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The Baby in the Pram
I blame Ricky. Sorry, that doesn't sound very good, does it? Don't get me wrong, he was a great mate, and would never have dropped me in it intentionally. But that said, and even with the best of intentions, hanging around with Ricky was, well, simply asking for trouble. It gravitated to him like a moth to a flame. Ricky. A tousle headed ginger haired scruffy young bloke who reckoned that life was a big joke from dawn until dusk. Far too good-natured and full of fun for the good of both himself and anyone that knocked around with him. Like me. Oh well, I suppose I'd better get on with it.
I remember the most humiliating day of my life as clearly as if it were last week. Actually, it was on a Saturday back in 1956, when we were both aged 12.
In his inimitable way, Ricky had recently yet again fallen foul of his 16 year old sister Fiona. Dark haired, brown eyed and at just that stage when younger brothers are a totally embarrassing pain in the arse to be barely tolerated. So with sibling relationships being at such a low ebb, it wasn't really surprising that Fiona wasn't happily disposed when good old Ricky and his sense of humour finally tested her tolerance beyond breaking point.
Now as I said, he isn't a bad person. Far from it, he's a really nice bloke. It's just that he's, well, a little bit too enthusiastic for his own good when it comes to the humour department. More than once I've seen the look of sheer non-comprehension on his face when the victim of one of his pranks hasn't found his brand of humour very funny. Oh well, that's just the way he is. Unfortunately for me, his sense of mischief was infectious, and I too had been indulging in similar behaviour toward my sister Maggie, so I wasn't exactly flavour of the month with her either.
It really was an exceptionally inopportune time for Ricky to test his sister's sense of humour. She'd just been given the push by her latest boyfriend, and was in no mood to tolerate anyone of the male species, let alone her younger brother. I sensed that staying out of her way was good advice, at least until the storm had died down a bit. Unfortunately, Ricky isn't very good in the diplomacy department. Boy, if anyone ever asked for trouble, he did. And he got it.
One Saturday afternoon, Fiona and her friends Susan and Jane, together with my older sister Maggie, were in a coffee bar with some of their friends near the sea front, discussing the less admirable attributes of men in general, when Ricky and I walked in and found them in earnest discussion. Fiona had their three year old little sister Lucy in tow in her pushchair, and Lucy was wise enough to be fast asleep with a dummy in her mouth. Since she was unable to join in their heated discussion it was just as well. Ricky had been sent to find Fiona and tell her that she was to expect the arrival of one of her aunts that afternoon, and would have to take Lucy home immediately and get changed. But when we went into the coffee bar we were completely ignored by his sister and her friends. So we bought a couple of milk shakes and just sat quietly in the seat behind them, listening to their anti-male tirade.
And that was when Ricky got carried away. Unchallenged and thinking they were out of earshot of anyone else, the girls continued to make some outrageously unjustified accusations regarding males in general, and Ricky finally felt that it was his duty to express himself in defence of the entire male species. Outnumbered six to one, it was of course the wrong decision, but never mind, he meant well.
As the female diatribe reached its climax, he leapt to his feet, turned on the startled girls and shouted 'Oh shut up Fiona. I reckon Lucy's got more sense than you have. Why don't you change places with her, stick a dummy in your mouth and do us all a favour!' As I said, not a good idea. Startled for a moment by his unexpected appearance, Fiona looked up at him with an icy venom, thought for a moment, and then said 'Well well, it's my idiot brother. I didn't see you there. That's lowered the level of conversation hasn't it?' Embarrassed though, she rose to her feet as Ricky explained why she had to go home. Appreciating the situation immediately, she pulled Lucy's pushchair out into the aisle, and bidding her friends farewell, set off home with her brother. I decided I might as well stay put with Maggie, as our relationship wasn't quite so volatile and tolerated each other reasonably well.
Little did Ricky realise to what degree he'd embarrassed his older sister, but he was soon to pay for his indiscretion in full measure. Fiona's not the sort of person to take insults lying down, so Ricky and I were a bit surprised when she seemed to have decided to let him get away with it on this occasion. She didn't make much of an issue out of it, and we thought the whole affair had been forgotten. How wrong we were.
One Saturday a few weeks later, Maggie said she was going round to see Fiona, so I decided to spend the day with Ricky. Mid morning found me outside the back door of his house. We knew each other well, and it was our practice to go straight in when we visited each other, without ringing the front door bell. As usual, I found the kitchen door open, and went in. The house was quiet, and I remembered that Ricky and Fiona's Mum and Dad had taken Lucy away to visit relatives for the weekend. I stood there for a moment, and then heard Fiona and a few other girls upstairs in her room. Ricky's bedroom was on the ground floor at the back of the house, so I went straight to his room and went in.
What I saw was unexpected to say the least. There in front of me was what looked like a very large toddler dressed in a white baby frock tied down onto the bed. Only it wasn't a toddler, it was Ricky! He was securely restrained by the ankles to the bottom corners of the bed, and his hands were tied to the top corners. He was wearing a set of pink leather baby reins, and they were attached with straps to the sides of the bed. There was no doubt about it, this baby wasn't going anywhere.
I looked at him incredulously for a moment, and then burst out laughing as he wriggled and writhed helplessly on the bed. He glared at me and said 'It's not funny Dave! How would you like to be tied up like this? Hurry up and undo these ropes, quickly, before the girls come back.' Everything was now clear. Fiona obviously hadn't forgotten his insult of a few weeks before, and had dreamed up this exquisitely humiliating revenge on her brother. I still couldn't help grinning as I began to untie the knots. 'What happened?' I asked as he leapt free and rapidly started trying to remove the baby dress. 'What do you think happened?' he grunted, as he untied the bow of the sash belt behind his back and fumbled desperately with the buttons down the back. He twisted and turned in frustration as he tried to reach them, but it was no good. Finally he gave up, and turning to me said 'I can't undo them! Quick, get me out of this will you?' I quickly unfastened the row of buttons, and with a sigh of relief he stepped out of the baby frock and flung it on the bed. I couldn't help laughing again when I saw that he was also wearing a terry towelling nappy and a pair of plastic baby pants. He quickly removed them, sat down on the bed, and removed a pair of white ankle socks and babyish black T bar strap shoes from his feet.
Freed at last from the humiliating garments, he rapidly climbed into his own clothes which had been left hanging over the back of a chair. As he dressed he said 'Ruddy Fiona and her mates jumped me about half an hour ago. They dragged me in here, got my clothes off, and then dressed me in those baby clothes. Then they tied me down and told me what they're going to do to me. You remember when I told Fiona she should swap places with Lucy and put a dummy in her mouth to keep her quiet?' 'Sure' I said, 'I remember. So?' 'So? She was livid, and you know what she can be like when she's got it in for someone. Well, since then she's been scheming for a suitable revenge, and she certainly dreamed up something special this time. Guess what she planned to do if you hadn't rescued me.' 'Can't imagine' I said curiously, 'What?' 'Oh an absolute beauty. Not only did the girls dress me up like this, but they were going to take me out for a walk around town like it! Can you imagine that! Me! Dressed up as a cute little baby girl! I'd never live it down.' I shuddered at the prospect, as any full-blooded young boy would. To be dressed as a girl was the ultimate humiliation, and even worse, as a baby girl at that. 'Anyway, thank goodness you decided to come round' he said, as he finished tying his shoelaces.
'But why didn't you put up a fight?' I asked, 'I'd have clocked them one. After all, they're only girls!' 'Oh yeah?' he grimaced, 'Amazons more like it. Believe me, you can't do much when you're being held down by five lacrosse players twice your size. Gee those girls are strong. Now let's get out of here. They'll be back in a minute, and I don't recommend still being here when they do. Come on.' That was when we made our mistake. Instead of creeping into the kitchen and out by the back door, we made for the front door because it was nearer. We couldn't have timed it more badly. Just as we entered the hall, we suddenly heard the sound of the girls coming down the stairs. 'Run for it!' shouted Ricky, and we dashed to the front door. In his panic, Ricky fumbled for a fatal couple of seconds with the door catch while with an angry Fiona shouted 'Get them!' Ricky finally managed to fling the door open, and the two of us sprang out of the doorway and began running down the broad driveway as fast as we could, with the angry posse of girls hard on our heels.
It was then that fate took a hand. Just before we reached the front gate and probable freedom, I put my foot down awkwardly and fell headlong onto the ground. In an instant I was pounced upon by two of the girls and dragged to my feet. At least Ricky got away, and I saw him disappear out of the front gate, leaving me on my own, and judging by the mood of the girls I suspected that I was in for a torrid time.
Fiona looked at me angrily and said 'You little wretch! Thought you'd spoil our fun did you David? This took weeks to plan, and now you've ruined everything! This was supposed to be Ricky's day of retribution.' She glared at me for a moment, and then slowly began to smirk. 'Very well' she said, 'You untied him, so you can take his place. Yes, I think that's a perfect punishment for interfering. Ever wondered what it's like being a baby girl? Well you're about to find out. Bring him inside.' Four girls were now holding my arms, and despite my struggles they had no difficulty in dragging me back to the house and into Ricky's room.
Fiona closed the door and locked it before putting the key in her pocket. Now I was trapped with nowhere to run to, and I shivered in anticipation of what was to come. The idea of finding myself in the same situation as I'd found Ricky was something I certainly didn't relish. What full-blooded boy would? But by now I was in no position to do anything about it.
'Now then' said Fiona, tidying up the baby clothes that Ricky had flung onto the bed, and beginning to fold the nappy ready for use, 'We can do this the easy way, in which case you'll let me dress you, or we can do it the hard way, which means we force you into these baby clothes anyway, like we did with Ricky. What's it to be?' For a moment I glanced at my sister in a last desperate appeal for help, but her icy stare of disapproval quickly told me where her loyalties lay. As if reading my thoughts, Maggie gave a wry grin and said 'Don't look at me for help. You asked for this, and besides, you've been a real pain recently, so let's just call this payback time.' Looking round at the other girls I knew I was doomed, and decided that co-operation was the wiser choice. So with a sigh I said 'The easy way I suppose. But look Fiona, this is a rotten thing to do to any bloke!' 'Well it serves you right' she snapped back, 'After all the other things he's done, Ricky deserved it after that insult, and since you've been unwise enough to interfere with our brand of justice, you can take his place. Now stop moaning and take off your clothes before we take them off for you.' I slowly and reluctantly undressed, and was soon standing there naked.
'OK baby' said Fiona, 'Let's put your nappy on first, shall we? Lie down on the bed, face up.' I lay down, and Fiona positioned me on the terry towelling nappy so recently discarded by Ricky. She drew the three flaps between my legs and round my hips, and brought them together before fastening the nappy on securely with the four pink nappy pins. Then, picking up the translucent plastic baby pants, she pulled them on over my feet and drew them up my legs. I raised my bottom, and she pulled them on over my nappy. 'Now stand up' she said. I got up off the bed, and she tucked the plastic pants in around the elasticated legs and waist of the nappy. I was now definitely watertight.
Looking at me and smiling for a moment, she said 'Now let's see how you look wearing your baby frock. By the way, in case you're wondering how we managed to find a baby frock in your size, it was made to measure by a friend of mine. It fits Ricky perfectly, so it should fit you as well.' She picked it up off the bed, and held it in front of herself with her head on one side, grinning widely. 'Isn't it sweet?' she giggled. Sweet wasn't the word. It was positively adorable if I'd really been a little girl, and was exactly what baby girls are expected to wear. It was now that I had time to take a proper look at it, and I didn't like what I saw. It was made of white satin, and styled with a peter pan collar, short puffed sleeves, a row of small pearl buttons down the back, and a broad sash which fastened in a large bow at the back. There was a smocking pattern across the front, and the baby frock was quite short, which meant that the wearer's nappy and plastic baby pants would be frequently visible. All in all it was a typical baby girl frock.
'Right' said Fiona, 'That's enough looking, let's get you into it.' She placed the frock over my head, and pulled my arms into the sleeves. Then she stood behind me and fastened up the buttons. Finally she tied the sash belt in a large non-slip bow behind my waist and smoothed the frock down around me. 'Good' she smiled, 'That's a perfect fit. Now sit down while I put your shoes and socks on.' I sat down on a chair, and picking them up off the cot, she pulled the white cotton ankle socks onto my feet, turning them down neatly. They were typical little girl socks, with a pretty frill around the ankle. Now came the shoes. They certainly were the very essence of a little girl's shoe, black shiny patent leather T-bar strap shoes with a buckle at the side of the foot. The shoe style was once again in keeping with what little girls are supposed to wear. Fiona took the first one, and with the aid of a shoe horn, squeezed it onto my foot. It was tight, but at first didn't seem to be too uncomfortable.
She stood back to look at me and smiled. 'Yes, I think we're getting there' she said, 'But before we go any further, I think we'd better take some extra precautions to stop you from interfering with what we have in mind for you.' She opened a draw, took out a pair of soft leather fingerless mittens and said, 'Hold out your hand and make a fist.' I did so, and she slid one of the close-fitting mittens onto my hand. It was fitted with laces much like a small boxing glove, and pulling the laces tight, she tied them in a non-slip double bow. Then she buckled up an additional sewn-in strap firmly around my wrist so that my hand was now imprisoned securely in a clenched fist position within the mitten. 'Now the other one' she said, and in no time both my hands were completely helpless. 'And just to make your hands prettier' she said, 'We'll add these.' She took a pair of white woollen fingerless mittens that she pulled on top of the leather mittens, and tied them securely in place with sewn-in pink ribbons around the wrists.
'Good' smiled Fiona approvingly, 'That'll keep baby's fingers out of mischief. Now let's see about keeping our little toddler under control. We don't want you wandering around, do we?' She picked up the pink leather baby reins, which had babyish transfers on the front, and were fitted with three small bells that jingled every time she moved them. The reins were also fitted with several D rings which could be used to anchor the wearer onto almost anything. Grinning, she held them out towards me and said 'Come along little girl, arms in.' I obediently put my arms in through the straps, and she swiftly moved behind me and fastened the buckles tightly behind me.
As she made sure I was securely strapped into them I said fearfully 'Ricky said you were actually going to take him out for a walk dressed like this. You're not going to do that to me are you?' She looked at me, thought for a moment, and then chuckled as she said. 'Who said anything about walking? Oh don't worry, we're going to take you out all right, but not in the way you think. We've got something much more humiliating in store for you. I'll just go and get it.' Turning to the others she said 'Make sure he doesn't make a run for it. Mind you, I don't think he'd want to go far dressed like that!' She was absolutely right. A chorus of giggles went up as she went over to the door, and producing the key, unlocked it and went out into the hall. Curious, I wondered just what she had in mind. I soon found out.
A moment later she came back into the room pushing a large very traditional black pram that I recognised immediately as the one that they'd stopped using for Lucy about a year before. She wheeled it up beside me, and said, 'Here we are little girl, just for you. Isn't it lovely?' I stared at the pram in disbelief, and reading my mind she grinned and said 'Doesn't look as if we can fit you in it, does it?' 'Me? In that?' I laughed derisively, 'Of course you can't, I'm much too long. There's no chance you'll get me into a pram,' and I grinned defiantly.
Fiona looked at me and smiled, while two of the girls gave a slight giggle. 'Really?' she said, 'I wouldn't be too sure about that. You see, this is no ordinary pram. Oh goodness me no. I'm glad to say that now that Lucy won't be needing it again, Mum gave me permission to make some shall we say, modifications. Especially when I told her what I had in mind. She's been looking for some way of dealing with Ricky's behaviour for some time, and this fits the bill nicely. So with the help of Mr. Evans next door, who's a real handyman, I've managed to make a few alterations. You think we can't possibly fit you into it? Well let's see shall we?' She removed the pram's clear plastic storm cover, the apron for covering the baby, the attached shopping bag, and put down the pram hood. I looked into the pram, and my heart sank. At the foot end of the pram two holes had been cut, just large enough to fit around the legs of the intended occupant just above the knees. The holes were well padded to match the existing upholstery and the top half of the end board was fitted with a removable section that could be raised and lowered so as to act like a set of old-fashioned village stocks, trapping the occupant inside the pram body.
The interior of the pram had been fitted with a range of white leather restraining straps attached to the inside. Before I had time to react, Angela slid out the top section of the leg stocks and said 'Right girls, lift him in.' 'No way!' I shouted, and jerked forward in a last ditch effort to avoid such a humiliating prospect. But the girls had already anticipated my every move, and strong hands quickly grabbed me. I squirmed and writhed to escape their clutches, but I didn't stand a chance. Despite my struggles they easily lifted me up bodily, and lowered me, struggling frantically, down into the pram. They quickly positioned my legs in the two semicircular slots and bent them up underneath the pram. Fiona quickly slid the upper part of the stocks down into position and locked them shut with two strong catches, firmly imprisoning the upper part of my legs. Then, while Susan and Jane held me down, it was a simple matter for Maggie to buckle straps around my ankles which secured them to the underside of the pram. My legs were now completely immobilised.
My upper body was next. The restraining straps attached to the interior of the pram were now buckled tight around me, one holding me down around my waist, and four others holding my wrists and upper arms down securely by my side. Four other straps anchored inside the pram were clipped onto each of the four D rings attached to my baby reins. One in front of each shoulder went to the corners at the top end of the pram, and one on either side of my chest connected to the sides. Once all the straps had been fastened securely, the girls stood back and grinned down at me as I struggled helplessly against my restraints.
Fiona opened a bag and took out an enormous version of a pink baby's dummy fitted with securing ribbons. 'Now' she said, 'We want a nice quiet baby, so let's make sure that she can't object. Hold his head will you?' Jane and Susan held my head still, and Maggie pinched my nose, forcing me to open my mouth to take a deep breath. Fiona quickly and expertly pushed the large silicon rubber bulb of the dummy deep into my mouth and wound the securing ribbons tightly around my head several times. Then she tied them in a non-slip bow behind my neck. Pushing my head down flat on the floor of the pram's interior, she fastened one more restraining strap around my neck, and then went round tightening every other strap so that I was now completely unable to move.
The girls gathered around the pram and looked down at me while they giggled with delight. I blushed crimson with utter humiliation. Fiona looked down at me and chuckled. 'So how does our little baby feel?' she said, 'Helpless? As a little baby should?' I gurgled helplessly into my dummy and certainly did feel as helpless as a baby.
'You know,' said Fiona as she looked down at me with an amused smile, 'We can't really call our little girl David any more, can we? No, that wouldn't do at all. I think we need something more suitable for a little baby girl. Any ideas anyone?' There was a moment's silence while the girls decided what they were going to call me. Suddenly my sister Maggie broke into a grin and said 'I know. When David was born, if he'd been a girl he was going to be named Jennifer. Since I'm going to have a baby sister for the day, why don't we call her Jennifer?' 'Jennifer!' said Fiona, 'Oh yes I like that. Perfect for a little baby girl. All right then, from now on her name is Jennifer. How sweet.' A ripple of laughter went round the girls as they started repeating the name 'Jennifer, Jennifer.' I blushed crimson with humiliation as they teased me. 'Now then,' said Fiona as the giggling subsided, 'Let's tell little Jennifer what we are about to do. Maggie, you're his sister, so why don't you tell him?' 'With pleasure' grinned Maggie as she smiled down at me. 'Well Jennifer, we don't want to waste all this effort of getting you into your pram, so now we're going to take you for a nice long walk around town. We're going to show off our little baby girl. With any luck there might be some of the kids from school around, and I'm sure they'd just love to see you like this. Isn't that nice?' My sister was obviously taking full advantage at this golden opportunity to make me pay in full for all the hard times I'd given her in the past, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Even restrained as I was, I exploded with indignation, and tried to shout my disapproval. But the only sound I could make was a muffled 'Mmmm! Mmmmph! MMMMMMM!' as I mumbled incoherently into my dummy. I tried to thrash around in my rage, but all I could do was barely rock the pram as the girls held onto it, and I subsided in a heap of frustration. 'Yes, I thought that's how you'd feel' laughed Fiona, 'Which is exactly why we planned it this way for Ricky. Don't worry, his turn will come, and believe me, this will be nothing compared with what I have in mind for him when we catch up with him. Now let's get you ready to go out.' Picking up the pram's clear plastic storm cover, she folded it up and placed it in the shopping tray underneath.
'There we are' said Fiona, straightening up, 'That's the hardest bit done, except for perhaps just one final touch.' She went to a drawer and took out a large white baby's bonnet with a broad rim to frame the face. I groaned into my dummy as she pulled the bonnet onto my head and tied the broad securing ribbons in a neat bow under my chin. I knew that it would be impossible for me to shake it off, and had to stare out from under it in true baby fashion. 'Oh yes!' giggled Maggie, arranging the rim neatly around my face, 'That's delightful. Doesn't she look sweet?' I was now about to see just how truly ingenious Fiona had been. I'd assumed that if the girls took me out into the street, people would see my legs sticking out under the pram and wonder what was going on. No such luck, she'd thought of that one. She picked up the black waterproof 'shopping bag', which I now realised was simply to hide my legs, and fitted it onto two rails under the pram. She slid the bag up the rails so that my immobilised legs were completely hidden from view, and secured it in place. Maggie put up the pram hood and locked it into position, and Fiona picked up the pram apron to cover me with. Spreading it over my helpless form, she fastened the securing clips around the edge which attached it to the pram. Then smiling down at me, she raised the flap of the apron and attached the top corners with elastic loops to the locking levers on either side of the pram hood. I was now hardly visible to anyone unless they looked in under the hood and over the raised flap. All I could do was lie there looking up at the white plastic interior of the hood and the inside of the pram that surrounded me. It had a distinctive plastic and infant smell about it.
'Right then' said Fiona, 'I think we're ready. Now let's take baby Jennifer for a walk shall we?' She chuckled, and suddenly I felt the pram brake being released. Then we were on the move, and I was wheeled out of the room and into the hallway. As I gazed out through the narrow gap between the top of the pram apron and the hood I could see Fiona take down her mackintosh from the hall stand and put it on.
And then my nightmare journey began. Still squirming helplessly in my pram restraints, I was wheeled through the front door and out into the open. I couldn't believe that here I was, dressed completely as a baby girl, strapped into my pram with a dummy in my mouth, about to be taken for a walk around town. I nearly wept at the thought, but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
The pram swayed as we proceeded along the pavement, and as I looked above me, I recognised the familiar houses as we headed for the middle of the town. Soon I could hear the sound of other pedestrians as we got nearer, and after a while I felt grateful to be able to remain hidden from view under the pram hood. Unfortunately for me, that state of affairs was about to change for the worse.
Now what happens? I wondered. I didn't have to wait long to find out. After a few minutes, I heard a door open, and I knew we had entered a shop. The pram came to a halt, but restrained as I was, I couldn't see anything except the ceiling from under the pram hood. I heard some whispering and high pitched giggling for a moment, and suddenly the pram apron was removed and the hood lowered. We were in a baby shop! Two young shop assistants were looking down at me, and burst out laughing. 'Oh that's absolutely delightful Fiona' giggled one. 'How on earth did you get him to co-operate?' My heart sank as I realised that they knew each other, and had probably pre arranged this next part of my humiliation. 'Well, he didn't co-operate of course' laughed Fiona, 'No, this was supposed to be my twit of a brother. We had Ricky all trussed up ready to put him in the pram, but his mate here ruined everything by untying him and letting him go. So we decided to use a substitute instead. Don't worry, I'll deal with my brother later on, and in the meantime, young David here can cop it sweet. He's just our plaything for the moment, and I must say I'm rather enjoying it.' 'I'll bet' said the girl, 'Oh God, I can't get over it. He looks gorgeous, absolutely cute. What are you going to do with him?' 'Well, said Jane, 'We're going to just walk around with him for a while, and show him off around town. With any luck we'll come across one or two of his mates from school. If we do, I don't think he'll ever live it down!' At that I burst into another bout of wriggling and gurgling, but it was of course useless, and just made the girls laugh even more. I gulped with horror at the prospect.
Suddenly, one of the shop girls grinned and said 'Look, I wonder if we could babysit him for a couple of hours, here in the shop. He just looks so cute, and I'd love to show him to a few customers. It would be a real hoot.' 'What do you reckon Maggie?' said Fiona to my sister, 'I suppose we could. I wouldn't mind a coffee anyway.' 'Oh yes' said one of the other girls, 'That's a good idea.' 'OK' said Fiona with a grin, 'Why not? We've got a few things to do, but please keep him here in the shop. Don't go taking him for a walk or anything.' 'No, that's fine' said the girl. 'We'll just park the pram over here by the counter and everybody can have a good laugh.' 'All right then' said Fiona, 'We'll see you in a couple of hours.' Looking down at me she grinned and said 'Bye bye Jennifer, now you be a good little baby won't you?' She and Maggie gave me a little wave and a loud chuckle, and were gone.
'Now then little baby Jennifer' said one of the girls, 'Let's put you over here where everyone can see you, shall we?' She wheeled the pram over to the end of the counter, put on the brake, and left me helplessly in full view.
The next two hours were about the most humiliating of my life. I just had to lie there restrained in the pram, open to all the comments of the two girls and their customers. They even brought in the staff from the adjoining store to laugh at me as well. It was sheer purgatory as I lay there helplessly, my face crimson with embarrassment as I sucked on my dummy. But relief finally came as at last Fiona and Maggie returned with the other girls. 'And how did little baby Jennifer behave?' asked my sister with a wide grin. 'Beautifully' said the girl, 'She certainly couldn't give us any trouble, and gave us some wonderful laughs. Thanks for the loan of her.' 'Our pleasure' said Maggie with a chuckle. She now replaced the pram apron over me and secured it in place again with the fasteners around the edge. Then she put up the pram hood and attached the apron flap to it again. After a few more exchanges, the girls left the shop, and were soon once more wheeling me through the precinct. 'Well I suppose we might as well go home now' said Fiona, 'Come on.' The journey began, and then the one thing I'd been dreading happened.
I knew things were about to take a turn for the worse when Fiona said 'Hey look, isn't that Brett, Joe and Mike? You know, they're in David and Ricky's class at school aren't they? There was a moment's pause and then Maggie gave a giggle and said 'So it is. Now isn't that fortuitous. I wonder if they'd like to see our little baby girl.' I shuddered at the prospect, but knew that nothing was going to stop them. I suddenly jumped as Fiona shouted 'Hey Brett! Over here. What are you doing here?' I cringed as I heard his familiar voice. 'Oh hi Fiona, just getting a couple of things. What are you up to? Babysitting?' 'Sort of ' laughed Maggie, 'You've never seen my baby sister Jennifer have you?' At that moment I wished I could have sunk down through the floor of the pram as I realised what she was about to do.
'Sister?' said Brett, 'What sister? You don't have a sister. Not from what Dave's told me, anyway.' 'Oh, you'd be surprised' she giggled, 'Would you like to see her?' 'Yeah sure, why not? How come Dave never told us he had a baby sister?' 'I think this is why' said Fiona, giggling, as she unfastened the pram apron and removed it before lowering the pram hood to reveal me to full public view.
There was a moment's silence as the three boys came up to the pram and looked down at me with a look of sheer incredulity on their faces. Then, as they realised who they were looking at, their faces were wreathed in smiles for a moment before they burst out laughing. 'Oh boy, it's David!' shouted Brett, 'I don't believe it! Unreal! Fiona, this is hilarious, how did you manage it?' 'Sheer genius' giggled Fiona, 'We were going to do it to Ricky to pay him back for his cheek recently, but David here ruined everything, so he's taken his place. Looks sweet doesn't he?' Brett tried to stop laughing for a moment and said 'Hell, if this is how you get your own back, I sure don't want to cross you. What a fate!' 'Yes' grinned Fiona, 'I don't muck around, believe me. So as Maggie said, this is her baby sister Jennifer. At least for today, anyway. And if you see my brother anywhere, you can tell him he's going to cop it even worse when we catch up with him, believe me.' The boys looked down at me again, and broke into a fresh round of giggling. 'Just a minute' laughed Brett, 'I've got my camera with me. How about a few souvenir shots?' 'What a great idea' chuckled Fiona, 'OK then, as long as we get some prints as well.' 'No problem' grinned Brett, 'Just a minute.' And so my humiliation was complete as he took out his digital camera and took several shots of me to immortalise my humiliation. Strapped down as I was, there was no way I could hide my face, and I sweated at the thought of what he'd be able to do around our school with those! Once Brett was satisfied, he put his camera back in his pocket and said 'Oh well, we've got to get moving, so we'll leave you to look after your baby. What a gas!' He looked down at me and chuckled once more as he said 'Bye bye baby Jennifer. Now you be a good little girl, won't you? I'm going to go home and download these photos, so I should have a nice set to show everyone at school on Monday morning. Have fun!' I gulped at the thought of Monday morning, and realised that my street cred was about to take a nosedive. I was never going to live this down! The boys wandered off, and Fiona and Maggie replaced the pram apron and put up the hood again. Then they continued with our walk. After about an hour I started to hear the patter of rain on the pram hood, and saw Fiona put up her mackintosh hood. At least I was well covered up from the rain as well as public view. 'Where's the storm cover?' said Fiona. 'Underneath' said Maggie, 'Here it is.' She took it from a small basket underneath the pram, and the two girls draped the transparent PVC cover over the pram and secured it in place with the fitted press studs. We began our long walk through the rain, and I could hear it beating down heavily on the pram hood and storm cover.
The girls deliberately pushed me slowly around the precinct for several more hours while they did some shopping, and when the rain stopped, Fiona said 'Well I think it's time to show our baby to everyone again, isn't it?' To my horror they removed the storm cover and pram apron, and lowered the hood, leaving me in full public view again. I soon caught the attention of various passers by, who were told be the girls that I'd broken into their school and was being punished. Strapped down in the pram with the huge dummy filling my mouth, I was in no position to deny it, and had to endure the jeers of the children especially.
But at long last they began to tire of their sport, and decided to head for home, and at long last we arrived back at Fiona and Ricky's house. Wondering if he'd had the nerve to return, I heaved a muffled sigh of relief when we were finally indoors and out of public view. Needless to say there was no sign of him, and the house was silent as the girls wheeled me back into his room.
Fiona stood over me, bent down, and put her face close to mine. She broke into a broad grin and said 'Well there we are then. Did our ickle baby girl enjoy her little walkies? Fun, wasn't it?' I glared at her silently, and we both knew the answer to that. With a chuckle she stood up straight and said 'Oh well, I suppose we'd better let you go. What a pity.' She turned to my sister and said 'Come to think of it Maggie, how would you like to take him home like this?' I hoped desperately that she was kidding, but knowing Fiona, I knew she probably wasn't. In a panic I began to squirm and writhe in my restraints and gave a muffled 'Nmmmm! Mmmmmf!' of protest.
But fortunately for me, Maggie realised that Mum would certainly disapprove of the idea, and said reluctantly 'It's a tempting idea, but I think we'd better let him go here. I don't think Mum would appreciate our form of justice.' 'Oh well' said Fiona reluctantly, 'It was just a thought.' She bent over me, removed my bonnet, and then unfastened the securing ribbons of my dummy. I heaved a sigh of relief and moved my aching jaw from side to side as she pulled it out of my mouth. That done, she and Maggie unfastened the pram restraints and helped me to climb out. As I stood unsteadily on my cramped legs, Fiona stepped behind me, unbuckled the baby reins, and pulled them off. 'Now then David' she said, as she unfastened the bow of my baby frock and unfastened the buttons down the back, 'That was what we had planned for Ricky today. Thanks to you, we were deprived of that pleasure, but rest assured, he's going to be really sorry. I've dreamed up something for him that will make your little experience today seem mild in comparison. You'll be seeing him sooner or later, so you can tell him that from me. It won't be in the next day or two, I want him to sweat it out for a while. But believe me, he's going to really regret what he did today.' While she'd been talking I'd put my own clothes on again, and soon I was ready to go home with my sister. We made our farewells, and as we walked home, Maggie looked at me and grinned. 'Well' she said, 'That'll teach you not to interfere, won't it?' 'It sure will' I replied ruefully, 'What do you reckon she's got in mind for Ricky?' 'I've no idea' she said, 'But whatever it is, you can be grateful it won't be you.' And as things turned out, I was. But that's another story.
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