|The Little Shop of Rubber
© 2006 - AmyAmy - Used by permission
|storycodes: F; latex; cons; X|
Little Shop of Rubber by AmyAmy F; latex; cons; X
This story is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters portrayed here to real people living or deceased is entirely coincidental. The author retains all rights to this work, except in allowing that it may be archived and distributed for non-commercial purposes, providing all text remains intact, including this notice.
This story deals with 'adult' themes of a highly sexual nature that some may find disturbing, including 'fetishism'; bondage; domination; sex acts that may be considered non-consensual; use of sex-toys; bizarre erotic costumes; sexual transformations; and may do so in an unrealistic and fantastical manner. If you find such topics disturbing, or if it is illegal for you to read about them, stop reading here.
The Little Shop of Rubber - Part 1
Amy had spent her Saturday searching the clothes stores of the city for something to impress her friends at the club that night. She wasn’t having much luck. Store after store filled with the same designer names was all she could find. The clothes were too expensive and too ordinary. Cutting it in the club scene wasn’t easy, especially on her budget.
She had an hour or so left before everywhere started to close up for the evening. She still hadn’t tried the alternative stores down in the Old-Town Arcade. There wasn’t much chance of finding anything there apart from clichéd goth-chick junk and the only places that look would get her weren’t exactly exclusive. It wasn’t that they weren’t good enough for her. Those places just weren’t her scene. There was something a bit too personal about them; she didn't like the way that your personality mattered. The buzz of drugs, the smell of sex and the pump of the hottest dance tunes mixed by the latest rising-star DJ were more to her taste.
She considered giving up, and ordering another large espresso, and maybe a small gelato as compensation for her fruitless hard day’s work. She looked down at her trim, figure and tried to convince herself that she could risk a dose of sugary goodness. Caution won out, and she decided that anything was better than breaking her diet. When she’d been a teen she’d fought a battle to lose her 'puppy fat', and old habits died hard.
Yes. She’d give the Old-Town a look. Anyway, it was ages since she’d last been in that seedy maze of narrow cobbled streets. While most of the Old-Town was full of record shops, tattoo parlours and dark little shops that Amy couldn’t even make out the purpose of, in the centre 'the Arcade' held a few better stores. Sure, they were mostly full of new-age knickknacks, but the occasional alternative clothes shop would flourish for a while before failing to pay the rent.
If she was really lucky she could pick up some art-college kid’s project amongst the mass of junk, cheap leather, second hand clothes, lycra pants and black T-shirts with garish band logos. Yes, she'd been lucky before at finding one-of-a-kind designer outfits for bargain prices. It probably wasn’t the right time of year, but still…
The Arcade was an undercover area with polished granite paving and old wrought iron gates at either end. Everything about it, from the soot stained Victorian building it was located in to the twinkling gas lamps that lit its mysterious interior – even during daylight – exuded an aura of contrived quaintness that could be endearing if you were in the mood for it. All the shops had shiny windows that matched the sparkling glass spheres and polished brass of the lamps. If it had been in the right part of town the Arcade would have attracted the most expensive stores of all, but out here it seemed vaguely incongruous.
Despite the fancy lighting arrangements, most of the light came from inside the shops themselves, a subdued warm glow that made Amy feel relaxed and a little dreamy. She let herself drift through the scents of incense, her concentration dulled by the sounds of soporific new-age music. She was quite surprised to find herself staring into the window of a shop she’d never seen before, a shop whose window displayed a stunning array of glistening rubber and plastic clothes.
Amy would normally have thought twice before entering such a place. Amy wouldn’t have felt comfortable pressing the doorbell and waiting outside to see if they would let her in; not outside a place with the ambience of a sex shop. In this case it was different. There was no bell to press, the door was open to everyone, and something about the style of the displays and the cosy little place she could see though the clear glass door reassured her. Everything they had on display looked like something that, at a push, she might dare to wear, and not some kind of perverted sex toy. Of course, some people seemed to go clubbing just so they could wear things like that, but Amy reminded herself that she was not one of them.
The space inside the shop was surprisingly small. Most of the limited space was crowded full of racks of clothes: some of them rather ordinary compared to the window display, but all of them of obvious quality. The remaining space was occupied by the counter and the shelves behind it. The woman behind the counter was busy checking through a stack of boxes when Amy entered. She looked up and smiled. It made a change from the bored, snobbish shop girl attitude that Amy was used to.
“Hello, is there anything I can help you with?” The woman asked pleasantly. Amy didn’t look properly at her at first, her eyes still glued to the unusual clothes filling the shop.
“Oh, I’m not sure. I’m just looking, you know?” Said Amy without thinking.
“Of course: if you can’t find something, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m sorry it’s such a mess in here, but we’ve just moved in.”
“Alright,” answered Amy.
After a minute of staring around the shop, Amy had leisure to study the saleswoman. She seemed a little taller than herself, even accounting for her shoes, with an extreme figure. She had an impressively thin waist, with hips about the same as Amy’s own: perhaps thirty-six or thirty-seven inches. Amy guessed her to be in her early thirties, which seemed to Amy with her twenty-two years, quite ancient if not completely fossilized. Amy considered herself old enough to be wise but young enough to rightly regard anyone older than twenty-five practically senile.
Amy’s eyes finally came to rest on the saleswoman’s face. Framed by lustrous long black hair that made Amy quite envious it seemed dreadfully pale, and her eyes large and hypnotic with an expression in them that left Amy feeling slightly uncomfortable. Besides all that, there was something else. Amy checked off all the details in her mind, but she still couldn’t tell what it was about the woman that seemed awry. She put it down to tiredness, or deja-vu, or perhaps a little too much of the wrong kind of ‘incense’ smoke drifting out of one of the other shops. Amy giggled silently to herself and looked away.
She took her time to flip through the clothes on the racks and shelves that she could reach. There were a few tasteful items of ordinary clothing that she would have to put on credit, because she couldn’t afford to miss bargains of that quality. None of those things would really do for clubbing though. She thought something more risqué would be ideal. Something her friends would either not dare to wear, or not choose to afford. The prices here were temptingly low. She could probably afford a whole outfit if she chose carefully and only overran her budget for the weekend by a little.
Amy picked out a short dress in glossy white rubber that she thought would attract enough attention without making her look like a freak. She glanced around for a mirror, but instead she caught the gaze of the saleswoman. Amy could have sworn she’d been staring at her. Why not? She thought. There’s not much else to do in this tiny little place: it must be boring when it’s so quiet.
“Lovely isn’t it? Would you like to try it on?” Asked the saleswoman, and Amy could hardly refuse.
“Is there somewhere?” She answered.
“Of course; just follow me,” said the woman, emerging from behind the counter. Her walk had a magical syncopation, a delicious roundedness to it. As a teenager, Amy had struggled long and hard in front of the mirror trying to perfect a walk like that, but she wasn’t convinced she’d managed it yet. It was Amy’s first twinge of envy.
The woman vanished behind a rack of coats that Amy thought had been pushed against the wall. With a struggle, Amy managed to squeeze behind them and follow the vanishing saleswoman. The coats were covering an open doorway that led to a dark hallway. Somewhere in the darkness, Amy heard a click and light spilled out from a doorway at the end of the hallway. The saleswoman was framed in the door, silhouetted perfectly. My, oh my, thought Amy, I wish I had a figure like hers. It’s fantastic. How can she look that good at her age?
“Over here,” said the saleswoman, pulling a curtain across the doorway for Amy, who squeezed past her and into a little room. Inside the changing room, lit by a painfully bright bare light bulb, all the usual fittings could be found. Amy dropped her bag onto the floor.
“Just give a shout when you’re done, or if you need any help…” Said the saleswoman, her voice already disappearing down the hall.
Amy sat down on the simple wooden bench and began to peel off her clothes, hanging her long winter coat and close fitting FCUK dress onto the rail, thoughtfully provided with empty clothes hangers, spanning the side of the tiny room. Amy glanced at the dress, and after a little thought removed her watch, and then her underwear.
Amy paused, naked apart from her para-boots and pop socks and admired her youthful body in the full-length mirror on the back wall. Her fingers brushed over her skin, testing its soft perfection and finding it satisfactory. She smiled to herself, slowly circling a nipple with her fingertip. The soft hairs covering her body were beginning to stand on end, and she noticed quite suddenly that it was rather chilly in the room, so without further delay she picked up the glistening white rubber dress. It was cold to the touch, slightly clammy. Amy gave a shudder at the idea of putting it on.
She thought she’d looked at the dress quite carefully before, but now she realised that she wasn’t at all sure how to work the fastenings. There was clearly a kind of seam that ran down the complete length of the back of the dress, but she couldn’t see any kind of zipper tag or fasteners. Feeling the seam carefully, she got the impression that it concealed some kind of Ziploc that was a moulded part of the rubber, but she couldn’t see any way to work it. Amy sighed and considered giving up. Then she saw the key right in front of her: attached to the empty clothes hanger that she’d taken the dress from, was a slip-knotted length of thin nylon cord with a loose ‘zip-tag’ device.
She pulled the knot open and dropped the tag into her hand. First, she tried slotting it onto the neck end of the seam, but that was obviously wrong. The other end proved more suitable, and with a little struggling, she was able to slip the runner and tag device onto the fastener. It didn’t pull easily, but with a slow determined pressure, the seam opened up. Despite the cold, and being almost naked, Amy was sweating by the time she got the runner to the end of the seam. Finally, the back of the dress opened up completely, the tag still attached to one side of the neck. At last! Thought Amy.
The dress still wasn’t so easy to put on as Amy had hoped. Damn, this dress still has tricks left, she thought. The dress had long sleeves that were exceedingly tight, and Amy was no expert in donning rubber. Her sweat wasn’t really helping, so she figured she could get into the arms by rolling them up, forcing her arms through the tight sphincter roll and then unrolling the arm. At least that was her plan, but the arm holes became too small when she rolled the arms up completely. It took her several tries to devise a method that worked.
Eventually, she tugged the rest of the dress into place. There was a high neck, and a little round ‘keyhole’ to show her cleavage. After the arms, she thought it would be murder to get her breasts comfortable in the front of the dress, but it turned out to be easy. Now all she had to do was latch the slider tag back onto the other side of the neck and pull it down.
She managed to pull the neck tight and get the slider moving without strangling herself, though the neck did feel quite constricting. However, once she’d pushed the tag past the limit of her neck she could go no further. The tag moved much more easily than before, but she still couldn’t manage. It was easy putting her arms behind her neck, but she could only push down so far that way. When she tried to reach up the other way, it pulled the dress tight, creasing the rubber so it bit her most unpleasantly under the arm, and even then, she couldn’t reach the tag. I really ought to be more flexible, thought Amy.
Whatever shall I do now? Thought Amy to herself. There’s no way I can get that tag down by reaching and there’s no way I’m giving up now either. She didn’t want to call for help: it would be embarrassing. Then it came to her, a trick she’d seen her mother use on old-fashioned evening dresses with awkward little zips.
She bent one of the wire clothes hangers into a reaching hook, and used that to pull the slider down. As the slider came down, the dress seemed to get smaller and smaller. Amy was sure it should never be so tight. Rubber was supposed to stretch? It wasn’t easy, but she managed it in the end, and the slider popped off the ‘hem’ of the dress, leaving the seam completely sealed. The bottom of the dress was quite a few inches above her knee. It’s probably a bit shorter than I expected, pondered Amy.
Amy took a few moments to relax and then studied herself in the mirror. Apart from a rather flushed red face, she looked fantastic. The dress stretched so well to her form, and apart from the barely visible seam at the back, it was completely smooth. Her pink ‘doc’ boots and pop-socks looked quite stupid though. The socks only worked under a long dress. After a little thought, Amy unlaced her boots and then peeled off both pairs of socks (she had sporting ankle socks hidden below the level of the boots to protect her fragile nylons). Then in her bare feet she padded down the dark hallway, crossing the cold and rather dubious carpet back to the wall of coats and the shop.
“Oh, yes, you look fabulous!” Exclaimed the saleswoman, as they so often do. She gave Amy a big, pleasant smile that Amy would never have guessed she was capable of. In response, Amy smiled nervously, hoping she was losing some of the flushed look.
“I don’t suppose you have any shoes or boots that would go with this?” She asked, curious to see if the assistant would suggest anything preferable to the items Amy had already planned to match with the dress.
“I’m sure there is something that will be exactly right. Let me think a moment,” said the saleswoman falling silent. Time seemed to pass in long and measured heartbeats. Amy wondered if she should say something, then suddenly the woman spoke again. “I have just the thing for you,” she announced and then crouched down behind the counter. She emerged from behind the counter at waist level, dragging an enormous, open topped, cardboard box in front of her. It was almost as tall as the counter itself.
The cold seeping up into her feet and making her shiver, Amy padded over and looked into the box. She was relieved to see many boots, belts and accessories of odd kinds jumbled up and filling the box to the brim. The saleswoman was rummaging through it in an efficient manner.
“I haven’t had time to sort any of these out yet. We really should be next door, but the renovations have been delayed… Here. These are the ones I was thinking of,” she said, holding up a pair of floppy looking long black rubber boots.
“Those look rather odd,” said Amy, “are you sure they’ll be alright?”
“Wait until you see them on. Sit down there and I’ll help you with them,” said the saleswoman, dragging her own stool out from behind the counter.
Amy climbed onto the stool, and let the saleswoman ease the rubber onto her legs. It felt very peculiar letting another woman’s hands touch her so intimately – if not unpleasant. It was a much more intense experience than she normally anticipated while shopping. The boots had to be unrolled carefully onto her legs, with a lot of talc, kneading, pushing and stretching. Amy realised that she was biting her lip much too hard, and had to stop herself.
With her foot properly in place, and one of the boots almost completely fitted, Amy could see that they were three inch stilettos that came to an elegantly curved point at the toe, and also curved in tightly at the heel for a close fit that gripped her foot and pinched her toes slightly. They felt very restrictive after the freedom of her boots, but she had similar shoes at home. Similar shoes yes, but the hard plastic of the shoe part on these kinky devices blended seamlessly into rubber, making a kind of boot that came over her knee and up to stocking height, stopping a few inches short of the dress.
The saleswoman pulled tightly and extended straps from the boot and clipped them onto the bottom of the dress with a ratchet clicking sound. These suspenders served in a very practical way to keep the boots from creeping down and her dress from creeping up, but they weren’t quite the look that Amy had been planning on. It made her dress look like underwear. Oh no, she thought, I must look very naughty! She didn’t want to say so, but there was no way these boots would do.
Eventually the saleswoman managed to get both boots fitted and Amy was able to look at herself in the nearby mirror. Though the black and white combination was impressive, with a rather stylish sixties look to it, the suspenders ruined it all for Amy. They were too suggestive of underwear. They just had to go. She stared down at her legs encased in the slick black coating: so perfectly smooth it was uncanny. The curve on the heels had a classic line to it that Amy knew to be just what she would have wanted, but still the boots would not do. Yes, there was something exciting about them, a little too exciting maybe. Amy pushed the feeling down and buried it.
“It really suits you, but I can see that you’re not happy. Would you like to try something different?” Said the saleswoman with a sad little smile.
“It’s quite nice, but it wasn’t really what I was thinking of. Do you have – maybe – something that comes up higher, or maybe not so high?” Amy skirted around the issue.
“I think I have both, which would you prefer?”
“Oh, um, higher I suppose. Something that will reach up under the dress?” Asked Amy.
“Are you sure?” Said the saleswoman.
“Uh, not really, but reasonably. I mean, yes. Sure, I mean if you have anything?” Said Amy embarrassed at being so nervous. She told herself to take a firm grip.
“These are just the thing,” said the saleswoman holding up a pair of black rubber tights and a pair of rather ordinary looking white rubber boots, with two inch spikes that looked as if they would come just below the knee.
“Those look like they’ll work,” said Amy.
“Good,” said the saleswoman, and began to remove the stocking-boots.
It seemed to be forever before Amy’s legs were released. The rubber would not slide free, and had to be rolled up carefully, working down her leg. Before it was over, Amy was wondering if there wasn’t a quicker way. She was also very thankful that her legs were recently waxed: occasionally a tiny hair was trapped and it hurt.
“I’m glad you were here to do that. I don’t think I’d have the patience,” said Amy.
“It’s easier to get them off than on though isn’t it?” Said the saleswoman.
“I suppose you are an expert on this kind of thing?” Said Amy. The saleswoman just laughed. Amy wasn’t quite sure what that meant, and supposed that she must be, working in such a shop. She put that idea aside and thought about the rest of her night instead. She’d left her fluorescent pink g-shock in the changing room, having taken it off to put on the dress, and now she realised she had no idea of the time. She had no idea how dark it was outside because of the cover from the Arcade .
The saleswoman had finished getting the tights ready, but unlike the stocking-boots, she couldn’t roll them up very much. The saleswoman passed her a bargain-sized container of cheap, unscented baby-talc.
“Put plenty of this on your legs, it’ll make it easier,” she said to Amy, who was slightly taken aback.
“Um, alright. If you’re sure it’s necessary?” Said Amy hesitantly. The saleswoman just nodded insistently. Amy got some good handfuls of talc and rubbed them into her legs, quietly checking them for stubble while she was doing it. She was pleased to discover that they were still beautifully smooth, even more so after the talc. In a way, she couldn’t wait to see herself with her legs completely covered in the shiny black skin of rubber. Even though it was a new experience, and she wasn’t sure how others would react, she kind of liked the whole idea. I hope I’m not turning weird, Amy thought to herself.
The saleswoman eased the tights onto Amy’s feet, but to begin pulling them up properly she had to go around behind her and press herself tight against Amy’s back so she had some leverage. Amy could feel the saleswoman’s breasts pressing against her back through the skin-tight rubber dress. She saleswoman was wearing what seemed to be a thin white silk blouse, and Amy could feel almost everything through the rubber, and what she couldn’t feel made her imagine it, and that was all the more tantalizing. She’d felt the nipples touch first, and then the rest, squashed soft against her. Oddly, the rest of the saleswoman’s body felt rather hard, and a little too smooth. Amy didn’t know what to make of it. Before she could really decide if she was enjoying the experience, the saleswoman stepped back. The tops of the tights were now just short of the bottom of her dress.
“They go all the way up,” said the saleswoman. The implication was that Amy would have to finish the job. Amy really wanted to go somewhere private to do it: she had no underwear on. She didn’t want to act like she was more embarrassed than the saleswoman was. It was a dilemma.
“Why don’t you go back to the changing room?” Asked the saleswoman helpfully. Amy considered it, but then she thought how difficult it would be to waddle to the changing room with the tights around her knees and she’d look so ridiculous. She would have to tough it out.
“No, it’s alright,” said Amy determinedly.
“Are you sure?” Said the saleswoman. Of course, she understood Amy’s problem. Any underwear would obviously have been quite visible under the very tight dress: the exact reason Amy wasn’t wearing any.
“I’ll manage as long as nobody comes in,” said Amy with a grin.
Amy steeled herself and then began to pull up the dress. The saleswoman looked away politely as Amy exposed her bottom and her neatly trimmed pussy. Amy applied several more handfuls of talc, making quite a mess in the process. She was surprised to see a hint of wetness glistening in her crack. Surely, I wasn’t so excited? Thought Amy.
Hastily she wiped away the telltale seepage and applied more talc to cover any telltale traces. The talc didn’t quite cover the musky scent of her arousal. It was only then that Amy noticed that the tights had a round cut out around the crotch area. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to complain. It seemed rather naughty, but it would be practical. She didn’t much like the idea of having to pull the tights down all the time to use the toilet.
It was with a considerable effort, that Amy was now growing used to, that she managed to pull the tights up and into place. It was a task made much harder by the dress: it kept returning to its natural position unexpectedly and generally being awkward. The saleswoman, who was pretending not to look, obviously couldn’t bear to watch the incompetence any longer.
“If you peel the dress up properly it will stay up. There’s a kind of invisible boning to keep it down, but it only reaches from the hem to the waist,” said the frustrated saleswoman in a slightly sharper voice than she’d used before.
Amy jumped in surprise. Regaining her composure, she followed the saleswoman’s suggestion. With the dress properly out of the way, and her private parts completely exposed, she began to make some decent progress, and soon managed to complete her task. In their final position, the top of the tights cut into the soft flesh of her waist quite sharply, and while not painful, once the dress was peeled back down a line was clearly visible.
“I’m done,” said Amy.
“Very nice,” said the saleswoman after a short pause to evaluate the result. “I wish all our customers looked as lovely as you do. The whole outfit is a perfect fit for you. You’re very lucky.”
“What about this line?” Said Amy gesturing.
“No problem,” said the saleswoman. “I have some belts that will cover that perfectly.”
“Of course,” said Amy, walking over to the mirror to get a good look at herself. She didn’t have the boots on yet, but she wanted to get a look at her body almost completely covered in skin-tight rubber. From the high neck, through to the long sleeves and finally the tights (that lived up to their name), she was completely smooth and flawless. All her little imperfections were covered up, and the rubber did everything possible to enhance her natural musculature and curves. Amy could see that she was twice the girl she used to be.
The rubber was starting to become sweaty underneath, but it wasn’t especially warm in the shop to begin with, so she wasn’t really bothered by that. The dress felt a little constricting around the neck, perhaps it was a little harder to breathe – well it would be with that dress squeezing at her chest and abdomen. What a squeeze though, her breasts were pushed up and looked so firm and perfectly shaped: it was a miracle, or at least the equivalent of a boob job.
“Here,” said the saleswoman, reaching around from behind her with the glossy black belt she’d picked out. Amy felt the saleswoman’s arms around her, cinching the belt tight. It had a ratchet buckle that seemed to tighten easily, with a quiet clicking. Amy looked down at the belt, and the saleswoman’s long delicate fingers, then back into the mirror. The belt was a wide one, black with a silver buckle. It put a broad stripe around her waist, almost like a girdle. Contrasted against the white dress it was very effective, and tight as it was, it gave her figure a little more help. Amy couldn’t believe that she could show off such a perfect shape so easily. She just couldn’t help herself smiling. The saleswoman left her fingers at Amy’s hips for a moment, as if lingering, reluctant to let go, before finally stepping back.
“Just the boots to finish,” said the saleswoman. Amy was sure her voice was pitched a little higher than before. Amy returned to the stool and the saleswoman helped her fit the boots. They were a bit of squeeze on the foot, but only mildly tight about the calf. They even had zips up the back, so they were easy to put on after all the struggling with the other items.
Amy returned to the mirror to check out the final result. She was convinced she could walk into any club in town, and probably not even have to pay at most of them. The results were that good. She looked fantastic, and the clothes looked expensive, with a distinct design feel to them that would impress her friends as well as attracting stares from men. Of course, Amy had checked the price on the dress, and it was cheap for an item of that sort, but they weren’t exactly giving it away. It was only now that she wondered if the accessories would be painfully expensive.
“You’re going to make an impression in that outfit,” said the saleswoman.
Amy grinned despite herself, “I think you’re right, but what kind of impression is it going to make in my bank balance?”
“I’m sure we can sort something out, you are buying a whole outfit after all, and with the other clothes that’s got to be worth a little discount,” said the saleswoman.
“Dead right,” said Amy. “I’d better fetch my things out of the changing room.” She tried to hurry across the room to squeeze past the coat rack, but the tightness of the leggings, the restriction of the dress and the heels on the boots all combined to make her slow down to a careful pace. Her legs were a little stiff in the tight rubber but she hoped it might soften up.
With the best speed she could manage, she returned to the changing room and checked her watch. Oh no, thought Amy. It’s already late. I’ve been in here for ages. Everywhere else must be shut now. In a half panic, she stuffed most of her clothes into her bag, knotted her boots together and hung them around he neck, and picked up her old dress.
When Amy made it back into the main area of the shop, the saleswoman seemed to have finished adding everything up. Amy winced at the total and checked through the list a few times to be sure where her money was going.
“Good things always cost a little more, don’t they?” Said the saleswoman as Amy searched through her bag and reluctantly handed over her credit card.
“I suppose, though the prices here are less than I’d expect. This kind of thing has always been so expensive,” said Amy.
“I make everything in the shop myself using special new computer techniques for design and manufacture. I can make things in once piece that used to have to be made in parts. I can make perfect form fitting clothes using three-dimensional laser scans and computer modelling instead of the traditional ways.
“The system was developed by a group of enthusiasts. We’ve been working on this project for four years now. We’ve created new machines to do everything. It’s been a very exciting thing to be involved in… Oh, I’m sorry. I do go on when it’s my favourite subject,” said the saleswoman with a wry smile.
She handed Amy back her credit card.
“I’d better go, I’m in a hurry to get home. I guess I was going to have a shower, but there’s no way I’ll get these things off and on again in the time I’ve got left: I’ll have to leave them on. I think my coat should cover it up enough to avoid getting odd looks on the bus,” said Amy with a sigh.
“All the more time you’ll spend looking lovely. Hmm. Maybe I can give you a lift home. I’m done here and it’ll only take me a minute to close up,” said the saleswoman.
“Won’t it be out of your way?” Said Amy.
“Where do you live?” Said the saleswoman.
“ Greendale ,” said Amy. “Near the old hospital.”
“I know where you mean, it’s only ten minutes, and the traffic will be ok going out that way this time on a Saturday evening.”
“Well, OK, if you don’t mind…” Said Amy, nodding.
“It’s no problem,” smiled the saleswoman reassuringly.
True to her word, the saleswoman only took a few minutes closing up the shop. She simply locked the door and pulled down shutters that covered the windows and door. Amy stood outside in the darkness of the Arcade, tapping her boots on the cobbles. Her long black, fitted coat covered most of her rubber-clad form, showing only a peek at her neck and her feet. The chances were that nobody would even have noticed her on her way home, but her new attire had made Amy particularly self-conscious.
Amy was startled from her daydreams by the touch of the saleswoman on her elbow. She practically jumped out of her skin. After recovering, Amy followed the saleswoman to the Arcade entrance, where two uniformed security guards were shutting the old-fashioned wrought iron gates. They slipped through and the metal clanged behind them, the saleswoman and the guards exchanging goodbyes as the guards locked the gates with an oversized key.
“I never thought keys like that were real,” said Amy.
“I’m told they can’t make extra duplicates anymore, the old keys are so complicated that you’d have to go somewhere pretty special to get one made,” said the saleswoman.
“Really, I thought all that old fashioned stuff was fake,” shrugged Amy.
The saleswoman led them into a dark, narrow alleyway that Amy would never have considered entering, and after a few twists and turns emerged at the edge of the shabby little car park in the back yard of a pub. It was beginning to get dark. If the alleyway had made Amy nervous, the car park made her more so, because everyone knew that rapes, muggings and attacks always seemed to happen in car parks, especially ones like these with high walls and dark shadows.
Amy was mostly happy that she wasn’t alone, but she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to trust the saleswoman just yet. She was being unexpectedly helpful, and Amy was not used to that, it seemed suspicious to her – not in keeping with the character of the city. Amy was half wondering if the saleswoman would have some strange and unusual car, but when she beeped the alarm, it was a very ordinary VW Golf that responded.
As they got into traffic, everything seemed more normal and Amy began to relax.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend off. It’s hard working a six day week,” said the saleswoman.
“I bet. I don’t envy you,” said Amy.
“So what club are you going to tonight?” Said the saleswoman.
“Penny’s I think. I’ve got to check with my friends, but that was the plan. Hey. I didn’t say I was going clubbing,” said Amy.
“No, but that was obvious. I used to go to Penny’s when it was new, but I’ve been away the last four years, so I can’t imagine what it’s like now.”
“Really? You were into that scene? Where else did you go?” Said Amy, warming to the topic.
“Oh, Shambles, the Black Works, Vision, Butterfingers, Heaven’s Gate… You know, places like that,” said the saleswoman.
“Cool. I suppose they’re all still big, except the Black Works, that’s just ‘The Works’ now I think, but I don’t go there. It’s gone a bit weird I think. I guess I don’t know how though,” said Amy uncertainly.
“Not to worry,” said the saleswoman. “Oh, I’m Dehlia by the way. I should have said earlier.”
“Amy,” said Amy.
“Nice to meet you Amy,” grinned Dehlia.
The rest of the conversation was about where Amy lived, and how she shared a shabby old house with some of her friends. Everyone knew that rents were obscene in the city, and the only way Amy could afford to live was by sharing. Dehlia dropped Amy outside her door and drove off as Amy hurried in to prepare as thoroughly for the night ahead as time, and her obstinate rubber clothing, would allow.
The tag-slider device for Amy’s dress still lay forgotten, along with a bent coat hanger, on the floor of the changing room of the strange little shop.