Chapter 6

Chinatown

As Bernard was half-dragged from the rickshaw by Liu Wei, he found himself on the pavement outside a brightly painted shop front which declared itself “The Sunrise Tea Parlour.”. Smartly dressed business women hurried in from the street and out again clutching paper cups of their preferred infusion as they set off for their work. None took the slightest notice of Bernard as he was hustled towards a side door.

Behind the door, a flight of stairs led up to a corridor and then on to a small room with eight wire cages ranged in two rows, one above the other against one wall. “New accommodation, round-eye. Better than railway carriage, ha!” Liu Wei laughed as she showed Bernard one of the small cages on the lower row. “Work first, rest later! Clothes off!” she ordered.

Bernard thought about objecting but soon realized there was little alternative. What would he do? Overpowering the dumpy Chinese girl was a physical possibility, he supposed, but then he would have to get out of the building and then where would he go? He really couldn’t imagine. There was no alternative. He would just have to do what he was told.

Liu Wei stood arms folded, watching as he undressed. She looked bored. Bernard didn’t blame her: he was no Adonis. Even with all the physical effort of his work at the station and the limited food rations, he still managed to carry a bit more fat around his waist than he would have liked, and he knew that the way his belly spread out made his prick look even smaller than it really was.

Liu Wei was unimpressed but still seemed to be appraising him physically. Maybe, Bernard thought for a moment, she fancies me a bit and she’ll make things go easier here. His hopes didn’t last long. “So! You are size we call Extra-Large. Here,” she pointed to a cupboard on the wall, “fetch out things and dress.”

Bernard opened the cupboard to be confronted with an array of female clothing. It was hardly a shock;, there were plenty of placements where men were expected to dress as women. There were always good excuses given for it, but Bernard knew it was just another way of letting men know who was in charge. It wasn’t a surprise, but he hated being made to dress that way.

Start with corset and bra,” Liu Wei ordered. “Need you to have something like woman shape.”

Bernard followed Liu Wei’s instructions, dressing first in the girdle, feeling its boned form pressing his waist in, and then pulling on seamed black stockings sheer enough to show the hairs of his legs through them. Liu Wei grimaced at the sight. “Panties now. Then bra! Cups go in front, stupid,” Liu Wei snapped as he fumbled with the garments. “ Find padding in closet, make big tits shape, understand?”

Bernard nodded, humiliated by the process he was going through, and did as he was told.

Now, qipao.”

Bernard was puzzled. He’d expected to be put into a maid’s uniform. He’d seen a lot of that: men forced to wait on women, while being dressed as maids. There were plenty of restaurants where men were dressed as waitresses. There seemed to be plenty of women that liked seeing men humiliated in that way, although he found it a bit of a contradiction. If women were so superior, how was it a humiliation to be forced to look like one?

This was different, though. Why was he being asked to put on the traditional Chinese dress with its high collar, short sleeves, and slit skirt? Of course, he didn’t argue but took the dress from its hangar. It was heavy, made in the usual style but of thick leather and styled so that, when the toggle fasteners at the neck were closed, it fitted tightly across his artificial breasts, his belly and hips. It was only where the skirt was slit to one side that he had any freedom of movement. That didn’t last long. Liu Wei gave him a pair of hobble straps to fasten around his legs just above his knees. She then had him put on a pair of plain black high heeled shoes before standing back and contemplating the results of her efforts. Finally, she fastened Bernard’s hands behind his back with a pair of leather cuffs. Bernard was still no wiser as to the purpose of the cross-dressing, but most of his attention was focussed on trying to avoid falling as he teetered precariously on the unfamiliar footwear.

You play part of implacable, oriental dominatrix, la!” she exclaimed, puzzling Bernard even more. “Here, you try your acting skills!” She reached behind her for a large box and pulled out what looked at first to be a rubber hood. Bernard suddenly recognized that it was, in fact, a face mask, fashioned with the features of Madame Chao. Liu Wei fitted the mask over Bernard’s head, the thick, moulded latex curiously stiff against his own features beneath. Two small pinholes allowed him a little vision but as Liu Wei tightened the straps designed to hold the mask in place, Bernard realized that moulded into it were a series of steel bands that kept his face quite rigid and certainly wouldn’t allow him to move his mouth to speak.

Next thing,” Liu Wei announced, pulling from the box a black wig in the bouffant style that Madame Chao always seemed to wear. “Ha! No one mistake you for Madame Chao, but will do for what we need.”

Behind the latex mask, Bernard’s sense of confusion was complete. Whatever the point of the exercise was, the result was that he felt ridiculous; clad in woman’s clothing, masked, silenced, hobbled and cuffed.

Now, we need to make sure you stand properly.” Bernard wasn’t sure what this meant. The stiffness of the leather qipao, coupled with the boning of his girdle, meant that he had precious little freedom of movement at all. Liu Wei meant to restrict it still further, however. In one corner of the room was a metal pole with various clips and straps attached. Stepping behind Bernard, she slid it between his cuffed wrists and his back, fastening it first to the links of his wrist cuffs and then to a ring at the back of his mask. Sliding the bottom of the pole out like a telescope, she added ankle cuffs linked to the pole and finally finished things off by cuffing Bernard’s elbows close together and fixing the links from that to the pole, too. Now Bernard could do nothing but stand stiffly, his head tilted slightly back in just the same arrogant pose that Madam Chao used to peer down her nose at lowly slaves.

La! Now come with me.” Liu Wei smirked at Bernard as he started to shuffle towards her. It was almost impossible, Bernard felt; hard enough to walk in heels, harder still with his ankles and thighs cuffed, and that was without the fact that he couldn’t bend his body at all to get his balance. Liu Wei led the way and Bernard followed, terrified that at any moment he would miss his footing and fall. She showed the way down the corridor and into another room where, to Bernard’s astonishment, six naked, chained and ball gagged slaves knelt, waiting under the watchful eyes of Tsai Linn.

Ha! Here she comes. Your goddess and mistress, Madame Chao. All Madame’s slaves must learn to kow-tow to her, but she too busy to spend time with you. You practice all kow-tow with this Madame Chao.” Tsai Linn paused for a moment to allow the kneeling slaves to take her instruction in. Seeing that they all had failed to start bowing their heads and grovelling before Bernard’s imitation of Madame Chao, she reached for her cane and laid about each of them in turn. Bernard, for his part, could only stand and watch with some sympathy as the six were beaten until they were forced to pay their respects to his bound and helpless form in the approved manner. He even suffered a few blows himself when he almost overbalanced at one point.

Liu Wei smiled at the scene. “Excellent idea, Tsai Linn,” she said approvingly, “now slaves will all perform better when we come to real training sessions. All much easier!”

What on earth are the “real training sessions,” Bernard asked himself as he tried to keep his balance standing still on his high heels as, in turn, each of the other slaves came forward to bow and touch their foreheads to the floor just in front of the toes of his shoes. This seemed real enough to him.

No! Too close!” snapped Tsai Linn at one, cracking the cane down across his back. “No, too far forward. Keep head square, not place face to one side, stupid round eye.. No one want to see your face; get it in dirt for your Mistress!”

The whole process went on for an hour or more until the backs of the six slaves were all criss-crossed with the bright red welts from the cane. Bernard, stiff and exhausted, felt himself close to collapse but, finally, Tsai Linn announced that the session was at an end. “Back to cages!” she called and the six scurried off obediently. “If you not in place when I get there, you’ll sleep in the yard!” Then, turning to her partner, Liu Wei, she said, “And let’s get our pretend Madame Chao here back to his cage, too. I hope the others aren’t too hard on him.”