecting to a bedroom and bathroom. It was similar to a movie or television show set in that the walls were cut away so that the clientele could see into the mock apartment.
There were female mannequins populating the tableaux. One was dressed in a glamorous plush robe in the kitchen, pouring coffee for another in a shorts and t shirt sleeping set. As she walked down the aisles she noticed more elaborate mannequin settings right at the corners if the aisles. Here was a duo set of mannequins, one tall and slim, wearing a clingy black evening dress which matched her short black hairstyle and another next to her in a spectacular spaghetti strap gold lame short dress which complimented her long waist length blonde hair. There was even a slight glimpse of one toweling off in the bathroom. Her back to the 'audience' made it more daring and voyeuristic. They're so realistic, Vickie admired. Whoever puts these displays together must really be a real master.
Walking to one of the two master stairways to the second floor, Vickie passed the clothing displays, racks of trendy, go-getter tops, bottoms, pants and skirts. There were mannequins in mini settings here too, seated on wooden benches or standing on their shiny metal bases. When she arrived at the stairways, Vickie passed the pool and indoor fountain, with a set of swimsuit clad mannequins, natch. After climbing the steps, she passed the beauty and health club, a mannequin with her red hair up, and wearing only a towel wrapped around her, was holding a jar of facial creme in one hand and beckoning customers in with the other. She was standing in the hallway on a round glass base near the entrance with a pleasant smile on her face.
Finally Vickie came to the personnel office she had met Samantha in. As she walked through the glass doors, the receptionist greeted her and ushered her into Samantha's office. Samantha was on the telephone and gestured for Vickie to take a seat, passing some contractual paperwork over to her. Vickie sat down and crossed her legs. After a few minutes she began to leaf through the paperwork. Finally, Samantha concluded her business and hung up the phone. "I'm sorry about that. Hello, Vickie, how are you?"
"Hello Samantha," said Vickie, "I'm fine and excited to get started!"
"Oh please, call me Sammi. If you're going to work for us, everyone calls me Sammi." Samantha answered. "Now then, I've drawn up the contract papers. Please feel free to look through them, and before we start discussing your length of employment I need to ask you some things," Vickie.
"Sure, go right ahead," replied Vickie, looking up to answer.
"All right, have you gotten all your affairs taken care of?"
"Yep, I'm all taken care of," Vickie flipped through the contract.
"Good, now then, I assume you're familiar with mannequin modeling?" Samantha asked.
"Sure, where you pose motionless like a mannequin. I've done that before, but I was really hoping to move beyond that to something more..." Vickie stopped as she saw what her pay rate was going to be. "$1,100 a day?!?" Vickie said aloud in shock. "You want to pay me $1,100 a day to mannequin model?"
"And that's just for starters," Sammi said. "Most contracts begin at 30 days and run up to three, four months or more if we feel you are worth it. Remember what I said about the sacrifices and benefits of working here?"
"Yes," Vickie's voice drifted, still thinking about all the cash she would be raking in.
"Good, but before you sign those papers, let's go and meet the other models." Sammi and Vickie left the office. It was after 10:30 p.m. now, and the building looked like it was deserted. The lights were half turned off as they walked past the health club to the elegant master stairway. Descending the stairs, Sammi walked over to the base of the stairway, behind the fountain pool and used a key to unlock a wood grain panel door. Opening it revealed a fancy looking fuse box with a lot of little switches with tags beneath them and some dials and lights. Another well dressed woman in a pinkish business suit and skirt with long dark curls came around the corner of the stairway.
"Hello!" said Vickie, offering her hand. "I'm Vickie. Are you one of the models?"
"Oh no, not any more. I'm Jacqueline, call me Jackie! I work on the displays like Sammi here," said the woman, brushing her long hair away. "I haven't modeled here in ten years or so. But you must be the new model I was told about! Glad to meet you!"
Ten years? Vickie thought, this woman only looked to be in her mid to late twenties at best. She must have started modeling in her late teens...
Sammi was flipping switches on the display panel. The main lights went on, filling the showroom with brightness. As Vickie's eyes adjusted to the sudden brilliance, she thought she saw something move next to her. There was nothing there except for the mannequins on display in the fountain pool. Wait, the mannequins were moving! Slowly at first, but moving nonetheless! Vickie's mouth dropped open as she saw that all the mannequins around her were beginning to move around. The ones in the lingerie section were stretching their arms, two others were standing up from their seated position in the dresses department. Even the ones in the apartment setup near the front were coming to life as well!
"W-what's going on?" asked Vickie, confused at the circumstances.
"I know this is quite startling for you Vickie, it always is for first timers," Sammi said. "All the mannequins on display here are real women." She opened her portfolio and took out a stack of letters.
"But that's impossible!" Vickie exclaimed nervously. "They couldn't stand still for that long! No model is that good!"
"Ours are!" Jackie responded as she began flipping through the stack of papers she took out of her attaché portfolio. "Okay girls, take a few minutes to stretch out and then meet me by the apartment setting so we can discuss the new displays."
"Vickie, all of the mannequins which are on display in Billington's are alive," Sammi repeated. "They are placed in a sort of suspended animation so that they are indistinguishably immobile as the mannequins they're imitating. I didn't want to tell you beforehand because you would have thought I was crazy. Experience has taught us that seeing is believing."
Vickie was completely flabbergasted, unable to say a word.
"Hi there, are you new?" one of the swimsuit clad mannequins asked Vickie. She was a tall, stunningly attractive brunette, with a slightly reddish tint in her brown wavy hair that fell off her shoulders. Her glittery, pearlized snakeskin print bikini was cut high on the legs and the twist bandeau top had a faux jewel hanging at the intersection of the twist between her breasts.
"I--I--" Vickie stammered, not sure what to say about the eerie situation she found herself in.
"Hey, its gonna be okay, just take a couple of deep breaths. I'm Denise, and you are?"
"Vickie," Sammi finally spoke up for the tongue-tied Vickie.
"Pleased to meet you. This must all be very confusing for you." Denise smiled, stretching her arms out to her sides.
"That's an understatement." Vickie said with a honest look.
"Right, I forgot how disorienting this all can seem. Don't worry about it. You'll get used to it." Denise said as she arched her back.
"Take some time to get acquainted, Vickie," Sammi said. "Denise here can answer all your questions."
"How...how does it all work?" Vickie finally asked.
"Well, you see this little earring thing?" Denise turned her head so that Vickie could look at her left ear. A gold round earring, about an inch in diameter was attached to Denise's lobe. "This thing is the receiver for the transmitter over there," she pointed to the fuse box looking panel Sammi had opened earlier. "That transmitter sends some sort of electronic pulse or something which freezes us up. Makes us as stiff as statues! No one can tell we're not really mannequins once the effect is finished."
Vickie looked at Denise like the mannequin girl was out of her mind. "I don't be...No way!"
"You've seen us in action! Or rather, inaction," Denise giggled at her own pun. "It's the truth, honest, I-"
"Ladies! Would you do us the honor of meeting us up front?" Jackie said in a loud voice which carried across the showroom floor.
"Come on Vickie," Sammi said. "Sit in and see how it goes..."
The mannequins who had all become real girls were making their way to the front of the store, where the apartment setup was. There was excited chatter from everyone. Vickie did a quick head count and came up with about forty or so mannequins. A woman in a terry cloth towel, and nothing else, walked by her. That was the mannequin from the health club window! It was kinda creepy to see all those models who she thought were mannequins come to life, but although Vickie felt strange, she was intrigued by what was going on. And a little worried over how she would fit into the strange tableaux.
"Hey! Where's my coffee cup?" asked one of the mannequin models from the kitchen setting. "It was right here in front of me! You know how I hate it when you move my stuff around!"
"Maybe one of the janitors found it half full and decided to dump it..." replied another model, clad in revealing red lingerie outfit complete with stockings and garters. She leaned back into the couch, next to a nude girl who was wrapping a towel around her naked body. She was the mannequin in the bath! Vickie realized.
The assembled throng of models sat in the living room or plopped down on the carpet in a big circle. Vickie kneeled down next to Denise and Sammi. "Okay, first order of business," Sammi began. "I would like you all to meet our newest model. This is Vickie."
"Um, hi!" Vickie peeped, suddenly the center of attention.
A group chorus of hellos greeted Vickie. One of the models next to her shook her hand. She was a striking Asian woman with really long straight black hair and dressed in a short silver cocktail dress. Denise patted her on the shoulder affectionately.
Sammi continued, "And due to overwhelming positive reaction to the gym setting, it will remain up for another week."
"Wow, they've been out there for almost three weeks already," noted one of the models who was looking at her watch. "They may be going for the new world record!"
Oh that reminds me, I need to speak to Kimberly. Tammi? Could you take a couple of girls out to the front window and get her? Take some help, Brittany and Christie."
Tammi, a tall, athletic looking redhead in a figure flattering blue dress got up with two other girls in red and white mini dresses. They walked over to the bookcase behind the group circle, and opened a hidden door to the window display. As they passed out of view, Jackie began handing out letters and mail to the models. "The fountain setting will be changed tonight, the lingerie department will be reposed on Thursday. And tonight is Simone's last day, so please say your good-byes. It has been a pleasure to have you here, dear!"
A beautiful black girl with long curly hair blushed as she was hugged and congratulated by the girls around her. Vickie found the model's actions to be very reassuring and honest. They seem to be a very tight group, friendly and warm.
Tammi, Brittany and Christie came back into the room. They were carrying a very stiff girl in a red leotard. Vickie recognized her as the mannequin doing the midair split from the gym setting. Wow, she's completely rigid and unbending, Vickie noted as the three girls placed the mannequinized model gently onto the ground. Denise got up and walked across the showroom at Sammi's request. A couple of seconds later, the immobile form of Kimberly began to twitch and slowly, ever so slowly begin to move. It was like awaking from a deep sleep, her motions slow and graceful. She blinked and looked around her. "Oh! Hi everyone!" she said, her body had just about regained normal mobility.
"Wakey wakey sleepyhead!" kidded Tammi.
"I have something special for you Kim," said Sammi. She handed an envelope to the girl next to her who passed it down to Kim, who sat up and tucked her legs under her. She opened the envelope and read the letter to herself. Finally she exclaimed with a large smile on her face, "My sister just had a baby girl!" She held up the photos from inside the envelope. The models all leaned in to get a better look and "oohed" and "ahhed" as Kim beamed happily.
"Okay, on Friday the rotation for the apartment will take effect. So check to see if you're going to be in there and plan accordingly if you're leaving the set," Jackie said. "And for those of you who want to change what you're wearing, clear it with me first, okay?" The group nodded as Sammi closed the meeting.
"All right then, you have a few hours before the custodians come in, so make the most of it!"
The girls began breaking up into groups. Some went over to the kitchen to get a bite of food from the refrigerator. Others opened up their mail and got caught up with their friends and family. Still others were huddled around the computer checking email and some just flopped down on the couches and began chatting. Jackie was talking to a couple of women as Sammi took Vickie, Denise and three other models in swimsuits aside.
"I think Vickie would look great in the fountain set. What do you think Denise?" Sammi asked.
"Sure! Always room for another girl! She's got the looks, and the body..." Denise could see Vickie's curves despite the loose, tucked in t shirt Vickie was wearing. Her tight blue jeans showed off her hips and long legs which tapered down to slim ankles.
"Vickie, this is Sandra," Sammi pointed to a pretty brunette with short hair in a turquoise one piece malliot, "and Marilyn," the reddish blonde model in a thin white tank suit with scooped front nodded, "and Toni," a blonde with shoulder length curls dressed in a metallic red thong bikini waved. "They're our swim wear mannequins for the next week or so. Since you'll be joining them, do you have any questions for them?"
"Um, yeah," Vickie began. "I mean Denise kinda explained what happens, but how does it feel? And how long will I be frozen? That girl Kimberly has been frozen like that for almost a month?"
"Remember when I said you would have to make sacrifices if you wanted to work here?" Sammi asked. Vickie nodded. "Well, while you are working for us, the job comes first. So that means you stay as a mannequin for as long as the terms dictate. Generally speaking, window displays are set up for two weeks, but a clause allows for us to leave the display in place if consumer response is favorable. We compensate accordingly to your paycheck if we have to activate that clause. Consider it like overtime! The endcap settings are usually changed weekly and if you fall into the apartment rotation, you get to come out of your mannequin state every night if you want. We usually don't leave you frozen for more than a month at a time. It just creates too many questions from friends and family when one of our models 'disappears' for an extended period of time. Most sign on for three or four month stays and take a month off to catch up with their lives. Of course there are special circumstances when we will awaken you. Family emergencies, or major life events, like for Kimberly tonight!"
"Is there anything...bad which could happen to me while I was frozen?" Vickie asked.
"Nah," explained Toni. "It's just like falling asleep once your body gets adjusted to being suspended. For the first couple of days or so, your mental functions remain intact and you are completely aware of your surroundings. After a while, your mind adjusts to being in stasis and you just kinda drift off into a deep sleep. After you've been frozen a few times, your mind automatically shifts to an unconscious state, you stay awake for maybe 30 seconds or so when the immobilizer is activated and then you are totally unaware of anything again until you come out of mannequin mode."
"You really are quite safe. Your skin gets hard, pretty difficult to bruise while in stasis. There's not really any negative side effects, except when you come out of it, your muscles feel, well, stiff because you haven't moved an inch since you were frozen. That's about the worst aspect," Marilyn added.
"And of course there are some fringe benefits to being frozen," Denise baited.
"Like what?" asked Vickie.
"Well, if you remember that I told you that the rewards would be great," began Sammi. "While you are frozen, your life processes are practically stopped. Like a state of suspended animation, time is literally stopped for you. Your aging is practically nil from the time you are frozen until you are revived. Consider it a major plus for having to spend your time with us. How old do you think Jackie is? or me for that matter? We were both models for Billington's at one time."
"Um, you look about...thirty two?" Vickie guessed, trying not to guess too high.
"Try forty five! And Jackie is thirty nine!" Sammi gloated.
"Wow, that's incredible!" Vickie was impressed and more than a little intrigued.
"And of course your pay rate goes up the longer you remain frozen. Billington's pays its models handsomely for their sacrifice. It's built its reputation on the beautiful lifelike mannequins in its stores over the years. It's only fair that you get back a portion of the success Billington's reaps. We pay full health benefits, have a retirement fund, a job placement program for in house positions..." Sammi said.
"And the stock options ain't bad either!" Sandra added.
"Yes, we offer our models stock purchase options. We have a foreign exchange program with the twenty stores across the world. Miyami, who you were sitting next to, is from Tokyo. Emily, who is currently in our front window, is from London. You get an all expenses paid, one month stay in the country for every four months you spend in the store as a mannequin model. It's really quite a deal!" Sammi explained.
"And who knows that the mannequins here are all real girls?" Vickie pressed.
"Only the store manager, the visual merchandisers, some upper management people, and Mr. Billington, besides the models, of course," Sammi explained. "After they decide to quit modeling for us, some of our models have moved on to positions in management, gone back to school, become businesswomen, started families, resumed their modeling careers, some even are in high levels of various modeling agencies, but they all have kept the Billington's 'secret'! That's how you got recommended to us. Our alumni always keep an eye out for new talent, and old ties are hard to break. With the generous salary Billington's offers, all our models have no problem resuming their lives. In fact, they come out more financially secure, and none the worse for wear, beauty-wise!"
"So the people who work here have no clue?" Vickie asked.
"You wouldn't believe how many of the sales staff do double takes each time they come in to work. They sometimes pick up subtle things in the way the mannequins are posed, especially after we have a meeting. It's like they could swear a mannequin was posed a certain way the day before but now its in a slightly new position," Sammi said.
"And how does that immobilizer thing work again? Denise sorta explained it, but...could I see how it works?" Vickie asked.
"Sure, it's really quite simple. Hey 'Lyn, why don't you run through a few poses? Sammi inquired. Marilyn got up from sitting on the marble tiled railing around the pool and loosened up. She began to strike glamorous fashion type poses while Denise walked over to the control box attached to the stairway.
"The immobilizer controls are located here," Denise said. "The earrings I told you about earlier are really sophisticated micro-receivers that are activated when the transmission switch is flicked for each individual model. A pulse creates a stasis aura, which you feel immediately as immobility, and then puts you into total suspended animation after about half a minute, for 'Lyn anyways. She's been frozen so many times I think she's tired of it," Denise teased.
"Never!" Marilyn countered, running through some more poses.
Vickie watched Marilyn strike a pose briefly, then let her body flow into another position. It was like watching her trying to decide how to be sculpted. How to be displayed in just the right way. Marilyn seems to be putting a great deal of thought into her pose, Vickie thought to herself.
Marilyn flashed a brilliant smile as she twisted her torso with her legs apart, weight falling on her left. Vickie heard a click sound, as if a switch was being flicked. Instantly, Marilyn froze into a living statue. She was completely motionless, her eyes looking forward, unblinking, her smile wide and unchanging. Her body unmoving, like a virtual mannequin. Vickie stared at the immobilized model, seeing how utterly beautiful she looked. Vickie waved her hand in front of Marilyn's face. No reaction. Vickie touched the model's shoulder. Marilyn's skin was not warm and soft, but rather hard and cold, even lifeless, like plastic. "She's okay, right?"
"She's perfectly all right," Sammi explained.
"Can she hear us? Does she know I'm touching her?"
"Not anymore. She's probably deep asleep in suspended animation now," Denise said as she walked up to the living mannequin. "Hey, she's in a pretty good pose! All she needs is...this!" Denise took a pair of wire frame, mirrored lens sunglasses off the accessories stand near the swim wear racks and slipped them over Marilyn's frozen eyes. The sunglasses made Marilyn look more mysterious, and more desirably attractive, a sexy playfulness exuding from her wide smile.
"Very nice Denise," Sammi complimented.
"Yeah, hey let's set her up in the pool," Toni added. She and Denise each took hold of one of Marilyn's frozen arms, lifted her up and carried her into the pool. They stood her onto a flat posing platform in the middle of the rocks where the mini waterfall flowed into the pool.
"She looks good there," Sandra agreed.
"She looks awesome..." Vickie said softly, admiring how eternally beautiful Marilyn looked now, virtually immortal in her frozen state. "And she'll stay just like that forever?"
"Well, not quite forever," Sammi elaborated. "Just for about two weeks, unless something comes up. Well, Vickie, what do you say? Are you comfortable with becoming the newest addition to Billington's mannequin modeling staff for, say, a month?"
Vickie thought of how close knit all the models seemed. How so very friendly and full of camaraderie. They all seemed so honest and comfortable with their positions here. That was the clincher for Vickie. Such feelings were not easily faked. She made her decision quickly, "Okay," she said without hesitating, "I'm in!" Vickie signed the contract in her hands.
"That sure didn't take much arm twisting!" Sandra teased.
"Welcome to Billington's then," Sammi shook Vickie's hand and filed the contract into her attaché.
"Yeah, welcome to the family!" Denise hugged Vickie as Toni patted the newest model on the shoulder.
"Well now, let's find a suitable outfit for you to wear," Toni said as she walked around the three swim wear racks. She took a black two piece Brazilian cut bikini off the hanger. "I think this will fit you."
Vickie took the bikini in her hands, "Is there anywhere for me to change?"
"Well, you could use one of the changing rooms, but we're all so comfortable with each other that we generally don't even bother," Denise said.
"Well, when in Rome..." Vickie said as she began slipping her tight blue jeans down her slightly tanned legs. Her white panties followed her pants to the floor. She pulled her t-shirt over her head, shaking her blonde hair free of the garment.
"It's kind of weird at first, but think of the showroom as a giant locker room or something if that helps," Toni recommended.
Vickie slipped her feet through the bikini bottom and pulled the side straps up. The high cut flattered her long legs. She put on the bikini top and reached behind to secure the clasp.
"Here, let me help you with that," Denise offered. "Hey! You're looking good! Her suit really compliments mine and Toni's."
"Now we need a suitable pose for you," Sammi said. "You've been a mannequin model, so how would you pose if you were displaying swim wear?"
Vickie thought a moment and struck a pose with her legs slightly apart, her hips swayed to the right and her arms bent at the elbows and wrists with her hands near here waist. It was a pose easily recognizable as a mannequins.
"That's not bad, but..." Sammi observed. "It looks a little too posed. You're trying to hard. Loosen up a little, let yourself stand naturally."
Vickie put her hands on her hips, shifting her weight to her left and let her right leg trail off to the side. She turned her head to the the side and tilted her head up slightly before moving her left hand up to rest on her neck.
"Ooh hold it right there!" Denise yelped. Vickie froze in her pose.
'That's a great pose," Sandra cocked her head to the side.
"I like it too," Sammi finalized the discussion. She took a pair of earrings out of the portfolio she was holding in one hand. "Put these on, Vickie." Vickie attached both earrings.
"Attention girls!" Jackie yelled. "You have about one hour left, so make the most of it! Kim, I'm going to need some help getting you into position, so any volunteers..."
"Oh! Can I go help her?" Vickie broke out of her pose. "Please Sammi?"
"Sure, Vickie. Here, let me take your clothes and personal items and put them into one of the lockers for safe keeping. Just be sure and be back here by 3:30, okay?"
"Okay!" Vickie said happily as she trotted off through the showroom to the apartment set.
"I think she's going to fit right in!" Denise said.
"I think you're right. Okay, I need new poses for the three of you now, so lets get busy," Sammi said.
Vickie made her way through the store, watching as the other models were changing clothes or wrapping up their business by hiding their personal things in lockers disguised as cabinets and drawers. Some were rehearsing their poses as if getting into the mental state to become a mannequin again, taking their places on their empty display stands or within the boundaries of their departments. A few were hiking their skirts and dresses up and lowering them over the fake support rods to further heighten the illusion they were really mannequins. Vickie arrived at the living room set as Kim was doing the splits on the floor. Jackie, Tammi and Christie were there waiting.
"Hi, can I help?" Vickie offered.
"Sure," Jackie replied as Kim did her split, sinking downward, the space between her crotch and the floor shrinking. She stuck her arms out to the front and back, arching her back and pointing her toes. "Uh, Kim I think you're forgetting something."
"Hmm? Oh right! How could I forget that?" Kim grinned. Jackie handed an eight inch vibrator to Kim, who slid it through her crotch less leotard and into deep into her vagina. Kim visibly shuddered as she inserted the sexual aid into her body. She resumed her split, straight to the floor. Resuming her previous pose, she took a deep breath and held herself motionless. "Okay, ready," she said.
"Denise! Freeze Kim now!" Jackie tried to be heard over the noise of the rest of the models.
Vickie watched with fascination as Kim became a living statue. It was almost unnoticeable, but there was a moment when Kim stopped wavering, ever so slightly, which clued her that the lovely Kim was now an immovable mannequin. Tammi took hold of Kim's forward pointing arm as Vickie grasped the other. As she felt the frozen model's body, she thought to herself, I'm going to be just like this soon...
Jackie handed Vickie a trench coat to wear. It would be hard enough to explain to someone why there was anyone in the store at 3:00 a.m. much less why one was wearing a bikini. The chances were slim that anyone would actually be outside at the time, but Jackie did not want to take any chances.
With Jackie's direction, they maneuvered Kim's rigid body through the secret door to the front display window. As Vickie walked past the other frozen models she began to mentally imagine how it would feel to be viewed as a beautiful display figure. She saw the four foot tall rod which Kim would be balanced on. It had an extended lip about six inches down from the tip. The two women lifted Kim over the rod with some difficulty as Vickie withdrew the vibrator from Kim's frozen vagina. It was quite snug in there, and Vickie had to use quite a bit of effort to free it from Kim's rock solid body. Then the three maneuvered Kim's vagina over the tip of the rod and slowly started to slide her onto the rod. When Kim's crotch reached the lip, Jackie adjusted the crotch less leotard so that the garment disguised the lip. With Kim properly balanced, Jackie stepped back to look and gave her approval. The three women left the display and all its living statue models posed as mannequins to their silent privacy.
Jackie looked at her watch as they walked through the set. It was almost 3:45 a.m. "Fifteen minutes!" she hollered as Vickie ducked under the railing and skipped down the stairs and back through the store to the fountain.
Toni, Denise and Sandra were already in the middle of the fountain, taking their places with the frozen Marilyn. Sandra was sitting on the rocks at the top of the waterfall, her left leg extended straight out and her right bent at the knee. She supported herself with her left arm straight behind her and her right arm reached for a pair of sunglasses perched on her head. Toni was standing on the opposite side of the waterfall, her back towards the front of the fountain, twisting her torso with her hands resting on her hips. It was a classy cheesecake pose which took on sexier aspects considering the thong style of her suit. Denise was standing in the ankle deep water below the rocks Marilyn was stiffly standing upon. Her pose was an arms up behind her head, legs about a yard apart and staring with her chin up into space. Sammi was standing near the control panel. "Oh Vickie! Get into position, next to Marlilyn. We're ready to immobilize you."
Vickie stepped onto the marble pool railing and gingerly made her way over the rocks, taking her place opposite to the frozen Marilyn. She took a deep breath and composed herself. She moved her body into the position selected earlier and waited. "Hey Vickie, pleasant dreams!" she heard Denise say from below. She didn't want to alter her pose at all to look and continued staring into space. When would it happen? she thought. Would I get some sort of warning? What will it feel like? Her thoughts ran at lightning speed as her heart pounded harder in the anticipation of becoming a mannequin.
"Everyone into position now?" Jackie asked loudly. There were assorted acknowledgments from the models. Jackie looked at Sammi and nodded. Sammi began flipping individual switches. The five lingerie department models became rigid mannequins as the immobilizer effect struck. Sammi continued down the panel, the evening gown models were frozen instantly, then the active wear models. All were becoming mannequinized at the flick of a switch. Vickie waited for her turn. She took a quick peek out of the corner of her eye and saw the models at the endcap, Brittany and Christie, standing on eighteen inch diameter glass "bases" in front of her become living statuary. Two more models clad in business wear became mannequins, the spa model froze into place as she stood in the glass window in front of the health club. Soon it will be my turn, she thought. Sammi got to the swim wear grouping and snapped the switches for Toni, Denise and Sandra. A newly labeled switch with 'Vickie' beneath was the last one she touched.
Vickie found the anticipation exhilarating. It was like waiting in line for a roller coaster. The butterflies in her stomach, the excitement at what was going to happen, the slight touch of fear. She could see almost the entire store before her. It really was a great vantage point, overlooking all the clothing displays and with a good view of the split apartment display. Then she felt a tingle throughout her body. She tried to move and could not. It's happened! She tried to look elsewhere, but her eyes were fixed into position. She tried to wiggle her toes. Tried to flex her fingers. Nothing responded. Her body was completely rigid. Lovely legs locked stiff. Arms and shoulders immobile. Her gaze unwavering. This is it, I'm a mannequin...a mannequin! It was strangely exhilarating, being rendered a conscious statue. I don't even feel like I am breathing anymore! My whole body is numb. No feeling at all! It must be like having one of those unusual out-of-body-like experiences, Vickie thought. She was a lovely display piece now, modeling the fancy swim wear for the throngs of eager to buy customers now.
Jackie was looking at the frozen swim suited models. Sammi joined her. "She looks good up there. They all do." Addressing the immobilized newcomer, Sammi said, "Don't worry, Vickie. I know it is disorienting, not being able to move, but allow yourself to get used to it and you'll fall asleep in awhile. We've checked the monitors, and everything is okay."
"I don't think we're going to have to adjust her pose at all," Sammi commented to Jackie. "She got it right on the first try. Good girl. I think she'll be going places."
"Okay, lets get all their things picked up and put away before the custodians arrive," Jackie said. "And remind me to take Simone out of her display later this morning, after the store opens." All the better to keep up the illusion of the girl being a real mannequin, Vickie understood.
Sammi and Jackie continued checking the store for any 'clues' the models may have left unwittingly behind for another hour or so. Vickie could see them picking up stray personal items and adjusting the outfits on the mannequinized models here and there. Brushing the hair over the mannequin model's shoulders, straightening the hem of the skirt on others, adding an accessory like a small handbag or touching up the makeup. Vickie was so excited at being on display that she couldn't fall asleep. She stared at the models frozen in the apartment. They were all posed in moments-in-the-life-of type situations, mostly on the models' whim. Vickie could see the clock in the 'apartment' and knew that when Sammi left for the night, around 5:00 a.m. to get some sleep, Jackie had stayed behind to do some paperwork and make sure the store opening went smoothly.
The custodial crew arrived at 6:00 a.m. and began vacuuming the carpeting, polishing the brass railings and such. None of them paid much attention to the frozen models, although some did stop briefly to admire the lovely models, so beautiful in their frozen settings. Vickie caught one older man staring at her more than once, as if admiring her immobile figure like it was a work of art in some sort of museum. It felt good, to be the center of his attention. To be displayed as pure beauty and glamour.
The sales staff began arriving at 8:30 a.m., and true to form, some stopped to look at the apartment setting. Some of the mannequins were posed differently, or so it seemed, from the day before. It was not something the employees could always place their fingers on, but the mannequins just looked different. A few noticed a new mannequin on display in the fountain. She was a pretty, blonde haired statue with a daring black bikini which showed off her body. She even had what looked like a slight smile on her lips...
Vickie was taking perverse delight in attracting attention. She felt like she was the most important thing in the whole store. An ambassador of swimwear...a living monument to the rewards of keeping your body trim...a testimony to stiff living...silly thoughts, Vickie mentally giggled. She heard the fountain being turned on, its cascading flow showering the frozen Denise. As Denise's hair grew wetter, her hair became slicked against her back, but her rigid pose remained the same. Her skin glistened under the water droplets, which Vickie thought was a really cool touch.
At 10:00 a.m. the store opened to the crowd waiting outside. There was always a small crowd outside, admiring the window displays. A pretty woman with sandy brown hair walked hand in hand with her boyfriend, at least that who Vickie thought he was.
The couple admired the various displays, lingering longer than most people did, and finally ended up at the fountain. Vickie watched as they took long looks at Denise showering in the fountain spray, their eyes running up and down the frozen model's
figure. They continued up one flight of stairs, taking in each mannequin individually, walked across the top of the stairs and came back down the opposite flight, descending the steps until they were just to the side of her, outside of Vickie's peripheral vision.
"Aren't they so beautiful, Matt?" she heard the girl say.
"Yeah, especially that one over there," the man said, pointing at the motionless figure in the black bikini. "She's new," he observed as he leaned in close to his girlfriend. "Does she give you any ideas, Kerri?"
The woman smiled and responded, "Yes she does..." The couple stifled their joint laughter and made their way to the exit. Vickie didn't have a clue as to what their conversation was about, but she felt happy that she, in her mannequin/statue state, had brought some joy to their lives.
At noon Sammi arrived back at the office. It was always rough when there was a changing of the mannequins because she ended up staying late, but fortunately with Jackie could cover for her in the mornings. She checked in with Jackie before the latter left for the day. Everything had gone smoothly, the new mannequin displays had been attracting a lot of attention, Simone had collected her personal belongings and bid farewell for now, the registers were all busy ringing up purchases.
A number of customers had commented favorably on the new girl in the fountain set. Vickie was going to definitely go places, Sammi thought as she took a break from her work and walked through the store. That girl was an attention getter. She'll probably be in the front window next time, if she decides to stick around. Sammi stopped at the fountain and stared at the lovely display. The fountain was spraying water down onto Denise's body, making it sparkle under the lights. Toni was seductively showing off her backside, while Marilyn looked mysterious and sexy behind her sunglasses. Sandra sat proudly above on the rocks.
And the newest mannequin, Vickie, stood proudly immobile. Displayed like this for the next week or two, time now meant nothing to her. She was eternally beautiful in this frozen form of a living mannequin. Time would have no meaning for her now, as she allowed herself to lapse into full stasis, secure in the knowledge that she would be well taken care of by Billington's staff.
authors note: this is my humble attempt to add onto the legendary Living Statues saga. Rather than use the existing characters I have decided to put the immobilizer to another, albeit similar, use. The reasons for doing this are partly to avoid the logistics of figuring out where and what all the characters are doing, and another is that I was reluctant to tamper with a classic! I decided to alter the established workings of the immobilizer a little, allowing for the fact that this version was obtained in a much earlier stage and was reworked by the research scientists working for Billington's than the version Mitch eventually got his hands on. As for further details, I do have ideas for a sequel featuring the mysterious Mr. Billington, how he got the immobilizer device, and what he keeps around his mansion for decoration...!
A tip of the hat to the contributors who have made the Living Statues one of the most enjoyable asfr series including: Bill Shakespeare, Dmuk, IFreezeU, Dr. Cuffs, mrc681 and anyone else who I may have "appropriated/swiped" ideas inadvertantly from in my writings! Thanks for laying the foundation!
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