Erin and Melissa were people-watching as they waited for Wendy to show up. It was just like her to forget their regular Sunday brunch or get involved with some diversion along the way. The three had stayed in touch since high school and were close friends still despite pursuing different careers. They were all young, successful, and quite pretty.
Erin spied a bearded, intense, young man striding purposefully down the sidewalk. "Artist - for sure," she guessed, "on his way to a gallery opening."
"Naw; someone in advertising." Melissa offered as she shipped her latté, "working the weekend to meet a deadline. He's gay, too."
"Gay?! Come on - how can you say that?" Erin returned.
"He just looks that way. Intuition" The man walked onward, took no notice of them.
"Here's one: Call girl - at least a k-buck per." A very stylish girl was walking up to the bistro, dressed 'to the nines' even on Sunday; wearing a tight leather mini dress, black pantyhose, and high heeled shoes. She had pale blonde hair and masked most of her oval face with huge sunglasses.
"Could be. A secretary getting set to meet the boss for a quickie?" Melissa smiled.
The girl hurried directly up to their table and sat down, stylishly. "Sorry I'm late guys, you won't believe what happened to me!" It was Wendy, their tardy friend.
"Kidnapped by aliens?" Erin suggested.
"Boutique opening? A sale at Neiman's!" was Melissa's attempt.
"A lot weirder than that" she said, which brought her looks of doubt from the other two. The wait person came up to the table and Wendy ordered an Irish Coffee; not her normal drink. She was more of a Mimosa person usually.
Of the three, Wendy was the most outgoing and by a nose the most beautiful. In school she always dressed provocatively and was known as a 'prick tease' with the boys. While Melissa and Erin thought she was something of a tramp, they remained secretly envious of her popularity. Wendy was a bit of a ditz, but didn't lie to her friends. Something was up.
"You won't ever believe me," she concluded, pulling nervously at the fingers of the black satin gloves she wore, "This is just SO spacey..."
"Never know if you don't try!" countered Erin. In contrast, she had always been the level-headed one, the bookworm. The one Wendy got her test answers from.
"Yeah - tell us. Don't keep it to yourself." added Melissa, an athletic brunette.
By now the coffee had arrived and Wendy downed it in a single gulp, whipped cream and all. It left a little white mustache on her lip. She motioned for another round instantly. The alcohol was transforming itself into a warm glow in her belly. It felt good.
"I've just spent the last two days in Bergmann's display window." she offered in a hushed, conspiratorial tone. The other two had to move nearer to hear her.
"Big deal!" scoffed Erin, "You work there. So what if you had to come in on a Saturday."
"No, you don't understand." Wendy said, "I wasn't just at work; I was IN the window, posed as a MANNEQUIN!" She saw their faces, saw the blank looks. "I knew you wouldn't believe me," she said dejectedly.
"OK, if you say so. A mannequin, huh?" Melissa tried to humor her. Erin just stared at Wendy as if she had admitted to being a mass murdering opera singer.
"It's TRUE..." Wendy pleaded. "I made this stupid bet, and it backfired on me."
"Out with it, girl," Melissa demanded. "Give us the *whole* story, now. Please?"
The second coffee appeared; Wendy took a deep swallow and began: "It started at the party last weekend. You know, the one at Sally's. No? Well, I was there minding my own business, and some guy started hassling me about my dress." She rolled her eyes up for emphasis, and Erin gave a sympathetic 'ummm-hmmm.'
Wendy continued, "I had on that teensy DK mini and a white bustier. He said I looked like a hooker and should be ashamed for wearing something like that. Imagine!"
"As if!" Melissa chimed in, though she sort of agreed with the fellow.
"Anyway," Wendy continued, "I said I could wear what I wanted to and would run naked in the street if that's what I wanted to do. I guess I kind of got carried away."
"No way," Erin chimed in with rich sarcasm. "How many drinks did you have?"
"As I was saying -- this is tough enough without you interrupting all the time: He said 'How about at your work? Show up there in just some lingerie for a day?' I said 'Yeah, I would; so what. What's your point?' He said 'You say yes right now, but would you really go do it, come the morning? How about a little wager to make it more interesting.' I said 'Name it!' He said 'If you complete the whole time, I'll pay you, say, five thousand dollars. Bet?'
"No way," Erin broke in, "he must have really thought you were a call girl - did he ask to sleep with you too?"
"That's an odd part. He was very, er, detached. Like the money didn't mean anything to him, or my ass either." Wendy paused to take a breath. "That's a whole lot of cash, even today; I could have paid off my car or taken that Ixtapa trip. But I couldn't afford to lose... I said 'That's too much' He said 'Ah, so you aren't serious after all. I thought so.' He turned to walk away. That got me upset. I yelled 'I am TOO serious - you just watch me!' a bit too loudly. He wasn't flustered at all. Detached. He said merely 'We have a bet, then?' I was committed, said 'On my honor.' I started thinking about the Mexican sun. He said 'I'm sure you will fulfill your role in this matter - we just have to set a date.' 'How about this Friday, in the front of your store?' I said, 'no problem - wouldn't miss it for the world.' I was a little flushed by then.
"That was really dumb," chided Melissa. Wendy nodded, then continued. "Then came the odd part, like he had planned the whole thing, because he said: 'I'd like you to stand inside your show window as a lingerie display figure.'
"Doo de doo-doo, Doo de doo-doo..." Melissa intoned in a fair imitation of the Twilight Zone theme.
"You know it. I thought he was nutso for sure. Sometimes it's the quiet types you have to worry about." I said 'Like a mannequin. In the showcase window?' He nodded solemnly, saying nothing. I said 'no way, I would get tired in five minutes!' He replied merely 'Drink this before.' and handed me a sealed vial of clear liquid. I asked 'What is it?' It looked a little thick, like syrup. He said 'Fortification. Do we have a wager, then?' I swear, he flashed a wad of bills!
"Right there at the party?" Erin exclaimed, "Maybe he *was* trying to hire a hooker and found you instead - trusting soul!"
Wendy gave her a dirty look and continued. "I was too deep now to turn
back; I'd given my word and there was all that cash. But this was so strange,
like a deal with the devil: I said 'What do you get out of this if I win?
All this just to prove a point?' He said 'Just consider me a performance
artist for now. And it is I who will win.' I didn't think I had heard him
right; I said 'A *what*??' He merely smiled and said 'I'll see you on Friday...'
and walked away with not another word for the whole rest
of the night. Spooky."
Wendy drank some more and went on: "That really bugged me, as if he was manipulating me. Me!! He didn't expect me to go through with it, but I did."
"That was really dumb," echoed Erin.
"Actually, in a way it was getting kind of intriguing for me too." Wendy said, "you know I work in Visual Display; setting up windows, dressing mannequins. I've always thought about what it would be like to stand in a window on display - the 'ham' in me probably. He had given me the means to finally make it happen. Five thousand dollars in a day! For the next few days I planned out exactly how I was going to do it, so by this Thursday night I was ready, like totally. I was going to do it."
By this point in the story, Melissa and Erin were entranced. The listened raptly with chins on hands as Wendy continued her tale.
"As soon as the store closed, I slipped into the "A" window and removed one of the mannequins from the lingerie display. I took her into the work area and undressed her, which didn't take long because she was only wearing a teddy and hose. In the bathroom I stripped down too and put her costume on, along with some body makeup to cover my freckles. I had taken her wig as well and put it on over my own hairdo. I spent a few minutes at the mirror, giving myself a 'mannequin look' face with heavy eye-liner, long eyelashes, and strong blusher on my cheeks and brow. A quick touchup to my lip gloss and hairdo; we could have been sisters! With my smock over the lingerie I came back out and moved the mannequin into the storeroom and put my own clothes in the locker." She paused to take another sip of coffee, but Erin was on the edge of her seat.
"Go on - go on." she urged.
"There was no one around as I went over to the window. Quickly, I removed the smock and hung it on the door-latch. In one pocket was the vial of liquid. By now I had gone too far along to wimp out. Besides I was curious as well. What was it like to be a mannequin? I drank the liquid and stuck the vial back in the smock. Within a few seconds there was already a funny feeling. I got into the window and on my marks - just in time as it turned out - because almost immediately I started to feel stiff in my joints and legs. I duplicated the mannequin's pose with some effort and remembered at the last second to compose my expression before I froze absolutely solid. I couldn't move a muscle! Like it or not, I was stuck there in that position until the potion wore off. It was dark out, and there was not much to see. Just the occasional passing taxi. At first it was kind of neat, but soon standing still as a statue turned out to be boring. I fell asleep."
"Uh huh." Melissa tried to imagine Wendy as a display dummy; it was easy once she got past the total absurdity of the situation. "And then...."
"When daytime came, I woke up again. There was more to see and, of course, more people to see me. They did gawk, too! I never knew what kind of looks my work got until that day. Some of the guys were casual, cool, just glancing into the window. Especially those with girlfriends or spouses. The singles were more obvious - they often stopped and stared or walked back and forth to get a better view. I wasn't sure whether it was the costume or me they were ogling. Occasionally it became really obvious when some kid got a hard on while looking at my body. He may have been imagining some fantasy partner, but his arousal got me a little worked up too. There wasn't a thing I could do about it either, of course. My hands were held rigidly in place and there was no way to move at all. Then, some minutes later, he walked away smiling."
"You sound like you enjoyed yourself," Erin concluded.
"So far. But the day passed slowly with nothing to do there. I could see a clock out of the corner of my eye and knew when it started to get dark. Soon I would be able to move again as the drug wore off. But the time passed, and it didn't wear off! I was still stiff as a board. By then it was close to midnight and I remembered that Friday night was when they did some clean-up on the displays and sometimes changed the exhibits. I was trying to remember if anything was scheduled when I heard the access door squeak open and Kim walked in on my display! She's the third shift assistant dresser, and the meekest person I've ever known. I met her once at a company party and she barely said a word to anyone. Kim was humming some aimless tune as she moved around the display, straightening, cleaning. There was no way of knowing if she would recognize me there as an imitation mannequin. I hoped my makeup was good enough, but knew it wasn't. I felt like running and hiding, but of course there was no way I could move a finger even."
"And...." Erin said.
"She walked out and closed the door. I breathed a sigh of relief - tried to - when the door opened again and she came back with a couple of garments. Kim looked at me and started speaking; at first I thought she recognized my face but it was pretty clear this was something private to her. She said, 'Good evening, Monique, my you are very beautiful tonight. I'm going to make you even prettier with these nice new undies - do you like them? I knew you would!' Kim was showing me the lacy half bra and v-cut panties; they were pale green. She undid the straps on the teddy, letting it slip down, exposing my breasts. Thank the deity there had been time to apply makeup to my nipples, but as she continued to undress me it was obvious my figure had some added details..."
"Not your c...," Melissa started,
"Oh, yes! I hadn't done anything to cover my pussy and the makeup didn't cover the hairs down there. Kim saw my exposed snatch and turned beet red. But she only hesitated for a moment, then continued to undress me. Her voice had changed though; when she resumed speaking it sounded huskier, lustful. 'My, you *are* especially nice tonight - was this surprise for me?' She touched me down there and it was like a spark shot through me. Meek little Kim was feeling me up! Her touches turned into caresses, she said 'You have always made me happy, Monique, please again tonight; oh, please' She was almost in contact when a male voice I didn't know interrupted, saying 'Kimmy, finish up there soon; I have another window you need to tend to'. She jumped at the sound, and moved away just as I was starting to enjoy her presence. Kim finished dressing me in the new lingerie without any more special attention and left after one last, lingering kiss. I was alone again, and there was no sign of any lessened rigidity in my stiff body. I remained a mannequin figure, and fell asleep soon after.
"The drug eventually had to wear out," concluded Erin.
"Yes it did. But not before I was in the window for another *full* day. Even during the daytime hours I got bored and started to daydream. One time, though, I'm sure the guy from the party came by to look at me there, and stayed for quite some time too. He had a fancy looking camera and snapped a bunch of pictures. I don't know if he made an honest mistake, or always planned to have me frozen for two days instead of one."
"Sounds like you got more than you bargained for," suggested Erin.
"True. I hate that when it happens. Anyway, around nine yesterday night I felt a tingling throughout my body, kind of like when your arm wakes up after falling asleep, then I could gradually begin to move again. First a blink, then I could wiggle my fingers, then my arms; finally my legs and back. It seemed strange to be *able* to move after so long being stiff; the first step I took almost put me on my behind! After a few minutes I could walk out of the window, get dressed, and put the real mannequin - her name was Monique, remember - back into place. While touching up my face, I found an envelope inside my bag. Inside was an address - no money, the total rat! He must have slipped it in there during the day. I made it back to my place and crashed out for a few hours. Then I met you here. That's it. Spooky, huh?"
"Wow!" Melissa said, then "wow" again.
"It's pretty unbelievable," said Erin.
"You can ask Kim!" Wendy countered, "but she could easily deny it and who would believe her if she told them there was a mannequin with pubic hair?"
"What are you going to do now?" Erin said, trying to avoid the subject.
"First, I'm going to track that guy down and collect on my bet! Then I'll ask him exactly why I stayed frozen for two days." she shrugged. "Who knows, maybe I'll ask him for a job!!" This got a surprised reaction from Melissa. "Just kidding," Wendy said.
Their conversations shifted to other subjects and then the three of them passed the afternoon on a shopping trip to one of the outlying mega- malls. Wendy was quieter than usual, Erin thought. They parted company with plans to meet again the next Sunday, but Wendy did not appear. Another week passed, and once more she did not return.
Melissa was starting to get worried: "Maybe she's hurt or pissed off at us?"
Erin had an idea. "You know, she was going to find that guy - you don't suppose...."
"Naaah" A moment passed between them in silent contemplation.
"Want to go window shopping?"
"Okay..." - - -
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