Christopher shuddered at the memory, all to recent, of his first encounter with the Red Indian play-costume Terry had lent him to wear while they played Cowboys and Indians. Even though Christopher had at first thought it would be at the very least something to wear and a zillion times better than being stuck in nothing but his birthday suit, Christopher soon found out there were some things that were unimaginably worse, worse even than being bare-nude. His encounter with the Red Indian outfit had led him into the most awful pickle; he had managed to confess to Mrs Harper that fact that he did not and never would masturbate. This was of course a complete untruth... is there a fourteen year old schoolboy who doesn’t masturbate? And Christopher was like any other fourteen year old schoolboy; he loved masturbating, only he was terrified that anyone might find out. Most of all that his mum should discover his guilty secret, or for that matter that any grown-up should. In particular Mrs Harper who he knew would have no hesitation in passing on stories of his misbehaviour.
But for now though let us return to the point in our story at which Emily Clarke had called round with some old clothes that her son David no longer needed. Christopher and Terry had disappeared upstairs to wash their hands before lunch. Mrs Clarke had been telling Janet Harper about how David needed to be encouraged to get outside into the fresh air and play with other boys.
“If you can have a word with Terry, I’m sure it would be a great help, Janet… I do so hope that he can encourage David to join in some more games of Cowboys and Indians, especially now he’s got his own proper Red Indian costume.”
“I’m sure Terry can persuade David to join in,” Janet Harper assured her friend.
“Now then, I hope Christopher hasn’t raised his hopes too high,” Emily Clarke said as she leant down to pick up the bag she’d brought, “You see all I could find were a pair of rather old play-shorts that David hasn’t worn for a while and a couple of singlets that I missed when I had my annual clear-out.”
Emily put her hand into the bag and pulled out a pair of tiny, very brief and somewhat frayed boy’s play-shorts. She handed them to Janet Harper and then took out from the bag two singlets, both printed with rather childish cartoon characters.
Emily held the singlets up, “David absolutely refused to wear them…”
Janet Harper ran the flimsy play-shorts through her fingers as she inspected them. They had obviously seen a lot of use and had worn noticeably thin. Janet wondered precisely how old David was when he had last worn them as they seemed on the small side even for a boy of David’s age. Then she looked up and smiled when she saw the singlets Emily was holding up:
“I’m not that surprised David made a fuss, Emily… To be perfectly frank with you, I’m not sure Terry would want to wear those, but still, it was thoughtful of you to bring them over. And as far as Christopher is concerned it’s a case of something being better than nothing!”
The ladies allowed themselves a discrete laugh at the little joke before Mrs Harper rested her hands on top of the play-shorts on her lap. She paused as if gathering her thoughts and then looked at her friend and spoke:
“I wanted to have a word while the boys are upstairs, Emily. You see I’ve been thinking about what we discussed yesterday. Do you remember me telling you about Tenderfoot Braves and how their costumes were slightly different than the older members of the Indian Tribe?”
“Oh, yes, Janet of course I do. You told me Tenderfoot costumes didn’t have any backs to them; the little loincloths didn’t have rear flaps to cover their bottoms… that’s right isn’t it?”
“Yes that’s right,” Janet Harper replied.
“Why do you ask?” Emily said, slightly puzzled.
“Well, Emily, you see I was thinking that it would be a bit unfair if David, who’s only twelve, came over to play Cowboys and Indians with Christopher and Terry, if David was dressed in exactly the same way as Christopher. As you know Christopher’s little too old now to be a Tenderfoot, so he should have more authority in the tribe, don’t you think?”
“Oh… I see what you mean Janet… yes, you’re quite right. It would be unfair if David were dressed exactly the same, after all Christopher is older and ought to have something to distinguish him as the older Red Indian…" Then Emily Clarke realised the implications for her son, "Oh! You think David ought to be dressed as a Tenderfoot?”
“It would seem to be the only fair thing to do, Emily.”
“Oh my... I’m not sure what David would think… I mean… with his bottom all bare. Isn’t there some other way to distinguish Tenderfoot Indians, Janet?”
“I can’t see what the problem is, Emily. It seems perfectly clear to me that it would be unfair to allow David to join the Indian Tribe dressed inappropriately…” Janet said as she implied that allowing David to join in games of Cowboys and Indians was dependent on whether his mum would agree to a very precise alteration to the boy’s costume. Janet Harper could be firm when she felt it was required.
“I see… but… I mean it was difficult enough to get David into his Red Indian costume in the first place...” Emily Clarke said somewhat defensively.
“I do sympathise, Emily, but you do understand how it would be very unfair for Christopher, who’s two years older than David, not to be shown the respect due to an older member of the Indian Tribe.”
“Yes... yes I see, Janet. You’re perfectly right, it would be unfair to all concerned and if we are to persuade David to play Cowboys and Indians, then… yes, I can see we have to make sure he plays properly,” Emily said and caved in rather against her will, but how else would she be able to get her son out of his bedroom and playing with other boys in the fresh air? She needed Janet Harper on her side and had little choice but to accede to her friend’s wishes.
“I’m pleased you understand, Emily. These things have to be done correctly, or they’re not worth doing at all. It teaches boys all sorts of useful lessons,” Janet Harper said, pleased that she had got her way. She was determined to see the matter through and lost no time as she added, “Now, Emily, why don’t you take David back to the Boys’ Outfitters and have them remove the rear flap of his Red Indian costume… you can always keep it for when he’s older… Better still have him dress in his costume before you go, that way the lady at the outfitters will be able to make the necessary alterations more easily… and make sure it's done properly.”
Emily hesitated: “I’m not sure if David will want to put his costume on before we go to the outfitters… and… and after the costume is altered, his bottom will be, er... bare… won’t it?”
“Of course it will, Emily, quite bare... as we just agreed it should be for a boy of David’s age.” Janet sighed, “Honestly, Emily, you really are making far too much of this. Don't worry, David will soon get used to the alteration and besides he’ll have to wear it when he comes over to play, won’t he?”
“That’s true, and the outfitter did say she wanted to see David dressed up… with war-paint and all…”
“… that’s settled then,” Janet Harper said with an air of finality, “Bring David over here tomorrow and he can get dressed in his new Red Indian costume. Cindy will put some war-paint on him and then you can both go to the Boys’ Outfitters to get David’s loincloth altered so that he looks like a real Tenderfoot Brave. You can leave David’s clothes here and can pick them up later when David gets back and shows us all what a proper Tenderfoot Red Indian looks like!”
Emily Clarke wasn’t given chance to object, but found herself agreeing with everything Janet Harper said. She still had her doubts, but what could she do? She’d agreed to all this, but what would David say?
As if sensing she needed to be a little firmer with her friend, Janet Harper went on to tell Emily about June Collins and her son Joseph:
“June Collins bought her son Joseph a very special Tenderfoot play-costume recently. When I told her about it, June said she wasn’t sure if Joseph would like it, but I persuaded her to buy one anyway. The outfitters had to order one specially...”
What could be worse than a backless loincloth, Emily wondered. Then Janet reminded her of the costume she’d told her about the day before when David had been made to put on his new Red Indian costume for Janet Harper to see:
“You remember the costume… squaws made them especially for the Tenderfoots when the tribe hadn’t got any buckskin to spare. They made loincloths for the young braves by simply braiding short lengths of string and attaching them to a cord which ran around the boy’s waist. The braids hung down over their little boy bits and that was considered to be more than enough for the young Indians to wear … why, in some tribes Tenderfoots wore nothing more than war-paint!” Janet Harper laughed.
Emily Clarke couldn't but wonder what Joseph had made of his new costume. Although Emily didn’t know it, Joseph’s ‘boy-bits’ were far from ‘little’ and you can be sure that the boy himself had strong views with regard to his new play-costume. However, Emily did know Joseph was a few months older than David… not quite thirteen, she seemed to remember, so by Janet Harper’s reckoning, still a Tenderfoot Brave.
“I’m sure it won’t be long before you see Joseph in his new play-costume,” Janet Harper said to emphasise what she thought of David's reluctance to wear his outfit.
Just then Christopher and Terry rushed back downstairs and into the room. Emily was still thinking about the braided loincloth and wondered if Janet was right or whether Joseph would be even less keen to play Cowboys and Indians than her son David. She saw the look of eager expectancy on Christopher's face and held up one of the singlets for him to see.
Christopher took one look at the singlet and froze instantly. His eyes popped out as he gawped at the childish figures printed on them. His mouth opened wide in astonishment and his jaw almost hit the carpet. The singlets had been printed with Care Bear characters; what had David’s mum been thinking of when she bought them? Heaven only knows.
Terry saw them and burst into hysterical laughter.
“There’s no need to make fun Terry,” Mrs Harper said to her son, “…and Christopher do close your mouth and stop staring like that. I think we can all see how funny the teddy bears on the singlets are. Mrs Clarke has gone to a lot of trouble to find some of David's things that he no longer needs," Mrs Harper explained, "When I told her you had no clothes to wear she insisted on helping out and now she's brought some things over for you Christopher and all you can do is to stand there and gawp. I think the least you can do is to thank her for all the effort she's gone through and to try them on…"
She turned towards her son who was still giggling at the thought of Christopher being made to wear the childish singlets: "Terry, I’m warning you… no more laughing, or I’ll ask Mrs Clarke if you can have them to wear…”
At that point Cindy walked into the room. She saw the singlet Emily Clarke was holding, but didn’t make the connection that they were for Christopher to wear. It was only when Mrs Clarke motioned Christopher over to where she was sitting and held the Care Bears singlet up in front of his chest that Cindy realised what was happening.
“Mum!! They’re not for Christopher…?!! Mum!! you can’t make him wear those!!!”
“We just want to see if they’ll fit, darling…”
“But mum, Christopher will look like a complete dork if you make him wear those…”
It was touching to see Cindy’s genuine concern for the nude boy. It wasn’t because she took delight in seeing Christopher with nothing on and the thrill she got when she saw the look on her friend’s faces seeing the bare boy at her house for the first time… No, Cindy thought rightly there was a fine line between teasing Christopher until his face was a glorious fire-engine red and he was embarrassed beyond belief, and downright humiliation. That line, in Cindy’s opinion, was in danger of being crossed. To make Christopher wear those frankly childish singlets just wasn’t right.
“Please mum… you can’t let Christopher wear those… they’re just… just…” Cindy paused when she saw a look from her mum and suddenly realised she was in danger of offending Emily Clarke, “… a bit… well, they’re a bit childish for Christopher, that’s all…”
“Well, we can at least let Christopher try them on, Cindy,” Janet Harper said, “First let’s see if they fit, then we can decide what to do with them…”
Mrs Clarke took Christopher’s hand and led him to the middle of the room where they were joined Mrs Harper and Cindy. Christopher, perhaps understandably, wasn’t very cooperative, in fact it was a rather sullen bare-nude boy that waited while the women discussed the best way of dressing young boys in general and Christopher in particular. When Mrs Harper realised Christopher was being unhelpful and appeared almost petulant, she spoke to him sharply:
“Christopher, it’s time you bucked your ideas up,” she said, “Mrs Clarke has made a considerable effort to help you out… How many times have I got to tell you that it was your own fault you lost all your clothes and the key to your parents house… It’s your fault you’ve nothing to wear. Let me remind you Christopher, that it’s us who’ve had to put up you walking around completely bare-nude all the time… waggling your boy-bits in front of everyone. How do you think Cindy and I feel seeing you totally nude day-after-day? Have you stopped to think of how many times I’ve had to apologise when we’ve had visitors? Every time someone calls I have to explain why I’m having to look after a totally nude fourteen year old boy. Just thank your lucky stars that everyone we know has been understanding enough to put up with your self-imposed nudity…”
“... Heaven knows what your mum is going to think when she gets back and finds that you’ve been moping about in nothing but your birthday-suit every day since she’s been away… Now Mrs Clarke has been kind enough to sort out some of David’s old clothes and you’ve been so ungrateful that you’ve still not had the good manners to thank her!”
Poor Christopher blushed and felt even more embarrassed than ever.
“I’m sorry, Mrs Harper…” Christopher apologised before he turned to Emily Clarke and apologised to her too, “I’m sorry Mrs Clarke, I didn’t mean to…" he paused and hung his head, "I’m sorry. Thank you for bringing me some of David’s clothes to wear…”
Mrs Clarke gave Christopher a friendly smile, “… let’s see if they fit you first… now put your arms up so that we can try and get this singlet over your head.”
Christopher did as he was told and lifted his arms up to let Mrs Clarke push the arm-holes over his hands. Like all mums, she’d had lots of practice when it came to getting young boys dressed. She had no trouble in taking hold of Christopher’s wrists and at the same time sliding the singlet down his arms.
“Head down Christopher…”
Again Christopher did as he was told. He felt just like a little boy as he bowed his head. Now the disparity between the size of the singlet and Christopher started to become apparent as Mrs Clarke struggled to get the singlet all the way over Christopher’s head. Mrs Harper leant a hand and together the singlet was over the boy’s head and his arms through the arm-holes at the expense of a squashed nose and ruffled hair. The singlet was tight around Christopher’s neck.
“I don’t think it’s going to go down very far, Emily…” Janet Harper observed as the two ladies looked at the tiny singlet.
Poor Christopher looked rather forlorn as he stood there in the living-room, nude apart the tight singlet rucked up uselessly under his armpits and almost throttling him. The two women stood either side of him pulling the singlet this way and that. As they pulled at the garment Christopher was pushed from side-to-side and this made his penis flop from side-to-side too, not that this bothered the two mums one bit, they were more interested in making the singlet fit, but the waggling penis did amuse Terry who stood watching with Cindy.
Eventually, after much tugging front and back, Mrs Clarke and Mrs Harper gave up. They could only manage to pull the singlet down just far enough to cover Christopher’s nipples…
“I think that’s about as far as it can go, Janet,” Mrs Clarke said and sighed, “I thought with a bit of luck we might have got the top on, but Christopher is a bigger boy than I thought.”
Christopher looked down and was relieved that, tight as the top felt, at least those stupid childish cartoon character didn’t show, but he had to admit he didn’t feel very comfortable at all. After the freedom of total nudity, embarrassing as that was, the constriction of the singlet was uncomfortable to say the least.
“Well, that’s a start…!” Mrs Harper said, as she admired their handiwork, “Who knows, if we can get those old play-shorts to fit, we might have Christopher halfway decent again,” she paused and rubbed her hand on her chin, “Now I don’t know what you think Emily, but what about if we cut down the singlets it might help loosen them a bit… they look mighty tight around Christopher’s neck and shoulders at the moment…”
Emily Clarke agreed with her friend and Cindy volunteered to shorten the singlets. A tape measure was produced and measurements taken as Christopher stood as still as he was able. Cindy double-checked the distance between the neck of the singlet and Christopher’s chest just below his pale-brown nipples. Like a lot of boys, Christopher’s nipples were very sensitive and when Cindy accidentally brushed one with her hand it made him shiver and his penis twitch.
It was a struggle to get the singlet back off again and Christopher felt an unexpected sense of relief to be free of its constriction. That’s not to say he wasn’t disappointed with the tight-fitting singlet; he was. Christopher was so looking forward to have something to wear again. He was deeply embarrassed at how everyone he met could see his penis. Like all boys of his age, Christopher was desperately worried to the point of insecurity about the length and size of his penis and his complete lack of boy-hair only made matters even worse. The more Mrs Harper and her many friends told him not to worry about being nude, the more conscious Christopher was about his body. So his disappointment was made that much greater when Mrs Clarke produced the skimpiest pair of play-shorts Christopher had ever seen. He knew from the moment they were produced they would be of no earthly use to him. Even Terry would find it difficult to squeeze into them, he thought.
In the meantime Cindy took both singlets and put them on a table, measured the distance down from the neck and drew a line. Christopher watched and although he didn’t hold out much hope he would end up anything other than bare-nude for the foreseeable future, he was pleased to see that the Care Bears were safely below the line. At least the childish characters wouldn’t be on whatever scrap of clothing he’d be left to wear. It was at this point Christopher started to think that another opportunity to wear Terry’s Red Indian costume would not be such a bad idea.
Cindy set-to with the big scissors and soon had the singlets shortened. It was then that she began to have doubts.
“Mum…” she asked, “mum, do these tops need to have hems sewn where I cut them?”
“Why yes dear, otherwise they won’t last two minutes before they begin to fray and then Christopher won’t be left with any top at all. Why do you ask?”
Christopher’s ears pricked up. Mrs Clarke was getting Christopher ready to try on the play-shorts, but he was now more interested in what Cindy and her mum had to say…
“It just that when I measured down from Christopher’s neck...” Cindy began to explain.
“… you forgot to allow for a hem,” Janet Harper finished the sentence. Cindy nodded. “And I suppose you’ve cut both singlets…?”
Again Cindy nodded, “…sorry mum.”
“You’ll just have to do the best you can with them. I suppose something’s better than nothing.” Mrs Harper said philosophically.
Meanwhile Mrs Clarke had knelt down with the play-shorts in front of Christopher. She lifted up one of his legs and told him to put his hands on her shoulders to balance himself while she put the play-shorts over his raised foot. It was clear to everyone, except perhaps Emily Clarke, that it would be futile to go any further. Christopher was instructed to put that foot down and raise the other one. Even around Christopher’s ankles the play-shorts looked ludicrously small, but Emily Clarke insisted on trying to pull them up Christopher's legs.
It helped that Christopher’s legs were, like the rest of his body, perfectly smooth and hairless, but try as she might Emily Clarke couldn’t get the flimsy play-shorts much further than Christopher’s knees. It was at this point disaster struck. Well it couldn't really be called a disaster because that implied the loss of a possible positive outcome to events. As it was the fact of the play-shorts tearing and being almost torn to shreds when Emily Clarke pulled too hard on the frayed hem hardly mattered. The outcome was still the same. The play-shorts were of no use whatsoever to Christopher… and no use to anyone else either, except perhaps if they were to be found some use as dusters.
After Cindy’s botched attempt to shorten the singlets far enough to spare Christopher the humiliation of walking around with Care Bears characters across his chest and Emily Clarke’s failure with David’s old play-shorts, it was decided to give up the well-meaning attempt to put some clothes on Christopher.
Needless to say Christopher was upset Emily Clarke’s efforts to clothe him had come to nought. A tear welled up in the corner of his left eye. He stood just as bare, but even more embarrassed than ever in the middle of the front-room. Janet Harper spotted the moisture welling up in Christopher’s eye and moved over to console him. She placed a comforting arm over his shoulder.
“It was worth a try Christopher,” she said and moved her hand up to ruffle his hair, “David is a few years younger than you, but it was very kind of Mrs Clarke to bring those old clothes over for you to try on. I’m sorry we got your hopes up, but never mind things can’t get any worse, can they Christopher?”
Christopher sniffed and smiled up at Mrs Harper: “No… no I suppose not,” he paused then added, “Thank you for trying to help…”
At that moment the phone rang. Cindy left the room to go and answer it.
“Perhaps you can persuade Terry to have another game of Cowboys and Indians” Janet Harper said to try and cheer Christopher up, “David’s going to have his new play-costume altered, isn’t he Emily?”
Emily Clarke nodded and agreed this to be the case, although she still felt as if she’d been rushed into making the decision to take her son back to the boys’ outfitters to have the rear flap, which was supposed to cover David’s bottom, removed.
“... and Joseph has got a lovely new outfit that I know he’ll want to show you all. So you boys can have a nice long game of Cowboys and Indians and you’ll soon get over today’s little disappointment Christopher…”
Cindy came back into the room and announced:
“It’s Christopher’s mum… she wants to speak to you mum… sounds important.”