In the lights of the store they waited. The manikins.
That’s all they knew…. Then.
I got them dressed every couple of weeks. I’m Madu by the way. Not that it’s important, as I’m dead now.
My job at the f! Store was simple. I was a permanent part time, so got the rotten jobs. I put clothes on the racks. Repricing the stock. Washing the stock that had been worn. Keeping a track of the lost and found. Answer simple questions. Always, always let the prettier girl do the cutest men. I got stuck with anyone she didn’t want to deal with. Poor fools didn’t know I’m a dyke. Or didn’t care. So I got some really pretty girls. I was completely professional, of course. I’m not a pervert, just really appreciate the female form. Men have never done anything for me.
Princess, the Bosses daughter was the worst of them. She was born and bred as straight as a arrow and always a Princess in her mums eyes. Could do no wrong. She wasn’t dumb exactly. Just absent minded. She lost the store a few hundred one day by being on her iPhone . The “undesirable” took that to mean she was too busy and managed to leave wearing one of the best shirts in the stock.
Of course mummy wasn’t angry. Just disappointed. And when Princess made up for it by bringing in half the high school for the next social dance? Mummy forgave her. Even paid for her dress. Fucking evil bitch, she could do no wrong and be pretty at the same time. She had this
I fitted the mannequins on a monthly basis. That’s pretty much the best job in the world. Can you hear my sarcasm? No? Oh. Well it’s shite. Like trying to fit a cement mixer. They never move properly. They always seem to be in exactly the wrong shape. Sometimes they almost seemed to be doing it on purpose. If you were really unlucky you get a cut.
One day as I was fitting one, I slipped and got my hand almost cut off on the sharp edge of a elbow joint. They were made of this fucking awful plastic. All recycled and that, but slippery like a eel. Almost skin like sometimes. I might have paid a bit more attention to that. I’m putting this one in the f! signitures peice, a pair of tuxedo shorts and a creame shirt. It really made the mannequin look quite silly, in my opinion.
To recompose myself, and stop me from pouring my inner claret all over everything I had to raid the first aid kit in the back. I was shocked, well ok I wasn’t but I can pretend. It was mostly full of fucking tampons and condoms. Clearly Princess had been at it. Stashing her bloody stores in the bloody kit. Pun intended.
I took the closest looking band aid and patched myself up before getting on with the job. I made a mental note to nick all the condoms in a few days. Just to make next fortnight a bit more fun. I doubted princesses mum knew about her little secret. I wondered who her current squeeze was. Some flap bozo from the foot ball team no doubt.
A few day later I took them. And then all hell broke loose. She comes up to me bold as you like and asks me if I know we’re her condoms are.
“No I don’t. I’m not a sex educator. I did see boss nick her hand yesterday. Maybe she found them? She met Mr Princess yet?”
I’m truly trying so hard to look sensible dyke in my store uniform. A sort of blouse and midi skirt number. Makes me look like like a cherub. I hate it. I’m a foot smaller than princess but I’m making up for it in the chest area of you get my grip. I puff myself up like a duckling. She’s got nothing on me in a fight would fall over like a twig.
“Mr Princess? He’s not a princess. He’s a fucking motorcyclist. With arms the size of tree trunks and a cock to match. So fucking keep out of my stuff!” She yells, then storms off.
She thinks shes called my bluff. Oh how she wished she had. I managed to get Mr Tree Trunk’s, as I will now call him, number. She leaves her phone everywhere. I take it and text him messages. I’m pretty proud of myself. I impersonating princess pretty well it seems.
A couple of messages and I’ve got him convinced Princess is going to have sex with him at the store after closing. He asks to convince him. I’m going to go all the way tonight. Miss princess hasn’t actually done it with him! Ha!
I probably should admit I’m getting a crush on Princess. Stockholm? More like Bordeholm, I just haven’t really found anything else to do in this job. I’ve thought about this a few times now. I’m dead after all. It gives you a marvellously uncluttered perspective on things.
So he’s not entirely sure what between those hips of hers? Ha. So I take a picture of my junk and send it to him. I quickly delete the messages so when Princess finds her phone she doesn’t know.
Later on Mr Tree Trunk turns up when princess is at the front counter. Her eyes are out in stalks. Princess Mum / Boss sees him and is like “Whose this fellow?” Well in less polite words. Actually she said “Whose that horrible looking man, and whats he doing in my store?”
He walks in bold as anything and looks at princess and her mum. Mum is in full blown panic almost reaching for the phone. Princess quickly says “Mum this is Gavin. My boyfriend.”
Mum goes from full panic to out and out rage. “Your WHAT?”
Princess looks at me and knows I’ve done this. I’ve made this happen. She struggles to explain.
“You weren’t meant to meet him like this!”
I’m trying to my job and redress the mannequins as slowly as possible without laughing at Princess.
The argument goes on for almost an hour. I’m done with everything for close now. I say bye to the three of them. I did notice that one of the mannequins look different though. I should of payed more attention to that.
To late now.
I’m walking along the street the next day. f! Is between a show shop and a tax accountant on the main drag of the city. It’s a rainy day which probably means no one will come in at all. It will be quite and miss princess will probably get me to do stocktake in time for the autumn sales.
I get into the store and Miss Princess is already their. A little more dark than usual. “Mum made me break up with Gavin. He told her I sent him sexts! I’ve never sent a picture of my junk! Why would I? I don’t have any!”
She gasped, put her hand over her mouth. What the? I just had time to think.
“Fuck! She knows dad!”
I was really confused. She didn’t have junk? Her dad isn’t hear. Who is she talking…
“Too.” I said aloud as a dark shape loomed behind me. It was the large male mannequin. He smiled at me. His arm comes down on my head and I’m out cold.
This isn’t where I die. No. But I’m out for quite a while. Just long enough.
I’m in a dark room.
It’s almost pitch black. I imagine I can see something. A shape. A dark shape.
Then I realise. When I am used to the dark. It’s Gavin. Mr Tree Trunk himself. He’s in the corner. Stiff as a board. I walk over. His body. It’s feels like a mix of the mannequin plastic and human skin. It’s going plastic. Like some kind of infection is turning him into a mannequin!
I’m breathless. I’m panicking. I throw up. Dizzy for a second I recompose myself.
The liquid that comes out of my mouth tastes off. Like a sort of silken water. I’m already turning into one. I have the infection or whatever this is.
Mum Princess / Boss must be a mannequin. The whole species is slowly taking the planet. That’s why their are always more fashion stores around. They are keeping things secret till they have a army big enough. Or something.
I try and throw up as much as I can. I’m forcing the weird plastic liquor stuff out. I’m going to have to tell. Warn. Then I’m going to die. Or worse become one of them. God knows if I’ll even think like me then? I’m turning into one of them, when does my free will go? Why am I thinking of pointless philosophy when I can be trying to raise the alarm? I get up.
I find the door. Locked. Big chunky one. It’s the storeroom lock. I recognise it.
I reach into my pocket, nope they were sensible. Took the key off me.
Generally all that’s in hear is clothes and the spare mannequins.
I guess they are actually relatives? Something like that.
They have all gone. Except for Gavin. Whose clearly going to be full one in a short while. He’s probably to far gone.
I wondered if he’ll still have his trunk? Oh no. Must get absorbed or something. Miss Princess said she didn’t have any junk. Then why the condoms?
That’s a good question to ponder. Why the fuck would a mannequin need a condom? Unless they were able to reproduce some other way and wanted to stop that? That must be it.
Only good reason I can think of in this dark. Then Gavin starts to move. I can see the gleam of the plastic skin. He’s not quite ready but it didn’t take more than 24 hours for the process to complete. I’m going to be like him in no short order.
I bash on the door. I think they might guess it’s Gavin. I’m betting that it might be assumed I’m going to be out the whole time. I grab one of Gavin’s arms off him. He barely resits. Ah, I think to my biology classes, the stiff stage is like a chrysalis, a moth or insect. Before the final walking talking stage looking human enough stage. Gavin’s arm in hand waiting to see if they open the door.
I could almost laugh at the absurdity of it. The new mannequin, being used to fight the old.
The door opens. It’s Mr Princess. I clobber him in a big hit. He falls over like a domino.
I don’t have time to wait to see if he recovers. I race out the door. Then I see them.
Little clear plastic eggs. Like pills. Princess Mannequin is laying them. Like eggs. That’s how they spread the infection, they put them in your food or drink. These little egg things. Convinced that they are human they give you these little things that turn you into one of them mannequins. When did I eat one? They probably force fed me when I was out.
In a few seconds I had to get out of the store, I didn’t have time to notice them throw a knife at me. It hit me square in the back. I felt week, hot, then fell over onto the pavement.
As I slowly bled to death I thought about how manuquins only knew of lights of the store and the clothes I put them in. Not anymore.