By Jerri Bush
I’m almost sorry now that I said it, because things didn’t go at all as we’d planned, but a promise is a promise so here goes.
I imagine, after the first time Leslie helped me dress up, that we were closer than ever before. For one thing we could suddenly talk to each other, without restraint.
We had shared thoughts that were very private, or at least that we’d thought of as private, and by doing that had discovered a lot about ourselves.
I mean, if you’d told me six months earlier that I’d be going out with my gift friend about once a week wearing a dress, bra, bikinis, heels, make-up and a wig, I would have laughed at you, or punched you or something.
But here I was doing it.
I loved all the feminine touches: lipstick (Have you ever noticed that lipstick doesn’t smell like anything else on earth?), nail polish (which actually smells like automotive touch-up paint, but looks neat all the same …), the way my clothes would pick up the scent of my perfume and … well … everything.
The really weird thing, at least to me, was that sex was so much better now, and it had been pretty good before. I think it may be that we were letting ourselves be ourselves, if you get what I mean.
We were lying in bed one morning … well … one afternoon actually, when Leslie brought up the subject of being a bunny again.
“You know,” she began thoughtfully, running a finger from the top of my neck to the base of my spine, “if you’re going to try being a bunny, we’re going to have to make some changes in you.”
“Well, for one thing, you’ll have to let your hair grow.
The wig looks good, and it’s fine for an evening out, but as a bunny you’ll be under close scrutiny, and it will have to be your own hair.”
“Ummm,” I said, considering the idea of close scrutiny for the first time, “maybe it would be better if we don’t…”
“Doesn’t the idea still appeal to you?”
“Well … sure … maybe more than ever.”
“Then I think we ought to give it a try. You’ll hate yourself if you never do it.”
“I don’t know …”
“Oh, I think you can do it if you put yourself in my hands.”
“Now the part about putting myself in your hands, I like.” And suiting action to words, I did just that.
Leslie didn’t insist, but I knew she was right. By now I
knew I was pretty well committed to letting out the feminine side of my personality.
Once I’d begun, I realized it was something I’d been suppressing a long time. I knew, too, that I couldn’t do that any more.
“When,” I said a few days later, “do you think we ought to aim for?”
Leslie looked me up and down. “About nine months from now.”
I was taken aback. “That bad?” I said.
“No, silly,” she laughed, “but it’ll take about that long for your hair to get to the right length. And we’ll have to teach you all about being a bunny. There’s not too much, but we can’t risk your making a mistake over some simple thing you should know.”
“Nine months ..”
“Well, I’m also choosing that time because lots of the gifts are on vacation. That’s when it will be easiest to get you into the club. We’ll have to pick a night when Joyce isn’t around.”
“The Hutch Keeper.”
“You know, I’ve told you about Joyce, the terror of the dressing room.”
“Oh, the one who always gets after you if your locker isn’t neat and stuff like that?”
“She’s the one. I don’t know if I ever told you about her being Hutch Keeper before, but I always thought it was such a silly title.”
“I do think “manager” would be more dignified.” “Dignified isn’t what they were aiming for. Cute is what they were aiming for.”
“In that case they scored a bull’s-eye.”
“Bull’s eye is not quite it.”
“I get your point. Say … isn’t Joyce one of the girls who you thought might.., urn.., well..”
“Take more than a business interest in some of the other girls?”
“I kind of think so. I mean, she’s never made a pass at me or anything, but she’s different somehow. Sometimes I almost feel like she can see right through our bunny outfits.”
“In that case let’s definitely wait until she’s not there!” I said.
So we went to work. I began to learn all the proper techniques for handling trays, writing up checks, fending off customers and so on.
We worked a lot on my voice, using a tape recorder. I
didn’t have to worry a whole lot about what to say, since a bunny’s responses are pretty well standardized.
I went down to the club now and then to see Leslie and her co-workers in action. We’d decided that I’d only do this at the beginning. It wouldn’t do for any of the other girls to get to know me well enough to recognize on sight.
I also saw Joyce now and then. She was a tall woman with a beautiful figure. Leslie said she had started as a bunny herself, and I could believe it. Unfortunately that also meant she had a pretty good idea of what was going on and didn’t let much slip by.
Of course I already knew Bobbi and Audrey, two of the bunnies. In a way they were responsible for this all happening, but I explained all that last time.
Luckily Bobbi was going to start graduate school in another state before our target date which meant we’d only have to worry about Audrey.
I was practicing the “Bunny Bend” one night at Leslie’s (Bunnies bend at the knees not at the waist – no use tempting fate or the customers) and Leslie said, “I hope there’s no trouble about your hair. I love it long, but your boss …”
“Don’t worry about that.” I replied in mid-bend “Long hair in a campus bookstore is about as conspicuous as a pair of jeans. There are a couple of guys on the other shift who have hair longer than I’ll ever have.”
“That’s good to know. What’ll we call you?” “What?”
“Well, Howard is hardly a suitable name for a bunny.” “Yeah, well, I never really thought…”
“I don’t even think there’s a feminine variant of Howard.”
“If there is, I don’t want to know about it.” “How about Helen?”
“Ugh. Sounds too much like a soap opera.” “Well, you think of one. No, wait, how about Hester?” “Too much like something out of first semester American Literature. Just the same … say … what about ‘Heather’?”
“Heather … Heather … you know, that’s not bad. It fits you pretty well, too. Not too frivolous, but not black stockings and sociology texts either. 1 like it if you do.” “I think so. Here’s to Operation Heather!”
Operation Heather, as it was christened that night, swung right along for the next few months.
Then, about seven weeks before we were scheduled to go into action, we had our first setback.
I was sitting in front of the make-up mirror, thinning my eyebrows, when Leslie came in.
“How did it go?” I asked.
“Rotten! Rotten, rotten, rotten!”
“That good, eh? Tell me about it.”
“Gloria is leaving.”
“That’s really terrible. Who’s Gloria?”
“One of the girls at the club. I was counting on using one of her outfits for you. We don’t have anybody else your size.”
“Couldn’t we just make one?”
“Ha. I’ll let you have a good look at one. They’re not something you just whip out on the sewing machine.” Of course Leslie was right. The bunny outfit was as much a piece of corsetry as an outer garment.
“I’m not supposed to have this here,” she said.
“Why not,” I said, “it’s yours isn’t it?”
“No, it belongs to the club. They own them all. They even check our lockers now and then, to make sure they’re all there.”
I thought a minute. “What happens to Gloria’s outfits.
I mean exactly.”
“Well, she’ll leave them when she goes. They’ll send them back and when they hire someone else they’ll have new ones made to the new girl’s measurements.” “Does this happen often?”
“Fairly often. There’s usually someone just leaving or
just coming on.”
“So they might not notice an extra requisition?” “Well I … you may be … Howard, I’ve just figured out one reason I love you.
“You have a devious mind.”
“It’s the company I keep.”
That part of the plan went remarkably smoothly.
Leslie got hold of a requisition form, filled it out with “Heather’s” measurements, and slipped it in with the others for the new girl.
“It was really funny,” she told me later, “the new girl tried out two that were made for her, then she tried on yours. If she hadn’t held onto the top, I think it would have fallen right off her. I told her I’d take care of it.” “Where is it?” I asked.
“Still at the club. I’ll leave it a day or two. Then, if she should happen to mention it to Joyce, I’I1 just say I forgot. I don’t think she will, though, Joyce is kind of intimidating.” “The dreaded Joyce, eh?”
“That’s the one,”
“I’ll have to meet her some day. After Operation Heather!”
The new girl didn’t mention the extra outfit and a few
days later Leslie smuggled it home.
It was beautiful, a sort of deep electric blue satin, At the sides of the chest it was cut to push everything toward the center, a trick their designer has for the bunnies who aren’t … ummm … overly endowed. (Yes, they do hire girls who aren’t. They figure anyone can be padded.) It was cut with a high French leg, too, which gave me the illusion of more hips than I really had. All in all it looked pretty terrific. Even Leslie was impressed.
“Heather, you look gorgeous!”
“Well, I feel gorgeous, so that works out.”
“You should try and wear it about an hour a day, to get used to it.”
“Try and stop me!”
“Well, for right now, I think I’m going to take you out of it.”
I didn’t object at all.
A few days later, Leslie came home in a rush.
“We’re going to have to do Operation Heather this week,” she said, breathless.
“What?! We were supposed to have two weeks more!” “Maybe so, but now’s our chance. There’s flu going around the club, Audrey has it and the doctor says she’ll be out another three days at least.”
“Joyce has it too! Not only does it take care of our biggest obstacle, but it means I’ll be in charge, since I’m senior if they’re both out. It’s perfect! Day after tomorrow, we go!”
Well, at least I didn’t have much time to get nervous.
I took the day off and started to prepare.
I began with a bubble bath and an all over shave. I’ve never had much body hair, but I wanted to be as smooth as possible. After all, a lot shows in those bunny outfits.
After that, I taped, a procedure designed to create cleavage where there really isn’t any.
I’d thought a little about female hormones, but had decided to wait until I was more sure where this was all leading, or, rather, where I wanted it to lead.
Between tape and padding, I managed to raise a fairly respectable cleavage. The club lighting was pretty subdued which was another plus. The more shadows, the more it looked like I had.
I’d said something to Leslie about wishing I didn’t have to pad to fill my bunny costume, but she told me they padded everyone, no matter how big they were.
I did my make-up. Since I’m fair haired I don’t have much problem with my beard. Even if I have a little stubble, it seldom shows because it’s so light.
Since my outfit was blue, and my eyes are, too, I used blue shadow, with charcoal grey. I did my eyes a little heavier than I usually would, but tried not to overdo because the club is very strict about keeping the “girl next door” image.
I’d finished the make-up and was getting into the sheer black tights when Leslie came in.
“Just in time,” I said, “you can help me into my costume.”
“Always happy to oblige. Mmmmmmm …” “Hey, don’t do that or I’ll never fit. It’s pretty snug down there as it is.”
“Oh, all right. I’ll be a good girl, at least until I get you back here tonight.”
“Once we’re back here, you can do that all you want. In fact I encourage it.”
“Goodness and I thought you were a refined young lady.”
“I have my moments.”
Leslie eventually did help me into my costume and I slipped a skirt, blouse and coat over it.
“Now then,” she said, “have you got the timetable down?”
“I come to the back door a half hour after the club opens. You’ll be there. I’ll slip out of these things and into
my ears and cuffs. You’ll put the word out that there’s an extra bunny coming in and I’ll take my station. After an hour, I leave and you’ll tell everyone I got sick, too.” “That’s it. Are you ready?”
“What do you think?”
“I think you look gorgeous, but I’m prejudiced.” Leslie left first. We had to go in separate cars because she wouldn’t finish at the club until several hours after I did.
Or at any rate that was how it was planned.
Everything went as we hoped at first. In fact, it could hardly have gone better. I did my bunny number exactly as I’d learned it. I knew the routine and the other girls accepted me without question.
I moved the way Leslie had taught me and occasionally picked up admiring glances from the customers, and now and then a little envy from the women who were with them.
Through it all my heart was racing with pleasure and excitement. No one could have any idea of how I felt, I thought. It was like having champagne in my veins.
After an hour, Leslie came over.
“Time to go,” she said.
“Oh … come on …” I whispered. “Everything’s going fine. Let me stay. You can certainly use the extra help.”
“Well, that’s true, but I don’t know if it’s a very good idea…”
“Of course it is! Besides, it’s a shame to waste ail this preparation on one hour.”
“I suppose you’re right. Okay, just a little longer.” And that’s how it went the whole evening. Finally, about an hour before closing I agreed it was time to go.
“After all,” Leslie said, “you really can’t change with the other girls, Heather.”
“I suppose not,” I said, “but don’t you think …” “No, now march young lady.”
“Oh, ail right.”
I left the club area and went back into the dressing room. I really regretted having to go. I’d felt good working as a bunny, as good as I’d ever felt in my life.
I went to Leslie’s locker and got my things. I’d taken off my ears and cuffs and started to slip my skirt over my bunny outfit when a throaty contralto voice behind me said, “And what do you think you’re doing, my dear?”
I stood frozen. I tried to say something, but real words wouldn’t come. “Gurk …” was the best I could do. I turned slowly.
There, standing by the office door was Joyce.
“You know the rules,” she said, taking in the fact that a snappy comeback was beyond me.
“The costumes do not leave the club. It’s a good thing I felt well enough to check how things were going.”
“Ulp,” I said.
“You’re new. Are you a replacement?”
I nodded; at least that worked.
“Well, perhaps no one told you.” Her manner softened a little, but only a little. “Here,” she said, “I’ll help you.”
“Unnng,” I managed.
“No, it’s all right, no trouble.”
Joyce walked over and began undoing my costume. I began to pray for a fatal heart attack and didn’t much care whether it hit her or me.
Still, short of trying a quick right to the jaw, there wasn’t much I could do. For one thing I still had my heels on and I knew the odds of out-running her in those. Besides, she looked like the kind of woman who would know karate.
“What?!” she gasped, “What’s going on here?!”
At this point I really felt at a disadvantage. I was standing there in nothing but sheer black tights and heels and a strip of adhesive tape across my chest.
Joyce let go of the bunny costume which slid down to my ankles. No one is in top form in a situation like this.
“Well …” I croaked. At least it was my first real word in some minutes … “actually ..”
Just then the door from the club burst open and Leslie ran in. “Howard,” she called, rounding a bank of lockers, “I just saw Joyce’s car and.., oh … oh … dear…”
I thought this rather an understatement.
A few minutes later we were in Joyce’s office.
“You realize,” she said, “I ought to fire you.” Leslie was almost in tears and I wasn’t in terrific shape even though I’d managed to get back into my skirt and blouse.
“But no harm was done,” I began.
“Just the same, that’s what I should do, isn’t it?” Joyce looked at Leslie. Leslie nodded slowly.
“Now wait,” I said, “I don’t think this is fair. Leslie would never have done it if it wasn’t for me. It was all my idea.” This last wasn’t strictly true, but I felt I should try, anyway.
“What I said,” Joyce looked at me this time “was that I ought to fire her.”
“You mean … aren’t you … but …” Leslie said.
“No I’m not, and I’ll tell you why. But if you ever tell anyone at the club, I’ll have to reconsider.”
“Well, no, of course, but …” I began.
“When I was in Howard’s, ah … Heather’s situation I would never have had the courage to do something like this.”
“Huh?” I said. Leslie and I looked at each other, puzzled. “You mean you, that is, you weren’t…”
“No, I wasn’t. I started life as a boy. I don’t know whether you’ll want to go as far as I have, that’s something only you can decide. But if you can manage Operation Heather you’ll probably succeed whatever you do. I didn’t become a bunny until after my surgery, but then my girl friend didn’t work as a bunny, so I didn’t have inside help.”
At this point Leslie and I really didn’t know what to say.
Actually, everything worked out pretty well. Leslie and I are still together and Joyce has become a good friend too. I’ve had some long talks with her and we’ve gone out a few times as well. She really makes me think about what I’m going to do with my own life. I haven’t decided completely. There are some pretty serious questions to consider.
In the meantime, Heather still works one night a week at the club and after all, everyone can use a little money from a second job.