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Jimmy Meets His Match
TO TEA AT ACKLAM
Aunt Mary threw back my curtains and let the daylight in. After my customary morning wash, I returned to my room to see the cornflower blue dress hanging up on the door of the wardrobe. 'Blue today Jennifer' smiled Aunt Mary; 'You can put your undies on yourself by now.' I put on my white vest and light blue knickers, and was then buttoned into my blue dress, the belt tied neatly in a large bow at the back. On my feet went a pair of white ankle socks and a pair of black T bar strap shoes. I sat obediently with my hands in my lap while Aunt Mary put my wig on and tied two bows of light blue hair ribbon into my hair to match my dress. As usual, they were secured firmly with two plastic hair slides. That done, we went down to breakfast.
At about ten o'clock there was a knock on the door, and there were Fiona and Hilary, ready to go. They came into the hallway for a moment, and were delighted to see how I was dressed. 'What's the weather going to be like?' asked Jane. 'Oh, fine this morning, with rain later on,' said Hilary. 'Well you'd better take a coat or something Jane' said Aunt Mary, 'What have you got, Hilary?'
'Fiona and I have both got plastic macs' said Hilary, 'We'll be all right.'
'Susan and I can take umbrellas' said Jane, taking them from the coat stand, 'And Jennifer can take her sweet little red mac. I just love making her wear it, knowing how much she hates it, and besides, she looks so sweet when she does.'
'All right' said Aunt Mary, taking down my red mackintosh and handing it to me. 'Now Jennifer' she said, 'I know you hate wearing it because it makes you look like a dainty little girl, so you can carry it for the moment. But if it starts to rain you must put it on. All right?'
'All right' I said quietly. 'Don't worry Mum, said Jane, opening the door, I'll make certain that he does. Come on then everyone, let's go.'
We left the house and walked down to the bus stop, where we caught the bus to the village of Acklam, about 4 miles away. We soon arrived there, and after getting off the bus, started to walk through the village. 'Where are we going?' I asked. 'To see my friend Barbara Nolan and her mother' said Jane, 'They want to have a look at you.' I'd had a feeling it was going to be something like that.
We eventually came to a detached house with a large front garden, and went up the drive to the front door. Hilary rang the bell, and a girl of about her age opened the door. I assumed this was Barbara. 'Come in everybody' she said, 'Come on through, we're out the back.' We hung our coats up in the hall, and went through the house and out into the garden. A middle aged woman was standing next to a swinging garden chair, while a small girl of about seven was sitting next to her. Everybody knew each other, so there were no introductions to be made. Except for me, that is. Taking me by the hand, Jane stepped forward and said 'Mrs. Nolan, I'd like you to meet my cousin Jennifer, except as you already know, his name's actually Jimmy. What do you think?' The lady looked at me and then grinned. 'Well he does make a cute little girl, doesn't he? Goodness, he looks more like a girl than some of you!'
'Yes I know' said Jane, 'It's the clothes we put him in. We always make him wear demure, sweet little dresses. Not only does he look more convincing, but it's more humiliating for him as well. Which is the whole idea of course.'
'You've certainly done a remarkable job on that score' said Mrs. Nolan, still smiling 'He must be absolutely hating it.'
'Oh he does, and the beautiful thing is that not only is he being punished by the magistrate for breaking into that school, but we and his sisters are getting the most wonderful revenge for all the really horrid things he's done to us in the past. We're having a wonderful time.'
'Well I must say it's exquisitely appropriate for a naughty little boy caught stealing girl's school uniforms, and the magistrate has certainly made the punishment fit the crime. Now, who'd like a nice cup of tea?' The offer was received with enthusiasm, and we all went and sat in the kitchen. As we sat there, Jane turned to Barbara and said 'How do you think he looks Barbara? As good as you expected?'
'Oh far better' she laughed, 'He looks as cute as my little sister here. Mind you, I'd love to have seen him in that baby dress, that would have been a hoot. You should have brought him over in the pushchair, or better still the pram.'
'Well you should get a chance to see him as baby Jennifer' said Jane. 'I expect we'll be taking him out again in a few days. Look, I'll tell you what, I'll give you a call the day before, and then you can come over and take him out for a walk round the village if you like.'
'That would be great' said Barbara, 'Thanks Jane, I appreciate it.'
'My pleasure' said Jane.
After tea, we chatted in the garden for a while until it started to cloud over. Rain began to fall, and we went into the house. Looking at her watch, Jane said 'We'd better be getting back. Thank you for the tea Mrs. Nolan. Would it be all right for Barbara to come over when we next take baby Jennifer out for a walk?'
'Yes of course' smiled Mrs. Nolan, 'I'm sure she'd enjoy it.' She opened the door and we saw that the rain was teeming down. 'Have you all got coats?' said Mrs. Nolan. 'Oh yes' said Fiona, taking two plastic macs out of her bag and giving one to Hilary. They put the translucent macs on and fastened the press studs down the front, tied the tie belts around their waists, and put up their hoods before fastening the tie tapes of their hoods in a bow under the chin. 'Right' said Fiona, 'We're ready.'
'What about you two and Jennifer?' said Mrs. Nolan to Jane. 'Oh we're fine' she replied, 'Susan and I have our umbrellas, and Jennifer has this sweet little mackintosh to wear.' She lifted down my mac from the coat stand, and Mrs. Nolan took it to examine it. Holding it up she said 'Here you are Jennifer, let's put your mac on. Arms in.' I put my arms into the sleeves, and Mrs. Nolan pulled it on properly and fastened the buttons and belt. 'There' she said, 'Now let's put up your hood.' She lifted the hood up over my head, and buttoned it firmly under my chin.' She looked at me and grinned. 'You look just like Barbara when she was about six or seven' she said, 'I must say that he really does look like a little girl with that mackintosh hood framing his face. All right everyone, thank you for bringing Jennifer over to see us, it was fun.' We said our goodbyes, and set off in the rain to the bus stop.
We stood in the bus shelter and removed our hoods while we were waiting, and in a little while could see the bus approaching. I moved forward and prepared to board the bus with the others, but Jane pulled me back, saying 'Oh no you don't Jennifer, we've got a little surprise for you.' Before I could stop her, she quickly pulled off my wig and put it into her bag. 'No' she grinned, 'You're not coming on the bus with us. You're going to walk all the way home instead, and the lovely bit is that you won't have your wig. That means that anyone will see that you're a boy, and I know how much you hate that. So, it looks as if the only way you can hide the fact is to keep your mackintosh hood up and pretend that you're a girl, isn't it? Let me put it up for you.' The girls laughed as she pulled up my hood again and buttoned it up. 'There' she grinned, 'Even if it stops raining, I'm pretty sure you'll keep your hood up.' She stepped back as the bus arrived and they got on. 'And don't forget Jennifer' was her parting shot, 'You'll have to walk all the way, because you don't have any money for the bus. Have fun!'
The bus drove off, and I started to walk the four miles home. I walked along the pavement with my best girlish step, and kept my head bowed and my hands in my pockets. As in Scarborough, the cold wet mac went schlock schlock as it slapped against my bare wet legs, and smelt of rubber. After about half an hour the rain stopped and the sun came out, but I had to keep my hood up to keep my face hidden. I hoped that no one would think it strange to see a little girl walking along in the sunshine with her mackintosh hood up, but no one approached me, thank goodness. After well over an hour I reached Throsley, and was relieved to finally arrive home. Jane opened the door and let me in. 'There you are Jennifer' she said, grinning, 'Did you have a nice walk?'
'No' I replied with a frown, 'It was rotten.'
'Yes, well it was meant to be' said Jane, 'Now let's get that wet mac off.' She removed my mackintosh, hung it up on the coat stand, and we went through into the lounge.
Aunt Mary was sitting there with Fiona's mother Margaret Hall and another woman. 'Ah' she said, 'There you are Jimmy. Sit down.' I sat down on the sofa, and Jane took the wig out of her bag, placed it on my head, and brushed it neatly into position. The two women watched with smiles of amusement on their faces. 'Now Jimmy, or rather Jennifer' began Aunt Mary, 'You've already met Fiona's mother, and this other lady is Trudy Wilson, one of the other teachers at St. Michael's Primary School.' I said hello, and she continued. 'They are both teachers, and are very interested in this way of punishing you. They are very much against caning, but they've found that other methods of punishment just don't seem to have much effect on their boys, who just persist in being disobedient. We were talking about you the other day, and they feel that humiliation might well be the answer to their problem. You are a good example of how disobedient boys can be taught to behave, although we're still not certain that we've succeeded with you yet. Anyway, they've asked me if they can borrow you for a day to show their boys just what could happen to them. With luck, it might achieve something.'
'Tomorrow' she continued, 'There's a school holiday outing. They will be taking the boys and girls on a coach trip to Whitby, and you will be going with them dressed in the girl's school uniform. Margaret has kindly brought one over for you to try on, and it's up in your room. Come on upstairs, and we'll see how you look in it.' I
gulped in dismay at the prospect, but knew better than to protest by now. So I meekly followed Aunt Mary up to my room to change. She removed my wig and all my clothes except for my vest. Then she picked up a pair of navy blue school knickers and held them out while I stepped into them, and she pulled them on neatly. She took the dress off its hanger, and held it out for me to step into.
It was a typical girl's primary school summer dress, made of blue and white check gingham, with a row of white buttons up the front to the neck. It had short sleeves with white cuffs, and a white pointed collar, and there was a breast pocket with a white strip along the opening. The belt was fitted with a white plastic buckle, and was threaded through two keepers attached to the dress at the sides of the waist. On the end of the belt was a buttonhole to stop the belt slipping open.
She held the dress up and pulled it over my head, while I put my arms into the sleeves. Then she fastened the buttons up to the neck and secured the belt in place. On my feet went a pair of white ankle socks which Aunt Mary turned down neatly, and on top of those, a pair of brown T bar sandals with buckles at the side of the foot. She made sure that the strap buckles were tightly fastened so that they could not come off. Aunt Mary now took my wig, removed the blue ribbons and hair slides, and brushed it out. Then she placed the wig back on my head, and firmly tied a bow of white hair ribbon on each side of my head. 'Now' said Aunt Mary, 'One last thing.' She picked up a cream coloured straw hat with a royal blue hat band and put it carefully on my head. Finally she pulled down the hat's elastic band and tucked it under my chin. 'All right' she said, 'Let's go downstairs.'
We went downstairs to the lounge, and Margaret and Trudy stood up to have a proper look at me. Aunt Mary stood me in the middle of the room and the two women scrutinised me. 'That's quite amazing' said Margaret, smiling 'He almost looks too good. If you put him in the playground like that, you would never guess that he's a boy. That really is quite remarkable. The dress is a good fit too, so I think he's going to do rather nicely.'
'Just one point' said Trudy, 'If you're going to dress a boy as a girl as a punishment, people need to know that he is actually a boy.'
'That's what Jean Baker, the policewoman said' added Aunt Mary. 'So she had a good idea. Once a week, when we take him into town to be checked at the police station, he's not allowed to wear a wig, so everyone who sees him knows that he's a boy. He gets teased unmercifully by everyone who sees him, and in town that's a lot of people. The humiliation on his face is something to see, so it's certainly very effective.'
'Oh that's an excellent idea' said Margaret. 'All right, when you bring him in the morning, leave the wig off. That should really give the children a good laugh, especially the girls. I can just imagine what they're going to say.'
'Well that's settled then' said Aunt Mary. 'Jimmy, you can keep that dress on for now, until you go to bed, you might as well get used to wearing it.'
'Thanks for nothing' I said sarcastically.
'Come on Jennifer' said Susan sympathetically, 'Let's go out in the garden.'
'Yes all right' said Aunt Mary, 'Off you go.' I said goodbye to the two teachers and went into the garden with Susan. 'I'm so glad I'm not you' said Susan, 'It's going to be awful for you tomorrow. Dressed as a little primary school girl with all the other little girls. Mind you, I quite like you like that, you actually look quite sweet!' she teased, and laughed.
After about half an hour we could hear the two teachers leaving, and when they had gone, Susan and I went indoors. 'Well Jennifer' grinned Jane, 'You're going to have an interesting day tomorrow, aren't you? I almost wish I was going too, just to see your face!' Aunt Mary prepared our tea, and the meal was interspersed with various suggestions as to my fate the next day. But finally it was over, and my bed time came along. I went upstairs, and soon Aunt Mary came up to tuck me in and hang up the primary school uniform neatly in the wardrobe. Then she kissed me goodnight, and I was asleep before I realised it.
THE PRIMARY SCHOOL OUTING
The day of the primary school outing dawned with a beautiful sunrise in a clear blue sky. Aunt Mary woke me early, and after my morning wash, dressed me in the blue gingham school dress with white ankle socks and brown T bar sandals that I had tried on the previous afternoon. Only one thing puzzled me. She started putting my wig on. Although I was relieved that she was allowing me to wear it, I couldn't help commenting that she had agreed with the two teachers that I wouldn't be allowed to wear it in order to maximise my humiliation. When I mentioned it, Aunt Mary smiled and said 'Let's just say that we made a slight change of plan while you were in the garden. You'll see why, later.' She continued straightening my hair ribbons, stood back, and looking at me said 'Yes, you'll do very well. Now let's go downstairs.'
Breakfast was accompanied by some teasing remarks from the girls about my appearance, but not for long, and soon it was time for Aunt Mary to walk me down to the primary school. Aunt Mary gave me my school hat to carry, and opened the door. As we left the house, Susan laughingly called out 'Have a nice time, Jennifer, and don't forget to use the girl's toilet!' I just ignored her. As we walked along, Aunt Mary said to me 'Now Jimmy, when we get to the school, I want you to remember that you are Jennifer Chapman. I want you to behave just as you did before, and be a really convincing little girl. You did well with Mrs.Sewell's friends, so let's see if you can fool the other children, which may be a bit more difficult. The girls and boys will be in two separate groups, so you will be with the girls. That might make it a bit easier for you. Just one other thing. You'll get a bit of a surprise about half way through the day, but I'll leave that to Margaret and Trudy. Do everything that they tell you, and don't let me down.'
We soon reached the primary school and went in. A group of about forty girls and boys aged about eight to eleven were standing around in small groups, waiting for the coach that was to take us to Whitby. The girls all wore blue gingham dresses, white ankle socks, and brown sandals or T bar shoes identical to the ones I was wearing. The boys wore grey shorts and shirts, blue and grey striped ties, knee high grey socks with a blue stripe, and black shoes. Some of the boys and girls also wore royal blue blazers. Margaret was already there, dividing them into separate groups of boys and girls, while Trudy was standing to one side ticking names off a list. As we walked into the playground she saw us and gave us a wave. We went over to her, and she looked at me with a smile. Speaking quietly so as not to be overheard she said 'My goodness Jennifer, you look perfect. Very convincing. If you've got the mannerisms right as well, I think we'll be able to fool the other children without too much trouble at all. Now you'll be with the girls of course, so I'll introduce you in a minute.'
'Well I'll be off now' said Aunt Mary, 'What time do you expect to be back?'
'We should get back about four o'clock.'
'OK, I'll get Jane to pick him up then. All right then Trudy, I'll leave Jennifer in your tender care. Have fun.'
'We certainly will' grinned Trudy, with a twinkle in her eye, 'Especially about lunch time, I think.' Aunt Mary laughed. 'Yes, of course' she said, 'Bye bye.' She turned around and walked out of the playground, leaving me with Trudy. 'Now' she said 'Let's find someone to look after you.' Taking me by the hand, she walked me over to the group of girls. 'Christine and Emily' she called, 'Would you come here for a minute?' Two of the older girls came over to us and started looking me over. 'Jennifer' said Trudy, indicating one girl, 'This is Christine. And this is Emily. Girls, this is Jennifer. She's staying here with relatives for the holidays, and she's coming to Whitby with us. She doesn't know anyone, so I want you to look after her and make her feel welcome. Will you do that for me?'
'Sure' said Emily, 'We'd be glad to.' Emily was a diminutive little girl, small for her age, while Christine was about an inch taller than me. 'Good' said Trudy, 'Now I've got to go and see Mrs Hall, so I'll leave you three to get to know one another.' She went over to Margaret and they started talking. Every so often one of them would look at me and smile, obviously with amusement at what was to come. Christine had fair hair cut in a page boy style like mine, but without the hair ribbons, while Emily had mid brown hair in two long plaits hanging down her back, with white hair ribbon bows on the end. She looked at me and said 'Does your mum make you wear hair ribbons as well?'
'Yes' I replied in my meekest voice, 'She thinks they look nice.'
'Well I hate it!' replied Emily vehemently, 'It's so babyish. And to make it worse I have to have my hair in these stupid pigtails! Mum did them this morning, and said she wanted them to be really neat, so she plaited them so tightly I can hardly close my eyes. It really hurt. Just wait until I go up to senior school after next year. The first thing I'm going to do is cut them off. Then I'll never wear pigtails again.'
'Where do you live Jennifer?' asked Christine, 'I mean, where is your home? I know you're living with Susan and Jane here in the village.'
'Oh I'm from Brighton' I replied. 'Brighton' said Emily, 'Lucky thing, living by the sea. I've heard that there's tons of things to do there, not like this dump. Even York's not that exiting, well not until you're old enough, anyway. You must tell us all about Brighton on the coach.'
Just at that moment, a coach drew up outside the school, and the driver got out. He went over to Margaret and Trudy, and they started checking some paperwork. 'Come on ' said Christine, 'let's get near the front, then we can get good seats.' We walked over and joined the other girls and they started introducing me. 'By the way Jennifer' said Emily, 'How come you're wearing our school uniform? I would have thought that not being from here, you could have got out of it.' My mind raced for a moment while I tried to think of a logical reply. 'Oh' I said, 'Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Wilson came to see my aunt yesterday, and felt that they wanted me to fit in. So they lent me this uniform to wear.'
'Hard luck' said one of the other girls, 'I hate wearing it. It's all right for little six year olds, but for us, yuck!'
'All right everybody' called Margaret, standing next to the door of the coach, ' You can start getting on now. Girls first, and I want you all to sit on the left hand side of the coach as you get on. Boys on the right.' We started boarding the coach, and as I climbed the steps, Margaret said to me 'Put your hat on Jennifer, I don't want you to lose it. Come over here for a moment.' I stepped down, and she put my hat on my head, tucked the elastic under my chin, and straightened it. I felt like a six year old. 'There, that's better' she smiled, obviously aware of how I felt, 'Now get on the coach.' I climbed up the steps again, and walked down to where Emily had reserved a seat for me. I sat next to her, and Christine sat just behind us. When all the girls were seated, the boys got on and rapidly filled their side of the bus with much boisterous pushing and shoving. How I longed to be one of them, as I could have pushed and shoved with the best of them. After a final roll call we were ready to leave. The driver slammed the sliding door shut, got into the driver's seat, and away we went, a few parents standing on the pavement waving us goodbye.
The journey to Whitby took about an hour, and I found myself bombarded with questions from the girls. Some of them were about the sort of things related to Brighton that would be of interest only to girls, so I had to be a bit inventive. The most important thing though, was that they completely accepted me as a girl without any doubt whatsoever. I began to feel confident, and that's always a dangerous thing, as I was soon to find out. When we reached Whitby the coach stopped in a car park, and we all got out, still in two groups. 'Right' said Margaret, 'Now just in case we lose anybody, we must be back at the coach by two thirty sharp. So if you do get lost, go back there and wait for the rest of us. All right? Now we're going up to the ruins of Whitby Abbey first, up there on the hill. It's got stories connected with Dracula, so I'm sure that will interest you. Off we go, girls in front, boys behind.'
We walked in crocodile through the narrow streets of the picturesque town, over a bridge across the river, and climbed a steep path up to the ruins of Whitby Abbey. Margaret kept us together, and one of the Abbey guides told us its story. For the benefit of the younger ones, he emphasised that the Dracula connection was only fiction. When he had finished, we all went back down into Whitby, and walked through to the beach. I sat on a low wall quietly with Trudy and Margaret for a while. Trudy looked at me and smiled. 'Well Jimmy' she said, 'Looks like you've fooled them all completely so far, and even close up, Emily and Christine have no idea that you're a boy. I've been watching you, and I have to admit that you've perfected the speech and mannerisms of a girl just about to perfection. Now go and join the others, we'll be having lunch soon.' I walked over to where the girls were standing and continued to be part of their group.
A few minutes later, Trudy called everyone together. 'All right everyone' she said, 'It's time for lunch. St. Mary's Primary School have laid on refreshments for us, so we'll all be going there now.' We all walked off along the street until we came to St. Mary's, went in through the gate into the playground, and across to the main door. We turned in to a room where a couple of teachers were expecting us. Trestle tables had been laid out with drinks, sandwiches, cakes and fruit, and we all sat down to eat. As the meal was finishing, Margaret called loudly 'Quiet please children.' The chatter subsided and she said 'Would the following boys come with me into the other room, I've got something to tell them.' She called out the names of eight of the boys, who stood up and followed her out of the room. 'And you too please Jennifer, Emily and Christine' said Trudy. We got up and followed her out of the door, down a passage, and into a classroom. The boys were all sitting in the desks, while Margaret stood at the front, facing them. Trudy sat the two girls together on one side, and Margaret stood me down at the front, facing the others.
'Jennifer, stand properly' said Margaret. I knew what she meant, so I stood with my feet together and my hands by my side. An awful realisation was beginning to dawn on me as I began to suspect what was coming next, and I began to tremble slightly. 'Now' she began, 'I think it's no secret that you boys are among the most badly behaved we've ever had at our school. You haven't just let us down, you've let down the whole village, and I'm not just talking about a few broken windows. I'm talking about graffiti, vandalism, and in some cases what could be called theft. We've tried punishing you. We've tried detention, lines, cleaning up the playground, even resorted to the cane. And the result? Nothing. All caning did was make you proud of it. You seem to get prouder with every offence you commit. Well boys, pride comes before a fall. Believe it or not, there's someone with us today who went just one step too far. He stole from a school in his local area, so the school prosecuted him and he finished up in the magistrate's court. And you know what his punishment was? A caning? No. A fine? No. Probation? No. It was something that I think you would find infinitely worse if you were in his place. How would you like to spend a couple of months dressed like this!'
Without warning she quickly pulled my hat and wig off my head, revealing my true identity. There was stunned silence for a moment, and then the boys burst into roars of laughter. Cries such as 'Whose a little girly then?' 'Do you want your dolly?' and 'Where's your doll's pram?' rent the air. Christine and Emily just giggled and whispered to each other. Trudy and Margaret were not laughing however, and eventually Margaret called them to order. Then she continued. 'I'm glad that you find it so funny' she said, 'That was exactly the reaction I expected. So can you imagine how Jimmy here feels? I'll tell you how he feels. Utterly humiliated. How would you like to be in his situation? How would you like to have to dress as a girl for two months, as he's having to? Well that's what happened to him. This was his punishment chosen by the magistrate, and he's stuck in this situation for six weeks. If he tries to run away, or even misbehaves, he'll be back in front of the magistrate for further punishment. And guess what that punishment is. It is to spend the next entire school year at a remote girl's boarding school in Scotland. He will be dressed in their school uniform for the whole year, and will not be allowed home during the holidays. Believe me, there's no escape from that remote place.'
The boys were no longer laughing. They listened with growing expressions of horror on their faces at the prospect of suffering my fate. Turning to Emily and Christine, Margaret said 'And what about you girls, if we made one of these boys come to school dressed in the girl's school uniform and wear little girl dresses at the weekend for a couple of months, would you be able to make them suffer?'
'Just give us the chance' grinned Emily, 'We'd have a wonderful time with them!'
'That's what I thought' said Margaret. 'Now, you may be wondering why I allowed Jimmy, or rather Jennifer, to wear a wig this morning. Well you'll notice that he gave such a convincing performance that not even Emily and Christine realised that he was a boy. Did you girls?'
'No way' said Christine, 'We just accepted him as a girl without even thinking.'
'Precisely' said Margaret. 'You have to remember that the whole idea of Jimmy's punishment is humiliation, and unless people know that he's a boy, it's not really working. So by taking away his wig now, everyone in the other room is about to know. If any of you boys are unfortunate enough to go through the same fate, you will not be allowed to wear a wig, and the reaction of people will be what you are about to see when we go back into the dining room. Watch how much all the others laugh at him, and imagine that it's you. That's what I want you to keep in mind. Now let's go back.'
The boys and girls stood up and we filed out into the corridor and back into the dining room. Margaret didn't have to make any announcement. The children took one look at me and fell about with laughter. A chorus of catcalls echoed round the room, even worse than the comments I had endured in the other room. Eventually some semblance of order was restored, and we prepared to return to the coach. 'Jimmy, stay with the girls' called Trudy, and Emily and Christine took my hands one on either side, still giggling as we walked out into the street. Several onlookers stared at me with grins on their faces as we walked, and the girls made every effort to draw attention to me. It was even worse than my Thursday visits to the police station without my wig on. We eventually got back on the coach, and I endured an hour of teasing comments on the journey back. But after a while, Emily and Christine stopped teasing me and began to sympathise with my plight. 'It must be really horrible for you' said Emily, 'Still, you shouldn't have been naughty, should you?'
We arrived back at the village just as it began to rain, and as we alighted from the coach we dashed into the school. Just inside the door were several parents holding their children's raincoats ready for them, and Jane was there as well. I was dismayed to see that she had brought my red raincape with her, just to show me up in front of the others. 'Ah, there you are' she said, 'Where are your wig and hat?'
'Margaret's got them' I said. 'All right' she said, 'We'll get them in a minute. Now stand still while I put this on you.' I stood there as she draped the cape over my shoulders and did up the buttons down the front Then she pulled up the pointed pixie hood and buttoned it under my chin. Just as she was fastening it, Emily and Christine came over wearing their navy blue gaberdine raincoats. They had the hoods up, secured with tie tapes in a bow under the chin. 'Oh my goodness Jimmy' said Emily, unable to prevent herself from laughing. 'Now you really look like a little girl. I stopped wearing a raincape when I was about seven, and anyway, only girls wear them. Mum tried to make my little brother wear mine once, and he nearly screamed the house down, but she still made him wear it through the rain. I must say though' she said with a grin, 'You do look sweet! Well we must be off. Nice to meet you Jimmy or Jennifer, I hope it all turns out OK for you. And please don't run away, the thought of that girl's boarding school sounds terrifying. Bye for now.'
'We'd better be going too' said Jane. We went over to Margaret to say goodbye, who handed my wig and hat to Jane, looked at me with a smile and said 'I must say Jimmy, that cape really does make you look like a little girl, doesn't it? Anyway, thank you for your help today. I hope that this has been a warning to those boys, and I'm pretty sure that they'll think twice about any further misdeeds now that they've seen you. Now you behave yourself for the rest of your time here. I certainly don't want to hear of you finishing up at that girl's boarding school. Thanks again, and goodbye.' Jane and I went out of the door into the rain, and several of the girls pointed me out to their parents, laughing as they did so. Jane put up her umbrella and we walked through the pouring rain until we were finally back home again.
Aunt Mary and Susan were sitting in the kitchen getting tea ready, and when we sat down to eat I described the day's events in detail. 'I wish I'd been there when they took your wig off' said Susan, 'That would have been excellent.'
'Not for me it wasn't' I remarked. 'Well I'll ask Margaret how well it went' said Aunt Mary, 'She can let me know if those boys have got the message yet.' After tea, I sat in the lounge until my bed time. Later, when I was safely tucked into bed, I began to think how well I could now pass myself off as a girl, and whether such a talent could perhaps be useful one day. With this thought in mind, I fell asleep.
THE POLICE STATION AND TEA IN TOWN
Oh God, police station day. That was my first thought when I woke up. Aunt Mary soon had me dressed in my pink dress, white ankle socks and white sandals. But no wig today of course. We went down to breakfast, and by ten o'clock, Aunt Mary and I were on our way into town in the car for a change. At least it avoided the humiliation of travelling on the bus. Aunt Mary had no trouble in finding a parking space, and we were soon walking along the pedestrian precinct, while I suffered the familiar shower of humiliating comments from the public at large. However, we soon reached the police station, and as we walked in we saw Jean Baker behind the counter. 'Ah, here you are again' she said, grinning, 'Another week gone. Let me see now Jimmy, only another three weeks and it will all be over. Think you can hang on until then?'
'I don't think I've got any choice' I said, 'Knowing what will happen to me if I don't.'
'That's true' said Jean, 'I wouldn't fancy a year in that school even as a real schoolgirl, let alone as a boy. I hear that the discipline there is really strict, and apparently the school uniform is pure torture to wear.'
'Yes' I said morosely, 'So they've told me.' Jean signed the book, we took our leave, and were soon walking along the precinct again. I was almost getting used to the inevitable catcalls, and was able to ignore them most of the time. Suddenly we saw Mrs. Sewell and Gillian walking towards us, and stopped to chat. Mrs. Sewell looked at me and smiled. 'I assume that this is extra humiliation day is it Jimmy?' I nodded glumly. 'Yes' I said. 'Well' said Aunt Mary, 'Why don't we all go and have a cup of tea?'
'Oh that's a good idea' said Mrs. Sewell. We walked round to the teashop, and sat down at a table in the corner. Gillian and I faced into the room, with Aunt Mary and Mrs. Sewell facing us.
As on our previous visit to the teashop, my appearance caused the same amusement and comments from the other patrons. A little girl at the table next to us pointed at me and said in a loud voice, 'Why is that boy dressed as a girl?' Even Gillian grinned as Aunt Mary explained everything to the little girl's mother. The waitress came up to take our order, looked at me and grinned. 'Aren't you the little girl that was here last week?' she said, and I said that yes I was. 'You know you really should grow your hair' she said, 'At least until it's long enough to tie some pretty bows in it.' I could have kicked her, and she smiled as she walked away with our order. Once again I had to endure the humiliation of sitting politely at the table in public, eating my tea daintily as a little eight year old girl, while Gillian kept looking at me, spluttering with mirth. With tea over at last, we all got up and left. Once we were out in the precinct, Aunt Mary and Mrs. Sewell decided that we should go for a walk. The most embarrassing aspect was that Gillian was wearing slacks and a white blouse, while I was the one in the pretty pink dress. 'You wouldn't like to swap would you?' I whispered. 'No way' retorted Gillian, 'I wouldn't be seen dead in a dress like that, and besides, I love seeing you looking so cute. And it's so much more fun when everyone can see that you're really a boy.' The walk seemed to last forever, and was especially humiliating for me when we went into a few dress shops. Gillian took great delight in pointing me out to all the shop assistants, and they found the whole idea hilarious.
Eventually we said goodbye to Gillian and her mother, and headed back to the car. We soon reached home to find that the girls had gone out, and Aunt Mary and I sat in the lounge until tea time. After tea, Aunt Mary packed me off to bed, and when she came up to kiss me goodnight she said 'Don't forget Jimmy, your mother and sisters will be arriving tomorrow, so you'd better prepare yourself for some fun and games. Remember that they haven't seen you in a dress yet, so I think I'll make you look extra pretty tomorrow, just for them. You can wear your yellow dress, it's so dainty. Anyway, we'll see. Goodnight dear.' She switched out the light and closed the door. My sisters! I'd forgotten all about their arrival. It was going to be bad enough to be seen by Mum, but the prospect of being tormented by Diana and Tricia together with Susan and Jane was almost more than I could bear. It took me a long time to fall asleep.
DIANA AND TRICIA ARRIVE
I woke up not quite sure whether to be glad or not that Mum, Diana and Tricia were arriving today. Well, there was nothing that I could do about it, so there was no point in worrying. Aunt Mary opened my curtains as usual, with the cheery comment 'Morning Jennifer, I want you to look your prettiest today.' I groaned. As if I needed reminding. As soon as I was back from the bathroom, the day's torment began. Aunt Mary dressed me slowly and methodically in my white vest and knickers and my primrose yellow dress buttoned up the back, and with the bow of the sash tied neatly and securely at the back. I wore white ankle socks on my feet with my white leather sandals, and Aunt Mary buckled up the straps very securely. My pageboy wig came next, and Aunt Mary made sure that the two bows pale yellow hair ribbons were very even and straight. They were reinforced with two matching yellow hair slides, and not a hair was out of place.
I went down to breakfast to be greeted by the undisguised mirth of Susan and Jane. 'Oh boy' grinned Susan, 'I can't wait for Diana and Tricia to arrive. What time will they be here Mum?'
'They should be here about two o'clock' said Aunt Mary; 'They're having lunch on the way.'
'Two o'clock' said Susan, looking at the clock. 'Five hours to go. Goody.' Breakfast was the usual round of teasing banter from the two girls, and when it was over I went upstairs to clean my teeth. Then I went to my room, sat on the bed, and tried to read. But it's hard to be interested in reading girl's annuals, and after some time I went downstairs to watch television with Susan instead.
We had lunch at about one o'clock, and when we had finished, I wandered out to sit in the swinging seat in the garden on my own. It was a warm, sunny afternoon, and I began to relax to the lazy sound of the bees and the occasional twitter of the birds. However, my reverie came to an abrupt end when I heard a knock at the front door and the sound familiar voices. My mother and sisters had arrived. I jumped up with a feeling of sheer panic as I realised that the moment I'd been dreading had come. After a few moments, Diana and Tricia raced out of the French windows and into the garden, closely followed by Susan and Jane. Susan came up to me, turned to face them and said 'Here you are girls, your new little sister Jennifer.' My sisters stared at me in stunned disbelief for a moment, and then burst into shrieks of laughter. 'Oh she's gorgeous!' cried Tricia, 'What a lovely little girl!'
'He just looks so cute' giggled Diana, 'He looks more like a girl than I do! It's that babyish pretty little frock he's wearing, and with the hair ribbons as well, I just love it. I stopped wearing dresses like that when I was eight. Oh, this is something.'
'This is worth every bit of the journey up here' said Tricia, 'And all the trouble he's given us in the past. Where's Mum? Diana, go and get Mum, I can't wait to see her face.' Diana ran indoors while I just stood there blushing to the roots, feet together and my hands clasped together in front of me.
A moment later, Diana returned with Mum and Aunt Mary. Mum looked at me, and a broad grin appeared on her face. 'I often wondered what you would have looked like if you'd been a girl Jimmy, and now I know. Quite pretty actually.' Turning to Aunt Mary she said 'Congratulations Mary, you've done a fantastic job; he looks positively dainty. I'd say that the magistrate would be well satisfied with what you've achieved.' Looking at me again she said' And you Jimmy, is this humiliating enough for you?'
'It's terrible!' I exclaimed, 'If you knew what they've been doing to me!'
'Yes' said Mum, 'Well I'm sure that Jane and Susan have thought up some suitable torments for you, haven't you girls?'
'Oh yes' said Jane, 'We've dreamed up some beauties, and we haven't finished yet. We're enjoying every minute of it, and now Diana and Tricia can join in the fun too!'
'That's what they've been talking about for several days' said Mum.
'Oh yes' grinned Diana, 'I've already thought up a lovely idea for him, and he's going to absolutely hate it!'
'Let's go indoors' suggested Jane, 'I've got some photos to show you of Jimmy in his various outfits. Oh and by the way, when he's dressed up his name is Jennifer.'
'Oh yes' giggled Diana, 'I like that. Jennifer. It's such a sweet name for a pretty little girl. Come on then, Jennifer' she laughed, grabbing my hand, 'Let's go indoors.' We all went in and sat down in the lounge, and Jane started to hand round the pictures she had taken of me. I sat on the sofa blushing to the roots, saying nothing, and almost crying with humiliation. As they looked through the photos, Diana said 'Can we see his dresses? I can't wait to see him wearing them.'
'Later' said Jane. 'I thought you might like to take Jennifer for a walk up to the park first. We try to make sure that we take him out every day so that everyone in the village gets a chance to laugh at him. You can have a look at the dresses when we get back.'
'Oh good' said Diana, 'I'm going to love seeing him walking down the street dressed like this. Revenge at last!' Aunt Mary looked at her and grinned, saying 'Sadistic aren't you? All right, you can all take him for a walk, but be back by five o'clock for tea.'
The girls jumped up, and in no time I was being bundled out of the front door and along the street. Diana and Tricia were thoroughly enjoying the novelty, pointing me out to everyone we came across. I don't think they realised that just about everyone in the village already knew about me by then. On the way we met Trudy Wilson the teacher, who described to the girls my experience on the primary school trip to Whitby a couple of days before. Diana thought the whole thing hilarious. 'If only I'd been there' she said, 'He would have looked so sweet. I tell you what, when he gets home again I'm going to fix it so that he goes to my school in my school uniform. That would be great.'
'Some hope' I retorted, 'No way.'
'Don't you be too sure Jimmy' grinned Tricia, 'With the copies of those photos we've now got, I think we can make you do just about anything from now on. Unless of course you'd like us to hand them around your school and among your tough mates. I think that would be just about the end of you, wouldn't it?' She smirked and I scowled at her, but unfortunately I knew that she was right. After a few more minutes Trudy continued on her way, and we soon arrived at the local park. We found a spot to sit down for a while, and Jane and Susan began to describe my numerous humiliations of the past month.
A look of incredulity crossed my sister's faces as Susan and Jane described in agonising detail all the humiliations that they had put me through so far, along with a few more ideas of what else was in store for me. They enjoyed every minute of it, and after a while, Diana said 'I'd really love to see him dressed as a little baby girl strapped in her pushchair, unable to climb out. Could we do that one tomorrow?'
'Sure' said Jane, 'We'll give him the whole works. We'll dress him up, pop him in the pushchair, and then we'll bring him up here to the park for a while.'
'Great' said Diana, 'I'm going to really enjoy this. It'll be my special revenge for some of the horrible things he's done to me.' After a little more ominous conversation the girls decided to head for home, and we arrived there just as Aunt Mary was preparing tea. 'Can we see his dresses and the baby things now?' said Diana. 'In a minute' said Jane, 'I've just got to let Barbara Nolan know that we're taking Jimmy out as a baby tomorrow. I promised her that she could take a turn at walking him around the village in the pushchair.' She phoned Barbara, who confirmed that she would be coming tomorrow. 'Right' said Jane 'Let's go upstairs, all the dresses are in his room.'
'I'll stay down here if you like' I said, 'You don't need me.'
'Suit yourself' said Jane, 'I think you know what they look like by now. Come on girls.' They all went upstairs, and I soon heard several squeals and giggles coming from my room.
Tea was soon ready, and after we had laid the dining room table, Aunt Mary called the girls downstairs. We sat down to eat, and I was bombarded with humiliating remarks from all four girls. Once tea was over we sat down to watch television, which was interspersed with further teasing barbs fired at me. The final insult of the day was when Aunt Mary said 'Come along Jennifer, six o'clock, bedtime.' Diana giggled loudly. 'Six o'clock?' she said, 'Is that when has to go to bed?'
'Yes of course' said Aunt Mary. 'That's when all little girls are sent to bed.'
'How delightful' grinned Diana, 'Off you go to bed then, baby Jennifer.' And she burst into a fit of giggles.
I went upstairs to bed, and Mum came in to see me. 'You know Jimmy' she said, as she unfastened my dress and hung it up in the wardrobe, 'I can imagine what an ordeal this whole thing is for you, and in some ways I can't help feeling sorry for you. But you're paying the penalty for what you've done, and you've just got to stick it out. You've only got 13 more days to go and then it's all over, provided you've learnt your lesson. For your sake, I hope you have' She untied the yellow hair ribbons from my wig, brushed it out, and put it on its stand. 'Don't forget' she said, 'If there's even the slightest hint of a relapse into your previous behaviour it could mean a year at that girl's boarding school. I'm sure you want to avoid that, so just put up with all this for a little bit longer. Now try and get some sleep.' She bent over and kissed me goodnight, switched off the light, and leaving the door ajar, went downstairs. Somehow with her there it didn't seem so bad, and I was soon asleep.
AROUND THE VILLAGE IN THE PUSHCHAIR
Saturday dawned bright and sunny as Aunt Mary woke me up, and as soon as I had washed I was ready to be dressed. 'I'm going to continue to dress you in the morning' she said, 'Your mother's not familiar with where everything is, so she's asked me to carry on doing it. Now the girls tell me they want you to be a baby today, so it's on with your nappy first. Lie on the bed.' Everything had been laid out in readiness, and I laid down on top of the folded terry towel nappy. Aunt Mary pulled the ends together across my front and pinned them securely in place with four pink nappy pins. Taking a pair of large plastic pants with elasticated waist and legs, she pulled them up my legs, over the nappy, and tucked them in neatly. 'Right' she said, 'Stand up.' I stood up, and she slipped the white baby frock over my head and pulled my arms through the short puffed sleeves. Then she fastened the buttons up the back, and tied the sash at the back in a neat non-slip bow before smoothing the frock down around me.
'Very nice' she said, 'Feet next. Sit down.' I sat on the chair, and she slipped a pair of white ankle socks with frills at the ankles onto my feet and turned them down neatly. Picking up a pair of black patent strap shoes, she pushed them onto my feet and buckled up the straps tightly at the sides. Finally came my pageboy wig, which she placed on my head and pulled firmly down. There was a piece of strong white hat elastic attached to this wig just below my ears, which she pulled down and placed firmly under my chin, so there was obviously no way that I would be able to dislodge it. Dividing the wig into two bunches that stood up cutely in true little girl fashion, she tied two white hair ribbons in neat bows tightly around them and secured them with two pink plastic hair slides.
'There' she smiled, 'I think you're ready. Let's go downstairs and see what Diana makes of you.' She led me downstairs, and Diana let out a shriek of delight as she saw me. 'Oh yes' she cried 'What a gorgeous little babykins Jennifer!' Tricia was equally delighted. 'Oh Jennifer' she grinned, 'If you only knew how much I'm going to enjoy today.' Mum just smiled a little. After the excitement had died down we all sat down to breakfast, and I was glad not to be forced to eat baby food. Not yet, anyway. Once breakfast was over, I went upstairs to clean my teeth, and when I came downstairs again, Jane and Tricia were standing at the bottom of the stairs. 'Now Jennifer' said Jane, grinning broadly, 'Let's get you ready to go out. Into the garden.' The two girls took my arms and led me out through the french windows and into the garden.
Susan and Diana were already waiting there with the pushchair. Numerous white leather straps hung from it, and several more were lying on the ground, ready for use. Susan held the pink leather baby reins in her hand, and as we came out onto the patio, she walked forward with a broad grin on her face, holding them out. 'Right' said Jane, taking them from her and arranging the straps, 'Arms in, Jennifer.' She held the reins up in front of me, and Susan and Diana willingly pulled my head and arms through the straps. Jane then moved swiftly behind me and pulled the main securing strap tightly through the roller buckle and fastened it shut. The reins fitted firmly around my chest and shoulders with no give at all, and the three small bells on the front jingled humiliatingly every time I moved. 'Good' said Jane, 'You won't get those off in a hurry. Now let's get baby strapped into her pushchair.'
'In you get' said Susan. Knowing that I had no choice, I did as I was told and sat down in the pushchair. Picking up a pair of leather mittens, Jane pulled them onto my clenched fists and buckled them on securely by the wrist straps. Then she put a pair of white woollen fingerless mittens over the top of the leather ones, and tied them on tightly with pink ribbons threaded around the wrists. She next laid my arms straight down by my sides and strapped my wrists to the frame of the pushchair, and used two more straps to secure my arms to the pushchair just above my elbows. My feet came next. Jane buckled a broad leather strap around each of my ankles and tightly strapped my feet together to the frame of the pushchair at the centre of the foot rest. Another strap was fastened around my legs above my knees, and this was connected by two more straps to each side of the pushchair. Jane pulled them tight, and this had the effect of making it impossible for me to move my knees from side to side.
Standing up again, Jane pulled forward four straps attached to the back of the pushchair, two over my shoulders, and two under my arms, to my front. She clipped the ends of the straps to the four D rings attached to the baby reins at the front of my shoulders and one on either side of my chest. She then pulled the four straps tight and buckled them up. One more strap similarly secured me to the pushchair around my waist. I was now helplessly immobilised, and when I attempted to wriggle I couldn't move. Susan saw me trying to move, and said 'I think baby's trying to get out of her pushchair.'
'Don't worry' grinned Jane, 'She's only going where we take her, nowhere else. However, I don't like noisy babies, so I think we'd better give baby Jennifer her dummy to keep her quiet.' Producing the dummy and arranging its securing ribbons, she said 'Take off the wig for a moment Sue.' Susan removed my wig and held it in her hands. 'Now' said Jane, 'Diana, hold his nose, and Tricia, you open his mouth.' I knew that I didn't stand a chance as Tricia forced my jaws apart and Jane pushed the large rubber bulb of the dummy deep into my mouth. With expert rapidity, she tied the pink securing ribbons tightly around my head several times, and secured them behind my neck. Then she replaced my wig securely. 'There' she said brightly, 'That should do the job I should think.' Frustrated by my utter helplessness, I started to wriggle and writhe to free myself, but it was pointless. I shook my head from side to side, fruitlessly trying to shake off the wig, but with the securing elastic under my chin I couldn't budge it in the slightest. I tried to yell at them, but 'Mmp mmm mmf!' was all I could manage.
Diana was beaming with glee. 'Oh isn't she delightful' she said. 'I love the way she's shaking her little bunches from side to side, just like a little girl having a tantrum.'
'And that dummy is just brilliant' laughed Tricia, 'We should have done this to him years ago.' She leaned forward and tickled me, chuckling 'Coochy coochy coochy' as she did so. As my hopeless struggles subsided, Jane said 'I think we'd better stop baby shaking her head around. Let's secure her neck.' She brought another strap attached to the frame of the pushchair around my neck and fastened it in place so that now I couldn't move my head at all. 'The best thing about this strap' said Jane, 'Is that it keeps his head up so that everyone can see it properly. This way, he can't hide his face.'
'Clever' said Tricia, 'I think that's just about perfect now.'
'Yes' said Jane, 'I think he's ready. Let's take him inside while we wait for Barbara, and see what Mum and aunt Elizabeth think of him.'
Picking up the few extra straps remaining, Jane threw them into the basket under the pushchair. Then she started pushing me in through the French windows and into the lounge with the others to where Mum and Aunt Mary were sitting. 'Well' she said, 'How do you like our baby?' They stood up to have a look at me. 'Well I'll tell you one thing' said Aunt Mary, laughing, 'She certainly can't fall out of her pushchair, can she?' The girls laughed. 'And I don't imagine that she's going to be making much noise either with a dummy like that in her mouth' smiled Mum. 'What a nice quiet baby!' More laughter. Just then came a knock at the front door, and Jane said 'I think I know who that is.' She went to open the door, and a moment later reappeared with Barbara, who took one look at me, and then came across for a closer look. Looking down at me, she grinned. 'Well well well' she said, 'You do make a lovely little baby Jennifer, don't you? Even more than I expected. You know' she continued, 'When I saw him in that blue dress the other day I thought he looked cute, but this really is something else. If the idea is to punish him, this must have him absolutely squirming. He looks like a baby, he's as helpless as a baby, and now we're going to take him for a walk round the village strapped in a pushchair. Just about the ultimate in humiliation, I'd say.'
'Absolutely' grinned Jane. 'Well, now that you're here Barb, we might as well go. Come on everybody.' Releasing the brake of the pushchair, she began to wheel me to the front door.
'Just a minute' said Aunt Mary, 'You'd better take something to wear in case it rains, there were showers forecast. I see that Barbara's got something.'
'Oh yes' said Barbara, holding up her translucent plastic mac, 'That's me, always prepared.'
'Well I'm not wearing a mac' said Jane, 'I'll take an umbrella.'
'Me too' said Susan. 'You know how I hate wearing raincoats. Especially the little girl ones I've got.'
'All right' said Aunt Mary, 'As long as you've got something.'
'Diana and Tricia' said Mum, 'Where are your raincoats?'
'I'm going to borrow an umbrella' said Tricia, taking the last one, 'What about you Diana, where's yours?'
'I forgot to bring it' said Diana.
'Well you can't go out without a coat' said Aunt Mary, 'Here, you can borrow
one of these.' She took down the red rubberised raincape and my red satinette mac from the coat stand and held them up. 'Which one do you want?'
'Neither, thank you very much' retorted Diana, 'They're for little toddlers. I'm certainly not wearing one of those.'
'Don't be so silly Diana' said Mum sternly, 'It's the cape or the mac, make your mind up.'
'Oh all right' moaned Diana, 'I'll take the mac; there's no way I'm going to wear that babyish raincape, I mean, just look at it!' She reluctantly took the red mac from Aunt Mary and put it over her arm, smelling it. 'Yuk!' she grimaced, 'It smells all rubbery.'
'Just one thing Tricia' said Mum, 'If it does begin to rain, make sure that Diana puts that mac on. With the hood up. Right?'
'Yes, OK Mum' said Tricia, 'I'll make sure she does, don't worry,' and Diana stuck her tongue out at her. Aunt Mary now looked at me sitting in the pushchair and said 'Just a minute, what about baby Jennifer? Where are the pushchair covers?'
'Hang on a second' said Jane, 'I know where they are.' She went out of the room, and returned with the pink PVC rain cape and the clear plastic storm cover. 'There we are' she said, folding them up and putting them into the basket underneath the pushchair, 'Don't worry Mum, she won't get wet under that lot.'
'All right everybody' said Aunt Mary, 'Have fun, and be back by two for lunch.'
The girls now went out of the front door with Jane pushing me, and set off along the pavement. As they walked along, several people stopped to look at me and had a good laugh. Uncovered as I was, it would have been hard for them not to. There I was in my sweet little baby frock, my hair in cute bunches with white bows of ribbon, and securely restrained in my pushchair with a big pink dummy covering my mouth. I frequently wriggled and squirmed in my embarrassment, but every effort only resulted in me becoming even more uncomfortable and humiliated. Susan and Diana particularly liked the fact that all I could say was a muffled 'Mmf mmm mmp!' with my eyes wide open, staring over the dummy.
Barbara asked Jane if she could take a turn, and took great delight in pushing me along and showing me off to every passer by. Eventually we reached the park, and the girls went across to the spot where we had been before, about twenty yards from a shelter. Jane put the pushchair brake on, and the girls sat on the grass. As they sat talking it began to cloud over, and a few spots of rain began to fall. 'I think Aunt Mary was right, we're in for a downpour' said Tricia, looking at the darkening sky, 'Let's go over into the shelter.'
'Well we can' said Jane, 'But let's leave baby Jennifer here. Everybody get over into the shelter, Barbara and I will cover her up.' The girls walked over to the shelter while Jane reached under the pushchair and pulled out the rain cape and storm cover. Spreading out the pink PVC raincape, she fitted two holes in it over the handles of the pushchair behind me, and slid the cape down the handles until it was bunched up just behind my head. Then she spread it down over me and under my feet, with my head sticking out through a hole near the top. She then tucked the raincape in under the frame of the pushchair and fastened it securely in position with press studs all the way round. 'Now' grinned Jane, 'This is the bit I like.' She pulled up the attached pointed pixie hood of the raincape over my head and fastened it securely under my chin with two press studs. Then she pulled the hood well forward. 'You see what I mean Barbara?' she laughed, 'He looks so cute with his face framed by that sweet little pixie hood, and try as he might, there is no way that he can get it off. He's just got to sit there like any other adorable little toddler in her pushchair.' The rain started to fall, and Barbara pulled on her plastic mac and fastened the press studs up the front. Then she tied the belt around her waist and tied it in a bow.
'You're right' agreed Barbara, putting up her hood and fastening it under her chin with the tie tapes, 'He really does look like a typical toddler, really cute. I think it's just that image of the eyes looking out from under that cute pixie hood with a great big dummy keeping him quiet. It's delightful.'
'Yes, I know what you mean' said Jane, 'Well let's get the storm cover on top before it starts to really pour.' She put up the hood of the pushchair and then she and Barbara attached the clear plastic storm cover behind the hood, and spread it over me and down over my feet. Then they secured it into place with more press studs. The girls stood back to look at me. 'There' laughed Jane, 'That'll keep Jennifer well and truly dry. But she won't be so comfortable later on.'
'Why's that?' asked Barbara.
'Oh, you'll see' said Jane, smiling wryly as she put up her umbrella, 'Now lets get into the shelter.' They left me and ran across to the shelter, and I could hear them laughing and giggling as I sat there helplessly in a torrential downpour. The rain noisily drummed on the pushchair's storm cover and somehow made me feel vulnerable, like any little girl would feel sitting there all alone in the rain.
After about half an hour the rain began to ease off, and then stopped. The girls came across to me, and Jane laughed as she said to me 'There you are little girl, nice and dry. I must say, those rain covers work well, don't they? Come on, let's continue with our walk.' Diana let off the brake of the pushchair and started to push me along the path. In a few minutes the sun came out and it began to get hot and clammy under both my PVC pushchair raincape and plastic storm cover, as the wet ground started to dry out. 'Phew' said Barbara, untying her hood and putting it down, 'This mac's hot in the sun.' She unfastened it, took it off, and carried it over her arm. 'I know' grinned Jane, 'That's what I meant when we were covering Jennifer up and I said that she wouldn't be so comfortable later on. You see, yesterday I anticipated this, so I made a small alteration to the storm cover. I covered up the ventilation holes, so after a few more minutes under those rain covers in the sun, baby Jennifer's going to get very hot and sticky. Fun, Isn't it!'
'My God' exclaimed Barbara, laughing, 'That's positively diabolical. But very ingenious, I love it.' Just as Jane had intended, after a few more minutes I began to sweat, and tried to complain. But as before, all I could say was 'Mmph mmf mmm!' and wriggle in frustration. The girls were delighted at my discomfort as the inside of the storm cover began to steam up.
They deliberately took a long way home in order to extend my humiliating discomfort, and I had to endure my hot, sticky plastic cocoon for two more hours. Eventually we reached home, but even then, my torment wasn't over yet. As soon as we went into the house, the girls took me straight into the garden and left me on the patio facing the sun to boil for a bit longer. I tried to yell for help from Mum or Aunt Mary, but they couldn't hear me, and the girls were able to distract them from coming out to have a look at me. Jane came out after another hour or so and said to me 'Right, we're going to have some lunch now, and when we've eaten we'll give you your feed. You know what that means, don't you!' She laughed for a moment and then disappeared. A little later, Diana came out with the other girls, carrying a tray with my baby food lunch on it. She put it down on a chair, while Jane removed the dripping pushchair storm cover and undid the hood of the raincape. Pulling my hood down, she looked at me and said 'Now Jennifer, I'm going to remove your dummy so that we can feed you. But one yell from you and that dummy goes back in until bedtime. Right?'
'Mmmph' was all I could manage. 'I'll take that as a yes' smiled Jane, and started to untie the dummy's securing ribbons. Once they were loosened, she took the dummy out of my mouth and put it down on the tray next to me. I moved my stiff jaw from side to side, and gasped with relief. 'Better?' asked Barbara. 'Oh yes' I said vehemently, 'That feels wonderful, but do you think you could take the raincape off as well please? I'm still pretty hot.'
'We'll see' said Jane with a smile, undoing the securing strap around my neck. 'Let's give you your feed first. Barb, would you like to start?' Giggling with delight, Barbara started to spoon a jar of mixed vegetable baby food into my mouth, followed by prune puree. Susan was next, feeding me a bowl of Farex mush. 'And now for your bottle' grinned Jane, 'Diana, would you like to give baby Jennifer her bottle?'
'I'd love to' laughed Diana. She picked up the baby bottle full of milk, and pushed the rubber teat between my teeth. 'Come on baby, suck' she giggled. I sucked noisily at the bottle, and she almost fell about with laughter. While Diana fed me, Jane disappeared into the house for a moment. She came out again holding a two litre bottle of water with the teat from a baby's bottle attached to it. Grinning, she stood over me and held the bottle to my lips. 'Now come on Jennifer' she laughed, 'I want you to empty this bottle now. To a baby, a normal baby bottle would seem like this is to you, so it's just the right size. Oh and by the way, you can yell as much as you like now because our mums have just gone out for a few hours. Now drink.'
I knew that they would only hold my nose and force me to drink it if I refused, so I unhappily co-operated. It seemed an age before the bottle was empty at last, and I sat there panting, my stomach distended. 'There's a good baby' laughed Jane as she went behind me and put the huge bottle on the ground.
I heard some whispering behind me, and Susan leaned over me and removed my wig. I felt a tinge of relief, thinking that at last they were going to let me up out of the pushchair so that I could go and change. But no. Suddenly Tricia and Barbara leaned over me and forced my mouth open. 'Oh no, please no' I yelled, 'Gllmph mmm!' was all I had time to call out. Jane quickly leaned over my head from behind, and once more pushed the hated dummy into my mouth, filling it with the large tough rubber bulb. She pulled the securing ribbons tight around my head several times, and tied them in a bow behind my neck. Then she came around in front of me, refastened the strap around my neck securely, and replaced the wig back on my head, tucking the elastic back under my chin.
'Oh you really fell for that one' laughed Jane. Did you think we were going to let you go? Oh no, we haven't nearly finished with you yet. It's such a lovely day, so we've decided to take you for another walk.' My heart sank. Oh no, not again. 'Now' smiled Jane 'Let's just make sure that baby Jennifer doesn't get cold, shall we?' To jeers of derision from the others, Jane once more pulled up my raincape hood and fastened it under my chin. Tricia picked up the storm cover, and she and Barbara spread it over me and secured it in place. Then I lost my cool at the unfairness of it all. I suddenly began to heave and strain against my restraints, and tried to scream at them at the top of my voice, but it was of course hopeless. All I could manage was to squirm very slightly, barely shaking the pushchair, and give out a muffled 'Mmm nmm mff!' All my efforts simply gave the girls even more cause for hilarity. And so off we went round the village again. Tricia pushed me this time, and I had to endure another two hours swathed in the raincape and storm cover in the hot afternoon sun. We returned to the park, where the girls sat on a park bench with the pushchair alongside them facing the sun.
After another hour or so I began to feel the urge to go to the toilet, and as the pressure on my bladder became stronger, I began to wriggle and writhe in my attempt not to let go. Somehow my pride fought against it. I began to groan with the effort, and Susan said 'I think Jennifer's trying to tell us something.' Jane stood up, peered down at me through the storm hood, and grinned. 'Yes' she said, 'And I think I know what it is.' She lifted off the storm cover and removed my rain cape as I looked at her appealingly. 'I think baby Jennifer wants to go wee wees' she smiled, 'So go on Jennifer, do it, after all, that's what nappies are for.' The girls now crowded around me, giggling, and waiting for the inevitable to happen. They knew when it did. As my struggles increased, I finally reached the point where I could hold on no longer. With a gurgle of despair I had to let go, and a stream of warm urine flooded into my nappy. I gave a little moan as it finished, and I could feel the wetness trickling down around my crutch and bottom. 'There's a good baby' laughed Jane, 'Did oo do wee wees in your nappy?' The girls fell about laughing, and I lay there, utterly humiliated.
'Well, that's what I wanted to see' said Jane, 'Let's take baby Jennifer home.' She folded up the rain cape and storm cover, and put them in the basket underneath the pushchair. Then she pushed back the hood, released the brake, and we started out for home. A few of the villagers met us on the way, and commented on how cute I looked as I lay there helplessly in full view. When we finally arrived home, the girls put me in the lounge and at last released me and removed my mittens. I gently exercised my cramped fingers. Mum and Aunt Mary were home by then, making tea, and as soon as I was out of the pushchair they sent me upstairs, ordering me to put my clothes in the dirty washing basket, shower, and change into my nightie. After that I felt much better, and tucked into my tea with relish, much to the amusement of the girls. Mum said that I looked exhausted, and suggested with a twinkle in her eye that I should go to bed. She knew that was exactly where I wanted to be, so I said goodnight to everybody and went up to my room. I slipped between the sheets, and didn't even keep awake until Mum came up to say good night. The next thing I knew it was morning, unfortunately.
TO THE VILLAGE FETE AS ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Sunday morning. The sun shone through my bedroom window, and I thought what a lovely day for a village fete it was. Except for me that is. Aunt Mary came into my room with her customary happy manner, and sent me off to the bathroom. When I returned, there was the Alice in Wonderland dress hanging up in readiness. I'd forgotten about that one, and inwardly groaned in anticipation. 'Now, undies first' she said. I stepped into the white bloomers that came down to just below my knees, and she laced me into them behind my waist. The legs were very narrow just below my knees, so that I couldn't pull them up my legs. Next, she put the white vest on over my head, and tucked it into my bloomers. Taking the blue dress off its hanger, she held it up and I put my head and arms into it. Then she pulled it down so that the hem reached just below my knee, and proceeded to fasten the buttons down my back. The dress had a white peter pan collar and short puffed sleeves, but no belt. Instead, Aunt Mary picked up a white apron which she put over my head and fastened around my waist with tie tapes at the back in a neat non-slip bow. Sitting me down on a chair, she now pulled a pair of white knee high socks onto my legs, pulled them up to my knees, and tucked them into my bloomers so that my legs were completely covered. On top of these went a pair of black mary jane shoes with a single strap that she buckled up firmly at the sides of my feet.
'Now for your hair, Alice' she said. Going over to the chest of drawers, she removed my long shoulder length light brown wig from its stand and came back to me, brushing it carefully. 'Head straight' she said, and carefully placed it on my head. Then she brushed it down neatly into place. Standing back to examine me, she smiled and said 'Very nice. Now where's that Alice band?' She picked up a length of white hair ribbon which she had already knotted into a continuous loop. Placing the knot in the ribbon underneath my hair at the back of my neck, she pulled the band of ribbon forwards and up over the top of my head. The Alice band now sat just in front of the top of my head, and to keep it in position, Aunt Mary pinned it in place with several hairpins and two light blue plastic hair slides.
'Now stand up and let me have a look at you' said Aunt Mary. I stood up and looked at myself in the full length mirror, and even I was surprised at the transformation. There in the mirror stood everyone's idea of Alice in Wonderland. The dress, the hair, the white socks and little girl strap shoes were perfect. 'You look lovely' smiled Aunt Mary, 'Jimmy, it's hard to believe that you aren't really a girl. Come on, let's go down and surprise the others. And don't forget to stand like Alice, feet together and hands held gently together in front of you. Right, let's go down.'
We went downstairs, and for once I wasn't greeted with the usual humiliating barbs. Instead, the girls looked at me with smiles of admiration on their faces. 'That's amazing' said Jane, 'Mum, you've excelled yourself this time, he looks absolutely perfect, exactly as I imagine Alice should look.'
'He's exactly like the Alice in Wonderland in my book' said Susan, 'How did you do it Mum?'
'Well he should look like the Alice in your book dear' said Aunt Mary, 'I used the pictures as a guide, and I got the idea when you picked out this dress for him when we bought it. It's actually called an Alice dress on the label, and with the white apron and hair you can't go far wrong.'
'I think he looks delightful' said Mum, 'But are you really going to enter him in the children's fancy dress competition at the fete?'
'Oh yes' said Jane, 'You see, the theme of the competition is that they all have to be characters from fairy stories. What could be more suitable than Alice in Wonderland?'
'Of course we are going to enter him' laughed Susan, 'Be funny if he wins it though.'
'What a good point' grinned Jane, 'That would be a bit of an embarrassment for the judges, wouldn't it? Oh well, we'll see.'
'Right' said Aunt Mary, 'Let's get breakfast, shall we?'
While breakfast was being prepared, the girls examined me closely, fingering my dress and tidying my apron. They asked me to walk up and down and practice talking. 'Yes' said Diana approvingly, 'I'd say you're going to be just about perfect.' Then she suddenly grinned and said 'If only the boys in your gang could see you now, that would be something!' I shuddered to think. 'Oh yes' said Jane, 'That reminds me.' She went to the sideboard and took out her camera. 'Come on Jennifer, or should I say Alice, outside in the garden.' Despite my protests, Diana and Susan took me by the hands and dragged me out onto the lawn. There I had to stand in various poses while Jane took more photos for her collection, and when she was satisfied we went in to breakfast. After a fairly lively discussion on the finer points of my appearance, breakfast was soon finished, washed up, and cleared away. It was time for the fete.
The girls were soon ready, and we went into the hall. Showers had been forecast, so Aunt Mary insisted that everybody take a raincoat or umbrella. Diana carried my red mackintosh over her arm, obviously with distaste at the prospect of wearing it, but Aunt Mary said 'It's all right dear, you'll only have to wear it if it rains. Just think of Jimmy; if it rains he'll have to wear his raincape, and that's much more babyish.' I had to agree, as I stood there with the raincape over my arm.
'Oh all right' scowled Diana, slightly placated. 'And by the way girls' Aunt Mary called after us as we went out of the front door, 'We're going into town today and won't be back till late evening, so you can make your tea yourselves, all right?'
'Yes, OK Mum' said Jane, 'No problem.'
Our first stop was at Fiona Hall's house, and she opened the door for us. As we went through to the lounge we met Fiona's mother Margaret. When she saw me she said 'It is Jimmy, isn't it? My word, that outfit is remarkable. I'd love to have you standing in front of my class when I read 'Alice in Wonderland' to the juniors. Quite remarkable.'
'Jimmy you look fantastic' smiled Fiona. 'Exactly right. You know, I reckon you could win it.'
'Well I hope he doesn't' grinned Jane, 'That could cause a few problems, couldn't it?'
'We'll soon find out, anyway' said Fiona. 'Come on then everybody, I'm all ready, so let's go.' We said goodbye to her mother, and set off for the fete.
It was only about twenty minutes walk to the park where the fete was being held, and we were soon there, walking around the various stalls. Suddenly Fiona pointed out a boy about my age, together with three of the boys who had received their warning on the primary school outing. 'Oh look Jimmy' she said, 'That's my brother Michael, the one we entered in the baby show last year. Come on, I'd like you to meet him.' We went across to the boys, and Fiona introduced me to them. When Michael saw me he burst out laughing. 'God mate' he giggled, 'What the hell are you dressed like that for?'
'I'll tell you why' said one of the other boys with a serious expression on his face. 'It's because he's going through what we've been threatened with ourselves. Haven't you tell him the story yet, Fiona?'
'No' said Fiona, 'I was keeping it for a suitable occasion. Well Michael, it happened like this ' She then told him the full story behind my present predicament, and as she did so the smile disappeared from his face. When she had finished he looked at me and said 'You poor sod. Imagine, six weeks dressed as a girl. I couldn't stand it.'
'You wouldn't have any choice' said Jane, 'This punishment's been inflicted by a magistrate, and if Jimmy doesn't comply he goes to a girl's boarding school for a year without a break. How would you like that?'
'Your kidding!' exclaimed Michael, 'That's barbaric.'
'It's the law' said Fiona, 'Makes your day as a baby last year look pretty easy now, doesn't it? Jimmy's already experienced some sessions in the pushchair, and some even worse things that I won't go into.'
'We've been threatened with the same treatment at school by your mother, Fiona' said one of the boys. 'If we put a foot wrong next year, we get put into dresses like Jimmy. Well I'm not risking it. I'm certainly going to watch it from now on, at least until I get up into secondary school.'
'You've got it mate' said one of the other boys.
'Anyway girls' said Michael, 'Why is he dressed as Alice in Wonderland?'
'Because we want to have some fun, rather like entering you in the baby show last year' answered Fiona. 'The difference is that last year we weren't trying to pretend that you really were a baby. This time, we reckon that Jimmy's learnt to pass himself off as a real girl so well that we're going to enter him in the children's fancy dress competition.'
'Well I certainly thought he was a girl when I saw him on the school outing' said one of the boys, 'I reckon you'll get away with it. But what if he wins it?'
'That' grinned Jane, 'Would be the joke. On them.' The boys laughed, and we all sauntered round the fete together, trying out the various stalls. After a while, Jane said 'OK, I think it's time for us to enter Jimmy in the fancy dress. Remember everyone, especially you boys, from now on he's Jennifer Chapman, so treat him in every way as a girl. Right?'
'Don't worry' smiled Michael, 'We won't forget. Good luck Jimmy, you have my sympathy.' Jane and Tricia now held my hands and walked me over to a small marquee marked 'Children's Fancy Dress Competition'. Before we went in, Jane took my raincape from me and said 'Now don't forget Jennifer, you're not only a girl, but you're aged nine. You're small enough, so just try and act like a nine year old. OK?' I nodded, took a deep breath, and we entered the marquee.
Inside, a man and two women sat at a trestle table taking down the competitor's names. We were surrounded by young children dressed in all sorts of cute outfits, everything from Snow White to a three foot high ogre. All characters from children's fairy stories. We went up to the officials, with Jane holding my hand to make me look as small as possible because of her much greater height. One of the women looked at me and smiled. 'Well I think I know who you are' she said with conviction, 'And I must say you make a lovely Alice in Wonderland. Quite charming. Now I'll just get a couple of details.' She started filling in her clip board. 'What's your name?' she asked. 'Jennifer Chapman' I replied in my best little girl voice. 'And the address?' Jane gave her our Throsley address. 'Your age?'
'I'm nine' I said. 'Good' said the woman. Taking a piece of white card she wrote a large number twelve on it and gave it to me with a safety pin. 'There you are dear, pin that on your dress. The judging's taking place at eleven o'clock in the area just in front of the marquee here, so you've got about half an hour. Be back here before then.' Jane politely thanked her, and we walked back to the others outside. 'How did it go?' asked Fiona, 'Did it work?'
'Fooled them completely' said Jane, grinning as she pinned my number onto the front of my apron. 'Jimmy was brilliant. He turned on his little girl voice, stood in just the right way, and they didn't suspect a thing. He's on in half an hour.'
'Oh that's great' said Susan, 'Now all he's got to do is win it.' Jane gave a grimace. 'I've got to say' she said, 'There are some pretty cute little kids in there, so don't get your hopes up yet.'
We all wandered back to the area near the marquee, and the boys remembered to treat me as a little girl quite convincingly, apart from the occasional smirk. Soon it was time for the competition to begin, and Jane pushed me into the area where the other contestants were. It should have been the most humiliating occasion possible for me. There I was, dressed as Alice in Wonderland, walking around in a circle in front of about a hundred people. But my confidence in playing the part was by now so great that I carried it off without a hitch. Comments such as 'Doesn't she look charming,' and 'What a gorgeous dress' just increased my confidence. Not one single man woman or child knew that I was a boy, and I could hardly wait for the judging. Finally we all stood in a row as the winners were called out. 'First place, Alison Steele.' Not me. 'Second place, Timothy Munro.' Not me. 'Third place, Jennifer Chapman.' I couldn't believe it. Smiling at the irony of it, I walked forward to receive a small cup from one of the judges, and was then directed to a small dais where I stood with the other winners. Amid the applause I smiled, and Jane leaped forward with her camera. She took a couple of shots and said 'That's definitely one for the collection!'
I thanked the judges as convincingly as I thought a little girl should, and ran back to the others with Jane. 'Well, I was third' I said, 'That's not too bad is it?'
'Third?' said Michael, 'It's absolutely brilliant. I can't believe it. You did it!' We walked off for a celebratory lemonade, and then the girls separated from the boys as we walked back to Fiona's house. Fiona opened the door, and we went through to where her mother was sitting in the garden. 'Well' she said, 'How did it go?' The girls told her what had happened, and she looked at the diminutive cup I had won before giving it back to me. 'I must say Jimmy' she smiled, 'I'll always have to make sure in the future that all the girls in my school really are girls! Well done, that was actually quite brave of you. Now' she said, 'Who'd like a cup of tea?' Seven enthusiastic takers replied, and we had tea sitting out on the lawn. As we sat there, Tricia said 'You know, I still can't get over it. Every time I look at Jimmy I keep forgetting that he's really my brother. And seeing him in that dress with the long hair and the Alice band, it's not surprising. It really is amazing.'
'Well anytime I need someone in disguise' said Diana, 'I'll ask Jimmy. Plenty of my dresses will fit him, but I'll have to get him a wig as well.'
'Uh uh' I said. 'Forget it. When this is over you'll never see me in a dress again.' Tricia looked at me with a grin on her face and said 'Now I've told you before Jimmy, don't be too sure about that.' She quietly sipped her tea, and a slight feeling of apprehension fell over me.
While we had been sitting in the garden it had been clouding over, and we ran into the house as it started to rain. 'We must go' said Jane to Margaret, so we thanked her for the tea and prepared for our walk home in the rain. The girls put up their umbrellas or put on their raincoats as Jane buttoned me into my raincape and put up the hood. Only Diana stood there holding my red mackintosh with distaste. 'Do I have to wear it?' she moaned. 'Why, what's wrong with it?' asked Margaret. 'It's just so, so babyish' said Diana, 'I'll look stupid in it.'
'Nonsense' said Margaret, 'It's a very sensible mac, and will keep you dry. Give it to me.' Diana handed Margaret the mac, and she held it up for her to put on. 'Come along, arms in,' said Margaret, and Diana reluctantly put her hands into the sleeves. Margaret pulled the mackintosh closed at the front, did up the buttons, and buckling up the belt, fastened the end of it behind Diana's back. Finally she put up the hood and buttoned it securely under Diana's chin. 'There we are' she smiled, 'All ready for the rain. Off you go now.' Diana's face was as dark as a thundercloud as we went out into the pouring rain. We walked homewards, and as I walked level with Diana, I couldn't resist saying 'Doesn't she look sweet!' She looked at me with a venomous expression on her face. 'Right' she hissed 'Just you wait until later. I'll think up something for you that you'll never forget! We'll see who has the last laugh.' She plodded on through the rain, face down under her hood, looking at no one. Suddenly she started talking quietly to Jane and Susan, and Jane said 'Yes OK, they'll be out till late, so we can probably leave him there for some time, nice and uncomfortable. Tell Tricia what we're going to do.' Wondering what that meant, I plodded on, my raincape getting wetter and wetter, while Diana spoke quietly to Tricia. We eventually reached home, and let ourselves in. As soon as we had shed our wet macs, Jane said to me 'Now come upstairs with me Jimmy. Susan, you know what we'll need, so get everything together and put it in the lounge. Right Jimmy, up to your room.'
She accompanied me into my room and said 'OK, you've had your triumph for today, but now for your punishment. You really shouldn't have teased Diana just now, you know how vindictive she can be. You're going to have to pay for that comment you just made, when you said how sweet she looked. She wasn't amused. So, let's get all your clothes off.' She helped me out of the Alice in Wonderland outfit, and I removed the rest of my clothes until I was naked. While I undressed, Jane started to lay out the various items of my baby outfit on the bed in readiness, including a disposable nappy and plastic pants. Oh no, not again, I thought. 'Come on' she said 'Get on the bed, on top of your nappy.' I did as I was told, and she folded the nappy around me, fastened the adhesive tabs, and pulled the plastic baby pants up my legs and over my nappy. 'Stand up' she said. I stood up, and she took the pink and white gingham frock and pulled it over my head while I put my arms in the sleeves. She buttoned up the back and tied the belt tightly behind me, adjusting the bow neatly. 'Right' she said, 'Downstairs.' I wondered why she hadn't put shoes and socks on my feet as I went downstairs with her, and into the lounge where the girls were waiting. A pile of straps was lying on the sofa.
Jane picked up the baby reins and held them ready for me. 'Now Jennifer' she said, 'Diana's decided that you're not going to be a baby this time. Instead, you're going to be a toddler about two years old. Toddlers need their baby reins to make sure that they don't wander off, so on they go!' My arms were quickly pushed through the straps, and Jane buckled them up tightly behind me. 'Right' she said, 'Mittens next.' The escape proof mittens were buckled onto my hands, followed by the white woollen mittens on top. Jane now crossed my arms behind me, and joined my wrists together in front of me with a strap at the front of my waist. In the centre of the strap was a buckle, so she shortened it by buckling it tight, pulling my arms toward my front. She completed the restraint of my arms with two short straps pinioning my upper arms firmly against the sides of the reins.
'Now sit down in this chair' said Jane, sitting me down. 'Hold him girls, and open his mouth.' By now I knew only too well what was coming next. With Susan holding my nose and the strong fingers of Tricia opening my jaws, Jane forced the bulb of the dummy into my mouth and tied it tightly in position. The girls let go of my head, and I tried to shout, but 'Mmp mmm mmf' was all I could manage. 'Susan,' said Jane, 'I've just remembered that your pink rubber boots and mac are still over at Fiona's from when Jimmy wore them last time. But those red boots I wore when I was little are still in your wardrobe. Go and get them will you? They'll go perfectly with Jennifer's raincape, and she's certainly going to need them.'
'Oh yes' grinned Susan, looking at me, 'This'll teach you to laugh at me!' She went up to her room, and brought back the raincape and boots, which she put on the sofa. Jane now took one of my wigs with two white bows attached to it, and set it firmly on my head, brushing it neatly. Next came the red rubber boots. 'Stand up Jennifer' she said, putting the boots on the floor in front of me. I put my feet into them one by one, and she forced them into the boots. They felt very tight and my cramped toes were beginning to hurt already. 'Now for your cape' grinned Jane, 'We don't want our little toddler to get wet, do we?' She picked up the still wet raincape over my shoulders, buttoned it up, and then pulled up the pixie hood and buttoned it tightly under my chin. Giving the hood a final tug forward, she smiled.
'All right' said Jane, 'If you want to come into the garden while we tie him up, you'd better carry an umbrella. Trish and I will wear macs because we'll have our hands full. Right, let's get ready.' She and Tricia went into the hall to put on their raincoats, while the others took umbrellas for protection from the downpour. Tricia put on a translucent plastic mac, while Jane put on her grey rubberised school mackintosh. They put up their hoods and tied them under the chin, and I was led out into the garden in the teeming rain. They were very quick. They stood me up against a solid post which normally supported one end of the washing line. Jane tied my ankles tightly together so that I couldn't possibly get my feet out of the rubber boots. Next she tied my legs together above the knee, and then tied my ankles securely to the post. Finally, she tied me to the post by my neck to keep my head still.
Standing back to admire her handiwork she laughed. 'Well there you are Jennifer' she said. 'You can spend a few hours standing in the pouring rain like an obedient little girl. We'll be watching you from inside the house, all warm and dry, just to make sure that you're safe. Have fun!' The other girls strolled laughing back into the house while I stood there helplessly. I struggled against my restraints, but couldn't move. I gave a few muffled cries, but that was pointless. I just stood there wriggling and writhing in humiliated isolation. At one point the window opened and Diana said 'Oh doesn't she look sweet, the little girl standing in the rain; and I love the way her little red boots match her raincape. Why don't you come inside where it's warm and dry Jennifer?' The only reply I could manage to her remark was 'Mmp mm mmf!' and all I could do was just stand there with the rain drumming down on my hood. It ran down the heavy, wet raincape and into my boots, soaking my feet. It was dreadful.
After about three hours the rain finally stopped, just as it was getting dark. The girls came out, and Jane said 'Well if it's stopped raining, we might as well let you go.' She untied me from the post, and they walked me inside. After taking off my wet cape and hanging it on the coat stand in the hall, Jane came back and completely untied me. Then she sent me upstairs for a shower and to change into my nightie. After that I went down and joined them for tea before being packed off to bed. Another night where I had no problem in getting to sleep.
MALTON FAIR IN BABY REINS
Aunt Mary woke me as usual. I got out of bed and went to the bathroom while she made my bed and prepared my clothes. When I returned she was holding my pink dress with the peter pan collar and short puffed sleeves all ready for me. I put on my white vest and pink knickers, and with what was becoming a familiar procedure, raised my arms while she put the dress over my head and pulled it down. She did up the buttons down the back, and fastened the tie belt behind me in a neat bow. Then sitting me down, she pulled a pair of white ankle socks onto my feet and turned down the tops neatly. Opening the wardrobe door, she took out a pair of pink leather T bar sandals and placed them on my feet. 'You haven't worn these before' she said, as she fastened the buckles, 'They used to be Susan's, and she found them the other day. Well, they fit you perfectly and they look really nice with that dress. Now let's do your hair.' She now fitted my pageboy wig on my head, and fastened two bows of pink hair ribbon in them. Standing me up she stood back and looked approvingly at me. 'My goodness Jimmy' she smiled, 'You really do look so sweet. Now let's go downstairs.'
We went downstairs, and as soon as I appeared in the kitchen I was greeted with teasing cries of approval from the girls. As we sat having our meal, Jane said 'Jennifer, you remember that little incident yesterday, when you made fun of Diana having to wear your mac. When you said how sweet she looked?' I nodded, wondering what was coming. 'Well' she added, 'We think it was a little unfair. The only person around here whose supposed to be teased is you, so you're going to suffer the consequences.'
'What sort of consequences?' I asked tentatively. 'Oh, something appropriate' smiled Jane. 'You see, since it was Diana that you upset, we've decided that you will spend today under her supervision. She will decide what we do with you.' I gulped. 'Oh no' I said, 'Please, not her.'
'What's the matter Jennifer' sneered Diana, 'Scared?' I said nothing in reply.
When breakfast was over, we went out into the garden while the girls helped Diana decide what she would like to do to me. The sun shone out of a clear blue sky, and it was obviously going to be a beautiful day. 'Right' said Jane, 'There's a fair on over at Malton today, and Mum says we can go. We went there last year and it was quite a good one. It'll be a lot more fun than the fete yesterday, except for our little episode with Alice in Wonderland, of course. That was good. Anyway, with what Diana's thought up for Jennifer, I think today will be just as much fun, and great revenge for her. So we'll catch the bus about eleven o'clock.' Just then there was a knock at the front door, and a moment later, Jean Baker the policewoman came into the garden with Aunt Mary. Jane introduced Diana and Tricia to her, and she asked them what they thought of my punishment. 'Oh it's just the best' said Tricia, 'After the things he's done to us over all these years, you can imagine how much we're enjoying it. We just had to come up from Brighton to join in the fun.'
'I'm in charge of him today' broke in Diana. 'And I've chosen a perfect punishment for him.'
'And what's that going to be?' asked Jean. Diana went up to her, whispered in her ear, and Jean broke into a chuckle. 'Oh yes' she grinned, 'That should do very nicely. By the way Jennifer.' She said, looking at me, 'I do like the way you're dressed today. I thought you looked sweet last Thursday at the police station, but now, with the wig and pink hair ribbons, shoes to match and little white ankle socks, you look absolutely adorable!' The girls loved this comment, and a ripple of giggles went round the group as I blushed to the roots. The giggling finally subsided, and Jean said 'Well I must go. I just popped in to make sure that he's still here, and I must say that on the humiliation side, I think you're doing very nicely. Keep it up girls. See you next Thursday Jimmy, and please wear that pink dress again, it looks just delightful.' With a final grin, she went back into the house with Aunt Mary, and was gone.
'OK everyone' said Jane, looking at her watch, 'Time to go.'
'Oh goody' said Diana, 'I can't wait.' We all went indoors to get ready, and Diana said to Jane 'D'you want to get everything together?'
'Right' smiled Jane, 'I'll go and get what we need.' With that she went out of the room for a few minutes. Aunt Mary came into the lounge, and said 'Well it's going to be a lovely day, so you won't need your coats. But I think you should take a cardigan or something, just in case.' Tricia went to fetch hers, but Susan and Diana didn't bother, they just stood there whispering to each other and giggling. Most of the time they were looking at me, so I guessed what the topic of conversation was. Jane came back into the room with a small rucksack on her back, and said 'Right, off we go.' She led the way into the hall, and took down my red mackintosh. 'Here you are Jennifer' she said, 'You can carry this.'
'But I won't need it' I protested, 'It's going to be sunny.'
'Do as you're told and don't argue' said Jane. I sullenly took the mac from her, and draped it over my arm. 'OK' said Jane, 'We're off.'
Aunt Mary opened the door to see us off, and we were soon walking down to the bus stop. The Malton bus soon arrived and we climbed on board. We sat down together near the front, and as usual, none of the other passengers gave me a second glance. To them I was just one of a group of five girls. I smiled slightly to myself and began to relax, but I didn't join in with their conversation. The journey took about half an hour, and as we got off the bus, we could hear the noise of the fair in the distance. We started walking towards it down a country lane, and the noise grew louder as we got nearer. Just before we reached the fair, Jane stopped by a small clearing in the woods to our right and said 'Right, this'll do. Bring Jennifer over here and we'll get her ready.'
Leading the way a few yards into the clearing, she took off her rucksack and put it on the ground. As she opened it she said to me 'Now Jennifer, I noticed that on the bus you were so inconspicuous that not one other person noticed you. They all thought that you really were a girl, and you didn't look at all humiliated, like you did a month ago. The trouble is, you've become too confident about your appearance, except when you go to town on Thursdays without your wig. That does still work. Well that's not the idea at all. So' she continued 'We're going to make you more conspicuous, and definitely humiliated. By the way, this was all Diana's idea. Now give me your mac and I'll put it in my rucksack for now.' I gave her the mackintosh and she put it down on the ground.
I was relieved to think that I wasn't going to have to wear the mac, but my relief was short lived. Putting her hand into the rucksack, Jane pulled out the baby reins and the mittens. 'Oh no' I gasped. 'Oh yes' grinned Jane, holding out the reins, 'Arms in, Jennifer.' Strong hands pulled my unwilling arms through the straps, and Jane swiftly buckled them up tightly behind me. 'Now your hands' said Jane. I held out my clenched fists in front of me, and they were soon encased in the escape proof mittens with the white woollen baby mittens tied securely on top. 'Now one last touch' said Jane. She took another pink leather strap about four feet long, and clipped each end of it onto two D rings attached to the back of the baby reins. Holding onto it she held it out and said 'There you are Diana, he's all yours.' Diana grinned widely, 'With pleasure' she laughed, as she took hold of the reins from Jane. Giving them a sharp tug that nearly pulled me off my feet, she said 'Come on Jennifer, off to the fair!' Jane folded up my mac neatly, put it in her rucksack, and we carried on walking towards the noise of the fair.
We entered the large field where the fair was. It was quite a big one, and we wandered slowly around. From time to time the girls tried the various rides and stalls, while Diana kept me humiliatingly under control with the baby reins. As Jane had predicted, people definitely started to notice me and began to point at me, laughing and giggling. One woman with two little boys and a toddler in her baby reins came up to us, grinned, and said 'Well she won't wander off, will she!' Diana explained that I'd lost a game of forfeits, and the woman roared with laughter. 'Oh my' she said, 'What a brilliant forfeit, she must be squirming!'
'Oh it's even better than you think' grinned Jane, and pulled off my wig. When she saw that I was really a boy, the woman nearly wet herself. 'Oh my God, that's absolutely priceless!' laughed the woman. She turned to her two boys and said 'There you are, that's what I'll do to you next time you're naughty.' They wandered off, and Jane said 'Yes, I think you look much funnier without your wig, so we'll leave it off.' She rolled it up carefully and put it in her rucksack.
Now I felt naked. Completely exposed as a boy dressed as a little girl, and especially wearing the baby reins under the control of Diana, my humiliation was absolutely excruciating, and I began to cry. 'There there Jennifer' said Susan, sarcastically. 'Here, wipe your eyes.' She wiped my eyes with her handkerchief, and then held it up to my nose. 'Now blow' she said with mock concern. I did so, and the girls burst out laughing. We continued our walk around the fair, and I went through one humiliation after another. Many people stopped us for a laugh at my expense, while I just stood there in abject misery. On one occasion I reached behind me in the vain hope of undoing the securing strap of the baby reins, but with my bound hands it was hopeless. When she saw me, Jane laughed. 'Not a hope Jennifer' she said, 'And if your hands were free, I could have locked the strap shut with a padlock. Then you'd never be able to get those reins off without the key. I might still do it yet if I see you trying to undo them again.'
At about one o'clock we stopped at a refreshment stand for a snack. We sat down on the grass to eat our lunch, and with my hands completely helpless, Diana fed me with a hamburger and a can of lemonade. When we had finished, Diana looked at Jane and said 'D'you think he's ready for part two yet?'
'Yes, I think so' said Jane, grinning. 'Bring him over here and undo the reins.' We all stood up, and Diana unfastened the straps behind me. She and Susan pulled the reins off along my arms in front of me, while Jane opened her rucksack and took out my wig and mackintosh. I had a nasty idea as to what was coming next. Unfolding the mac, Jane held it out and said 'Come on Jennifer, arms in.' I silently slid my arms into the smooth rubberised sleeves, and Jane buttoned up the mac to the neck, and fastened the belt. Then she put my wig on again and pulled it firmly down over my head. Smiling at me, Jane put up the hood and buttoned it securely under my chin. 'Good' she grinned, 'Now we still don't want our toddler wandering off, so let's put her baby reins on again.'
I was now unwillingly forced back into the reins, and Jane fastened the straps tightly behind me again. As an added precaution, Jane took out a padlock from her rucksack. Standing behind me, she pushed the hasp of the padlock through two holes lined up in the strap that held the reins closed behind my back, and with a sound of finality, she snapped the padlock shut. 'There' she laughed, 'Now no one's going to be able to get those reins off, because I left the key at home, and without the key, those straps can't be undone!' The girls found this hilarious. Jane gave my hood a tug forwards, and we continued on our way with Susan now holding the reins so that Diana could watch me from the front.
The summer sun grew hotter and hotter, and inside the rubber mackintosh I quickly began to perspire. A couple of times I instinctively reached up with my hands to push the hood back off my face, but with the button under my chin done up securely, there was no way that I could pull it off. Jane made no attempt to stop me, and just smiled as she said 'It's no use Jennifer. With the button fastened, there's no way you can get that hood off, and with your hands in those mittens there's no way you can undo any of the buttons. Which means that you can't get that mackintosh off no matter how hard you try. Clever, isn't it?' My heart sank with despair. The girls continued our walk around the funfair, until Jane said 'Well I reckon we've seen everything by now. D'you want to go home?' Everyone agreed, and we headed up the lane to the bus stop. While we waited for the bus, Jane said 'Let's make sure that this time everybody on the bus knows that he's a boy, shall we?' She unbuttoned the hood of my mackintosh and pulled it down, exposing my face. 'But we'll leave that cute wig on with the pretty ribbons' smiled Jane, 'We'll just make sure that we tell everyone on the bus, that's all.'
The bus drew up, and I was hauled on board and sat down at the front facing across the bus in full view of everyone. The bus was fairly full, and the girls took great delight in displaying me to the other passengers, who made no effort to hide their mirth. On one occasion Jane removed my wig for a moment just to emphasise the point. But at last we reached our destination, stepped off the bus, and began to walk home. Aunt Mary let us in, and started preparing tea, and Jane removed my mittens so that I could eat. I tried to remove the baby reins as well so that I could take off my mackintosh, but Jane said 'Oh no you don't Jennifer, you're going to keep your mac on until bed time. I only freed your hands so that you can eat your tea. And I think we'll have this up again, too.' She pulled up the mackintosh hood and once again buttoned it on. 'And if you remove it before I say you can' she said sternly, 'You'll regret it.' Tea was now ready, and I went through the uncomfortable experience of eating it wearing my mac with the hood up. It wasn't pleasant.
Tea over, we all went into the lounge to watch television. I sat on the sofa between Susan and Diana, and Jane told me to put my hands in my pockets and keep them there. From time to time, Susan and Diana kept peering in at me under my hood and grinning. But at last my bed time arrived, so Jane went up to her room for the key, and unlocked the padlock of the baby reins. She undid the straps, and with a sigh of relief I was released from them. Jane now removed the mackintosh at last, and I was free to go upstairs to bed. In the bathroom I threw my damp clothes into the washing basket, had a welcome shower, and after drying off, went down the passage to my room, where I put on my nightie and got into bed. After a while Aunt Mary came in to say goodnight before switching off the light and shutting the door. I lay there for a while, feeling relaxed after the day's ordeal. Diana had certainly dreamed up an exquisitely humiliating revenge for my remark the day before. And just for saying she looked sweet. Oh well, at least my sisters were going home tomorrow, that was something, at least. Trouble was, that still left more than two more weeks of Jane and Susan's attentions. I certainly wasn't looking forward to that as I drifted off, but I was asleep before I realised it.
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