It had taken me some time to get to this point. I just turned 26 and was totally on my own. I had spent a year living in France as a nanny and another year teaching English in Korea. I was hoping each of those experiences would give me some direction in my life, but they didn’t. By the Spring of 1999, I knew that I needed to settle down and finish college, although I wasn’t sure why.
School would start in a few days and I needed a part time job. I looked through the newspaper want ads and was discouraged. Most of the jobs that had the hours I needed and would take me with my limited experience were retail. There was a part of me that really didn’t want to be a part of growing consumer spending on frivolous items.
I applied for some jobs that seemed to be socially redeeming, but something was always lacking. In some cases the hours were too limited, in other cases the pay was too low or they were often looking for more experience or more of a long-term commitment.
Retail was just going to have to work. What would it be, one of the department stores. Or would it be one of the specialty stores at the mall — a jewelry store, The Limited, Eddie Bauer, Victoria’s Secret. One’s as good as the other and none were very appealing. I imagined myself dressed in a white coat try to coax passing shoppers to a puff or perfume or a facial application. Dread!
But I needed to work.
I was on the train downtown to put in my application at some of the downtown department stores along Michigan Avenue. However, it was 8:15 a.m., a little early for them to be open. I needed to kill some time. The train stopped and I noticed a Starbucks on the corner. I decided to stop, have a tall coffee-of-the-day and go through the morning’s classifieds.
Outside the train, it was shaping up to be the first cool day of the fall. Inside, the Starbucks was warm and inviting. I got my coffee and a scone and wandered up to a table along the front window. I didn’t pay much attention to what was going on outside and focused on the ads. Nothing. At least nothing that wasn’t there yesterday. Nothing appealing.
I sighed an audible sigh and looked out the window. Past the train platform, I could see the shops on the other side of the street. They were a little run down and in need of repair. This was a new Starbucks and I was guessing that its presence would mean that new businesses would relocate to some of those shops and some of the existing renters would move out.
The larger of the businesses across the street was a business that either sold or made mannequins. It looked a little disheveled with numerous mannequins and forms fighting for space in the front window. The shop was on the corner and had windows facing both streets.
Two doors down was a newsstand store that looked to have every newspaper and magazine you could ever need. It also appeared to be the neighborhood convenience store and probably hadn’t changed substantively since the 1930s.
Between the newsstand and the mannequin store was a narrow street front shop that appeared to sell used women’s clothing. The storefront was barely wide enough for the double wide entrance door. But it was different that the other stores. The wood work was nicely painted and from what I could see, the inside of the store was well keep and inviting.
Above the door was the sign bearing the store’s name — “Unique Woman.” Not a fancy sign, or a fancy name. In small print underneath the sign were the words “BCRF Retail Store.” What was BCRF anyway? I strained my eyes and read the fine print on the bottom portion of the sign. BCRF stood for “Breast Cancer Research Foundation.” Evidently the store was a fundraiser for breast cancer.
Breast cancer touches me in my heart. My mother died of breast cancer in her 30s when I was just a toddler. I barely remember her. My dad was 41 at the time and remarried within a year. My new mom was a woman that really could care less about me. I think she resented the fact that she had to include me in her life.
My step mom insisted on calling me Amanda. Even though that was my real name, I had always been called Mandy. She felt that Mandy sounded too preppy. A few years later, they had kids of their own and I was basically left out of the family.
The only redeeming part of my teenage years was playing on the varsity squad for my high school basketball team. My height (I’m 5’10”) got me noticed and my coach gave me the confidence I needed. Shirley was her name and she became a mom for me at a difficult time of my life.
At this point in my life my parents really aren’t a part of my life anymore. I’ve been out of the house since I was 17 and I don’t receive support or much contact from them at all.
Sorry to bore you with my hardships, but thinking about my past got me a little sentimental and I decided to walk across the street and check out the BCRF Retail Store. Although I would hardly admit it to myself, I always worried that I had inherited the breast cancer gene from my mom.
When I stepped outside the Starbucks, the rain had started to lightly fall compelling me to walk directly across the street, instead of going to the crosswalk at the corner. As I walked under the elevated train station, I could see the warm lighting and displays in the store.
The door to the store squeaked open and immediately a gray-haired woman looked up from her stool beside the cash register. I immediately noticed that the store was divided in half, with the left half accommodating used clothes and the right half, new clothes. An incredibly beautiful and realistic mannequin wearing an elegant dress stood in on a platform in the middle of the store.
A big warm smile came to the gray-haired woman’s face. “Welcome to our store! Are you looking for anything in particular?”
“Um, no. I was just having coffee over at Starbucks and had a few minutes before my train. I, um, thought I’d look around.”
“Well,” she said with an even warmer smile, “you are welcome here. All our proceeds go directly to support breast cancer research. We have ‘previously worn’ clothes that people have donated to us and we also have some new clothes that various manufacturers and stores have donated to us.”
Usually I avoided these type of stores. But this place seemed somehow different. Maybe it was because my mom died of breast cancer or maybe it was because it smelled good, not stale like so many second-hand stores. Either way I immediately knew I liked it there.
“Your store looks nice, right now I’m just looking. I’ll start school in a few weeks and I’m out looking for a job today.” I held up the classifieds that had been tucked underneath my arm.
“Really, what type of job?”
“Retail I guess. I’m not qualified for much else.”
The woman got a big grin on her face. “Well, I’m looking for someone to work 15-20 hours a week; 10 dollars an hour and pretty flexible hours. How about here?”
“Uh, really? Uh wow! Yes, I’m interested.” I was almost speechless.
We quickly introduced ourselves. The woman’s name was Catherine and she was a delight. She looked to be around 50. She was short and a little plump. She was Italian, a fact evidenced by her engaging facial expressions and hand gestures. Her hair was short, straight and totally gray.
I shared my mother’s experience with her and she indicated that she was a survivor, having had a double mastectomy in 1996. “So far I’m a survivor,” she said with the enthusiasm of someone with a new lease on life.
I was hired on the spot and started work the next afternoon. The shop had done well since Starbucks moved in giving Catherine the ability to hire some help. This was especially important since October was her biggest month. She explained that two factors made this the case. First, October was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all the press coverage tended to bring more people into the store. Second, was Halloween. Evidently many people seek out second-hand stores to do shopping for Halloween costume parties.
By the end of September I was fully acclimated into the job and the flexibility fit perfectly into my school schedule. I was able to schedule all my classes on Tuesday and Thursday, which left the other days for me to work at the shop. Catherine was a wonderful person to work for and the shop turned out to be a wonderful place to work. It was retail with a cause! I found I looked forward to my interaction with the customers and found personal fulfillment in helping them find what they wanted.
I also enjoyed keeping the store looking fresh and inviting. This included straightening the racks and arranging the displays when store traffic was slow. One of my weekly responsibilities was to change the store’s only mannequin. This was fun too. I tried to dress Kim (that’s what Catherine said her name was) in contemporary clothes that would facilitate shopper’s interest and invite them to browse a little longer.
My enjoyment of the job was surprising. Back when I played high school basketball, a friend of my coach was a photographer and thought my height and natural blonde hair made me a potential model for one of the local department stores. I was too shy and couldn’t believe that I had the looks to be a model, so I declined. I’ve always regretted that. Clothes and running a store was a lot of fun!
The job had another plus — it had a computer. I couldn’t afford a computer and had to bother with tight schedules and limited time at the college’s computer lab. I complained one day to Catherine and she offered to let me use the store’s computer anytime I wanted when it wasn’t being used for work stuff. The best time ended up being in the evenings after the store closed at six.
It was one of those evenings in early October that things got a little weird and very scary. It was about seven thirty on a Monday evening and the sun was just about down. It had been a very busy day, one of the news programs had profiled our store as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month resulting in heavy sales even for October. Catherine did a very good job being interviewed. She was a natural.
I was working on a project for my zoology class and was all absorbed in the computer when I heard someone call my name. The shop had been closed for an hour and a half and Catherine had left at four thirty. As far as I knew I was alone.
I stopped typing and held my breath.
I started work again and then it came again. Mandy. Mandy.
I stood up and walked out into the main store. Every squeak of the floor and every breath I took seemed amplified.
I turned around to go back into the office. Mandy. Mandy.
I was so freaked that I grabbed my stuff and ran out the door, locking it behind me. I could hardly sleep that night. As far as I could tell there was no one in the store, but yet I knew I heard a sound. What if someone was in the store and had robbed it after I left? Should I call Catherine? She would think I was crazy. Maybe it was a practical joke, after all we are getting near Halloween.
I dropped by the shop the next morning even though I didn’t work. I just wanted to make sure everything was all right. Catherine was there with her usual smile. I asked her if she ever heard noise when she stayed late at night.
“Mandy, this is an old building. It makes all sorts of noises. Besides we have an alarm.”
“These were different noises. Voices. Voices calling my name.”
Catherine looked at me with a furrowed brow. “Mandy, you’re a science person. Are you telling me you think you heard a ghost?”
I ended the conversation. It was a week later before I had a real need to stay late and work. This time it was a writing assignment for an English class I should’ve taken years ago. The sun was going down earlier so it was already dark by 6:45. I paused to see if I heard any noises. All I heard was the trains going by outside. I finally relaxed and got into my work. Shortly after eight I heard it again.
My heart thumped at earthquake levels. I tried to pinpoint the sound.
It seemed to be a woman’s voice. And it seemed to come from the showroom.
After checking to make sure the alarm was on, I followed the sound out into the main store. All was quiet until a train stopped and let off three noisy teenage boys.
Mandy. Take me out of here. Take me to a better store. Mandy. Please.
The sound seemed to come from the mannequin. Kim the mannequin.
“CRAP!! This can’t be. I’m getting out of here.” With that said, I dashed out the door and rushed home.
Another sleepless night. The mannequin seemed to speak to me and I was scared shitless— absolutely shitless. I couldn’t believe it. It defied logic. I knew a mannequin couldn’t talk. Why did I run? Here I am a student of the sciences and yet I freaked. I resolved to be more logical and braver next time.
Next time didn’t come until three days before Halloween. Back to Zoology this time, a paper with a lot of research on the Internet. It was dark by 6:15. Catherine had taken the day off, so I was for sure alone.
As I knew I would I heard the voice again. Mandy. Mandy. Take me out of here.
Be brave Mandy. There has to be a logical explanation. Just take it easy. Breath deep. Relax.
Mandy. Why won’t you talk to me?
“Sure I’ll talk to you. Who are you? Where are you?”
Mandy you know me, I’m Kim.
“Kim? Kim? Kim the mannequin. This must be a joke.” At this point I talked out loud. It seemed like there was protection in talking out loud. I walked out to the main store. I could see Kim the mannequin’s back. She was wearing a black strapless evening gown that I had dressed her in this morning.
Yes, it’s me Kim. I am a mannequin.
I walked in front of Kim. Her face looked as frozen and stiff as ever.
Take me out of here Mandy. I don’t like it here. I deserve better.
“What are you talking about?”
I’m too beautiful for a second-hand store. I should be in Sachs or Macy’s or Nordstrom.
“Well you’re not, so get used to it. Shit, I’m taking to a mannequin. How can you talk to me? Who are you?”
My name is Kim. I think I’m a ghost but I’m not sure. Maybe I’ve been reincarnated as a mannequin. In any case I’m not supposed to be here. Take me out of here.
“I’m sorry Kim, but I’m not taking you out of here. I can see it now, I walk up to Macy’s with this mannequin under my arm. ‘Hey guys this mannequin told be she would rather be here than in the second-hard store down the street.’ Like that would ever work!”
Please Mandy. I can do bad things to you if you don’t.
At that point I was frustrated. Frustrated because I was arguing with a mannequin. And frustrated because I had let myself somehow believe that this was actually happening to me. “Listen Kim. I’m leaving. I’ll see you in a day or so.”
Mandy. I command you to do this for me.
“I’m sorry sister. Bye.”
The next morning was October 29, a Thursday and two days before Halloween and I stopped by the shop to see Catherine. I asked her how Kim got her name. I figured it was the name the factory gave her or just a name Catherine made up. I got a much more complicated answer.
“It’s an interesting story. Ivan and Natasha at the mannequin studio next door were making a mannequin in the likeness of one of the city’s most attractive and highly regarded models. Her name was Kim Dickinson. She was 31 years old and had been modeling in Paris and New York for some time. She was known for a bad attitude, a fact proved true during her sessions posing for the sculptor. She complained constantly.
“In order to speed up the process, the sculptor decided to take some mold of her body one section at a time. When he did her upper torso he found a lump in her breast. He urged her to go to the doctor, to get a mammogram. She initially refused.
“After a week she acknowledged feeling lumps in both breasts and reluctantly saw a doctor. Kim had suspicious lumps in both breasts. She denied it and then she cried and then she was angry. Her friends tried to calm her down, but to no avail. She went home in tears and wouldn’t let anyone console her.
“Late that night Kim came back to the mannequin studio. She had been drinking heavily. The store was closed. She somehow got in through the front door and entered the shop.
“When she broke into the front door she had set off the alarm and the police had been notified. The police came and reported nothing unusual. When Ivan and Natasha came in the next morning they found Kim’s topless body laying on the floor next to her mannequin form. She was dead — an overdose of sleeping pills.
“She left a note. It read — My life is gone. I will live through my mannequin. I will become the mannequin and be beautiful forever. The autopsy showed that the lumps weren’t even malignant. She killed herself out of foolish fear.”
“An eerie part of the story is that when the police who had checked out the store during the night came back to the scene, they remembered seeing two identical Kim mannequins. One of them was wearing only a pair of designer jeans. They figured she must’ve been able to fool the officers by taking off her top and pretending to be a mannequin. That tells you how realistic Ivan makes his mannequins.”
A tear fell down Catherine’s face as she finished the story. “Kim was fairly well know around fashion circles and her suicide was also well publicized. The reasult was that stores were reluctant to buy a mannequin based on her body. So Ivan and Natasha never mass-produced the Kim Series mannequin. The studio donated the original to me for use in our store.”
My heart was touched. “What a sad story. It sounds like she was a vain person who just couldn’t deal with even the potential of bad news.”
“That’s true. I met Kim only once. Let’s just say her opinion of herself was quite high. She looked good and she knew it.”
All the while Catherine was telling me the story. I looked into Kim’s still face. I could see her pride. I could see her beauty. I felt sorry for her.
I told Catherine about how I had heard voices from Kim last night. I told her how Kim had asked me to take her to a nicer store like Sachs or Marshall Fields. I told her that I didn’t believe in ghosts, but I was wondering if my views might be changing.
Catherine paused in thought. She looked up at Kim’s face. “I don’t know. I’ve never heard anything, but I know Ivan and Natasha seemed anxious to get rid of her.”
“I’m going to go and talk with them.”
Catherine seemed to be holding back a little. As I turned to leave Catherine had one more comment. “Mandy, I should tell you. This all happened on Halloween evening last year. Saturday night is the first anniversary of Kim’s death. Ivan and Natasha are very superstitious people. They believe Kim’s spirit is restless and something will happen tomorrow night.”
The mannequin store next door was definitely more of an artist’s studio. There I met Natasha. She was an older woman with a heavy eastern European accent. Evidently her husband Ivan was the artist. He wasn’t in, but Natasha told me he had sculpted statues in Eastern Europe before coming to America.
With few jobs doing marble sculptures, Ivan started out working for a mannequin manufacturer in New York. There he learned the tools of a new trade. He left New York and started this small mannequin repair shop. The new business turned out to be very good. Natasha was his business partner running the books and occasionally helping out with the painting.
But Ivan missed the ability to create a form out of stone or clay. Just three years ago, Ivan decided to make a limited addition mannequin. He met a local girl while teaching a sculpture class at a local community college. Her name was Natalie and she agreed to pose for a mere $200. Ivan made only 25 Natalie mannequins and they sold out in six months. The buyers were the best department stores in the nation. Her body and Ivan’s talent made her mannequin and instant success.
The demand for Ivan’s work was far greater than the supply. Following the Natalie mannequin came the Brenda mannequin, the Carole mannequin and the Heidi mannequin. All of the models were women that Ivan had met casually and invited to become his models.
Kim was different in that she was the only established model to pose for Ivan. I finally asked Natasha about Kim. She stopped and looked at me with a serious, even stern, look. “We don’t talk about that woman here!”
“Because there’s something sinister about her and events surrounding her death.”
“Sinister? She thought she had breast cancer and was so afraid to face it that she killed herself. That sounds desperate not sinister.”
“She was not a nice person. She haunts us in death.”
“What do you mean ‘haunts’ us?”
“She is not dead. Her spirit lives.”
“I don’t understand, how—“
Natasha cut in, “I’ve already said too much. You need to leave. You are no longer welcome here.”
“I’m sorry, but—“
“Just leave, Please leave.”
I left with a horrible gut feeling.
I worked with Catherine on Friday, October 30. It was very busy with many people coming to buy last minute costume items for Halloween parties. Catherine and I were worn out by the end of the day.
During our brief breaks on Friday, I had told Catherine about my conversation the day before with Natasha. “Yes I know that Natasha is very superstitious,” Catherine affirm my thoughts. “She really believes that something will happen tomorrow night. Silly woman!”
“I don’t plan on hanging around just incase.” I was a little surprised at what I was saying. My scientific mind had a tough time believing that this was more than a terrible tragedy. However, my emotional mind and my gut instincts told me there might be some truth to the story. In either regard, I didn’t plan on being around the store alone on Halloween evening.
October 31 was a beautiful fall day. The store hours were nine to six and both Catherine and I were scheduled to work. Store traffic ended up being a little light. I think most people had already had their parties or had already bought what they needed.
Things started to change around five o’clock. Suddenly Catherine came up with a serious upset stomach. We didn’t know if it was something she ate or not, but she threw up her lunch. She looked so bad that I urged her to go home and I offered to close the store at six.
“Are you sure? You know about this ghost story and all. I’ve been a little spooked all day, how about you?”
“No not at all, in fact I forgot all about it until you just mentioned it. Now go on home.” I was lying big time. There hadn’t been a moment all day when I wasn’t thinking about this story. It had all the makings of some sort of Hollywood thriller — tragic story, death on Halloween, first anniversary of her death, bitchy woman, etc. I would’ve given anything for Catherine to stay. But I knew that logically I had nothing to fear. Now if I could just convinced by mind!
The rest of the shift until six was uneventful. Only one customer and I think she was just stepping in to get out of the hard rain that started just around five.
Right at six, I turned the lights down to their nighttime setting, grabbed my bag and walked to the front door. My heart was beating fast. All that stood between me, the train, and home was the six feet between the front door and me. Arriving at the door I reached out my hand for the doorknob. Only seconds and I was home free.
My hand was less than an inch from the doorknob when the dead bolt clicked and locked on its own. It was like someone had installed a remote control door lock. I tried to unlock the door, but the lock was immovable. In a matter of seconds I was frantic.
So you think you can get away that easy, Mandy?
I froze with fear. Kim was back and she was talking to me. Somehow she had locked me in the store.
“I was just going home. We’re closed you know.” I tried to sound relaxed and in control.
Come back and talk to me Mandy. I’m not ready for you to go home yet. Let’s have an after hours conversation.
Without thinking, my body turned around and walked back to the mannequin Kim. I had no control of my movements.
Mandy, what did I ask you to do for me?
“W-Well, you wanted me to take you to a nicer store, er a like Sachs or Marshall Fields.”
That’s exactly right Mandy. And I’m not in Sachs or Marshall Fields am I? Why didn’t you do it?
“I didn’t think I could. It would’ve been weird.” I tried to change the subject. “I talked with Natasha. You’ve got a sad story. You didn’t have to kill yourself.”
I know. You don’t have to rub it in-- I was there for the autopsy, you know. I was stupid and deserved what I got. I was content to spend the rest of my existence as a mannequin . . . just not in this dump.
“This really isn’t a dump. It’s quite nice . . . and Catherine’s a sweetheart.”
Shuttup! You didn’t answer my question. Why didn’t you take me to a nice store worthy of my looks and body?
My heart was beating hard. I had never been so scared. “I guess I just didn’t realize how important it was to you.”
Well you guessed wrong. Take off your clothes.
“W-What?! I don’t think so.”
I said take off your clothes. Kim’s voice was strong.
My hands moved up and started unbuttoning my blouse. “H-How can you do this? What are you doing?”
You’ll see. Just keep taking off your clothes.
Behind me on the street, I heard the voices of children and adults on their Trick or Treat walks. They sounded happy. I stopped when my blouse was untucked and fully unbuttoned. I felt the coolness of the room on my chest.
Go ahead, take it off.
The sounds behind me made me a little embarrassed. I tried to talk nice. “Shouldn’t I go in the office . . . or a changing room?
Here is fine. They’ll think we’re a couple of mannequins. That worked once for me. Besides, I want to watch. And I can’t move . . . yet.
I took off the blouse and stood wearing a white Maidenform bra.
Keep going Mandy.
Next I took off my shoes and then the denim skirt. If I paused at all, my hands simply kept on going. Finally I took off my pantyhose. All that was left was my bra and silk panties. I was cold and scared stiff. Tears were streaming down my face. My hands ceased to move and no sound came from Kim. I was hoping this would be enough.
Now I want you to undress me.
“Undress you? Why?”
Just do it.
Slowly I stepped up on the pedestal behind Kim. Even though she had a voice, her skin was still hard and plastic. I unzipped her sequined black dress and pulled it down off her shoulders. I some cases I would’ve needed to take off Kim’s arms, but a sleeveless dress occasionally gave me the opportunity to cut corners. Once the dress was off Kim’s shoulders, it easily slid down to her ankles leaving her wearing just some black pantyhose. She wasn’t wearing any shoes.
I then slid off her pantyhose. Mmmmmm! That always feels so good. The hose slid off remarkably easy with her hard skin. She was now totally nude.
At about that time a group of kids and parents walked by the front window. Some looked into the store. Instinctively, I posed like a mannequin to complement Kim’s pose.
Once the kids were gone, I stepped back and looked at Kim’s bare body. Ivan was truly a wonderful mannequin artist. Kim’s mannequin was outstanding — very real looking and very beautiful.
Now I want you to stand in front of me and put your arms on my shoulders.
I continued to do as she commanded me, all the time wondering what was to come next. I was powerless to fight her. I figured that she was going to kill me. I imagined me laying dead next to this mannequin, wearing only my underwear. I imagined Catherine’s grief. I imagined the police standing around my body trying to figure out what happened. I imagined Natasha coming by to look in on me and not being surprised to find me dead. She tried to tell me not to talk about it. She tried to tell me to get out of there. But I didn’t listen.
Kim’s face somehow looked full of evil anticipation as I stood in front of her with my hands on her shoulder. I tried to move my hands around her neck, but to no avail. I was doomed to whatever fate Kim had in mind.
Now take off your bra and panties.
Again without the ability to control myself I reached my hands behind me to unclasp my bra. I pulled the bra off and was surprised at some new sensations. My breasts didn’t drop from lack of support. They stayed firm. When I touched them I felt their hardness and I noticed something else that scared the crap out of me — my areolas were nothing but a light pink ring around my nipples and my nipples were less pronounced . . . more of just a bump at the end of each breast. What was happening to me? There was more — I noticed that there were lines around my wrists. I quickly noticed that there were also lines around my shoulders, my waist and one leg.
At that point I had the first inkling of my new fate. Reading this story you may think I should have known beforehand, but let me tell you that up until this point I had no idea. I now knew I was going to become a mannequin. I would stand on the pedestal with Kim. She somehow had the ability to recruit me as a partner.
I slowly took off my panties and came up with another surprise. I no longer had pubic hair or any sex. My crotch was smooth and hairless, although it was way more sensitive to touch. I then noticed that my arms had no hair, just a smooth texture and surface.
Things changed with Kim’s next command.
Now put them on me.
JUST DO IT!
So I did. I had no choice, my body obeyed her not me. We were both about the same height and build, so my bra and panties fit her well. She looked good in them. I was confused as I dressed her when I noticed that her sex now had hair and that he skin wasn’t as hard as it once was.
All the time I was getting harder and stiffer. Every move was agonizing effort. My insides ached. It was like the chemical composition of my body was changing — and in fact it was.
Now put your clothes on me.
By this point I totally knew I was going to be a mannequin. I looked and felt like a mannequin. It took time, but I carefully dressed Kim in the blouse and skirt I had worn. I could hardly move by the time I was finished.
Now it’s your turn, Mandy.
Kim stepped down off pedestal and grabbed my naked body around the waist. This was the first time I actually saw her move and it didn’t surprise me at all. When she touched me, it felt amazingly good. Kim lifted me up onto the pedestal and quickly pushed the support pole up my ass. She then spent the next few minutes posing me in an identical pose to the one she had held.
There you go Mandy. You make a good mannequin. I hope you enjoy your pose, because you’ll be just like this for a long, long time. Hahahahaha!! As for me, I’m going to experience the world— again!
At this point I felt very helpless. I had been totally taken advantage of. I had tried to find out about the real Kim and had even defended her to Natasha. Now I was left to take her place while she gallivanted around town having fun. Inside, tears came to my eyes, but outside I was a stiff statue of a woman showing no emotion whatsoever.
I’ve got to dress you before I go, Mandy. I can’t leave you naked all night in this cold boring store.
She picked up the black pantyhose that she had been wearing. Standing behind me, she slipped the pantyhose over each foot. My body toppled back and forth. I knew how to dress a mannequin — with pantyhose, you took them apart at the waist and did the bottom half separately. I hoped she wouldn’t tip me over.
Luckily she didn’t. Once she had the pantyhose over my feet she slid it up my legs. I felt a soft sexual warmth as the pantyhose moved up my legs and around my waist. Wow!! This felt very good.
Hmmm. How am I going to get this dress over your arms? I guess I’ll have to take them off.
I nearly fainted standing up when Kim stepped up on the pedestal, grabbed my arm and pulled it off. She did the same with my other arm. Here I was standing in the middle of the store topless and with no arms. I really felt naked. Very very naked.
This was kind of a tacky dress that you made me wear. Let’s see how you like it.
Kim slipped the dress over my head. With no arms to stop it, the dress quickly cascaded down my body. Kim stepped behind me and then zipped it up. As she put back on my arms and straightened my hair, she gave her final words.
It could have been different Mandy. I asked you to take me to some nice fashionable store instead of this dump. If you had done that, you wouldn’t be standing here today. Although . . . I think I like it this way. You take my place as a store dummy and I get to go out and have fun!
Before leaving, Kim cleaned out the cash register and spent a couple minutes writing something on a piece of paper. The action was behind me and since I couldn’t see her, I had to rely on my hearing.
She waltzed past me on the way out the front door. I was helpless to stop her. The front door clicked shut.
Silence. Despite the outside activity, the store was as quiet as ever. I felt so very alone.
Life as I knew it was over. After an hour or so, even the outside was quiet except for an occasional car or the last train. I was emotionally exhausted.
The next thing I knew it was morning and the sun was starting to come up. The store was still and cold.
I tried to think of a way out of my predicament, but I couldn’t. Few people would miss me— I wasn’t close to any family member and I was new here in Chicago. Outside of Catherine, it could be months —even years— before anyone knew I was gone.
CATHERINE! Catherine. I forgot about Catherine. She would be coming to work around nine and would surely notice the different face on the mannequin. Surely she would do something to help me. But what? The situation seemed hopeless.
I watched out the front window to see people casually walking by. Where were the commuters? The Starbucks seemed uncharacteristically empty. Then it hit me. It was Sunday. No wonder. The store was closed on Sunday. I wouldn’t be seeing Catherine today at all. I would have to wait until tomorrow.
All that day I stood guarding the store. Bored! Bored to tears even. How could I ever handle this new existence? How could I live like a mannequin? The good: No stress, no periods, no sickness. The bad: No movement, no talking, no input on anything about my life. No sex!
During the course of that Sunday I went in and out of consciousness. I missed people. I longed for human contact. Then came nightfall.
Sunrise on Monday morning brought the people back. The Starbucks was full. I thought I could even smell the coffee. Many people walked past the store. People waited for the train.
Just when the morning rush hour started to quiet down, I was startled by the front door opening. It was Catherine. Yea! My rescuer was here. I wasn’t sure what she would do, but I knew Catherine would help me.
Instead of helping me Catherine turned on the lights and walked right past me toward the back of the store. I could hear her turn on the music. Enya. Soothing music. Music that I liked.
Catherine rummaged around in the back for a good half-hour before the first customer came in. An elderly woman looking for a heavy winter coat. Catherine came forward and helped her out. They stood right in front of me and Catherine never noticed that the mannequin was now ME not KIM! Dammit Catherine, notice me.
The woman left with coat in hand. The store was quiet again. Mondays were my day to work. I usually came in around eleven and worked until six. At some point Catherine would wonder why I hadn’t come in for work.
Jim, the mailman came in. His schedule was usually between eleven and noon, so I rejoiced in his presence since it meant it was nearing the point where Catherine would start wondering. “Hey, a new mannequin.” He commented as he walked by me, “She’s pretty. Look’s kind of familiar.”
Well she should look familiar, I thought. Jim and I were on a first name basis. I always regretted that he was married. He seemed like a nice guy— attractive too. I didn’t hear a response from Catherine about the new mannequin. Just a “hummpf.” It sounded like she was engrossed in some paper work or the latest magazine and didn’t really comprehend what Jim was saying.
The phone rang. It sounded like someone was asking for me. I was guessing it was Debbie, the only real friend I had met here. We were in zoology together and sometimes we studied together. “Hmm. I don’t know where she is, she’s due here and she’s never late. I have her call her when she gets here . . . Bye.”
Catherine spoke out loud. “Hmmm. I wonder where Mandy is. I hope she’s okay.” I could her Catherine sit back on the stool and start to rummage through some papers. The silence was broken by her scream a few seconds later. “OH NO . . . OH NO! It can’t be true . . . how can this be?”
I heard her running up behind me and then around directly in front of me. She had a look of total horror on her face. She stared at me, unable to speak. “Oh Mandy. Mandy my dear, look what she’s done to you.” Her voice had a sorrowful pity to it. It reminded me of my mother when I got roughed up by the neighborhood bully who just happened to be a girl too.
Catherine stepped up on the pedestal and touched my face, my hard stiff face. “Look what she’s done to you.” At that point I intuitively knew that there wasn’t much Catherine could do for me. I really was a mannequin unless some miracle changed me back.
Catherine stepped back down. I noticed that she had a small piece of paper in her hand. She turned and ran out the door.
A few minutes later she came back in with Natasha at her side. They both stood and looked at me. “Are you sure it’s her?” commented Natasha as she stepped up to touch me.
“I’m not absolutely sure . . . but the note. Read the note.”
“Read it to me Catherine. I don’t have my glasses.”
I quit this place.
I’ve moved on to something else.
I’m no longer your dummy.
I’ve left Mandy to take my place.
I’ve cursed her
And anyone who tries to change what I’ve done to her.
See you never,
“Omygod. There’s nothing you can do. Mandy will remain a mannequin.”
“What do you mean there’s nothing we can do? Can’t we get an exorcist or something?”
“No the curse. We might all end up mannequins . . . or worse!”
At about this point, I realized that I was in deep trouble. I was probably destined to be a mannequin for a long time . . . or maybe the remainder of my existence. Kim was long gone and without her I was just a store dummy.
Catherine didn’t totally give up. But she knew that there wasn’t much she could do except for taking good care of me. She did have a local priest come over. I stood looking straight ahead as she told him the whole story. He wasn’t much help. First of all, I don’t think he really believed the story. I’m not sure I would’ve if I were in his shoes. But even if he did believe the story, I’m not sure he had a clue of what to do.
After a week or so, Catherine realized that I needed changing. Off went the silky black dress and on came a brown jumper over a hunter green turtleneck. At that point I knew that I would totally love it whenever Catherine changed me. Every touch felt so sensuous and erotic. I wanted Catherine to rub every inch of my body.
December was a busy time with Christmas in the air. The store was very busy and a number of times customers wanted to buy the clothing item that I was wearing. I guess this was a disadvantage of a store with used merchandise, there was only one of any item. The result was that I got changed a couple three times per week instead of the usual once every other week routine.
I did enjoy being changed. Every touch aroused me to a great degree. At times Catherine would be part way finished dressing or undressing me and a barrage of customers would interrupt her. A couple of times I stood naked in the middle of the store for what seemed like a hour or so, although my sense of time was rapidly diminishing.
Standing nude in the middle of the store in the middle of December was an experience. It was a snowy December and it looked very cold outside. The customers took a moment upon entering the store to catch their breath or to warm their hands over the radiator near the front of the store. I felt the smack of cold air from the outside, but I never felt uncomfortable. It felt like goosebumps wanted to appear on my body and my nipples wanted to become more erect. However, I was stiff and warm.
My nipples felt somewhat erect despite the cold outside. This bothered me. I always felt embarrassed when my nipples showed. I used to always choose bras that were fairly thick and would keep my nipples from showing, even on the coldest day. However, I’ve lightened up in recent years due to the advice of one of my roommates. As a mannequin, my hard nipples showed through some of the thickest fabrics.
About a week before Christmas, Catherine got in a thick fur coat. “Here you go Mandy. This should keep you warm and cozy.” It did. She put it on me with nothing on underneath. I thought this was unusual at first but then I was reminded that mannequins only need to wear want you can see from the outside. Even though I wanted the store and Catherine to be successful, I prayed that no one would buy the coat. It felt soooo good! And after all, I deserved it!
January was a blur. Catherine let me wear the coat for most of the month. Then came February and Valentine’s Day. “Guess what Mandy? I got a special shipment of some sexy cleavage enhancing bras with matching panties and garter belts. The company that makes them supports breast cancer programs and gave them to us for free. We’ve got to sell them for the same price as the department store.”
Catherine really didn’t sell underwear, other than some odd pairs of pantyhose and occasional other foundations. This was something new. Catherine moved various items around to make room for the new product. She decided that in light of the occasion, the entire set should be displayed on the store’s mannequin. So I ended up spending the month of February in nothing but my underwear. Catherine apologized a number of times, but I was effective and she sold all the underwear by the middle of March.
About the second day of the Valentine’s Day promotion Catherine made a discovery. The label on the underwear had a photograph of a model wearing the product. This model was Kim! “So that’s what she’s up to,” Catherine then shared the discovery with me. It pissed me off. Kim had somehow turned me into a mannequin and she was off getting big bucks as a lingerie model. I was wearing the exact same outfit and getting nothing for it.
April and May were very depressing for me. First, I could see the signs of Spring outside — long days, more sunshine, flowers blooming. It made me homesick for the real world. Being a mannequin wasn’t the worst thing in the world, but there were better things.
Second, was Catherine. She was a little depressed herself and used me as someone to tell her deepest thoughts too. Her father was in his 90s and was dying. Their relationship had been one of love and hate. I thought there was some codependency involved, but I obviously couldn’t share my thoughts. It was a one way conversation.
To add to Catherine’s problems, her ex-husband was newly divorced from wife number two and was stopping buy a couple of times a week. She had gone out with him and had sex a number of times. I thought he was using her. She didn’t. And of course it was a one-sided conversation.
I wanted to be real again. Something I felt would never happen. Most nights I cried myself to sleep with tearless cries.
The summer brought an improvement in my attitude and another promotion. The same manufacturer that gave Catherine the bras and panties in February decided to give the store some bathing suits in July. So I spent the rest of the summer feeling sexy and free in some pretty nice bathing suits. The model on the tag was again Kim, a fact which didn’t piss me off as much this time. I don’t know why.
Catherine still talked to me, although a little less. I felt I was becoming less real to her. Once she admitted that she had a hard time remembering when I was real. I wondered if there would ever come a time when I was just a mannequin. What would happen when she decided to close the store and retire? Would I be sold to another store, to someone that never knew I was real?
Catherine’s attitude improved over the summer. She had come to her senses and realized that all her ex wanted was a regular stop for guaranteed sex and her father was improving. She had found a therapist and I think that helped.
The store celebrated its fifth anniversary in August. The Foundation put on an evening party/open house. Catherine dressed me in an elegant floor-length strapless black sequined gown. I felt so elegant when the guests mingled around the store. Catherine announced that this had been the store’s best year ever. This fact made me feel good. It was a good cause and maybe my modeling as a mannequin had added to the success.
When autumn started I knew that it had been nearly a year since I had been a mannequin. Halloween would mark the first anniversary. By the first of October the store was getting busy. One day Catherine came in with a smile, “Boy have I got a costume for you Mandy.” It ended up being a black leather bra and pants. Getting me into the pants was a struggle. She had to take me apart at the waist and turn my bottom half upside down. Even then the stiff leather made it a struggle. She topped off the outfit with black boots, a witch’s hat and an old broom from the back of the store. By this point I actually enjoyed a sexually enticing outfit. It was something exciting for an otherwise dull life.
October 31— Halloween. It was on a Sunday this year and again there was a hard rain outside. No one had bought the leather outfit and I was still wearing it. Usually the store was closed on Sunday, but Catherine had decided to keep it open hoping for some last minute Halloween sales. Sometime in the late afternoon a woman entered the store unnoticed. Catherine was busy checking out a number of last minute shoppers and never saw the woman.
The woman was dressed in a long black coat and wore a black scarf around he head. In the brief moment that she was in my line of vision I could tell she was young and Caucasian—that’s about it. Catherine started closing the store and I became concerned. You see, in my position I see and keep track of everyone entering and exiting the store through the front door. In this case, Catherine was closing the store and I had never heard her interact with the woman nor had I seen the woman leave the store.
Catherine turned down the lights and walked up to the front door with her purse, ready to leave for the night. Just as Catherine reached to open the front door to leave, the woman appeared behind her. CATHERINE! I wanted to yell in my loudest voice. BEHIND YOU, LOOK BEHIND YOU!
The woman tapped Catherine on the shoulder. Catherine turned around with a surprised look on her face. The look quickly changed into fear and trepidation when she looked into the woman’s face. Catherine then fainted into the woman’s arms.
I was anxious and worried. Was I about to witness a murder? Was this a robber? Was this some awful Halloween prank? I was helpless and I hated it.
Then the woman turned and looked at me. I would’ve fainted too, if I were capable. The woman was Kim. She was back.
She dragged Catherine over to an overstuffed couch on the right hand side of the store from my point of view. What was SHE up to? I was now even more scared. In the past year of thoughts, my mind had made Kim the absolute epitome of evil. She had made me into a mannequin. She had killed herself. She had become a fashion model again.
What would she do now? Would she make Catherine into a mannequin too? Would she kill us? I couldn’t imagine.
With Catherine slumped back into the chair, Kim moved her attention to me. “Mandy, do you realize that this is your first anniversary of being a mannequin?”
Yes of course I do.
“Mandy, have you enjoyed being a mannequin? You look good. I mean you look beautiful.”
So what are you getting at? It seemed like she was making small talk.
“Mandy, I should have come before now. I need to tell you something.”
Get on with it. Then I noticed a small tear coming from her left eye. Was this the evil woman that I’d heard about and that I’d hated all this year?
“Mandy, I need to apologize to you. I’m sorry I did this to you.”
With that said, Kim took the scarf off her head revealing a totally shaved head. She then undid her robe and took it off. Underneath was a black bra, panties and pantyhose.
She then stepped up on the pedestal with me. Omygod. What’s she going to do? She took off my leather bra and unzipped my leather pants. She tried pulling the pants off over my rear but they just wouldn’t go.
“Mandy, you’re making this tough.”
Finally Kim moved my arms so they were pointing straight ahead. She then twisted my waist and removed my upper torso and sat it on the ground. With my arms pointing straight ahead, I felt like Frankenstein. Kim then turned my lower half upside down and pulled off my pants.
I was perplexed as to what was going on. Kim then pulled off her pantyhose and panties and put then on me. She then turned my lower half right-side up and reassembled me. As much as I hated Kim, her touch still felt wonderful. And there was something curiously different about her now than a year ago.
She then took off the bra and put it on me. It was then that I noticed that her breasts looked different, more like a mannequin’s than a human. This combined with her shaved head made her really look like a mannequin. Maybe this was how she hid in the mannequin store when the police came through the night she killed herself.
She then put on the leather bra and pants. Even a live woman struggled getting on the leather pants. She walked into the back room and came back with a blonde wig on her head.
“Mandy, I’ve got to make this right with you. I stole a year of your life. I was so selfish. I thought being a major fashion model or at least being a mannequin in some uppity store would bring me happiness. It doesn’t. Happiness comes from doing what’s right. In this case doing what’s right means being a mannequin in a store that helps fund research to stop breast cancer. In my real life, I thought I was a breast cancer victim. I need to support a cure.
“So Mandy, tonight I’m going to give you your life back. We’re going to trade places again.”
Kim stepped up and lifted me off the pedestal and laid me back on the couch with Catherine. She laid her robe over my body.
“Bye Mandy. Tell Catherine I’m sorry too. I would’ve told her myself if she hadn’t fainted.”
Kim stepped up on the pedestal and gently stood over the support rod pushing it up inside her. She then took on the same posed as I had for the past year and she the year before.
As she became stiff, I became relaxed. I melted into the comfort of the couch giving Catherine a hug with my first move. Then I fell asleep.
The morning sunlight came in through the front window and warmed the store. I felt the warmth through the black robe and it felt good. I sat forward and the robe fell off my body. I folded my arms and relished being real again. I looked over at Catherine and then up at Kim. She was definitely back. She was definitely a mannequin again. She was beautiful. She looked in a state of total peace— a calmer look than before.
Catherine woke up. “Wha th . . “ I touched her lips to be silent and told her the story over the next few minutes.
At 9:01, the phone rang. It was Andre, Kim’s agent. He told me that Kim had decided to retire permanently from the modeling business to pursue support of a particular social cause. Before she left, she had given him a bio sheet for me. He was interested in hiring me for a photo shoot for one of the department stores if I wanted to make some money.
I did the photo shoot and to my surprise launched a new career. Catherine was my greatest supporter. My schedule kept me from working for the store, but it didn’t keep me from stopping my to visit Catherine and Kim. I remembered the sensation of touch that I experienced while a mannequin and often stated by the store after Catherine went home to rub Kim’s rigid body all over. I knew the pleasure that it gave her.
One pleasure that I eventually brought to her was the joy of being touched by a male. I was dating a great guy named Gary. One night I brought him into the store to caress Kim’s body. It totally turned him on and we ended up having the greatest sex right there on the couch in front of Kim.
Today is October 31, 2001. I’m wondering if Kim will have any surprises for us this Halloween.
©copyright Disman, 2001. All rights reserved.