The Arrangement

by Dmuk

It was all very simple when you got right down to it; a modest arrangement. Melanie over at the Lingerie Boutique, for one, sends me girls and I send her mannequins in return. The fact that the two are almost always the same person is of no matter at all. That’s what I told her to believe, and she does. Sometimes what seems complicated is really very, very, simple.

Today’s opportunity was a very striking young woman about twenty-five or so. She had a deliciously slim figure, shapely legs, brownish-red hair, and was extremely beautiful. Almost perfect. Melanie had listened to my instructions well.

"Hello," she said, a bit breathless (not as much has you’re going to be, I thought) "is this where I get my modeling test?" With carefully manicured fingers she held one of my ‘free makeover’ certificates. Among other pursuits, I’ve made a decent living as a glamour photographer and had hit upon this ‘contest’ gimmick only recently. It had been an inspiration - so far the scheme had worked wonderfully. Such a simple idea, really.

"Certainly – as a matter of fact I can accommodate you right away," I said. "What sort of modeling are you interested in?"

"I’m not sure really, but the lady at the undergarment store suggested that lingerie might be a good start."

(Oh, Yes, I thought) "Excellent," I said. "Is today a good time for you?" (I thought at her ‘I can start right away’)

"Sure. I can start right away."

"Wonderful!" (Yes, you are) "Just fill out this release and we can get started." (But don’t read it too carefully. Tell me about yourself, I thought at her.)

"OK." She picked up the form, glanced at the pages, and signed it, thereby agreeing that any images of herself as a display figure remained the property of the studio. This of course included life-sized, three-dimensional images. Simple legal words that would bind her effectively into her new role. "My name is Paige Marie Carlisle, and I’ve always wanted to try modeling. But up to now I never though it was for me."

(Do tell; you want to even more now…) "Really? I can’t see why you would not be an excellent model; you are a very lovely woman. I can imagine you’ll do very well…" (enough for a permanent position over at Melanie’s)

"Well, my boyfriend – ex-boyfriend – always said I was too skinny. Do you think so?"

"No, you seem to have almost the ideal body proportions. In fact, why don’t we get started? (You want to do this) Take a quick shower, powder yourself, then change into one of those bra-and-panty sets from the rack. Arrange your hair as if you were dressing for an evening out. (You can see an image in your mind; that is what I want you to look like)

She emerged from the dressing room a half-hour later wearing a wisp of lavender silk off the costume rack that fit her as if it had been custom-made. The garment was a toga-like wrap that accented her slim waist. Her overall style was simple, but elegant, with nylons in a matching shade and off-white high-heeled pumps that were particularly good for her long legs. Her makeup was just as I had imagined it should be; tasteful and just a bit showy. I thought (you are absolutely stunning) at her, which brought out a brilliant smile.

"I must look pretty silly – I feel silly."

"Not at all, you’re gorgeous (see yourself as the most lovely woman in the world, I projected) and the pictures will capture that essential beauty. I know just how to photograph you so you look your best," I said, while thinking (standing very still)

"I hope you’re right. Sounds exciting."

"Don’t worry at all, I’m an old pro at this." While chatting I had checked that the camera was cabled in and all the props and accessories were in order. Especially that one special strobe flash unit; it was ready too. I could feel that this was going to be a productive session and my enthusiasm was starting to project over to her. She was feeling more comfortable about modeling in lingerie. "Let’s do a few positions just so you can get used to taking posing directions." I said, while thinking (do exactly as I say).

"Okay. But don’t laugh." She stepped onto the seamless paper and took an awkward stance.

"That’s good; twist your waist a bit. Great! Loosen up a little – let your body flow. That’s the spirit; now turn around toward your left." I was snapping frames all the time, getting her used to the rhythm and thrill of fast-paced shooting. The ‘click-whir’ was her immediate reward for a good pose and it came often; I made sure of that. The rapport came quickly, as always, and after a few minutes she was listening to my unvoiced cues and moving like an experienced model. On impulse (my planted idea) she abandoned the paper and started taking poses using anything she could find as a setting. She really was quite good; in one way it was unfortunate I already had a permanent placement lined up for her.

"Superb! Now ruffle your hair a little – outstanding. Hold for a moment; pout. That’s what I want to see. Again! Yeah." (You’ll do whatever I ask, you are incredibly beautiful)

I powered on the special flash unit and heard the rising-pitch whine of it charging up. Meanwhile I cued her to strike some more complex poses on some of the gray cubes and low pedestals I had scattered around. She posed with umbrellas, or phones. She did not notice that I was guiding her to display-style poses and having her hold those poses for longer and longer intervals. I thought at her (you look especially sexy when you don’t move at all) strongly enough that she came up with the idea this time, seemingly out of the blue…

"How about I try posing like a window dummy – you know like from Victoria’s Secret or something?"

"Maybe," I said, thinking (excellent -- marvelous -- you are my best model ever.) "We can give it a try. There’s a glass plate over there on the floor. Why not stand on it and try looking like a statue?" I planted the notion (no hesitation, you want to do this) in her mind. She moved directly to the base and her first display pose was a striking one. She had learned so quickly. Pausing in mid-step, she held her arms out almost as if she was dancing. The she stopped, holding motionless for a few frames. I moved around her, taking more shots. She definitely had ‘the look’.

"That’s superb, but it doesn’t look enough like a display," I lied, "How about that old display case over there?" (no hesitation)

"Sure, that sounds cool! Let me touch up my makeup for a sec…"

"Go for it – I have to clean some cobwebs off it and spritz the glass." (put on a little more blusher) I mentally suggested.

She sauntered off, with much more of a sway I her hips than she had at the start of the session, while I readied the case. It was already spotless, but I fussed a little anyway and made sure there were no fingerprints still on the glass or chrome fittings.

"Ready?" She had come up behind me and startled me a little. "For some reason I can’t wait…"

"Uh Huh." (Soon you’ll be able to wait forever – the thought is making you very happy) "Let me get set up outside, then you go in to do your poses after I close the door. That way you can think of yourself as actually being part of a storefront display." (You feel very a happy, warm feeling, this is what you have always desired) "I want to take a series from all around your position, so hold each pose until I tell you to change it." (Thinking about being on display is making you aroused) Out of the corner of an eye I saw that the big strobe was charged and ready. "Go in anytime you want."

"Okay, then." A little flushed, she opened the door, stepped to the raised metal threshold, then paused and glanced over at me through the sparkling glass. "Are you sure there’s enough air?" She asked, her voice sounding hollow.

"Certainly, more than you will need for the time you’ll be in there. (no hesitation, you want to do this now) I thought at her.

"Alright, then, here goes." She stepped inside, looking a bit hesitant. (You’ll be fine, gorgeous Paige, you want to do this now) I closed the door behind her; it did fit rather tightly. It was hard to read her lips but it sounded like she said ‘This is great.’ She looked like a dream, a vision that would soon be everlasting. Taking a different pose than she had on the glass base, Paige held her left hand out so her fingers just brushed the glass inside. Balancing on one leg, she raised the other up so high her shoe almost touched her satin-covered tush. She composed her expression and held her stance, waiting for me to finish my pictures.

I took several, the click-whir of the simulated motor drive music to my ears, as I circled her glass enclosure. Facing her lovely face, I planted a mental kiss on her lips and was rewarded with a reaction – a slight widening of her eyes. That was the aspect I had been waiting for. (You’ll always be beautiful) I thought to her, closed my eyes, and triggered the strobe. It again made a sound like nothing I had ever heard, an airy ‘pop’ that sounded like the world's largest bubble breaking, and my vision turned a blinding blue-tinged white. It seemed to take a long time to fade away this time and then I realized a bee-buzzing sound was the camera clicking over and over again as I held my finger down on the release. My whole body felt heavy, leaden. I could not relax my fingers. Wondering what happened, I finally decided there must have been a reflection from the glass case and I had gotten caught in part of the strobe’s weird effect. The buzzing stopped suddenly as my finger finally started to move again. A few seconds later, to me, I was able to open my eyes and was able to gaze into the stunning, motionless face of my newest mannequin.

She was completely suspended, having gotten the full force of the flash, and continued to stand there rigid as a statue. Unblinking, unbreathing, unmoving, unchanging. Just like all the others who had posed for my ‘still-life’ effect. I wondered again where this extraordinary strobe unit had come from, there were no markings on it; I found it in a pawn shop and picked it up on the spur of the moment. At first it was just a gimcrack – another antique – until one night Cassie and I discovered its special property: Anything in range of the flash pulse ceased all activity as if time had stopped. Permanently, it seemed.

I glanced at the clock and did a double-take; it was several hours later. The photo session should have lasted only a hour or so. Now it was almost dark. I realized how long I must have been dazzled myself by the flash reflection and felt lucky to have closed my eyes. Otherwise there might have been a mannequinized photographer standing there too!

Opening the door to the display case,, I lifted the stiffened figure of my recent model and carried her over to the glass base. Her pose was not the most stable one but with care her figure was able to be balanced upright. The hand that had touched the glass now stopped in mid-air like she was some sort of incredibly beautiful mime. Only a few minutes ago, Paige had posed on that very base for the first time as a mannequin. Now she seemed to be totally at home immobilized there. "You're lovely as a statue now," I said to her as I studied her rigid body in detail.

Laying down the camera, I riffled through her purse (she wouldn’t be needing it ever again) and picked out her car keys. Later that night I would abandon it in the woods east of town. Her driver’s license picture was surprisingly good. Twenty years old, almost to the day, and a Scorpio. Cassie had the same sign. I stared at that name again: Paige Carlisle. Seeing it in print made it sound familiar. Then I realized that the boutique Melanie’s last name was Carlisle! Had she sent me her own daughter? Looking further, I found it was true; in the wallet was a picture of the two of them together at some holiday.

Well, that was certainly a turn of events! Although my suggestion to Melanie included an amnesia surrounding her sending models to me, if I brought her mannequinized daughter back to display lingerie in her store someone would eventually figure it out, even if Melanie was blanked. Come to think of it, the ‘old girl’ herself was not too shabby. She kept herself fit so that more than once I had thought about ‘asking’ her to model for me too. Maybe now was the time. Wouldn’t that be a little suspicious, though, I thought.

No, too risky, I decided. For now. But Melanie needed a new mannequin and Paige here, exquisite as she was, would not do. Perhaps this was the season or something, but almost all of my models, all of my incredibly lifelike mannequins, were already ‘on assignment’ in stores and malls. I never sold them outright; that would raise questions eventually. For my select clients I maintained a full-service display service; supplying the mannequins, props, and included the window dressing as well. That way the only one who touched my special models was me. Fewer questions that way.

Carefully, I undressed the motionless girl, unwrapping the silky fabric and revealing her shapely figure. Her breasts were not overly large but pleasingly curvy. Her nipples were slightly aroused and would form attractive accents to any blouse or thin fabric she might display. I had known from the start that her legs would look graceful in heels and they were. Slowly I slid the hose down their smooth extent, feeling the sculpting of the muscles under her frozen skin. Because of her one-legged stance I had to lift her entire figure up to remove the one stocking before replacing her shoes. This was one figure that would always have to be braced in position. Every one of my mannequins is unique.

"Time to meet your counterparts, Paige, I said to her blank stare, knowing full well she could never answer me. Her expression held the wide-eyed amusement and hint of a smile my imaginary kiss. Impulsively, I kissed her for real on her hardened, glossy lips; remembering how Cassie's sweet lips had tasted. I liked to talk to my mannequins and always remembered their names. I wondered what she might be thinking now, or if she was even conscious at all. Earlier I had assumed that when suspended their minds would go into timeless limbo along with their bodies, but my experience today had me wondering. (Don’t worry, you’ll never grow old) I thought at her just in case.

The back wall of the studio was a large sliding door. The space beyond opened up into a workshop and storeroom for my mannequin figures. There were only two other rigid forms posed there as I carried Paige in and placed her cautiously on a low pedestal. She wobbled a little, stiff as a board, before quieting. Her compatriots were as stunning as they were motionless. Posed along one wall was Cassie; the one and only. She still wore exactly the same lingerie she had when I had first tried out my antique strobe unit on her. Looking at her lovely face I thought back to the night when it happened.

Cassie was my favorite model and almost-girlfriend. Though I had shied away from getting involved with my models before, there was something more going on with her and she may have felt the same way towards me. I'll never know for sure. Anyway, we had finished up some routine catalog pics earlier in the day; the other models had left already to get a jump on their evening. Cassie had stayed and suggested dinner. The local trattoria was a mutual favorite of ours, we had discovered, and we both enjoyed the cuisine. We probably had a little too much of their excellent wine selection and I remember being relieved that we had walked over. On the way back we were arm-in-arm, at the start for stability and then because it felt right. Rather than saying good-bye at the studio door, she followed me in. Her smile was seductive.

"You know, I've always wanted you to do some glamour shots of me," she purred, "I'm feeling kinda glamorous right now..."

"Amorous, you mean."

"Um hum. The night is still young. Let's burn some film first!" She walked over to the costume rack and selected a fire-engine red satin corselette and held it up to her torso.

My heart skipped a beat; I had always dreamed about her modeling that particular item of lingerie but had never suggested it to her. Now she had chosen it at random. I wonder if even then I was subtly sending thoughts to her. "That will be super," I replied lamely.

She turned back to the rack, grabbed something else, and tossed it at me. I caught a black blur that turned out to be a pair of leather chaps.

"I feel naughty," Cassie said as she began removing her clothes, an impromptu striptease that left me speechless. "How about you dress up and be my cowboy tonight?" She scaled a ten-gallon hat at me; it landed on the seamless as I was paying complete attention to her naked body as she shrugged into the garment.

"Uhh, Okay. Let me put this on then."

She stopped her dressing for a moment and flashed me a sly grin. "Not OVER your pants, silly, INSTEAD of them!" She began lacing the front of the corset, molding her already curvaceous shape into an outrageous hourglass. "Let me see some of YOUR skin too; you've already seen mine lots of times. But first," she said, turning her shapely backside to me, "be a dear and help me with these laces?" While she braced on one of the posing pillars, I tightened the fastenings in back, finishing up with a bowtie knot at the top.

"Whooh -- this is tight!" she exclaimed, turning back towards me, "Tough -- to breathe."

"Should I loosen it up?" I asked. Cassie was swaying a little as she stood there; I didn't want her passing out on me.

"Is -- Okay," was her gasped reply. "Will look -- sexy." She took a couple of deep breaths, and continued. "Better now, but you'll have to help me -- with the stockings." She pointed to a pair of red lace hose draped over a chair by the mirror.

"Sure." Little did I know that would only be the start of my experiences dressing her figure.

"Give me a couple of minutes to do my makeup first." she said. "Besides, YOU have to get your costume on, too." She turned toward the mirror and busied herself with her brushes and pencils.

I had forgotten that the front of the chaps was open until I had started to put them on; by now it was too late to back out. That night, I was feeling pretty studly anyway and was not about to disappoint her. I knew this was going to be a special session. Putting on the hat, I must have looked like an actor in some porno flick: 'Darrell does Dallas' It looked like Cassie was going to be my cheerleader tonight.

She had finished too, her showgirl face was particularly striking. "Ready for... Well, hello, cowboy!" She looked me over. "Either you're packing a concealed weapon, or you're damn glad to meet me."

"Both." I moseyed up to her (only Texans can 'mosey') and held her amazingly tiny waist. I started to plant my lips on hers but kissed her interposed hand instead.

"Don't -- ah -- not yet, that is," she smiled at me, "You'll smudge my lip gloss." She touched her finger lightly to her chiseled mouth and then moved it to mine. A butterfly's caress. "Later..." she said in a succulent tone that left no room for misunderstanding.

I hesitated; thinking back I wonder how things would have turned out of I had decided to muss her makeup. A lot different, probably. Who's to say for sure. Even so, that was the point of no return.

Her stockings were stretchy; they coated her slim legs with an intriguing pattern of rose blossoms and winding stems, attaching at the top to garters on the corset. We were both still tipsy enough that getting them fastened was a comedy of fumbling. I almost snapped myself in the eye with one of them before getting them all closed. Cassie stepped into high-heeled pumps that were covered in red satin. They were just the right ones for this costume. She looked absolutely stunning.

She saw me leering at her, "Of course, cowboy, I'll need help taking these things off, too." Before I could answer she walked right past me as seductively as she could and onto the seamless background paper. "For now, let's make some pictures!" She took a pose that would have looked risqué even in a Frederick’s window and waited for me to catch up.

I found the camera and started shooting. Frame after frame, roll after roll. It almost seemed a part of me, a clearer eye, as I captured Cassie's gorgeous image over and over. We went all over the studio; into the bedroom; into the kitchen. Even to the garage, where she picked up a crescent wrench and became a calendar pin-up for me. It was the most amazing, spontaneous, photo shoot I had ever done and it was about to become even more incredible.

We had hit a bit of a lull; I was changing film and wracking my brain for new ideas. Cassie was sauntering around the studio, pausing every few seconds at some prop or another. I had opened another bottle of wine and we were both thinking about calling an end to the photos and a beginning to our night together. It was my suggestion, I recall, that guided her final minutes as a living, breathing, model.

"Hey, want to try some strobe shots?" I offered. "I got this new gizmo the other day."

"Sure, Tex," she agreed, "just tell me what to do. Let's make this the last setup of the night; I think your weapon's been hidden too long."

"Righto, sweety! First, stand over there in the middle," I directed and she complied. "Make sure there isn't anything to trip over, because I'm going to turn off the lights in a minute." I was attaching the special strobe to the camera.

"How come?"

"What I want you to do is move wildly, kind of like a go-go dancer and I'll take some pix with the strobe running. You'll appear on each frame several times, like a ghost. I can also move around so it will look like you're dancing with yourself. At least I hope that's how it will work. I don't know exactly what this thing can do." The strobe had charged and the ready light was glowing a pale green. "Ready, Cassie?"

"I'm always ready for you!"

Lights out; a few seconds for the shadows of the objects to appear. The room was lit only by the few indicators on the equipment and what streetlights filtered in through the drawn curtains. Cassie was a darker, shapelier, shadow in the center of the room.

"Hold still for a sec, let me run a test exposure before you start dancing." I was tinkering with the settings and not looking at her.

She giggled in the darkness. "Holding still for you, as requested." I had wondered what she thought was so funny.

"OK -- here goes." I triggered the strobe; instead of a quick series of flashes there was that weird 'pah' sound and the brilliant light. An afterimage of Cassie was a freeze-frame on my retina. I was mostly surprised but remember noticing how sexy she looked in that moment. Blinking to clear my vision, I rubbed my eyes.

"Wow! That was really strange. I'll be you have spots before your eyes..." Silence. A second or two passed until it was obvious she was not going to answer. I could barely see her outline, standing upright on the paper. "Cassie?" Another long second; nothing. I ran up to her; she did not seem to react to me. "Are you ok?" I touched her face and will never forget how hard, how incredibly solid, her body felt. Even her soft skin was stiffer, smoother somehow. I raced over to the light switch, almost tripping on a cord, and flooded the studio with illumination. At last I could see Cassie, but I still didn't believe her metamorphosis. She had become a mannequin!

Her intent was to surprise me, and she had. It was truly ironic that she had decided to pose like a window dummy at the instant the strobe pulse turned her into a motionless statue. She stared fixedly past me with unblinking glassy eyes. Her arms were held woodenly in front of her torso in a stilted imitation of a display figure with her hands posed at unusual angles. She had tilted her head slightly to one side and adopted a blank look that was now frozen on her lovely countenance forever. It was like someone had swapped her with a life-size doll.

"Cassie! Can you hear me?" I waved my hand and snapped my fingers inches from her face. She did not move one hair. I shook her by the shoulders and her whole rigid body teetered without bending a millimeter. "There's been a malfunction with the flash -- you're in some kind of trance or limbo. Don't be afraid, I'll get you free. Just wait!" Waiting was something she was now very good at. Cassie did not move.

Poring over the strange flash unit, I could find no controls other than the 'on' switch. There was only the sync cable coming out of it. The strobe had cycled and the green ready light was back. I switched it off before it triggered accidentally. Power came from batteries, old 'D' cells, but there were no labels inside the compartment either which was very strange. Closing it up again, I powered it up and aimed it at the rigid figure of my frozen model and snapped another frame. Once more the oddly brilliant flash, but no change in her motionless state. It was an outside chance, but I thought that maybe the effect would reverse on its own every other time. But it did not, and neither did anything else I tried over the next few frantic hours. Cassie remained motionless throughout, posed stiffly in her crimson corselette, looking like a dream.

Months; no, years, had gone by since that fateful night and Cassie has remained unchangingly lovely. All she had needed was a periodic dusting until I hit upon the idea of putting her into a display case. That made it easier to keep her mannequinized figure clean as a whistle. The hope and dream of finding of finding a way to release her faded over time and I became used to having her there in my studio and trying new lighting setups with her standing in for the model.

That's how I came upon Amber, the other figure that remained in my studio. After the incident with Cassie I continued my photography practice after a short break and was working on some portfolio shots for a model who was just trying to get into the business. The usual agreement was to swap pictures for modeling time. Amber worked as a waitress -- talk about clichés -- while making the rounds of the major agencies. So far it had not worked; that afternoon she must have been in a particularly vile mood. Maybe the latest rejection had sunk in.

We were going to do some swimsuit poses and segue into topless and then full nudes. It did not take much imagination to guess which direction she wanted to steer into; there's always an insatiable need for fresh faces and bodies in the porno biz. Objectively, I thought she might do well there. Her figure was slightly too fully-packed for print work and her nasal Queens accent grated on everyone's ears.

She had spent what seemed an unusually long time in the dressing room and so after setting up the lights, and waiting, and waiting, I decided to do some tests with Cassie. The lighting for nudes has to be contrasty, but soft. That means umbrellas and light banks, both a real bother to get exactly right. I had positioned her rigid figure on Amber's marks and had snapped off a couple of polaroids, adjusting the one reflector in between. There was a tiny spill from the hairlight that I had just corrected. Walking past my mannequinized model I caressed her shapely derriere casually.

"Awww -- Isn't that sweet!" Amber's bray made me jump. "Playing kissy-face with your dummy girlfriend."

Ignoring her, I went back to the tripod and busied myself with the lens. There must have been dust on it somewhere.

But she wouldn't let up. "Whatza matter? Can't get a real woman to go out with you?" She strutted around the studio, swaying her hips and shaking her booty.

"Don't go there, Amber! Let's just shoot your pictures like we agreed. Leave me out of it." Truthfully, I had not been going out much, hoping against hope that somehow I could revive Cassie. I couldn’t say that of course, that my girlfriend was this mannequin.

"Oh, and you've dressed her up SO pretty!" Amber had walked up to Cassie and was looking the motionless model over. "Maybe you would like me to wear her costume for you?" She started to undo one of the laces. "At least I'm a living breathing person."

"So....." I had started to say 'and so is Cassie' when I caught myself. Then I realized what I was going to do. I said, "So you want to model lingerie too? We can do that after your nude series; no strap marks that way." I was thinking (forget her, let's get started already) at Amber very intensely.

She said, "OK, let's get started already!"

"What?" I had rolled a two-wheeled dolly behind Cassie and was moving her off the background. Even though she looked like a fiberglass mannequin, Cassie's stiffened body weighed the same as she did when she could move.

"Let's get started, I said." Amber repeated. "Forget her..."

The photo shoot proceeded almost as planned, despite Amber's desire to 'spice up' some of the stock poses. I reflected she could probably do quite well in the X-rated department. Every now and then I could think a suggestion at her and she would move or respond as if I had spoken to her out loud. I hoped she could not hear what I was thinking privately.

Stopping to change film, I casually picked up this special strobe unit and attached it to the camera. The photo series had progressed to the nudes, and I already had a pose in mind for her. One she would hold for a very long time. Amber was out on the patio in a terrycloth robe, smoking, while I positioned several of the posing boxes on the floor. They formed a raised platform that could support a reclining figure.

She came back in, trailing a stale smell, and doffed the robe. Amber had a voluptuous figure, and she knew just how to use it. There were no bikini shadows on her pale skin and her dark pubic hair was neatly trimmed. Her hips were a trifle wide for a runway model, her breasts just enough on the large size to distract from the clean line of most designer fashions. Statuesque, that was the word for her shape, ironically.

"What's next? I gotta get ta work."

"I'd like to try some art nudes; we've already done the calendar poses." I thought at her (sounds like fun) getting the hang of suggesting.

"Sounds like fun!" Without asking she lay down on the platforms, face up, and struck a pose that was more appropriate for Hustler magazine than Fine Art Quarterly. "Howz this?"

"Good, but let's make it better. Turn over onto your tummy." She moved, while I talked and started to charge up the strobe flash. "The whole point of fine art is to look at the naked body as a pleasing abstract shape. How the light and shadow interact, the elegance you can achieve in your pose. Think of the gracefulness of the statues you have seen in museum -- that's what you should be trying to achieve." I thought an image into her mind.

She moved herself into my imagined position. "Better?" Amber was stretched out, resting on her elbows, with one leg pulled up higher than the other. Her waist had a very pleasing curve to it and the line of her legs was what I had been looking for.

"Much. Now place hour hands together, one on top of the other, and lift your head up a little. Look at that light stand over by the wall, imagine it is a very beautiful bird, a swan, gliding along the water. You have been resting by the side of a lake, thinking about... sadness."

"Sadness? Like, uh, what?" She said, breaking the moment.

Her pose looked almost right, but something wasn't working with the effect. Then I realized it was how her face and hair looked. Brassy.

"Never mind that. Let's try to get you more into the part, and then maybe you can feel what I'm talking about. Go back and take off all of your makeup and just use a little bit of base. Pick a pale shade of lipstick; only use a gray eyeshadow. There's also a short blonde wig in the dressing room I want you to wear. It's on a form." I thought at her (make yourself look like Greek statuary)

It took a few minutes, while I gazed at Cassie and wondered if I was doing the right thing. Then the memory of Amber's crass remark stung again and I knew that I was. The dressing room door opened and she returned to the studio.

"Is this more what you were thinking about?" It was; her classic beauty had emerged from all of the glitzy makeup and the short pageboy hairstyle emphasized her long neckline and beautiful shoulders.

"You got it!" I smiled, "Now, take that pose again and let's see what we can make happen."

She had a good memory, I'll say that for Amber. Her position was almost exactly the same though her new makeup did the trick. Now all she had to do was look pensive for a moment.

"That's great, just perfect! Look over at the wall like before. Super. Now think about what it would be like to be frozen there, never being able to move, never knowing if you might be a success. Never being able to have sex or see the sun rise. Think about infinity..." This time the image worked; she let out a little 'sigh' of melancholy. That was the moment I had been waiting for.

F-l-a-s-h! The brilliant light faded.

Amber had joined my lovely Cassie in statuesque repose. A quick check confirmed that she was as stiff and rigid; perfectly suspended.

"Surprise, Amber! I don't know if you can hear me, but you ARE frozen in place for eternity now. Just like my girlfriend Cassie is, the one you mistook for a window mannequin. Think about that, if you can, when people mistake you for a sculpture!" Revenge tasted sweet to me, but I had no idea whether Cassie could appreciate the feeling too. Eventually it did not matter.

Both of my models were preserved, ageless, eternally beautiful. Even if Amber had not deserved to be immortalized, she was still a exquisite figure to look at. Time passed, and I did not think about the gift I had given them until the day when Melanie casually remarked that she needed some fresh mannequins to spruce up her lingerie windows. All at once I knew how to make the world a more beautiful place. Simple, really.