First of all this is the first part to this story - The Chinese Laundry if you haven't read it, then what are you doing ! Go read it, then come back and this post will then be yours.
Thank you kindly
Inside the luxurious cabin of the European four wheel drive , the awkward silence between Myself and The Shogun broadened, the void of sound punctuated with the moronic drone of the windscreen wipers sloshing the rain. This didn't worry me particularly much, as my mind was full. I felt like I slipping all over the leather seats with every sharp turn and nearly burst into a fit of giggles. The Shogun was driving intently and seemed to be concentrating more on the dangerous conditions, rather than idle chitchat with a nervous looking stranger perched - just a touch too vertical - in the backseat. I check my dress over for lint, out of habit, find plenty and go back to thinking of something to say. The mobile (cell phone) on the seat besides The Shogun, jangles to life. Of course, he is wearing a headset (the trendy variety) and proceeds to fluently converse in Mandarin.You can imagine how nervous I am at this moment - I think I am being kidnapped by the Yakuza or entering some racket of some sort ! The phone just keeps ringing. Apart from my dealer, I have never met someone who had a mobile that rang so much . So much I had to learn. Chinese, Mandarin, Korean, Singaporean - The Shogun conversed freely in over seven languages. I could make words out, snatches of guttural sounds - Girl's names mostly. I just want to get the night done, the money got and the experience over.In that order, no exceptions. I was not going home emptyhanded. I am going to make some money tonight. Lock up your amex.
Finally, the tinted and sleek SUV roars through the security gates , which swing with cautious welcome and we cruise through, then dip into the underground.
Ok. Try and look like you have the slightest fucking clue what you are doing.
I am starting to get very nervous , I have to wipe off my palms and my feet are slick with sweat inside my cheap shoes. Parking the car. Car doors slamming and my face is very hot. No turning back now. Security guards, flanking me , on either side.
He speaks, to the left of me, never to me directly.
"You will need a more suitable dress for this evening, and your makeup needs to be redone."
He moves with a panther like pounce towards the gate and swipes a security ticket.
I start to realise, for the first time and not the last, just how under lock and key I am.
The building is retro eighties and awash with the standard flamingo pinks and ice-blues.
Artifical palms, fronds iced with dust, scratch at my arms as I move into the small doorway.
It appears like we are knocking on the door of a unit in a holiday complex?
Yet, something seems as artificial as the plants.
As always with the game. A woman's intitution cannot be fooled.
Let's Rock N Roll Baby! The door opened and it all comes rushing at me. Maybe that's because I am being pulled this way and that. Introduced and Paraded. Examined and Summarised. Sized Up to Be Worked Over. A visual spectacular of dangerous dimensity. So keep up.
I take it all in as fast as my adrenalin let's me - which is now.
Lots of fake plants, plush carpet and the walls are soundproofed. Three girls on a couch. One is wearing a red wig. All young. Looking bored with an air of wasted elegance, like a fine cigar wasting in the ashes. Lines of coke on a smoked glass table. I can hear a dryer going the soft thud thud slightly louder than -Music ? The sounds of someone gettting fucked - hard. Yes there it was again - music it was though - muted from the backroom - sounds like Madonna. Playboy magazines fanned over the floor, the televison playing a porno, the faceless woman bouncing up and down on a tired looking dick. Men. I see three Asian Men, all leering at the girls on the couch, who are in turn leering at me. Me? Me ? Fuck! That's right I am just standing here doing nothing, but with my dumb jaw gaping open. This doesn't feel legal at all. Suddenly, I feel very out of my depth. That's ok. I'm used to that, I will take anything you throw at me - just give a bat to play with. A manicured finger, tapping me on the shoulder. I jump out of my skin. I think I am in shock. It is a lady ( I think?) who I noticed was talking to The Shogun in hushed and urgent tones.
"Makeup" It wasn't a question. Then I am taken by The Wench ( The Shogun's right hand woman, a harsh bent over looking woman that had way too much crack in her heyday and much less tolerance for "green-girls" like me.) I picked up straight away that she was in control of the money. She was the only one I truly had to impress tonight. Then word would spreadabout me on it's own, but without that initial good impression - The Wench - could make me or break me and it wouldn't matter to her, plenty more pussy in the sea.
Then I am in the bedroom, an eery soundstage for whatever I don't want to think about yet. I notice the towel fanned on the bed, like a seashell , almost beckoning to it's murky depths.
She pulls back the mirrored cupboard ( yes everything is mirrored) to revealed a criminal line up of hideous dresses with what seemed a practised relish, that I felt was slightly forced. I mean these dresses were frightful, I may have been stoned, but I know that the rhinestones and frills are not a flatchested girls best friend. Help ! Yet The Wench is whizzing me around, clucking her tounge in that way I know she has no taste at all. (Please don't be doing my makeup - If there is a god !) Out comes some 'fishtailed- felony- against- fashion ' and I am wrestle it onto my body. These kind of dresses only come in two kinds, too small and too large. I was the former.
I know I look cheap, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do. Besides - who even knows I am here? A bunch of asian guys I wont ever see again? This is totally surreal. Out comes the makeup ( Oh damn no woman!) and then I am getting dolled up and I think my hair is - is - is getting fluffed. (!) There is no mercy!
"Oh.. I see, that's an interesting way to do that " ( I see your making me look feral that's what I see).I am trying to readjust - or should I say undo her alterations - whilst her gnarled hands are slapping mine away. Spitting on me , as she speaks. This whole time, she is gabbering on about how men love red lipstick, how this colour brings out my eyes - and how all the men are real gentlemen - and how I will do 30 mins for this, and an hour for that and what about brown mascara ? Doors slamming shut. The Intercom is buzzing. My head is spinning, I think this dress is definately a size too small and it smells like stale smoke. Gasping for air now. She is still talking though, her teeth are gnashing away at the words, my face a plate of learning they wish to devour. I hear muffled processions, hairdryers and then she is saying I am ready. She spins me to the mirror. Taa-Da!
"Seee darling , I don't even recognise you" She sneered
"Thank God" I deadpanned. She did not laugh. Neither did I.
I looked in the mirror and I saw an idiot.
But a funny idiot, cos if you don't have a sense of humour in life.
You aint got nothing.
Then, the moment we all remember, The Naming Task.
"Sooooo ( she elongated every vowel, but you get the gist) , What is your name"
"######" I say.
"No, I mean have yoooou thought of a Naaaaaaame?"
"You have to have another name, a name that the Clients will refer to you as, you will become this person darlinng "
Oh I see. Can I think about this?
"Kayla" Says the Shogun.
It has already been decided. Oh. I see.
How long has he been standing here?
I begin to fidget on cue.
He takes me out into the loungeroom to be "shown".
On the floor behind me, I leave my blouse, my real name and a fair share of humility.
"Come with me, you are going to be a star" The Shogun drank me in with his eyes. " My Star" he breathed throatily.
So I didn't mind .