It was coming up on Halloween, and although the future looked bleak, I was trying to keep all my employee’s spirits up. Being the manager of a craft superstore, I somehow had to keep everything together and functioning. The parent company had been having trouble for quite some time, but managed to keep from declaring bankruptcy. Another excellent example of trying to run a business in one area, compared to how it was run where the corporate offices were. They were based in Texas, and my branch was in Florida. What sold there did not sell in Florida. Thus, we received shipment after shipment of goods that we couldn’t sell or hardly give away.
The business was a craft super store, not some small store stocking a few basic craft items, but a super store. Thirty-eight thousand square feet of anything craft related. Floral, all kinds of sewing items, knitting supplies, art supplies, home décor, and a custom frame department were just some of the major things we had. At our peak we carried fifty thousand plus items in the store. There was some competition in the area, but nobody in the craft business had a lock on the sales.
I had reduced my payroll to the minimum, in an effort to make my branch more profitable. My assistants and I were doing a lot of the cashiering, leaving the few employees on the floor to assist customers. We had even reset some sections, getting things that are often bought together in the same locale. It also allowed us to stretch the merchandise to cover holes where we could not reorder because of the financial condition of the company. Most of our vendors had already cut us off, a prepaid order now the only means to get more merchandise.
There were quite a few rumors about a buyout floating around, but when you realistically looked at the situation, another company would have to be crazy to buy us. The debt was huge, the locations were all leased, and several were three to four months in arrears. A satisfactory outcome was slipping away further every day.
There were three of us on salary, so I had a meeting scheduled to discuss the problem. I explained what I knew, asking them to work as many hours as possible, thus keeping the payroll in line. Our sales had steadily decreased, no merchandise the main problem. Maybe we could keep the place open a few more weeks. I did stress that they should be looking for other employment, just in case. We had taken a lot of the merchandise that would not sell and made it into a finished product that we had a better chance to sell. This was done primarily with silk flowers in floral and in our Custom Frame department. When they were made up, we could get more for them, thus a way to keep our sales figures up somewhat.
Then the chain started closing locations, shipping the remaining merchandise to another location. That helped some, but tons more of an item that we could not sell was not the answer to the chain’s problems. In most cases of these stores, there was another chain interested in the location they were closing, the landlord more than happy to let us out of the lease.
Anyway, seven days to Halloween, and a lot of employees were just about as depressed as you can get. My one assistant had suggested a costume contest starting tomorrow, running all the way to Halloween. We thought it might help, so I kicked in some prize money out of my pocket to give them something to shoot for. We decided on daily prizes, the employee with the most customer votes for the day to get the prize. As the customer came in, they would be handed a ballot, marking it as they shopped. At the end of the day we would tally the votes and award the prize. We tried to keep it simple, the best costume getting the prize.
The assistants participated, but excluded themselves from the voting. I decided to not participate, a manager of a store should look business like, settling a dispute while dressed as a hobo or a vampire not exactly business professional. The contest did help, by the second day, we had some really cute costumes being worn; it did help the morale, and the customers seemed to appreciate the effort too. I was kidded about where my costume was several times, finally giving in and saying that I would dress up on Halloween itself. That would fall on Saturday this year.
On Thursday Marissa and Virginia, my assistants came to me wanting to know what I was coming as. Of course, I had forgotten about it as soon as I had promised the other employees. They thought it would be a nice gesture on my part to come dressed to the hilt, as it might be the last time for all us to be together. We had all come to the conclusion that the store would only be open a few more days, our dwindling sales barely enough to cover wages and overhead.
I told them I would try and figure something out, then Marissa handed me a newspaper ad, advertising a salon in town to help with last minute costumes for Halloween. I had to make a bank deposit, so I asked her to make an appointment for me and took off for the bank. The line at the drive thru was fairly long, so it was forty minutes later when I returned to the store. Marissa had already headed home, she had to pick up her daughter from school, but Virginia handed me a note with the time and address of the appointment.
Since the appointment was for first thing Halloween, Virginia and I switched schedules. I would work for her tomorrow and she would cover for me Halloween morning. I had no trouble with that, I was working a lot of extra hours anyway. We had a small influx of customers, so I went to ring them up and Virginia headed home. I had six employees that night, to cover the thirty-eight thousand sq. ft. store. For some reason, we were busier than normal, so the time flew by. At ten minutes after ten, I locked up and headed home myself.
I was scheduled tomorrow morning to open, then Virginia came in to finish the day. Now I would work most of the day, then Virginia would finish from five on. Marissa had scheduled some time to attend a job interview, so she would probably not be in tomorrow. I hoped she would get the job, I had given her a letter of reference praising her skills and dedication. Virginia had already landed a job, but they could not use her for a few weeks. Both of them had asked why I hadn’t been looking, but I thought that keeping the store going for as long as possible would be a better use of my time. After it was closed, I could then seek employment elsewhere.
Every dollar we could put in the bank account might assure another pay check for the employees, so I tried to stay focused. The next morning I was early to the store, had everything setup and ready to go when the employees came in. I did the cash report, would take the bank deposit when I left to go home. Again, we were busier than normal, I was still on a register when Virginia came in at five o’clock. We didn’t get a chance to talk much, her on a register and me filling in on the sales floor for a couple of employees on dinner break.
I grabbed the deposit and headed to the bank. After slowing down, the tiredness hit me hard, by the time I made it home, I was yawning, trying to keep my eyes open. I made it as far as the bed, then collapsed. I planned on dressing in some casual clothes for the trip to the salon, Marissa had told me I would be leaving there in costume.
The next morning, I made it to the salon about ten minutes before my appointment, and was promptly led to a treatment room in the back. Pat, my technician, explained everything I would be receiving as part of the transformation. I did get clothes, Marissa had arranged for a showgirl gown as my costume. Not my first choice, but all of the girls will get a kick out of me in drag. It was mentioned, as I signed the releases, that for the gown I would get realistic breasts, the gown very low-cut. Nothing was permanent although a couple of the treatments might last for a few weeks.
Since I doubted I would be still employed then, it was not a concern for me at that time. In fact, I felt that within a week we would be closed. A friend at one of the locations in South Florida had been approached by somebody out of the company asking about the financial condition of the company. It turned out to be one the business lending companies who loan money on inventory. If that is true we are in the last few days of operation. Once they get turned down we are history. Not one of those companies would loan any money on the type of inventory we had. It was obviously a last ditch effort to get funding by our executives, yeah what a laugh.
I was asked to undress and she would get started. Hair removal was first, since I had very little, it was a cinch for her. Then my male organ was fastened back out of sight, the numbing spray quickly doing its job. I was surprised at it being done, but I knew nothing of what Marissa had set up. Then some clear forms were glued to my chest and hoses from beneath the table were attached to them. A syringe of liquid was injected into each form and a pump was turned on. The rhythmic sucking of my loose chest tissue, kind of put me to sleep, I was wakened later by Pat, my eyes bulging at the sight of the forms filled with breast tissue. I never thought that the pump would be able to do more that create a little mound, boy was I surprised and shocked.
“The forms stay on, they will become flexible in the next few hours, and then totally dissolve in a day or two.” I started to move my hands to check out the new appendages, to be surprised again by the inch long nails on my fingers. They were painted bright red, and shiny as can be. I held them up in front of me and just stared. I quickly looked around at the rest of my body to see what other surprises awaited me. Luckily there were none.
I was helped from the table to a salon chair and it tilted back. My hair shampooed and conditioned, then a towel wrapped around it to absorb the extra water. The chair tilted back up and she started cutting my hair. I had got lazy recently, and not had it cut for several months, now it was shoulder length. At work, I wore in in a low ponytail, tucked into my shirt. Since we were never visited by company executives anymore, it never became a problem.
Pat cut on it for quite some time, in the process she gave me bangs, and what she called, a layered look. Next, she wound the hair on curlers, after spraying on a setting lotion. Another soaking with the lotion after she had it in the curlers, and I was moved to a dryer. It felt funny, my male thingy not there in the way, two massive weights on my chest and warm air flowing over my curler infested head.
I just sat there, lost in thought, glad this is only for one day. Then I remembered the breasts, maybe a little longer than a day or two. I wonder if they will even go away since they were sucked from my body. No conclusions, just lost in thought. The dryer turned off an hour later and Pat took me back to the chair. The curlers were removed, as she brushed out the style, it fell into place no matter which way she brushed it. I had a bad feeling about this, but no doubt it was too late to do anything about it.
Makeup is next, my beard area was treated with a cream, left on for thirty minutes and then wiped off. I watched in awe as my male face disappeared into one of an attractive female. She used many different products as she applied my makeup. Eyes first, lined and then my eyelashes coated in mascara. Some color to my cheeks, then my lips were her next target. I noticed she was very careful where she applied the product, just figuring she was careful in her work. She then had me close my eyes and sprayed my face to set the makeup.
“The hair and makeup are good for quite some time. The makeup, particularly the lipstick will need to be refreshed but all the other cosmetics should be good for at least a month. Most of the items I applied are a stain, soaking into the skin so they will last longer. The hair has our new liquid permanent in it, so a brush is all you need to make it fall back into place. After six months, it will need another treatment.” Pat was smiling as she informed me of the changes. I was frozen in place, this is not exactly what I had in mind.
Before I could say anything, I was taken next door to their clothing store. The cape I was given to wear earlier the only cover-up I had, needless to say it was a little drafty. Once there, I was shown into a room and my cape was removed. There on a hook in front of me was a gorgeous dress, any female wearing it would be the talk of the town. Pat helped me with the lingerie, panties first, their smooth fit in the front, highlighting the changes that had been made to my body.
That was followed by a corset, she had no trouble hooking it around me and I foolishly thought it would not be that bad. Then she started tightening it, the corset molding quickly to my body. If that was all there was to it, I could probably live with the constriction. I was lulled into a false sense of security as stockings were rolled up my legs and attached to the garters hanging from the corset. My feet were slipped onto some heels and suddenly I was much taller. It felt like I was standing on my toes, probably because I was. Then the corset was tightened some more, now breathing was a chore, the breaths coming less frequently as my lungs struggled to get the much needed air to them. She had me raise my arms to lessen the pressure on my body, it did help some, my heart finally calming down some to a more regular beat.
As I tried to lower my arms, the pressure resumed, Pat suggested that I walk around a little, the corset will settle in and I should be good to go. I was half way around the perimeter of the store, until I realized I only had the corset and stockings on. I hurried back to Pat, her smile genuine and huge. She had a bra for me to wear, although it was strapless and only supported the lower half of my breasts.
Then the dress, as I stepped into it, I realized how tight it was going to be on my body. It took us several minutes to get it past my new hips, the corset had forced any extra flesh either up or down to my hips. Even with the corset, I had to stretch a little to get the zipper up, once up, I knew the dress was fused to my body for the duration. I was slid over in front of a mirror, the image staring back at me so surreal. That couldn’t be me, not a single male trait was visible anywhere. I was still admiring my new looks, when Marissa walked up to me. ‘Looking good’ was her only comment.
I was about to say something to her, when she grabbed my hand and led me from the salon. Her car was right outside, she opened the passenger door for me, and I struggled into her car. As she was driving off, she told me that we were expecting some visitors from the new owners, the email about the deal coming this morning. Nobody knows anything more about the deal, their plans, or even who the new owners are. I looked at my body, I am sure I will make a good impression, dressed as an exotic dancer, or a high priced call girl. Neither of us said much on the trip, a lot of unknowns does not furnish you much to talk about. We were at the store when I realized my car was still at the salon. Oh well, I can retrieve it later.
She parked to the side of the store, and we made our way in. Virginia was running a register, but focused on my new look. I briefly looked over the store to see if there was anything that needed to be attended to, but everybody had done a good job. It as spotless and stocked to the best of our resources. I was heading to the office, when I was called back up front. I had a bad feeling this was our guests, and as I made my to the front, I saw several well-dressed females standing waiting to meet me. I walked up to them, introducing myself as Frank Walker the manager. I introduced Virginia and Marissa as my assistants, and invited them back to the offices.
Marissa dragged her feet while getting another cashier to the front so that we could talk, mostly uninterrupted. I made sure everybody had seats and asked what we could do for them today. Cary, the apparent head of the group, informed us that her company had bought seven of the locations, intending to keep them open and operating as they are presently set up. If the craft store set-up doesn’t work, they have several other alternatives to utilize the locations. They are here to meet the personnel, evaluate the condition of the store, and make a first attempt at straightening out several of the problems. They know a little about us already; they have had mystery shoppers in the store already seeing how it is being run and the experience level of the employees. Cary looked directly at me. “Do you prefer Frank or Fran?” Just like Marissa to make a remark at the most in opportune time.
“Oh I love Fran, that so suits you. You should definitely go with Fran.”
To try and keep it light hearted. “Okay Fran is fine with me.”
Cary let out a little giggle, but resumed her inquiry. We were asked if the craft store concept would be best for this location or would something else be better. All three of us responded that the location warranted maybe something else. The location of the store right next to a major mall could be used for any number of other lines of merchandise, maybe more profitably than the craft store angle.
She looked at her notes, then introduced the other members of the group. She asked Marissa to go with Debbie to the cash office to verify what is on hand and what might be needed for the next few days. Virginia was asked to go with Heather to the floor, and walk the aisles asking questions about inventory level and what was needed right now to sustain sales. That left Cary with me, I had an idea what we would be talking about, and I had no idea how to respond to her.
She waited to till everyone left, and then got up and approached me. Sitting right next to me, she suggested that I start from the beginning and tell her everything. “I want to know about the employees, your assistants, the companies you have worked for and your ideas of what went wrong. Finally, I want to know about you personally. I know part of this is a costume for Halloween, but you are too comfortable in those clothes for this to be just that. I am not judging, but for us to work together, I need to know what makes you tick.”
She sat there staring at me with a big smile, and I figured she was waiting for me to start. I laid it out until I came to the part about me. “I am not sure what happened today. Marissa had made the appointment for me, I showed up and this is the result. I knew what they were doing as it was being done, but let it happen as if that is my sole desire.” She had been taking notes of what I said, when I stopped she did the same.
She studied the notes for a while, then another set from another tablet. Yep, I agree with what they said about you. You know both Marissa and Virginia think the world of you. We have interviewed both of them prior to today, what they said regarding you was right on the money. Now if we can come to terms with you, money wise, will you consider working for us. I looked at her, then down at my desk then back to her.
The dumbest thing I could say left my mouth. “Huh?” She giggled, “Maybe a blond would be a more appropriate hair color for you.”
Then giggling as hard as she could without it being outright laughter. “Will you come to work for us?”
I couldn’t get any words out, so I nodded my head in the affirmative. Debbie will watch the store, while the five of us go to dinner, she is familiar with your registers, your assistant showing her where everything is. Freshen up your lipstick and let’s go. I reached for my purse, opened it and there inside is my lipstick. I looked for a mirror, a compact handled that, and I ran the lipstick over my lips and then lightly blotted it. All the time, Cary was just smiling at what I was doing. I felt a blush spreading over my face that is something a new female should not know how to do, then to do it like I had been doing it for years. Oh well, too late now, to do anything about it.
Dinner was interesting, Cary mainly talking about their other stores and how they were run. They considered each store separate, ordering individually instead of corporate group purchases. I did find out that Virginia and Marissa were already hired by them, the costume thing just a way to get me into dresses. I was angered at first, but the more we talked, I realized I was more a female in my thinking than a male. Marissa asked me to go the ladies room with her, so we got up and made our way there. As we entered, she apologized for the deceit, but both of them felt that this was the real me. Since I wouldn’t take time to look for employment, they decided to bring it to me. They knew about the deal a week ago, but wanted me as my true self before I was informed of the deal.
“Are you mad at us? We do treasure you, and would like to share in your life for quite some time. We told all of the employees this morning, you have one hundred percent support working as a female. You were otherwise occupied, but all of them think you look wonderful, so much more natural in your actions and behavior. Please try this for us, I know you will love it as soon as you can forget the male role and be yourself. Now fix your lipstick, Cary is waiting for an answer.”
I did agree to work for them, but Cary added one requirement to the deal. Fran is to be the employee in the deal, a much more sophisticated and intelligent individual. I sighed, now my lifelong wish is being granted, although I had to be tricked to being me for it to happen. Glad my two BFF’s were there to see that it happened. Indeed they were, and have been my BFF’s for longer than I can recall. I had to be tricked to show the real me, something that a BFF would do for her best friend.
Story Complete For Now
© 2016 thru 2021 Fran Cesca Walker