Finn O’Brian is the 19 year old protagonist of the story.  Finn is a devoted uncle who works hard to maintain the custody of his deceased sister’s children. He is drawn towards 35 year old Madison, whom he perceives to be kind and competent. When his boss, Wagner, offers him a 20% raise in return for coming to work dressed as a female sales attendant, Finn reluctantly agrees. He does this in order to be able to provide a better quality of life to his nieces. As Finn achieves great success as a female sales assistant, he finds his body getting feminized. Finn must take full advantage of his feminized body if he is to participate in the local beauty pageant, the winner of which gets £2000 and 20 family dining coupons—prizes which would help Finn look after his nieces better.

A Slippery Slope in a Mall
Subtitle: The Joy of Being a Mommy

by Yulia Yu. Sakurazawa

Chapter 1 – My Hero

The alarm rang, shaking me out of my sleep. Drat, it already was 5 am. I don’t know where the night had disappeared. It was already time to wake up when I had barely shut my eyes.

I brushed my teeth and had a hurried shower. The utilitarian white tiles of the bathroom stung my eyes. They were such an eyesore! But guess one loses the right to complain when one lives in a council house in Hazel Grove. Silently cursing my poverty, I threw on my uniform: granite grey trousers with a black bush shirt. Since it was a cold day, I put on a fitted grey pullover too.

I went to the children’s room and shook my nieces awake. Six year old dark eyed and dimpled Mollie was quick to wake up and brush. As I patted her dark brown hair, I marveled at how much Mollie looked like her mother: my deceased elder sister, Cecelia. Since our parents had passed away when I was very young, Cecelia had practically raised me. I continued living with her even after she married Ivan, a construction worker, when she was 20. Ivan died in a hit-and-run accident a few years later, leaving behind Cecelia and two young daughters. Coincidentally, Cecelia herself died in a freak accident last year. She was only 29.

As the nostalgia of the past engulfed me, Amelia, my three year old niece woke up. She looked disapproving, grumpy and absolutely adorable! I picked the crabby little bundle up and led her towards the washbasin. With her blonde hair and blue eyes, Amelia bore close resemblance to her deceased dad.

I quickly dressed the children in matching grey frocks, plain white socks and little shoes with buckles. As I locked the house for the day and drove the children in my old, rundown jalopy, I fervently wished I could provide them with a better quality of life. That was difficult, considering I was only nineteen and a humble shop assistant. However, I was determined to do all I could to retain the custody of dear Cecelia’s children. After all, I couldn’t let Alan Hill, the drunken brother of Ivan, to get his lazy, irresponsible paws on my precious Mollie and Amelia.

I dropped the children off at their playschool at Cheadle and drove ahead to Old Trafford, where Madison Mall, the place I worked in, was situated. I passed a football field on the way and gazed yearningly at it. It had been sometime since I had set foot on a field. I used to play for The Tamside and District Junior League, before joining the Men’s Sunday League last year. However, I hadn’t got much time to play since Cecelia passed away.

I reached Madison Mall and took the lift to the fourth floor, where the store I worked in was located. As I entered “Elegance”, Rowan Wagner, the bald, middle-aged owner of the place, indicated his watch and made a disapproving face. I checked the clock on the wall and discovered that I was only five minutes late. Yet the greasy old motherfucker had to rub the fact in. I watched the steady rise and fall of Wagner’s big belly, thinking I could murder him. The old fucking martinet.

As I walked towards the shelves and started folding the clothes neatly, I could hear my colleague Esme Meyer’s dulcet tones in the background. Esme was trying to sell summer dresses to a group of young women. Esme was an attractive, statuesque redhead with the most persuasive manner ever. She attracted male customers with her luscious figure and got in female customers using her sweet (and, in my opinion, artificial) voice and polished (put-on) manner. Esme had also won the “Best Sales Assistant” award last year, owing to having made more sales than the rest of us. Drat. Give me a female shop assistant’s uniform and a saccharine sweet voice, and I could have beaten that fake, irritating redhead any day!

I stopped thinking about Esme and tried to concentrate on my work. As I was putting the coats out on the hangers, I smelt something funny. Smoke. What was happening? Were any of the clothes on fire? I looked around. No, all was well at Elegance. Yet the singed smell of smoke grew stronger. I glanced at old Wagner, Esme and her gaggle of customers. The expression on their faces told me that they had smelt the smoke too.

Soon wispy whirls of smoke entered Elegance. “It seems to be coming from the Food Court on the third floor” Wagner said “let’s go down and check what’s wrong”. Since the use of lifts is prohibited during a fire, fat Wagner and I took the stairs. I dashed down sprightly, while old Wagner lumbered down at his own pace. I opened the staircase door and sprinted into the third floor corridor. A whole lot of people were assembled there. I spotted my friend Ben, who worked as a server at the Food Court, and joined him. “The fire has been put out, mate” said Ben gravely “but Eddie, the cook, is injured”. “That’s too bad” I murmured. Ben and I pushed on ahead, through the crowd, to get a better view of the injured cook.

Eddie wasn’t in the best of shapes. He was sprawled on the floor, with wounds on his hands and feet. “When one of the kitchen curtains caught fire, and spread to old Eddie’s apron, he came rushing out screaming agitatedly. Someone had the sense to ferret out a blanket, throw it at Eddie and make him roll on the floor…” Ben explained to me.

“Shouldn’t we be doing something now, rather than just stand and stare?” I asked Ben.

“Sure” Ben agreed “but no one knows what to do”.

Just then, a tall woman pushed through the crowd with an air of confidence. She was about 35 years old and was stylishly dressed in a red A-line skirt, fitted faux leather jacket and ankle-length boots. Her dark brown hair was cut in a stylish bob. I recognized the woman as Madison Gillette, wife of Hugo Gillette: the owner of Madison Mall. While the others stared on, clueless about what to do, Madison summoned the mall manager and briskly asked him to call the emergency services immediately. Madison then kneeled down beside Eddie, and tried to rouse him by gently tickling his bare hands and feet. Eddie didn’t budge. Madison put her ear to the man’s chest (evidently trying to listen to the sound of air coming in and out), while simultaneously checking for a pulse. “His pulse is quite strong” she told everyone assembled “there is nothing to be worried about”. Just as Madison had said those words, Eddie’s eyes fluttered open. They opened wide in fear as the cook evidently recalled that his apron had caught fire. “You don’t have to worry” Madison said to Eddie in a crisp, reassuring tone “the burns aren’t too serious”. Madison asked one of the other cooks to get her a clean moist cloth, with which she covered Eddie’s burns. She subsequently asked the manager to fetch the first aid kit from the emergency room, and separated Eddie’s fingers and toes with dry, sterile bandages. Then, with quick competent movements, Madison raised Eddie’s legs and kept them on her lap. Her eyes searched the crowd and settled on me. “You come here” she called me firmly “and keep the man’s arms on your lap”. I kneeled on the floor and did as Madison had instructed. “Elevation will keep the burnt areas from pressure and friction” Madison explained to me. Her eyes were a clear grey, nose a strong one, and expression sincere. “This is the kind of face I’d trust in any situation” I said to myself.

Madison continued to monitor Eddie’s pulse and breathing until the ambulance arrived. She kept talking to the man in a positive, reassuring tone. When Eddie was put on the ambulance stretcher and taken away to the hospital, all of us got back to work. The day went on as usual, but something had changed. I had developed feelings of hero worship towards the kindly, competent Madison.

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