Kari awoke when the lights came on. It was Debbie. "How was the night last night, Kari? Didn't go anywhere did you? Ha. Ha." Debbie snickered and then came over to Kari and knocked on her cheeks. They remained hard and hollow sounding. Kari felt the hardness in her head and was reminded again of her predicament.
Kari's nude mannequin body was formed in the exact position it was on the sales floor. Left foot forward with her right arm back behind her back. Her eyes remained fixed straight ahead in the exact position that she was looking when Todd sprayed her eyes last night. Kari had gained consciousness a few times during the night and had pondered and stressed over her situation. Inside she was very scared and anxious. Outside she was stiff.
She was hopeless, the only thing to save her had to come from someone else. Maybe Debbie would soften and rescue her - probably not. Maybe the sales lady - no, she didn't even know Kari was a real person. Maybe Todd - but what price would she pay? Alas there was no one. The situation was hopeless, she would have to get used to being a mannequin.
There was a soft knock at the door accompanied by "Hello, . . .Debbie are you here?" It was a familiar voice. "Come on in Stella" was Debbie's reply.
Stella! Thank God. She'll recognize me and rescue me. Kari was excited, she had hope!
Debbie motioned to the Kari mannequin, "Stella, Iím glad you came. Look! She made a perfect mannequin. Your story worked perfectly. She didn't have a clue. While you look her over I'll ring up to accounting and have them bring down your check."
Check! Why a check? Then it hit Kari like a freight train - she had been sold to be turned into a mannequin. Now Kari was angry. She kept repeating the scenario in her head. Stella was expecting a check. Stella had sold Kari out. Stella and Debbie had made Kari an offer she couldn't refuse knowing that they'd never even have to pay her. Stella was part of the plot. Kari's anger quickly turned into depression; a minute before she had thought that Stella might be her savior. Instead, working for Stella had sealed her doom.
With Debbie on the phone, Stella turned to Kari and spoke directly to her. "Kari, honey. I don't know if you can hear me. You're probably mad at me now, but you really do look beautiful. In a few years you'd be too old to model and we'd have parted anyway. Now you'll look beautiful forever. And isn't the Springfield store in your hometown? It'll be like going home."
Kari's anger subsided. Being a mannequin in the new Springfield store was kind of like going home. She might even see some old friends. But anger quickly returned, they'd be real and she wouldn't.
After getting off the phone Debbie came over to Stella with a glass of orange juice. "What do you think?"
Stella spoke while sipping her orange juice. "She's beautiful. It's hard to believe she was real just a few days ago. She looks just as good as Jackie did last week. I've got one other that I think I can get to do it this Sunday and you'll have your three from Rosewood."
Stella patted Kari on the check and turned back to Debbie, "So when do you want her . . . the other one? Sunday morning again?"
"Well actually I need someone before then . . . like today."
"Today?!! Isn't that a little short notice? I mean . . . most models . . . er . . . a . . . some models can come . . . on . . on . . s-s-short n-n-notice . . . but not . . .th-the . . . type y-y-you . . ." Stella was getting a little sleepy and woozy. She sat down in the chair. "Wh . . . Wh . . . What . . . is .. . . h . h . hap . p . pen . . . ing . . . t-t-t-to . . . m . . ."
Stella slumped into Debbie's arms. "Actually Stella, I think you'll do just fine. And by using you, we won't risk having anyone in Rosewood who knows our secret. And, guess what? We won't be paying you your bonus either."
Shortly after Stella had passed out, Todd walked in the room. Debbie had called him when she pretended to be calling accounting for a check. He walked over to Stella and examined her carefully. "So you think she'll do?"
"Yep, she'll do fine. Her portfolio was in the original group that we picked the other two from. She's the right size and has the right look. She's a little older, but we can work around that with a little extra makeup."
"Okay. Let's get started."
Kari watched as Todd and Debbie lifted Stella onto a table and began taking her clothes off. Kari was reminded of how grungy Stella always dressed. She was wearing an old worn-out designer label sweatshirt and a pair of black jeans. Her body was limp as they took off the sweatshirt and jeans. Kari was amused that underneath it all, Stella was wearing a leopard skin print bra and panty set. She didn't seem like the type of woman to wear racy underwear. She was too conservative and casual. In a few moments Stella was completely naked.
For the next hour or so, Debbie completely waxed Stella's body. With the waxing went Stella's hair, every bit of it including the hair on her head. Stella was beginning to look like a mannequin.
Kari remembered the process that she went through. To become a mannequin the body paint had to harden while she stood in position. Stella was limp. How would they get her to stand in position for the hours needed? Her question was partially answered when Todd and Debbie tied ropes to Stella's wrists and ankles. They quickly tied her so that she was standing with her feet apart and her arms upward at forty-five degree angles from her body. She looked like she was doing a jumping jack.
With Stella tied in this position, Debbie began spraying the cream on her body. It was the same stuff Debbie had used on Kari, with a stiffening result. "Your going to make a beautiful mannequin, Stella," was Debbie's comment upon completion. "Iím sure that you'll be seeing a lot of Jackie and Kari. Maybe you'll be in the same display. . . well, I've got to run an errand, don't go anywhere while I'm gone!" Debbie chuckled as she left the room.
Kari had mixed feelings as she watched this process. Sure Stella deserved this treatment. She was responsible for Kari being made into a mannequin. But on the other hand, it was hard to see anyone have their life and mobility taken from them.
Kari dozed off into a short sleep. She was awakened by movement around her. Debbie was back with Todd and they had untied Stella. They were posing her into a position. Evidently the body paint had hardened to such an extent that they could move Stella in any position and Stella would stay put. Together they posed Stella into a sitting position, using a small chair as her seat. Stella's legs were crossed and she was leaning back supporting herself with her arms. While Todd finalized the pose, Debbie began working on Stella's facial makeup.
When they were nearly finished a knock came at the door, it was an employee who came in and asked Todd a question. The employee nervously looked around while Todd responded. He never suspected that the two nude female mannequins in the room had been real living breathing women just a few hours before. Kari was only slightly bothered by her nakedness. Kari was resigning herself to existing as a mannequin and not a human.
It was hard to keep track of time when you were a mannequin, but in about a week Kari found herself standing in the display studio with Jackie and Stella. They remained nude, but Kari could see in the mirror across the room that at some point they had shaved her head. She was as bald as could be - Jackie and Stella too. Kari wondered what was left. She wondered when they were going to Springfield.
Todd came in with an electric device of some sort. The device was a wire that was about two feet long. There was a cord from one end of the wire, Todd plugged it into an extension cord. He walked over to Stella and lifted the wire up under Stella's armpit. The device took off Stella's arm and left a clean smooth flesh colored line. In a matter of a few minutes, Todd had installed some hardware into Stella's shoulder (where her arm had been) and then into her arm. He then clicked the arm back in place, leaving a fine line as the only visible evidence that her arms could be removed.
Todd then used the device to install pivot points on the remainder of Stella's body--her wrists, her other shoulder, her waist and at the top of her right leg. He then did the same to Jackie. Kari realized that this would enable the display staff to take her body apart to make it easier to move her and to dress her. But what would it feel like? Todd then came to Kari and began with her right arm. It happened so fast that she hardly even noticed what was happening. After about a half-hour, Todd was finished with Kari too. She now felt even less like a human and more like a mannequin. She knew she would never be real again.
"Well girls, its time to go to Springfield," was Debbie's comment as she took the three women apart and placed their body parts in a packing crate. Kari's torso was laid opposite of Stella's. Kari was looking into Stella's navel and Stella hers. She could feel that one of Stella's breasts was placed between her own breasts. Their legs and arms were placed around them and then the box was topped off with packing straw. "I'm going over to the Rivergate store this afternoon, they've got a model over there ready for a security assignment just like you did Kari. Her name is Naomi, I'm sure you'll run into her in Springfield." Debbie nailed the wooden box shut.
The next thing the mannequins knew, their box was being opened up in a different surrounding. They were in the display room of the new store. Kari was the first to be wheeled to her station. A woman had put all her parts separately on a cart and was wheeling her through the store. She could see that everything was brand new. Workers were all around readying the store to be opened. Some of the shelves were stocked and others remained empty.
Kari wondered what department she was going to. Since she knew she would never again be a real human, she had begun to look forward to being a mannequin in the store. She was hoping to be in the formal wear section, modeling a fancy evening gown or maybe even a wedding dress. Instead she found herself being put on a pedestal in the lingerie section. Lingerie!! This was the last department she wanted. It was bad enough being a mannequin. But here she would be a mannequin in her underwear. This was embarrassing.
In a few minutes the same woman came again with the cart containing Stella's parts. Kari's torso was sitting on the pedestal next to her legs and waist, so her view was a low one with the woman darting back and forth in front of her. Out of the corner of Kari's eye, she could see that the woman had put Stella fully together with the exception of her arms. The woman went into the display racks and came back with a full slip in a leopard skin print. She quickly pulled it over Stella's head and down over her body. She then installed Stella's arms and put a blonde wig on her head. Well, thought Kari, Stella did seem to like that leopard print stuff, she ought to be happy!
After the woman had finished primping Stella, she went back into the display racks. Kari wondered what she was getting for her. A few moments later the woman came back with something that appeared to match the leopard skin print of Stella's slip. Through her low view (she was staring directly at her own crotch), she could see the woman putting a pair of French cut briefs on her bottom half. The woman then turned around and picked up Kari's torso and attached it to her bottom half. Kari's arms were still lying on the ground at her feet. Looking into Kari's face, the woman put her hands around Kari's back. Kari could feel that the woman had fastened a bra around her chest. She then pulled the straps over Kari's shoulders and then spent a few moments adjusting the straps so that the cups fit tightly over Kari's breasts.
The woman then put a wig on Kari's head and spent some time working on their facial make-up. Even though she resented being a mannequin, she did enjoy the special treatment. She truly felt beautiful.
With her eyes fixed straight ahead, Kari could see her reflection in a mirror in the jewelry section across the aisle. Her and Stella presented a beautiful display of two women in matching leopard skin underwear. One (Stella) sitting on a dresser wearing a slip and the other (Kari) standing beside her wearing a bra and French-cut panties. Kari could feel and see that the bra was designed to enhance her cleavage, however her breasts remained firm and immovable. Stella was a blonde and Kari was a sassy redhead.
"You guys look great," said the woman. "Our grand opening is tomorrow and everyone, especially the guys, will be ogling you two. Sometimes I envy you mannequins--you always look great, everyone wishes they could look like you. Sometimes I wish I could be like you . . . you live a carefree existence. That beats my life most of the time." She paused for a moment and then said, "I'll see you tomorrow."
A few minutes later, Debbie and Todd came through checking the store over to see if it was ready for the grand opening. They stopped in front of Kari and Stella. "Hey you guys drew lingerie!" Debbie snickered. "I just saw your friend Jackie. She ended up in career wear dressed in a nice business suit. She's probably grateful she didn't end up in her undies like you two."
With that comment, Kari began to feel a little naked. But there was nothing she could do.
Over the next few months, thousands of people came through the new Springfield Dempsey's. Kari and Stella remained in the same display, although the display lady came at regular intervals and changed them. One of the people to walk by was Kari's mother and her Aunt Evelyn. They paused momentarily to look at Kari and Stella. "These dummies look so real nowadays," commented Evelyn, "this one looks a little like Kari." With that comment, Kari saw sadness on her mother's face. What did she think had happened to her? If only she could reassure her that she was okay.
A few days later, Kari recognized another face in front of her. It was Diane, her former roommate that had moved back to Springfield. She was with Marlene, another friend from high school. "This mannequin reminds me of Kari," said Marlene, "I wonder what ever happened to her."
As time went by Kari and Stella remained as motionless ambassadors for Dempsey's. Kari began to look forward to the times when the display staff changed her clothes. It seemed like she was changed about once a month. But she really didn't know for sure, time really had no meaning to her now. Usually she was changed during the morning hours when there wasn't a great deal of store traffic. It was always the same woman that changed her. Kari didn't know her name, but she called her Carol because she reminded her of a Carol she knew back in high school. That Carol, like this Carol, seemed lonely but nice. Kari hoped that Carol would find someone or something that would add meaning to her life.
Kari had gotten used to being nude in front of passerby's. Kari often wondered whether Stella was aware of her surroundings in the same way that she was. Had she also gotten used to being nude in public? Has she accepted the fact that she would always be a mannequin? Kari would never know.
One evening after the store was closed, Debbie and Todd reappeared. They immediately began undressing Kari and Stella. Once undressed, they took Stella apart and put her on a cart and Todd took Stella off to toward the display room. Debbie then dressed Kari in a silky nightie with a matching robe. The smoothness of the material exited Kari as it caressed her torso. It was a welcome feeling compared to the stiffness of the bras she had been wearing.
Debbie paused for a moment and looked Kari in the eye. "Well Kari, you'll have a new partner on your display tomorrow. We're opening a new store in Bridgetown and we need three mannequins from Springfield. You should see yourself, you really are a beautiful mannequin. Sometimes I'm a little envious. You really look at peace."
The next morning about half an hour before opening, Debbie walked up to the display with a young woman dressed in the pajama set that matched the nightie that Kari was wearing. "Here's where you'll spend your day," Debbie announced.
The woman with Debbie stood on the floor in front of Kari and looked into her face. "I remember seeing this mannequin a few day's ago, she looks just like someone I went to high school with." That's when Kari realized that the girl who would be on display with her--the girl who would also be come a mannequin--was Marlene. The same Marlene that she went to high school with and who just a few days ago had recognized her on a shopping trip with her old roommate Diane.
Through the mirror in the jewelry section, Kari watched as Debbie maneuvered the resting post up the leg of Marlene's pajamas. She wanted to scream at her to run away. She watched Debbie carefully pose Marlene's body, arms and finally her head. Debbie talked with Marlene about watching for shoplifters in the jewelry section across the aisle. Marlene was being duped, Marlene would soon be a mannequin.
As the day went on, Marlene remained firm in her pose. She wanted the bonus she would never get. Throughout the day a few people stopped and felt the material of Marlene's pajamas. If only someone would jar her into breaking her pose. But no one did, and by the end of the day Kari knew that Marlene had joined the ranks of the mannequins--she would never move again.
After closing, Debbie and Todd came back. "It's okay Marlene, you can move know," Todd commanded with a smile on his face. Todd reached up and tapped Marlene's cheek. It was hard and sounded of plastic. Todd turned to Debbie, "I think she's ready." He turned back to Marlene, "Well, did you catch any shoplifters today?"
Debbie then stripped Marlene of all her clothes. Kari could see in the mirror that Marlene had been prepared in the same way that she had. Her body had been rid of hair and her sex and nipples had been covered. She looked just like the mannequin she had become. They lifted Marlene onto a cart and wheeled her off toward the storeroom. Inside Kari cried for Marlene and her fate.
The next week things got a little strange. Instead of Debbie and Todd bringing another victim to stand by Kari and "watch" the jewelry section, it was her old roommate Diane who was with Todd. The girl they brought was dressed in the same pajamas that Marlene wore last week. Throughout the day her skin also hardened into its final mannequin form. At the end of the day it was just Diane who came and undressed the new girl and took her away. What happened to Debbie? Why was Diane alone at the end of the day? How did Diane get involved in this scheme?
It was a few weeks before Kari knew the answer to those questions. After the store was closed, Diane came back to Kari's display and undressed her. "Well Kari, I'm going to give you more modest surroundings. I'm moving you to the career wear department."
Diane then took Kari over to a display in the career wear department. Jackie was already there on display wearing a tan business suit with black trim. Diane continued telling her story as she was dressing Kari.
"It's interesting how I found out that you were here. I was pretty sure I recognized you when Marlene and I walked through the store a few weeks ago and when I heard that Marlene had been offered a "living" mannequin job I became suspicious. I snuck into the display room and hid out while Debbie and Todd prepared Marlene. I waited until they came back to the display room at the end of the day to get them. I gave them a taste of their own medicine and made them both into mannequins. Debbie will be taking your place in the lingerie department."
"Todd, though is another story. Dempsey's doesn't have any male mannequins in their stock. They just use male torso forms. So, I had to "cut" him down to size a little. I just dressed him in a nice pair of shorts and a red polo shirt. He looks terrific."
"The only hitch was that one of the display staff came in on me when I was finishing Todd. I had no choice but to add her to my display inventory too."
"When I approached Todd and Debbie's boss and told her of their demise, she offered me their job at $150,000 a year. I guess I'll be a "recruiter" for Dempsey's unique models. In the meantime I'll try to stop and talk with you and Marlene every now and then. Have fun!"
Diane walked off toward the display room leaving two beautiful mannequins behind. Kari's black skirt, white blouse and camel blazer were accented by a colorful scarf. Kari now had short dark brown hair and Jackie had long blonde hair. There was some justice in the fact that they could look straight ahead and see the lingerie display featuring Debbie. She was dressed in a black bra with lace stockings attached to a garter belt. She had a pleasant look on her face.
Next to Debbie was another mannequin that Kari quickly recognized as Carol the display woman. She must've been the display staff that accidentally came in on Diane and had been "added to the inventory." In a way Kari felt happy for Carol. She had envied the mannequins and now she was one of them. Maybe now she would be happy.
The longer Kari remained on display, the more she enjoyed being a mannequin. She wondered if the others felt the same way. She also noticed that not once did she ever see a shoplifter!
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