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"Missy, Missy Joy"

Someone was touching me, gently was shaking my shoulder. I was panting like a dog. What had happened? What was happening to me? I was on an emotional roller coaster.

"Missy Joy. Are you ok?"

It was the soft, calming voice of Flo. I blinked several times, attempting focus, as my gaze lifted to her face. There was a glow about her; God, She appeared angelic. What is happening to me? What had I just done? My God, had I just reached climax, watching Flo have her hair done? What kind of Pavlovian sexual voyeur have I become?

"Are you all right? You were shouting something. I wasn’t sure…"

I felt my face flush. My cuny felt positively soaked. Oh, My God, I hope I haven’t wet myself through my dress. I am so embarrassed.

"Yes, yeah, Hi Flo. Yes, I’m fine, thank you, I was just thinking of something. Gosh, you look fabulous. Are you finished? Do you want to go somewhere for coffee?"

"Sure! I was hoping you could come back to the store with me. I’d love to introduce you to Glenn and then we could go upstairs for tea. I haven’t really gotten to know anyone here yet, you know… someone to just sit down with… just girl talk and let my hair down. Ha, ha, well maybe I won’t be doing that right away!"

Flo grinned as she gingerly lifted a hand to her head. I watched intently, as three of her fingers lightly probed against the side of her hairdo, just above her temple. There was absolutely no give. The glistening surface was like a hardened shell. I gasped in fear that it would crack and shatter into thousands of crystal shards.

"Uh… yeah, Uh huh, yes, that would be nice. Bea wanted me back home after I was finished here, but I think coffee or tea would be nice. Yeah, I would like that a lot. Yeah… let’s go!"

Arm and arm, we strolled down the street, stopping to look in all the shop windows, marveling at the displays. We might have looked like a pair of dithering old ladies, but we laughed, giggled and felt like a couple of young schoolgirls, playing hooky. It was a delightful stroll and I was beginning to feel like my old self again. It seemed that in no time at all, we were standing in front of Gloford’s Hardware Store. The storefront was similar in style to all of the other shops along the street. Two large, glass display windows flanked a center entrance. As elsewhere, the same eclectic collection of decades old merchandise filled the space. It did appear that Gloford had begrudgingly acknowledged the dawning of twenty-first century, though; in some of the power items displayed.

"Come on in, you must meet Glenn!"

Flo didn’t wait for my answer, pushing the door open and bounding inside.

"Glenn! Glenn! I’m back! Where are you Glenn? Come here, I want you to meet someone!"

I was concentrating on maneuvering the mass of my crinolines, as decorously as possible, through the doorway, when he appeared.

"Well hello there!" Glenn offered a friendly smile, beaming at me and then bent to give Flo a big kiss, welcoming her back as if she’d been away for an entire year. They seemed so sweet together.

"Wow Flo! You look fantastic! Wow! And who’s your friend? Wow, look at you!"

"Glenn, this is Missy Joy. Missy, meet Glen! Missy is living over with her Auntie Bea, while her husband James is back east on business or something. They just got married a couple of days ago, and we just met over at Betty Lou’s, while getting our hair done. Well, we just hit it off and it just seems like we’ve already been fast friends for years, and well, here we are!"

Glenn was a lot taller then Flo, his hair was cropped very close to his head, cut in a buzz, but with the front sort of sticking up, as if he’d waxed it. He wore one of those cobbler, types of aprons and had a pencil tucked behind his ear. He just kept looking at me. Then he would look back at Flo and then back at me; it was like he didn’t know where he wanted to look next.

"Wow, Missy Joy, is it? Pleased to meet cha! Bea is your Aunt, huh? How about that, Your Auntie Bea was in here, not an hour ago. I guess everyone knows your Auntie Bea. Yup, that’s what everyone calls her too… Auntie Bea. Well, how about that! My, my, just look at you! Boy oh boy! Just look at her Flo, she sure does look nice. And you, Flo, boy oh boy, you sure do look really, really fine, too! Wow! They weren’t kidding! Wow, that Betty Lou sure does know her stuff! Wow! That’s some dress you got on there, Missy Joy! Wow, Flo! Doesn’t Missy Joy look really swell in that dress! See, it’s one of them petticoat dresses. Didn’t I tell you? Those petticoat dresses are pretty darn nice. Gosh, that sure does make you look real sweet, Missy Joy. Gee Whiz, Floria, doesn’t she look sweet? Gosh, Flo, you just gotta get one of them petticoat dresses, Wow! You’d be the prettiest pair of little ladies in all of Podash!"

I had to blush, something awful! Poor Glen was just all worked up and couldn’t stop. I didn’t know what to say. Back east, oh hell, less then a week ago, I would have seized this moment and probably wrapped my leg around his thigh, given his crotch a good hard squeeze, dragged my tongue along his cheek and waltzed him right away from old Flo. But something was different. Now, I was blushing. Now I felt really self-conscious and almost guilty over the attention he was giving me. I didn’t want to do that to Flo. Yeah, sure, I was flattered, but it was more like that old embarrassing, adoration I felt back on that old grammar school stage.

"Glenn, Honey. Missy Joy and I are going to go upstairs and chat a little while over a cup of tea. That’s ok, isn’t it? You don’t mind, do you, Honey?"

I had to hand it to Flo. She seemed to be quite the arbitrator. She probably is a whole bunch more submissive to Glenn then I am inclined to be toward James, but, she did seem comfortable in her role.

"Sure, Honey. You girls go on up and have fun. Missy Joy, it’s real nice to meet cha. You come on back anytime. I’m real happy to see Flo make some new friends with the Podash Ladies. Dang, I just can’t over that petticoat dress!"

I stood through a couple more rounds of "good byes" and "pleased to meet chas", before Flo was finally able to take me by the arm and extract me from Glenn’s over abundance of hospitality. She led me through the store, to the back, where a door opened to stairs leading to their living quarters.

"Is he always like that?"

"Well, yes and no, Missy. Glenn’s always been real attentive and always taken a keen interest in my wifely duties. I guess, in the last couple of years, he’s become more and more concerned, that other men might accost me in one way or another. He’s just so sweet and always looking out for me. Well, nothing ever happened of course, but Glenn, well he just thought about it a lot and one day, he just up and announced that he’d bought this hardware store here in Podash and we up and moved, just like that.

"And how about you, Missy Joy? It must have been real exciting for you back in the east. You must be real dedicated and love James a whole lot, to move here to Podash with him! You just know he’ll take real good care of you here. That’s what they do in Podash."

"Well, Let’s just say it been a real whirlwind! Yeah… that’s for sure. They sure do want to take care of you. Do you like it here? Like this?"

"Yes, I think so. Like I said, I didn’t know a soul when I got here, but everyone’s just been so nice and will just go out of their way to help a new arrival. Gosh! You must know Horace and Myra Anne real well! Myra Anne being Auntie Bea’s daughter and all. Horace runs the dry goods store one block over and Myra Anne keeps the ladies department."

"Myra Anne!" I almost choked on my tea! "Myra Anne! I’ll say! Well, Good Lord Almighty! I’ve never met her, but I think I have a pretty good idea what she’s like… I’ve done nothing, but hear about her and wear her clothes since I got here. This was her dress, hell, why everything I have on is hers!"

"Missy Joy, now hush. Don’t you talk like that. But, that is just so amazing! Well, that looks so good on you. I never would have guessed. That dress just seems so natural on you. That is so amazing! I was just set to ask you where you got your lovely dress. The way Glenn was just now carrying on and all. And you looking so pretty sitting here, well, I do declare. You know, Glenn just wants me to be so proper and lady-like all the time. I must always conduct myself with the utmost in decorum and dress as befitting a shop keepers good wife. I must dress and present myself as a dignified and mature woman, so as not to be mistaken for a young floozy. Oh, I am just so tickled to meet you! You have so much style! Just look at you!"

Well, I was now a whole lot more then just dumb struck. This was down right incredulous! I mean, Flo is a super nice person. Not a hint of insincerity in her bones and she certainly didn’t seem brainwashed. Yet, here she sat in front of me, and she can’t be more then a year older then me, twenty-four, tops. Her skin is young, smooth and beautiful, her personality is absolutely infectious, as light and buoyant as a helium balloon… and the style of her hair and clothing make her look like she is fifty-five years old. God, who am I to talk? I look like I’m sixty-five! I just cracked up, laughing!

"You’re totally nuts, Flo! Ok, just what is it that you want to do?"

Well, I just thought it would be loads of fun to go down to Horace and Myra Anne’s store and see if I could find something with a little extra flair to it, like you did. I just know Glenn would love it."

"Floria, you are absolutely batty! But ok, I’m in, let’s go!"

We headed off, back down the stairs and through the shop. Flo had to stop and tell Glenn what we were up to and I could tell he was digging it, the Cheshire grin was a big giveaway and he had to keep looking over to where I waited by the door. Back on the sidewalk, my spirits were again lifted, I just couldn’t keep feeling sorry for myself. Flo laughed and carried on about how happy she and Glenn were together, and how happy she was that she had found a new girl friend that she could completely relate to. She meant me of course, but I couldn’t really understand why she thought I was just like her. But, yeah, ok, maybe we were, or something. It was kind of confusing. We seemed to really enjoy each others company and she was a lot of fun to be around. Anyway, before I knew it, I was sashaying down the sidewalk, exaggerating the swing of my hips as much as I could, so my crinoline was just flying back and forth in concert. We giggled, owed and awed at every shop window and just laughed ourselves silly. A geriatric version of the Dorothy Twins on the Yellow brick Road.

Suddenly, we were around the corner and Horace and Myra Anne’s shop loomed before me. The closer we got, the more I was filled with a chilling trepidation. If she made one single wise ass remark about me wearing her clothes, I think I will have to smack her freaking stupid till Sunday!

Flo, didn’t even break her stride. She had my arm and we were inside before I had the slightest chance to stutter or lag behind.

"Over there. Look Missy, there they are!"

She had already zeroed in on a headless mannequin draped in the most over the top, confection of pinky, winky, fluffy, wuffy, gauzy, wauzy, Little Bo Peep bullshit I ever laid eyes on. There was enough stuff there to completely obliterate all four of the Lennon Sisters and there would still be enough left to do Flo. I truly hope she isn’t serious. I laughed right out loud.

"May I help you, Ladies?"

Shit! Was that her? That has to freaking be Myra Anne! She wasn’t anything like Bea! She was slightly taller then either one of us, very, what’s the word? Womanly? She had large, high breasts, wide hips, but her waist, was very nipped in. She wasn’t thin, or heavy. She was, like, packed. What in the hell is she wearing? She moved like a priest, ok a priestess at a high mass or something. Damn, I don’t know if I can take her. I couldn’t place her age, maybe thirty-five, fifty-five, seventy-five, well, she had to be younger then Bea! ? I could feel the blood drain from my face.

"May I help you, Ladies?"

"Yes, Ma’am." Damn! Did that come from my mouth? "My friend Floria, would like to look at some ah, petticoat dresses." Damn, Why am I even answering her? Flo wants the dress, not me!"

"Yes of course. Mrs. Gloford isn’t it? Yes, of course. Please come with me. This, this is more of a young women’s dress. I believe we have what you will find to be more appropriate, in our ladies wear, over here."

Damn, I must learn to keep my mouth shut. Shut up, Joy! Just shut up! We followed Myra Anne deeper into the store. Damn! This was like her old closet only a lot bigger. This was where those sick, demented sissy trolls must be chained to their polyester nylon chiffon spinning wheels. Myra Anne, moved a couple of dresses alonf the rack, pulled out a little yellow outfit and handed it to Flo.

"I believe you will find this to be exactly right for you. Please step into the dressing room."

"Can, can I come a… along?" Damn, this was freaky! Flo hadn’t said a word and I was stammering and stumbling like a schoolgirl. Holy Crap! It was like she had telepathic powers or something. Crap, I hope she’s not actually coming into the changing room with us.

"Whew!" Wow! Is she always like this?"

"Yeah, I guess so. She’s really very nice isn’t she. She seems to know exactly what you want. Isn’t she amazing?

Flo put the new dress on a hook next to the changing room, stepped in and began to unbutton her peach dress. I stood at the half drawn curtain to offer encouragement, keep guard and just keep her company… and I was just dying to see how she’d look in her new dress. She pulled the dress up and over her head and then handed it to me. Yup, she’s been a lady longer then my two days. Flo started to lift her slip, then thought better of it and let it drop back around her. I thought I caught a glimpse of one of those full coverage brassieres like I had on yesterday. Then my eyes dropped to her thighs.

"Pantyhose! Why Flo, you lucky devil! Girl! No wonder you can just bounce all over the place, like you’re on a pogo stick! I have to wear this big old fashion girdle all the time. DANG! PANTYHOSE!" I was just shrieking with laughter.

"Who is wearing pantyhose?"

Shit! Myra Anne must have overheard me. She was glowering at me like I’d just pulled her own mothers panties down in church! I wanted to die!

"Ah… Not me, Ma’am! I mean, yes Ma’am! Ah… I mean, look! I’m wearing your girdle. I’m wearing your stockings! Look! My seams are all straight and everything!" God, I don’t believe I just said that. Damn, I’m standing here like some three-year old child, holding my skirts up around my waist and turning around to show her the seams of my stockings. I don’t freaking believe it. She has to know I’m wearing her old hand-me-down dress, and now I’m practically pleading with her to acknowledge I’m dressed in her underwear! Why am I so terrified of this woman? I am completely humiliated! And what’s even worse; I’ve pretty much ratted out Flo, with my insane groveling to appease her.

"Mrs. Gloford?"

Flo’s face was as white as a ghost. I don’t think she was at all prepared for this verbal assault. Poor Flo. I felt so bad for her, and I knew it was entirely my fault.

"Mrs. Gloford. I do not care to know what has possessed you, and I have no cares for what may have passed for modesty and proper dress at your late place of residence. Let me remind you, you are in Podash. You have been here for some period of time. You are expected to conduct yourself in the frame of a Podash Lady. We do not tempt the base animal instinct of man. We do not flaunt feminine sexuality. We adhere to the strictest code of self-discipline. A woman of childbearing age shall embrace the appearance and deportment of a fully matured matron. No one shall look upon her with desire, but her rightful husband. She shall be totally pleasing to her husband. The young and the foolish may initially resist. But, let me assure you. You shall submit. There is no other way."

We stood there in silence, heads bowed. I still clasped my crinoline skirts high above my waist. My face was scarlet with my humiliation. I half expected to be bent over her knee and spanked. Flo finally broke the silence.

"May I still buy the dress?"

"Yes, Mrs. Gloford, you may buy the dress. But first remove those horrid lizard skins and I will get a decent foundation and hose for you as well."

Myra Anne stalked off into the bowls of the store.

"I’m so sorry Flo." I whispered

"That’s ok Missy Joy. I should never have worn those ugly things anyway. For goodness sakes, Missy, you seem to always know what to wear! Why should you be sorry? I don’t know what got in to me!"

I couldn’t really tell her why I was wearing Myra Anne’s clothing. I couldn’t tell her, that Auntie Bea had thrown all my things away, how she’d called me a slut. Oh, God, what would Flo think of me if she knew how I’d tricked James into marrying me and all the nasty things I’d done on our very wedding night. Flo was still looking at me, as if I was her best friend ever. I actually felt like a real shit now, for getting her into all this trouble. Myra Anne returned with a long box and a small plastic package. I suddenly realized how stupid I must look to them both and finally dropped my skirts.

"Missy Joy, is it? Well, I guess Mother Bea’s certainly schooled you in how to properly fit your foundations and turn out a straight pair of seams. I will allow you to assist Mrs. Gloford in her dress. Please call for me when you are all prepared. Thank you very much."

Myra Anne handed the box and package of stockings to me, and I nearly curtsied. We each nodded respectfully and thanked her, as she turned to leave, both feeling rather relieved that we would not be forced to perform this ritual under her fierce scrutiny. I opened the box and lifted out the long white garment.

"Wow! Is this a panty girdle? Wow, this looks heavy duty!"

"Yeah, I think so. I’ve never seen anything like this before. I wore a small pull on thing a couple of times back in Couver, where we lived before, when Glenn and I were going somewhere special. But, wow, this is really much bigger and heavier! I’m not even sure how to put this on."

There was a little paper in the bottom of the box, which I picked up and looked at. It had some drawings, showing how to get into it. It looked like you were supposed to turn it inside out, put your legs through the pants part, pull it up as far as you could and then kind of reverse peel it, on up over your hips and body. Well, that’s what it looks like in the pictures. Flo sat down on the little chair and slipped her feet into both the openings. The problem was, that when she got to the part where she had to roll the outside, that was now inside, back out, the stiff bones wouldn’t bend. We tried it several different ways before Flo finally came up with a combination that worked, standing up, and was able to get it all the way up and over her waist. She grabbed the sides at the top and did a few deep knee bends until she could get the heavily gusseted crotch nestled snuggly against her quim. I helped her with the long row of hooks and eyes, encouraging her to hold her breath as long as she could. I certainly appreciated her discomfort. I tried to close her up as quickly as I could, but it wasn’t easy because my own girdle severely limited my range of motion. When they were all together, I had her take one more deep breath and was then able to get the zippered cover closed. Flo was a real trooper! That done, I opened the package of stockings. Flo sat back on the chair again, while I bunched them into my hands, to slip over her toes. Perhaps she could reach her feet, as I had, but she seemed so overwhelmed by the massive grip of the thing, that I felt duty bound to continue. I finally ended up on my knees in front of her.

I paid particular attention to the alignment of the seam, as I carefully slid the reinforced foot over her toes, tilting my head to the left and right as I determined that extra layer of dark material at the heel was perfectly centered. I slowly unrolled the nylon up her leg, constantly running my fingers along the back of her calf, needing to be certain that the seam was precisely located. It was very disconcerting. I had never, ever massaged and caressed another women’s leg like this. It is a strange feeling. My mouth is starting to feel dry, I lick my lips for moisture. I must concentrate on the job at hand. I reach her thigh. The garter clips are at least another four inches, on the inside of the girdle’s pant leg. I feel like I am defusing a bomb. I feel tiny rivulets of perspiration form on my brow, as I slowly peel the panty leg backward to expose the clips. There are four on each leg. My legs begin to cramp. The tension in my own body, the binding, unmerciful conflict and stress between my own stockings and girdle, claws at me. Flo must feel this now. She must know. I look up at her. She is silent. Staring at me through half lidded eyes. I watch the rise and fall of her chest, the heavy measured half breaths. She must know. I continue, like a jeweler with a fine diamond. I carefully return and smooth the tight elastic cuff of the girdle leg, over the fastened stocking tops. I motion for Flo to stand; I hold my breath and she rises. I run my hand lightly along the backs of her legs, along the exquisite, perfectly straight seams, as she slowly turns. I sigh. She is beautiful.

"I really hope I don’t have to pee, anytime soon!"

"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! You crack me up! Come on, help me up!"

Flo lifted the huge pile of net and began to shake it gently up and down in an effort to both equalize the mass and determine the center. Then, with a flourish, she tossed it into the air like a bouquet and ducked under it, bringing her arms and head up and out through the opening. The froth slowly settled around her. Next, she slipped the daffodil yellow dress over her head and allowed that to float softly over the stiff screen encircling her waist. It was a lovely dress. It closed from waist to her neck, with small buttons, beginning with a wide, coordinated belt at her waist and ending in a thin peter-pan collar around her throat. Delicate embroidery in a darker hue, circled the entire collar and had again been stitched on to each side of the bodice. A twelve-inch zipper along the left side cinched it tightly to her torso. The hems of both the dress and crinoline danced about her, just brushing her knees, as she crossed the booth to retrieve the matching sweater. In a flash and a grin, Flo slipped her arms through the sleeves and lightly adjusted the drape on her chest. It was a stunning ensemble, the matching yellow jewel neck sweater had it’s own compliment of the very same wonderful embroidery along each side of the front. And the sleeves were so darling, ending just an inch or so above her elbows. She cautiously chose to fasten just the top button of her sweater under the dress collar. She swirled to the left and right delighting in her reflection in the mirror. The yellow of the dress so complemented her russet hair, the vision before me… so innocent, I could not help myself but to hug her and squeal with glee!

We gathered up her peach dress, the empty box and package, preparing to re-enter the store and find Myra Anne. Flo picked up the discarded pantyhose.

"What about this?" She giggled.

"Rubbish! That’s what it is! That’s where it goes!" Sometimes I just crack myself up!

We had emerged from the changing area into the main part of the store, again foolishly giggling between ourselves. Flo kept making these exaggerated monkey steps, because the excruciatingly tight girdle kept pressing against her tender cuny like a hydraulic vice. I couldn’t be sure if she was finding it to be diabolically arousing or torturously painful. She would move a bit, then seize up, a soft moan escaping her lips, then giggle and grin devilishly, as she once more lurched forward. Flo was desperately trying to keep control and maintain the smallest modem of decorum as we approached the register counter. We were both struggling to keep a straight face, stifling sudden and short outbursts of nervous laughter, when Myra Anne suddenly confronted us. We both snapped to rigid attention before her.

"Mrs. Gloford. Are we enjoying ourselves?"

I didn’t especially like the tone of that. I also don’t especially like this way she has of talking to just Flo, as if I’m not even here, standing right next to her. Yeah, right, She’d directed that wise crack to me about, "do I know how to put on a girdle". But, that had been pretty freaking derogatory. I don’t trust this woman one bit!

"I’ve taken this opportunity to phone up Mr. Gloford and have these purchases placed on his account. Mr. Gloford was rather insistent, upon your departure that you return directly to the store. Missy Joy, please stay behind, as I would have a word with you."

Uh oh, No, I do not like this at all. Flo and I looked at each other, not at all following what Myra Anne was up to, and not exactly sure what we should say next. I’m sure Flo was trying to think over, why Glenn might need her back at the store so abruptly. I didn’t follow it either, I thought Glenn had been pretty pleased that she had found a new friend and that we were off to get Flo into a flounce dress, especially after the way he’d overreacted when he saw mine. Flo gave my hand a little squeeze.

"Yes Ma’am. Thank you for calling Glenn. I’ll go right home, now. Bye, Missy Joy. I hope I can see you again real soon."

Flo turned, gave me a quick smile, another quick squeeze of the hand, and was gone. I remained behind, feeling like I was being sent to the principal’s office or something. I seemed to feel very guilty and childish, every time I was in this woman’s presence. Myra Anne had a horribly smug, self-satisfied look on her face.

"Who do you think you are, bringing that sweet Mrs. Gloford in here, wearing pantyhose? What are you trying to do to her? God forbid, she had been accosted on the street by some young rake? The shame of it, why, it is positively scandalous. Mr. Gloford is not at all pleased! You are an evil woman, Missy Joy. I know what kind of a cheap whore you are. You do not fool me. You are in need of serious atonement. You may think you have fooled Mother Bea by your appearance, but I assure you, I am not so easily persuaded. You are not going to drag poor Mrs. Gloford into your filthy gutter. I have spoken with Mother Bea. You will be schooled and monitored more sternly. You will rise early in the morning, properly prepare yourself for the day, execute your home chores to perfection and then you shall come directly to me, right here. You shall assist me in this shop, where I may keep a sharp eye on you. You will then return promptly to your quarters. Promptly. There shall be no dalliance along the way. You shall continue to dress in my old clothes, until you fully demonstrate that you are even worthy of your own. I will drive your whore’s soul straight back to hell. You will learn what it means to be chaste, sacrifice to embrace it and curse the day you gave it away. Do I make myself entirely clear?"

"Yes Ma’am."

……………………………………..

"Floria! Oh, Floria! Thank God, you’re alright!"

Following Myra Anne’s phone call, Glenn Gloford was distraught and pacing like a madman. Each time the shop door jangled, he jumped, his heart seemingly lodging in his throat. But, each time it had been a customer and he’d had to compose himself, force his focus and assist them with their requests and purchases. When Flo did return, he rushed to her and swept her up in his arms.

"Oh, Floria, I was scared to death! I had no idea. Thank God, Myra Anne was able to intervene. That wretched Missy Joy, Oh, how did she entice you so?"

"Glenn! What ever do you mean? Missy Joy is a nice girl! She is such fun and we get on so well! I thought you liked her? What ever do you mean?"

"Floria, You went out wearing nothing but pantyhose."

"Now Glenn, you perfectly well saw me dressed."

"Yes, yes, dressed, yes, but only pantyhose! How could she entice you so? What sinister motive drives her to debase you? What if something had happened? I could not forgive myself."

"But, Missy Joy did not entice me to wear pantyhose. You know perfectly well, that I wore pantyhose back in Couver! Sinister? Oh, Glenn, you carry on, so!"

"No, I don’t believe it! I won’t have it! This is no trivial thing Floria! I do not take this lightly. I have a responsibility to care for you and to assure that no harm befalls you. Oh, Floria! Floria! Stand back Floria, let me see what Myra Anne has proposed!"

Flo, still confused over Glenn’s complete misunderstanding of the day’s events, and with intense embarrassment, stepped back and hoisted her skirts above her waist. She stood silently, uncomfortably shifting her weight from one foot to the other, the strong garment continuing it’s insistent massage of her quim. Glenn’s eyes widened in wonder as he took in the site of her. The fluorescent light fixtures overhead, created brilliant and shimmering highlights along the satin panels that contrasted sharply with the areas of lycra mesh, that only seemed to absorb the light, amplifying their overwhelming whiteness. A shimmering panel, beginning at the juncture of her lower limbs and torso, completely shielded her sex, advancing resolutely upward, over her stomach, impenetrable, unyielding as case hardened steel.

"Turn, please."

Stroboscopic flashes, traced the sheer nylon that encased the length of her legs, broken only by the dense, dark line of the heavy seams, rising from her heels in a perfect vertical symmetry, up the backs of her legs. The nylon glistened as it disappeared within the tight grip of girdled thighs, only an inch or so above the hollow backs of her knees. The darker bands that reinforced the stocking tops, suggestive through the stressed lycra mesh, ended dramatically, joining with the interior garter clips in forming harsh mechanical bumps in the material. Each mound of her delightful bum, was individually lifted, remolded into a high firm globe, the tops just bathed in light. Her acutely harnessed bum cheeks were shaped and formed to duplicate the set and stance of her brassiered breasts, much higher then nature had ever anticipated. "Panty girdle" seemed an insufficient term for this zenith of engineering prowess.

Flo continued her slow undulating roll; left foot to right and back. She could not escape the relentless manipulation. Her nether lips were engorged. Small, fleeting moans slipped from her subconscious at increasing intervals.

"My God! Floria! Are you in distress?"

She could not answer him.

"Very well, then. It seems Myra Anne has provided a secure solution to a loose bottom. I am quite pleased with that and not a little impressed. I think there is comfort in that, wouldn’t you agree?

"Oh… Oh… OH… yeeeeeeees!"

"Well then, that’s good. All that’s very well and good, but I fear, perhaps I’ve inadvertently exposed you to unnecessary temptations, for my very own selfish pleasure. It truly pains me. I really do like your hair like that. I really do! You look so sweet and mature. You look absolutely wonderful. I love it! But damn it, Floria, I have to be honest with myself. There is a reality here, as plain as the nose on your face. If you look so good and righteous to me, maybe others, evil bastards that they are, will see it in you as well, and strive to defile you. I cannot send you out, as an attraction, an innocent lamb to slaughter. I could never forgive myself for that. This grieves me, terribly. I must make this hard sacrifice for you. But, by God, I shall do it! You must return to Betty Lou tomorrow. I’ll phone her up. You’re going to have to display a little more restraint."

"Oh, yes… Oh, yes… !"

"Good, I’m glad you can see the necessity in this. It’s for your own good. Are you sure you’re ok?"

"Ah, ye… yes. Heavens. Yes. Oh, thank you, Glenn. Oh, my. Glenn, I really must get upstairs. I haven’t even begun dinner yet. Is there anything else?"

"No, that’s fine, Flo. Sure, You go on up. I’ll give Betty Lou a ring, now."

Flo fought her girdle as best she could. It wasn’t really much of a fight though, in the sense that she would never overcome it. She would adapt to it, she would learn, recognize and accept its mastery. There would be moments, when she could only tolerate it, or when she could only stand as still as possible, gripping a chair or a counter top, allowing her passion and her feelings to run rampant. She kept it to herself. She would not embarrass herself or Glenn by thrashing or gyrating about, like some immature harlot. She knew that eventually she would come to welcome the constant embrace, the dignified constriction, she would not feel whole without it. It would be gradual for sure, her passion now was furious, but it would come. She understood. She was a shopkeepers wife, much the same as Myra Anne, really. She would rise to the occasion, accept any task. She always did respect and admire Myra Anne, her self-control, her appearance and deportment, there was a fledgling equality between them. Flo understood that now. Clearly Myra Anne had recognized that potential in her as well, she wanted to help her to grow and become a positive influence in the community, a productive member, able to help others obtain the hard-earned mantle of a Podash Wife. Poor Missy Joy, Flo would have to help her grow as well.

"Flo, Honey. I was just talking to Betty Lou. She’s got a full house, scheduled for tomorrow. And anyway, we talked it over and she thinks, given the concerns and the fact that we sure don’t want to be sending out any wrong messages to those young over sexed, boner heads, well, you should just go on over to Shelly’s Barbershop and get the job done right. So, I called Bill Shelly and he said, sure, I should just send you over in the morning. Just make sure you get in there before the lunch crowd, ok?".

"Bill Shelly’s? Don’t you think that’s a little drastic? I really like the way Betty Lou does my hair."

"Naw… Shelly’s good. Heck, He does a nice job on my head. I never heard you complain any, about my haircut. You just get your fanny over there in the morning."

Flo rose just before dawn, thinking the extra hour earlier, would give her enough time to deal with any problems she might encounter, getting into her new girdle by herself. Slipping her feet into it and pulling it up went fairly smoothly, since she had already experimented with all the variations that had not been successful, the previous day. Donning the stockings, initially proved awkward, but that too, resolved itself, once determined that leaving the girdle partially undone, greatly increased her flexibility. Paying careful attention to the location of the seam, when first bunching the stocking, greatly reduced the number of misdirected attempts to properly cover her legs. Following several checks in the mirror and minor adjustments, both seams appeared uniformly straight. Unquestionably, the line lacked the precision that Missy Joy had lavished upon them, but Flo was sure they would pass inspection. Knowing full well that Bill Shelly’s barber chair would be nowhere as accommodating as Betty Lou’s plush salon chairs, she ruefully discarded any notions of attempting that in her petticoats. She decided on a simpler long sleeved, straight shift. It was a white nylon print of small black squares arranged in a very broad grid, and fastened with matching black buttons from waist to neck, asymmetrically closing over her left breast. At the neck, the collar joined over the left shoulder in a pull through, quasi bow. Flo buttoned the cuffs, then analyzed her appearance in the mirror. The loose shift style certainly minimized any overtly feminine curves, except for the obviously, highly fortified rise of her chest and the equally pronounced protrusions at her rear.

"Hmmm, Honey, Does this dress make my buns look just too big?"

"Naw… They look just fine."

"Glenn, Honey. Are you sure this is really the right thing for me to do? Helen does such nice things with my hair. I really do like it like this. It’s a nice length and you know Betty Lou really does take superb care of all the ladies in the town. I just can’t believe that Betty Lou or Helen would do my hair wrong, so as to attract trouble to me."

"Of course Betty Lou or Helen are wonderful. And I’ve told you, I love your hair like this. It’s the boys, Floria. It’s the damn, dirty minded, little stinking, boner headed, rutting boys. Can’t be putting thoughts in their horny little pea brains. Just can’t have it!"

"Glenn, Honey. You know, there weren’t really any boys chasing me.

"That’s not the point, Floria. Don’t want them dumb asses, getting any stupid ideas. I’ll tell you what, Flo. Let’s just do this at least one time and see how it goes. You just give them nothing to look at for a while and we’ll all be the better for it. You know, this pains me, something terrible. If you wouldn’t have been flaunting around with that damn Missy Joy, you wouldn’t be making me do this."

"Missy Joy! Is that what this is about? She’s a little mixed up, but she’s really not a bad person. I think that with a little more help from all of us, she can be real good. She just needs some caring and encouragement."

"That’s about enough of Missy Joy. You just get yourself on over to Bill Shelly’s and keep yourself decent. What the heck is getting into you, anyways?"

By nine thirty, after sending Glenn off with a hearty breakfast and the morning dishes done and put away. Flo found herself entering the stark, foreign domain of William Henry Shelly’s Barber Shop.

"Well, Mrs. Gloford, Good Morning! My, but don’t you look real sweet, today. How is everything over in hardware? Har, har! Looks like you been getting into the shellac again, eh, Mrs. Gloford? You been taking real good care of Glenn? Har, har, harumph,"

"Mr, Shelly, Please!"

"Ok, ok. Have it your way. Now please, just climb on up here and set your big old butt in the chair. But, I’ll tell you right off, we’re not going to be talking posies and curtains. If you want to talk, it’s going to be baseball or nothing. Now, what are we doing? Flattop or longer?"

"I think longer?"

"Ok, longer, it is."

With deepening sense of foreboding, she slowly eased herself up into the big leather and chrome chair. Bill Shelly patiently waited for her settle down and get comfortable, then began to carefully roll and fasten a thin tissue paper tightly around her neck. Lifting a large blue and white striped cape from a hook, next to the station, he gave it several smart snaps and brought it around her and fastened it at the back of her neck.

"That’s quite a helmet you have here, Mrs. Gloford. Doesn’t look like that was going anywhere soon. Harumph! Well, I can’t work on it like this! I don’t understand why you women even think you can come in here like this. Why the heck didn’t you wash that all out, before you even come in here? What the heck do you think I’m running here, a damn poodle parlor? Now, Mrs, Gloford, you just get yourself back down and go over to the basin there, and just wash that all out. There’s some shampoo there and some pink soap in that squeeze bottle and if that don’t work, I have some lacquer thinner in the back!"

Chagrined, Flo stepped down from the chair and meekly approached the deep porcelain basin. Tentatively, glancing back at the scowling Shelly, she unbuttoned the cuffs at the sleeves of her dress and rolled them back on her arms. She saw several towels hanging before her and lifted one to wrap about her neck. Gingerly, Flo tapped each of the twin handles of the faucet, testing the water’s temperature, until it felt endurable. Taking a deep breath, she plunged her head under the stream of water. Initially, the water simply beaded over the hardened shell of her hair and ran off with no effect. Flo searched with her hands, finding what she hoped was the shampoo and squeezed a generous quantity over and into her hair. A resigned sigh escaped her. Her wonderful hairdo, all of Betty Lou’s hard work was to be washed down the drain.

"How we doing over there? Let’s get a move on. How long does it take to wash hair?"

She scrubbed and rinsed, scrubbed and rinsed. Shelly seemed an impatient man. Things were certainly done differently in a barbershop. In short order, the hair spray and her beloved bouffant hairstyle, was gone and her hair hung in limp strands, plastered along the sides of her head. Well, there was really nothing to that. That Bill Shelly is such a whiner! Flo lifted the towel from her shoulders, vigorously dried her hair and then placed it neatly back in its place. With a slight shake of her head, she turned, standing ramrod straight, head proudly held high and returned to the mechanical chair.

"Ok, that’s better. Now, put your head forward!"

Not waiting for Flo to comply, Shelly brusquely pushed the back of her head forward, forcing her chin, hard into her chest. A low whistle, of what might possibly be a John Phillip Sousa March, filled Flo’s ears… or, maybe not, who could tell! Continuing his off key humming, Bill Shelly picked up a long comb, swiftly defining a crisp part, front to back along the right side of her skull. He combed her hair straight down on the right, over her ear, then returning to the part, combed everything above it, up, over and then down on the left. At the back, he extended the part across the occipital bone, pulling those hairs down toward her neck. The front was pulled down over her forehead. Satisfied with the preliminary lay, Shelly picked a long thin shears, not unlike a precision medical instrument, slipping just his thumb and ring finger through the silver rings of the handle. Sharp snapping sounds filled Flo’s ears even before the instrument made contact. The teeth of the comb brushed against the back of her neck, lifting a short section of hair; the scissors came into play and severed what lie above it. The comb and scissors duet was repeated, over and over as Shelly deftly shortened and reshaped the little remaining hair about the base of her skull, from nearly none at all, into a gradual, layered taper towards the top. The short layered taper cut, was reproduced around the sides. Flo watched her reflected image transform in the mirror before her. She sat, petrified, as the hair directly above her ears was now reduced in length, to no more than one sixteenth of an inch. From that point upward, Shelly allowed the length to radically increase to nearly two inches, leaving a final two and one half inches on the very top. The speed of the shearing was astounding. Small remnants, bits of hair floated through the air about her, settling on her nose, lips, cheeks, eyelashes, everywhere! Shelly leaned in, before her, slid the blades of the shears across her bangs at a slight angle, only slightly above her brow and severed what remained.

Putting the scissors down, Shelly produced a wisk, furiously brushing the loose clipped hairs away from her head, neck, and ears. He then returned to his work with the comb, using that and the palm of his hand, to smooth what was left, evenly and away from the side part. Well, this isn’t so bad. It’s not at all particularly different from a Pixie cut, is it? Flo tilted her head slightly, to gain more view of the sides. Shelly had moved over to the front counter and was busily whipping a stiff brush within a large mug. Flo stared with curiosity, as he returned, removing the brush, revealing it to be covered with a thick foamy cream. He quickly placed a thick coating of the lather all around the lower edge of her hairline. The rich lather felt warm on each side, from the areas in front of her ears, on over and around both of them, joining at the back of her nape.

"Ok, now, Mrs. Gloford. Hold yourself still. We want you to be able to leave here, with all the parts you came in with."

Bill Shelly slapped a large straight razor along a wide leather strap, that was attached on one end to the side of the chair. With the concentration of a brain surgeon, he placed the keen edge at the base of a sideburn, aligned with the line of her ear and snicked down in one quick movement. Horrified, Flo held her breath, as Shelly moved on toward her ear. It was perhaps an overly romantic fairy tale that Van Gough had sliced off an ear professing love for another, but this is too close to reality, Glenn will have to settle for much less! The blade scrapped effortlessly around the entire circumference, outlining her ear by a full half inch. Shelly moved to her opposite side, the blade again carving a precise edge. Moving across the back, swift flicks completed the task, connecting the unnatural hard edges, forming a hard straight line, joining in continuity with the sides. Shelly stepped back to survey his work, smiled, returning for imperceptible adjustments, finally wiping the razor clean and laying it down. A soft cloth removed any of the remaining cream. He selected a bottle from the shelf and poured a clear liquid into the cupped palm of one hand. Briefly clasping them together, he then brought his hands to her neck, rubbing the cold liquid into her shaved skin. Flo shuttered involuntarily as the contacted area tingled under his touch.

"Almost done, Mrs, Gloford!"

Bill Shelly began the odd whistling again as he squeezed a generous amount of a thick gel substance from a large red and white tube, into his hands. Standing directly behind her, he reached forward, acquiring the hair at her forehead and pulled his hands straight back, depositing a thick coating over her head. He rubbed the concoction thoroughly into her hair, rocking her head back and forth on her shoulders in the process, working it in and down to her very scalp. He continued the heavy-handed massage until her hair glistened and stood off from her head like the bristles of a porcupine. Satisfied with the application, he wiped his hands cleanly on a towel and retrieved a thin toothed comb from the breast pocket of his tunic.

A harsh part, revealing a thin, stark stripe of bare, white scalp, was reestablished at the side of Flo’s head. Shelly then precisely combed the hair away in parallel strokes, in opposite direction, down on the right and again, up and over toward the left. Deftly using comb and the palm of his hand, he expertly created a smooth, slick glistening pelt. He reached forward once more and combed her short bangs up, back and over, and formed a tight little pompadour wave at the front. Returning the comb to his breast pocket, he picked up a different brush and flicked a bit of talc about her nape.

"Ok, Mrs. Gloford. There we go."

Flo was astounded. Sitting there, the striped cape draped about her form, with only her unmade up face and head in full view, she looked completely indistinguishable from a fifty year old man.

With no further ado, Shelly unclasped the cape, lifted it from her and shook it out. Flo was transfixed on the image in the mirror before her. Without the obscurity of the cape, she was further bewildered by the now, even stranger appearance of the person before her. The bizarre image that stared back at her was of a person with a man’s head on a woman’s body. She slowly raised a hand to her face. The image before her did the same. It was unquestionably her, the odd persona in the mirror was Flo.

"Come now, Mrs. Gloford. We’re done. You can climb on out of the chair now."

The walk back to Gloford’s Hardware Store, was like moving through a dream. There was no hurry. Each shop window passed, was cause for pause, as Flo would be drawn to her own reflection again and again. Her entire head felt extremely light. Small wisps of breeze would electrify and arouse each and every nerve ending in both her ears and the nape of her neck. Her secret friends, the devilishly insistent, intimate caress of her panty girdle continued to teasingly stimulate her passions. Giving her unexpected moments to stop and simply experience the rush of insanely erotic feeling. Townspeople passed her by on the sidewalk, nodded and smiled. A small group of young hooligans rushed by, giving her no acknowledgement whatsoever. She felt the sun on her face. Stopping again at a shop window, she looked once more at her reflection, attempting to form a completely unbiased appraisal of her appearance. It was undeniable, that the unquestionably conservative, masculine haircut was far beyond, or perhaps, far beneath that of any nouveau coquet. The white shift, with its harsh black dot pattern and prissy shoulder bow, camouflaged her feminine body to the point of distraction. It seemed highly unlikely that any man would look upon her in lust, let alone with even a passing interest. Certainly, no young man flushed with testosterone would even see her.

"I look exactly like someone’s dotty old grandmother! It isn’t so bad, really. It will be a great relief to be free of those worries. Glenn too, will be at peace, knowing I am in no danger of being mistaken for a hussy. Now, I can get on with life. Why, I actually feel pretty good about my self! I can get on with my work and dear me, yes, that poor Missy Joy. I simply must help her to learn and understand how a positive attitude, can so ease her transition to a Podash Lady! The day is still fully ahead! I feel wonderful!" Flo picked up her pace as she neared the Hardware Store. "Glenn will be so pleased with me!"

"Damn, Flo! if you don’t look just like a old man in a dress!"

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