By Karen Singer
On Sunday, Roger couldn’t wait to go fishing again. Unfortunately, he had to get through church first. And also unfortunately, Carol had decided that he should be used to his corset enough now that he could wear it for the entire time they would be out of the house. Hours and hours!
As odd as it sounded, he was starting to get used to being in church with all the rest of it – from his high heels, to his dress, to the makeup and wig on his head. Dressed as a woman – for church! Well, sort of like a woman. And yet, it was something of both a comfort and a bit of worry for him to realize that he was actually becoming somewhat comfortable that way! In church anyway. He was absolutely not comfortable dressed like that anywhere else! And of course, even in church, he didn’t consider anything at all about his corset as being comfortable. Slouching even a little bit in his seat during the entire service wasn’t much of an option.
All his friends there reminded him of the hen party at Cassandra’s house the following week, to which he only replied that he was planning on being there. He had no idea what to expect though… other than most likely he would find it to be at least somewhat humiliating. But his life was becoming more and more humiliating by the day. How much worse could Cass’s party be?
As soon as church was over, Roger was more than anxious to get home. Stan was waiting on him to go fishing! He couldn’t wait! Unfortunately, once they hit the highway, Janice decided that she wanted Roger to buy lunch for her and Carol again before they got home. And once again, Roger found himself at that same family restaurant that she seemed to like so much. Yes, the food was probably good. But dressed the way he was among all those people pretty much prevented him from really tasting anything. His nerves were too overloaded.
“So you’re going fishing again?” Janice asked as they ate.
“I can’t wait,” Roger replied.
“You know there’s a good chance of rain again for later today.”
Roger grunted a small laugh. “When isn’t there this year? That’s no problem for us though. We fish in the rain all the time.”
Janice nodded. “Last time you brought back enough fish for a small party. Do you expect to do that again?”
Roger shrugged. “You never know. Some days are better than others. Last time was one of the good days. Sometimes we hardly catch anything at all.”
Janice nodded. “Well, just in case, if you’d like to invite your two friends over again tonight, I’ll plan something small to go with whatever you bring back.”
That surprised Roger. “Really? But what if we don’t catch enough?”
“Then I suggest you stop at the store and find something to fill out the menu.”
Roger smiled. “I guess we can do that.”
The extra delay for lunch mostly grated on Roger’s nerves, mostly because he was anxious to go fishing. But the moment he got home, he hurried as fast as his heels could take him to his room where he pulled his dress off. Waiting for Carol to help unfasten his damn corset so he could remove it was another thing that grated on his nerves. Carol’s teasing suggestion that he wear it while he was fishing was totally lost on him. But eventually the uncomfortable corset was gone and he was redressed and out of the house. He drove his truck a bit faster than he should, but he wasn’t the least bit worried about speeding. He was ready to go fishing! A few minutes later, Stan’s gear was stashed in the back of his truck and Roger drove them to another of their favorite places. Before long, they were both fishing the stream side by side like they always had.
Susan was trying to read. She was sitting back on the couch in her bedroom, trying to spend the day relaxing. She didn’t often get the opportunity since business for them was a seven day a week venture. Her reading was punctuated in the background by the occasional soft whimper of Ben-ben’s dreams. While she wanted the stupid “dog” to feel all that misery, it did tend to get a bit annoying at times.
She had been surprised to find out just how right Janice had been about Ben-ben’s talented tongue. She had taken advantage of it earlier that morning again. She knew her staff was more than glad to have Ben-ben around. She tended to go through her playmates very quickly… most of them needing a doctor’s care and a large payoff to keep silent afterwards. But with Ben-ben there, they wouldn’t have to continually find her the type of amusement she craved.
The state of Ben-ben’s condition was a big turn-on for her. Most of what Janice had done with him was nothing but amazing. There were a few things of course that she would have liked better. The only things that he remembered about his former human life was the fact that he was once human but would never be again, and all the remorse he felt over what he had done to Leila. She couldn’t help wondering how much worse his punishment would be if he did remember everything else about his “old” life.
Her musing was interrupted by a soft knock at her bedroom door, for which Ben-ben looked up and growled softly. She quickly shushed the “dog.” “Come in,” she called. She sat up quickly at seeing her father enter. “Father,” she said, nodding her head respectfully. “I hadn’t expected you.”
“Daughter,” Mr. Wu replied with a smile on his face. His eyes quickly fell to Ben-ben, then moved back to Susan. “Business will be taking me out of the country for a few days,” he said. “Will you need anything special from me before I leave?”
“Not that I know of,” Susan replied. Her father’s little business trips were a very common occurrence. “When do you leave?”
“Not until the morning,” Wu replied. “But it will be very early.”
“I wish you a good trip,” Susan told him.
“Thank you,” Wu replied with a slight bow of his head. His eyes fell on Ben-ben. “Are you enjoying your new… pet?”
“Very much so,” Susan replied. “I’m finding him quite… interesting.”
“I’ve noticed that the staff seems to be very interested in him as well.”
“I have no doubt,” Susan said.
Wu continued to stare at Ben-ben for a moment… and watched how intently the once human being stared back at him. “It really is quite remarkable,” he noted.
“Truly, father. Janice Stokley seems to have done a very good job with him.”
Wu nodded. “Indeed. The only thing I regret though, is that we didn’t get a chance to question him before he was… changed.”
“No we didn’t,” Susan agreed. “But that is my fault. I didn’t specify with Janice that we might want to. I only wanted him punished, and nothing more.”
“Just so,” Wu replied with a nod of his head. “Still, it is a shame.” He looked at Ben-ben again, and was a bit put off when the stupid… “animal” suddenly got up and started crawling happily towards him. Wu easily guessed that Ben-ben was looking for… affection? He watched as the “dog” sat down on his haunches right in front of him, hoping that Wu would pet him. Wu shook his head. “No!” he commanded.
“Ben-ben! Back to your bed!” Susan ordered and watched as he did as he was told.
“Quite remarkable,” Wu noted again. He turned back to his daughter. “Will I see you tonight at dinner?” he asked.
“Of course,” Susan replied.
“Good,” Wu said with a nod and turned to leave.
“Father!” Susan called, stopping him.
Wu turned. “Yes?”
“Father…” Susan said again hesitantly, “technically, Janice did leave us a way to question him… if we so desired.”
Wu turned back, his full interest on what his daughter had to offer. “And how is that? I thought he had no knowledge anymore of his human life.”
“According to Janice,” Susan explained, “there is a command we can give him that will pull him out of this “dog” state entirely. When it’s used though, he will remember his human life, but strangely, she made it so that he will not remember being a dog at all. I’m not sure how well it will work though since according to Janice, his mind was not holding up well to her conditioning process.”
Wu considered that. “Information is our primary business. While I’m sure there is little he can offer us, I’m wondering what your thoughts are as to doing this?”
Susan took a moment to consider that. “You are right of course, father. Information is our primary concern. And while I too feel there is little he can offer, sometimes it is the little things that sometimes mesh with other things we learn elsewhere that become the most useful.”
Wu smiled. “I have taught you well daughter. So do you think it is worth it?”
“Perhaps,” Susan replied. “We won’t know until we try.”
“And what of your affection for him as your… pet?”
“If everything works the way Janice has outlined, I can easily return him to his dog state with another command. And of course, according to Janice, he will once again not remember any more than he does right now.”
“So there is no harm in trying then?”
Susan shook her head. “None that I can see.”
Wu nodded. “I will leave it to you then, daughter.” He turned to leave again.
“Father…” Susan stopped him again.
“How soon do you need his questioning to be done?”
“Do you have a reason to delay?”
Susan considered that. “Um… there are some things I was… considering,” she explained.
Wu nodded and glanced at Ben-ben. “He’s your pet,” he replied with a smile. “I will leave it to your judgment. Till later daughter.”
“Till later, father,” she replied. Her father left. Suddenly all the things she “wasn’t really” considering, became much stronger possibilities. But… what did she want to do with the dumb… beast?
Jennifer laughed. “Barbeque! This was supposed to be another fish fry!”
“Well…” Roger replied, a bit embarrassedly, “we didn’t have as much luck today as we did last time.”
“Sometimes they just won’t bite!” Stan added.
“Or maybe you two aren’t as good at fishing as you claimed!” Jennifer teased.
“Now wait a minute!” Stan replied. “We’re about the best fishing team in these hills!”
“So you think!”
“So I do think!” Stan argued back.
“Yet you only caught three little fish between you!”
“Like he said though,” Roger added, “Sometimes they just won’t bite, no matter what you do.”
“I think there not all they crack themselves up to be,” Jennifer said to Janice.
Janice held up her hands. “Leave me out of it. I’m just supplying the extras. They were supposed to bring back the main course.”
“And we did!” insisted Roger, good naturedly.
“Yeah, barbeque instead of fish,” Jennifer laughed. “Face it guys, you’re not the world class fishermen you claim to be!”
“Fisher… people?” Carol suggested, searching for a better term. “I don’t think Candy can adequately be called a man anymore.”
Her statement was like a blow to Roger’s stomach. He said nothing about it though.
Carol’s suggestion also took some of the fun out of it for Jennifer. “I’m not sure,” she replied. “I’ve never heard of anything but fishermen, no matter what sex they are.”
“Well, he doesn’t look much like a man anymore,” Carol insisted.
Jennifer looked Roger over carefully. “I guess you do have a point.” Roger had obviously changed clothes since they got back from fishing… although she wasn’t sure why he had bothered. At least he was dressed casually and wasn’t wearing a dress. Although the heels on the boots he was wearing were a bit higher than she would have been comfortable with – under the circumstances. But… to each their own.
“Have you lost weight?” she asked Roger, noticing that his waist appeared smaller than usual.
“Um…” Roger replied, searching for a way to answer that.
“He’s wearing a corset,” Carol replied. “And I think it’s doing wonders for him.”
Roger rolled his eyes. He hadn’t wanted anyone to know that Carol had insisted he wear the damn thing again as soon as he got home.
“A corset!” Jennifer exclaimed. “You’re kidding!”
“No,” Carol replied. “He’s really wearing it.” She was delighted to see how uncomfortable Roger looked over his ex-girlfriend knowing about it.
“Let me see!” Jenifer insisted playfully.
“Um… I don’t think…” Roger began
“Oh come on!” Jennifer replied quickly as she took a step towards him. Before Roger knew what was happening, she had grabbed the bottom of his top and had pulled it up a little. “Oh my!” she exclaimed. Then with a big tug, she pulled it up even higher… and started laughing.
“All right. All right!” Roger exclaimed as he pulled away from her and tugged his top back down. “So I’m wearing a corset. What’s wrong with it? I don’t have the figure that you have, you know!”
“Yet!” Carol teased. Which only set Jennifer off laughing again.
“I guess you’re right,” she said to Carol. “He doesn’t have a good figure – yet!”
“But he will!” Carol replied laughingly.
“If he keeps wearing that thing, then no doubt about it,” Jennifer added.
“Okay, okay,” Roger said, trying to get them to stop.
“Did you wear that when you went fishing?” Jennifer asked.
“No! Of course not,” Roger replied.
“And it’s a good thing!” Stan muttered.
“Maybe that’s why you didn’t catch enough fish,” Jennifer replied, “you weren’t sexy enough!” She broke out into worse laughter.
“Sexy?” Roger started. “Oh for the love of…” Then he stopped and watched all three women laughing. He couldn’t really help it, and started laughing a little himself. “Maybe that was the problem,” he agreed, his laughter a bit more intense now.
“Next time you go fishing,” Jennifer joked, “maybe you should do it in a mini-skirt. I’ll bet the fish will just jump into your net then!” she joked.
“Or a bikini!” Carol suggested, laughing just as hard.
“And don’t forget to add more makeup and…” Jennifer stopped and looked a bit questioningly at Roger’s wig. “What happened to your hair… I mean wig?”
Roger reached up and felt around it. “What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s all wet!”
“Well, it was raining out.”
“Why didn’t you dry it when you got home… or at least run a brush through it or something?”
“I… never thought of it,” Roger admitted sheepishly.
“Candy…” Janice entered the conversation. “She does have a point. Your hair is all wet. Maybe it would be a good idea to remove your wig just this once before you catch a cold.”
Looking questioningly at Janice, Roger reached up and pulled his wig off of his head. Actually, he was more than glad to get rid of the thing. It could be very uncomfortable at times. With the wig off, he ran his fingers through his very messed up and slightly damp hair. “I’ll be right back,” he said as he headed for his room to put the wig away.
“Don’t comb your hair!” Jennifer called after him.
Roger stopped. “Why not?”
“Well…” Jennifer started, “let me play with it a bit. It’s obviously been a long time now since you’ve had a haircut and it’s getting a bit long now. Maybe I can make it look a bit better for you.”
Roger wasn’t sure how pleased he was with Jennifer’s little idea. It seemed like she was having all too much fun today… at his expense. But he had little choice but to shrug and reply, “Why not?”
Stan was getting uncomfortable. All this feminine talk and joking about Roger… or Candy… or whatever! It was all just not the kind of thing that he was comfortable with. And he could tell that Roger hadn’t been too comfortable with it for a while either… but then suddenly he had started laughing and seemed more like one of the women instead of his old friend – his old friend dressed as a woman, but still like his old friend. But these feminine matters just weren’t the kind of thing he was comfortable being around. So he did his best to stay out of it and just remain in the background – as far in the background as he could possibly stay!
Jennifer stood behind Roger as he sat in one of his kitchen chairs. The table was all set for dinner, but Janice was still cooking a few things that wouldn’t be ready yet for a few minutes. Jennifer had dug her own comb out of her purse and started running it through Roger’s messy hair. The dampness in it became much more apparent as she did so, but she knew that it would dry fairly quickly.
She combed his hair in several different ways, searching for some way that would make it look more feminine. She wasn’t having a lot of luck though. “You really need a good trim job,” she declared. “You’ve got a good head of hair here, and someone who knows what they’re doing could probably make it look pretty nice.”
“That was the last thing Roger needed. “Uh… I don’t dare do anything with it until school lets out,” he replied. He was somewhat proud of that answer. Getting his hair “styled” was the last thing he wanted just then.
“Yeah, unfortunately for you,” Jennifer noted. “But you really should consider it as soon as school is out.”
“What’s wrong with just wearing my wig?” Roger asked.
“Well, for one thing, it is a wig… and it looks like it! You can’t go around wearing it all the time. Besides, isn’t it a bit… uncomfortable?”
“Sometimes,” Roger admitted.
“See!” Jennifer said. “Remind me before school lets out and I’ll give you the name of my hairdresser. She does a great job without costing an arm and a leg!”
“I think that’s an excellent idea!” Janice exclaimed as she carried a tray full of corn on the cobb over to the table. “I’m sure that Candy will be most grateful!”
Roger wasn’t all that sure about it though. To him it sounded more like another nail in his coffin.