Every year we read one of my books together, out of the 60 I have written so far, free of charge, in three languages: English, Esperanto and Spanish, disregarding the original language I used when I wrote every one of them. This year we are reading The Federation, the second last book I published in Amazon, which I finished translating and uploading it here in two months. That's why now I start now translating and uploading another one, the second volume in my Prostitution Trilogy, which is much longer than the previous one.
As usual, the procedure is publishing a new chapter every few days in English, Spanish and Esperanto, and leaving it for free reading for the remaining of the year, after which you will be able to read it from Amazon for a small fee. The previous book The Federation will be here also till January 1st 2020 both in English and Spanish, though the Esperanto version will remain here sine die.Have a happy reading!
Up to now we have read:
If you can read Esperanto, you will be able to read the whole of my
books, as I translate and upload them. If you want to learn Esperanto, you
can ask the American
or British Esperanto Asociations
for guidance on how to, as they will supply you with a lot of information
about easy and cheap courses on the subject.
This book is dedicated to every woman
who considered becoming a hetaerea
at any moment in her life.
In the pages which follow
she might find her what if...
It also may remain as tribute to
Stephen Crane and Alexander Dumas,
whose Maggie, a Girl of the Streets
and The Lady of the Camellias
gave me inspiration
to write this book.
Oumou was born in Mali. She had come in a patera into Nares Beach, Puerto de Mazarrón, Murcia, Spain, and as soon as she set her foot on the ground of her Promise Land she started walking day and night till she could stand it no longer and fell down in an open field. All the time she was walking she fed on the fruit she found on her way, insects, grasshoppers, grass, the things she found in rubbish bins near cottages and little villages where she ventured to get in at night; but notwithstanding all this she weighed less and less by the day. Till she fell on the ground. It was ten o’clock in the morning of a Summer day.
How had she come there? Should she not rather stay in her town, with her family and friends, instead of escaping so aimlessly from everything she had, her relatives, brothers and sisters? The world was full with wolves, as her mom used to tell her, who were ready to eat up little sheep like her, a vulnerable young girl who was not ready for life and had never seen but her parents and brothers and sisters, maybe a few neighbours? Always her elders. And they cared for her.
She was the fiancée of Ramadan, the richest man in the area. He was older than her, he was already thirty and she was only twelve. But she was afraid of that man. He thought all the village belonged to him, and some day it would belong to her, too, according to her mother. If she could control her temper, that is.
But she knew the world was much larger than her village. And though she did not know what she wanted, she did know what she did not want. And she did not want to be with that man, bearing his children and looking after them for the whole of her life. It would be a miserable life.
«You don’t know what you are saying», her brother told her. «I have to go with dad before dawn to look after our sheep, and while you are here with mom and you can eat what you want, I have to fast till lunch time, and I can’t eat what I want usually».
Yes, according to her brother it was advantageous being a woman, even if it had disadvantages, too. But what could they do? That was the way it was since the beginning of time, and they could do nothing to change that.
«I can go away», she had told her brother once. But it was not a good idea. Her dad knew about it and gave her a beating. And then told her Fanta’s story: she had been a runaway girl who had been found after she had got raped and her throat cut. Probably somebody in the village did not want her to tell who had raped her. «The world’s evil, my daughter», her dad said while she was still crying from the beating she had just got, «and nobody is going to love you as much as your mom and I, and also your brothers and sisters. We do care for you. And the best thing for you is to marry the richest man in the village. You don’t know it still because you are small, but I made you a favor by beating you up».
But she did not really agree. Little by little she devised her runaway plans, though she did not know where to go.
«Towards the Sun», she overheard a friend of her dad's say once, «there're the countries of cold. They needn't work the land, and if they must, they use machines for that. There everybody eats every day, and the government takes care of the people».
«Then I'll go to the Land of the Sun», she told herself. «I'll go to where the Sun is, or I'll die on the way».
Six months later her mom called her aside so that her little sisters could not listen, and told her to get ready, as everything was already set for The Great Day. The following day she'd be turned into a woman, according to her tribe's rites. That afternoon she was absent minded. She remembered what Sira had told her.
Sira was a little older than her. Around a year earlier she'd been turned into a woman, too. But it had not been as they both had always imagined: she had been taken to the desert, where there was nobody. There her own mom had seized her while another woman, from another tribe, put her dress up and caused her a lot of pain between her legs. She had bled a lot. She had fainted. While she was being brought home she was crying and bleeding all the way, and when she could touch herself again, she noticed there was something missing there. She had it much smaller and she found it difficult to piss and have her menstruation. And now it was her turn, Oumou's. But she preferred dying rather than suffering that. She felt very upset and unhappy. She visited Sira, who told her she felt well again. The worst time was the first three months after it, but now she was ok. Oumou came back home and told her mom she was tired, and went to sleep.
The next morning, before sunrise, when nobody was awake yet, she slipped out of home. She opened the door noiselessly and started walking. By midday she was already in a place she did not know, always following the Sun. On the second day she could no longer understand what people said, but she kept on walking, always following the Sun. She ate what she could.
And then, after many days, she found the sea. She had never seen it. There she met a lot of people who wanted to go to Sun Land, too. They called it Europe, the Promise Land. The place where everybody is happy. There was a very large beach where many large wooden ships were being built. She asked and they told her those ships were going to Europe. But she had to pay a lot of money for the fare.. She had no money, but someone told her she had a pretty body and was young and strong. Surely she could get a job and earn enough money for the ticket to go to the European Paradise.
But the job she got was not washing dishes our looking after children, but going to bed and let those horrible, ugly, untoothed, old and hideous men do things to her. The first time she could not understand what he spoke, but the man gave her a few bank notes and pulled her dress upwards. Moneyless, she let him do it. She remembered about Sira when she felt that pain between her legs. She shouted a lot because it hurt, and when that man finished, she saw there was a lot of blood. The man was very afraid, too, and gave her more money, and then she stopped crying. When the man was already away, she touched herself and discovered that it was not smaller, but bigger, and then the pain was less, it had almost disappeared. She went to the toilet and pissed easily. She saw there was a shower and soap and towels, so she had her first shower in months. Then she went to bed and slept till the following day.
Along the following months she learnt the language which was spoken in that country, French, and her working conditions got much better: men paid for the room and also gave her money, so she could have a shower and sleep in the hotel every day.
At two in the afternoon she felt something wet on her face. She opened her eyes and saw a huge dog, who was greeting her with his tongue, in the way dogs greet people. Before she could wake in panic, she heard a man’s voice:
«Brisk! Come here!»
The owner of the dog and the voice, a fifty year old man, nearly bald and half the hairs at the back side of his head totally white, came near the unfed and frightened Malian girl. He realized instantly that she could not move or stand, and touched at the bottom of his heart by the girl’s evident misfortune, he took her in his arms and into his house. He was surprised to notice she weighed less than 30 kilograms, even if she was sixty centimeters over one meter tall.
Eufemio’s wife thought it was an accident:
«Husband! What have you done? Did you run her over with your tractor?»
«I found her half dead on the field, Elvira. Come on, get the bath ready and bathe her while I prepare something to eat».
Fifteen days later she had recovered some of the weight she had left on her way and had learnt some Spanish, enough for them to know she was an illegal immigrant and had no papers, but with real fear to be sent back to her country. She could not tell them yet, as her command of the language was still not good enough, that she had escaped from her country, parents, fiancé, from her whole life, because they wanted to mime her, they wanted to excise her, and to avoid hell she had suffered another, may be worse, hell. She had gone across a desert and bought a seat in a vessel with her body in Mauritania, and then in a little boat in high sea as far as the coast, and then she had not stopped walking till she arrived in there, near a little town in Cáceres called Torrequemada.
Eufemio should have told the police he had sheltered an illegal immigrant from Africa by mistake to save a lot of trouble for himself, but he honored his name and was a good Samaritan to the end with her: he gave young Oumou a job. She was not the first one to be employed by him: near his house there was a barracks building where ten other immigrants from different countries slept: six men and four women. Oumou would be the eleventh. During all the day, from sunrise to sunset, they picked up strawberries, watched the fields, scared the birds away and ran to get away if they saw any movement in the Torrequemada road, or if they heard a whistle like the one everybody had hanging from a string around his or her neck.
Elvira did not agree with the way her husband had to exploit the immigrants:
«We have to ask them to be legalised instead of profiting their cheap manpower!», she told him as often as she could.
«Yes», he used to say, «but meanwhile, what do we do? Shall we report hem them so that they are taken back to their countries and suffer again whatever forced them leave?»
«It is not our problem», Elvira used to say in a very little convincing way.
«Now it is, honey. If they knew, I’d be in jail and they’d be deported, and you’d have to do their jobs, or else see our farm get wasted from lack of care. We have neither the money nor the strength to work it ourselves, and we’d go bankrupt. Everybody would lose in the long run. And they have a roof and food while they decide what they want to do…»
Elvira was quiet. She was fed up with her husband always turning everything the other way round so as to have his own way. And then he exploited those poor people. They were working the whole day long just for a dish of food at midday and another one at night. And at the end of month everyone got sixty euros. Two rotten euros a day! That was how they had got that farm back to life when it had been on the verge of disappearing, only a few months before, when Dimitri and Tania came running from the French police, who had nearly caught them. They were really afraid of the French policemen, or anything similar. After them other eight immigrants came and they could breath in peace when they saw that they got a job instead of a police report.
But Eufemio was a good guy: he really looked after them, he talked to them, so little by little they could learn Spanish. Some of them went away with time, and tried other jobs. Sometimes the police got them and they were sent back to their countries, though some more fortunate ones got the residence papers and eventually Spanish nationality.
After a few months’ stay at the farm also Oumou managed to speak Spanish correctly. So one day a Ukrainian Girl called Alona made her a strange proposal:
«Oumou, how old are you?»
«Twenty! I thought you were thirty at least. You should have been very young when you ran away from Mali», the Ukrainian said in surprise. She had smuggled herself into Spain by train, and so her coming into the country had been much less painful than Oumou’s.
«Yes. I was twelve. It took me a couple of years to reach Mauritania, and then I needed to work for years to get the money for a place in a patera».
She recalled the terrible things she had to do to be able to eat, to sleep in a dirty place full with insects, but which at least sheltered her against wind and rain, and to get the money those bastards demanded to get her into Europe in ships which would never pass any inspection by any competent authority.
«Well, look: I met someone from my country who is working in a club five kilometers towards Torrequemada from here. She's going to work in a coastal city by the Mediterranean called Alicante. She's going to work on her own in a flat she rented through Internet. She proposed me to go with her and I talked to her about you. I told her you are young, clever and learn fast. God, yo learnt more Spanish in three months than I did in two years… Well, I told her you are willing to work in whatever is needed if it is less painful than this, and you are easy going, in spite of the hardships you’ve been through».
«What is the job like?»
Oumou could not avoid recalling her traumatic experiences in Mauritania. Her first client had deflowered her. He had been scared and gave her more money than she expected. She had smiled then at the thought that pain was much lighter than the one her family wanted her to undergo with excision. While she had been at Eufemio’s farm some of the men had proposed sex to her, first for free, and then they offered money. She had accepted finally for 50 euros, twenty-five day’s salary. When you are poor dignity, honesty and shame matter less than eating every day. Fifty euros was her price, and she had done that out of loyalty to herself, to leave the hole she had hidden earlier, even if it was the least painful hole she’d been in her whole life. She thought and understood, in her own way, her culture was the first and worst hole she had escaped from. To do so she had to fit into bigger and bigger holes, which had more space: her great aimless escape northwards, always to the North, meeting new cultures, breaking other languages till she reached Mauritania, where there were organised mafias. There she was first told about Europe, the Promise Land, where people were rich because they were paid a lot for just a little work, and so that was where she wanted to go. But she had not a plan. Just going Northwards, and once in the North she’d choose her best option. Her first option had been walking. Walking a whole lot, non stopping for any reason. She did not want to go back to South. She did not want to see her family again. She wouldn’t go back to her country because she’d be mimed, and she might die. She was very afraid. She flew when she was still a child, and now she was a woman, but that crazy fear was deeply rooted in her brain.
«So how are you going to that place, Alacante?»
«Alicante. It is a very old city. By car. Alona has a white, Spanish car, which I think is called Ibis, or something similar. It will take one day to get there, because we have to go across Spain.
Half Spain in a day, she told herself in awe. It had been much more for her to come to Cáceres, though she had been on foot all the time, aimlessly, always going North… But when she learnt the language, she understood from Eufemio that what she thought North was really Northwest, and so she had not died because of the cold in Soria or Aragón, and she had gone to Extremadura, instead, where the weather is nicer. Apparently a good totem was protecting her.
«Think», Alona went on, «tomorrow you can be by the sea in a nice place, nicer than this one, with pretty dresses and decent food every day».
«Will I have to prostitute myself a lot?»
«Merilou says once a day, to start with. Later it could be less».
Once a day, she repeated to herself. In Mauritania she had more than ten clients every day, for three years. Nearly eleven thousand times in all. That way she could get the fortune those mean people demanded from her for a crappy seat in a ship crowded with fleece and rats, and then in a hand made dinghy like boat which was good for a single journey only, and it was abandoned on the beach to the mercy of waves, as everybody jumped ashore as soon as he or she could and nobody worried about it.
To Oumou’s expectant silence, Alona went on:
«We’ll be in a flat, the three of us. We’ll help one another, as if we were a family».
As a family, she told herself. A three sisters family. It was like a dream: what she had never had, since what she left in Mali could not be regarded as a family… The people who want to harm you in the name of a stupid tradition are not your family.
«I accept», she said, convinced.
The plan could not be better. The best thing was that they had a friend with all her papers in order and she had thought of everything in advance. The wrong thing was that she could not trust that Merilou, as she had not met her yet. And she did not know Alona very well, either. She was at Eufemio’s when she came. She was a silent, quiet girl. She was a white skinned blonde who looked at everyone in distrust. But she soon noticed a stream of good feelings between them two. Perhaps the blonde one saw in her an even more helpless girl than herself. At first they could not talk, as Oumou could not understand the language, but as she was learning it, the Ukrainian girl started admiring the black one, as she learnt so fast. She soon knew more Spanish than her, and within a few weeks she talked much better and with more knowledge than any of the other immigrants in the farm, who had been much longer in the country. Oumou was like a sponge, as she absorbed every word she heard.
But the best advantage was that she had very little to lose. Perhaps the police could find out her not having any papers. In that case they could kick her out of the country. But she’d come back. Or she’d go to another country. Anything but going back to Mali. She was afraid of Africa. She had decided not to go back there alive.
That night Oumou could not sleep. They got up very early and went to say goodbye to Eufemio and Elvira. They told them they had found a good job in Madrid, but they did not tell them the details. Elvira was very glad for them. «They are not being exploited any longer», she thought. They were going to be home maids. The husband, more down to earth, guessed they were going to work as whores; but there was nothing he could do to prevent that and he wouldn’t try even if he could: «If you don’t get on well in your new job», he said, «you can always come back here», he offered.
So at ten o’clock in the morning Merilou came to the farm in her white Ibiza SEAT. She picked them up, with their little luggage: just a little case for both of them. Just a couple of underwear pieces and a dress, besides the one they were wearing. They were not in rags, but they were very modest. And a rough coat each. And so, without looking back even once, the three of them started for Spanish Levante, the part of Spain where the Sun first rises. Oumou never looked back. She was always attentive, watching what there was for her in front, ready to avoid any danger.
When they were going around a town in the province of Toledo, Quintanar de la Orden, a traffic policeman stopped them. Oumou was very nervous, but she said nothing. She even didn’t move. She was on the rear seat. Apparently Merilou had exceeded a speed limit, because she was driving at 90 where she should have been at 60. The policeman, a young man, asked her for her documentation in a very nice way, and Merilou gave him her driving licence with a smile. The young man scolded her in a very fatherlike way for her speeding, and she told him, in a helpless smile, that she had not noticed, but she would not do it again. The policeman found it very funny her little child’s face when caught in a misdemeanour and gave her a smile back and the driving licence, and told her he was not fining her this time, but she had to be careful because she had two other lives on the tip of her fingers, and then he let them go. The three girls could not believe it. Never a policeman had been so human, so understanding, so nice to them.
After a twelve hours trip and three stops to eat on their way, they arrived in Alicante at long last. After looking up their map a couple of times, they finally found the apartment they had rented at Maisonnave Street, very near El Corte Inglés, a famous department store. They were at the very commercial city center, just by the historical centre.
The apartment was really a penthouse 200 square metres large, with five bedrooms, out of which they’d use only three. Oumou had never had a whole bedroom just for herself, and that made her very happy. It was a real luxury for her. She could not believe it. For the two Ukrainian girls that was coming back to their way of life, when things were good in their country. they had had a private room before, at their respective parents’ houses, though with less luxury than now, and they had never had a bathroom inside their bedrooms before, as there was one in every single bedroom in that fantastic apartment. But for Oumou, who had grown in a numerous family, that was a dream never seen before. At home, back in Mali you had to go to the toilet in the countryside, in the open, and personal hygiene was done in the river, in the best way you could imagine, as they were things nobody talked about, and thus nobody did properly. That's why there may be so much child mortality. But, anyway, now she really felt she was a person. For the first time in her life she felt she was important. More than being the richest man in town’s wife. And she was whole, not mimed. That apartment was like Snow White’s Castle to her, the Ebony Beauty.
And there she was, in the South East of the most Western and Southern country in Europe, ready to earn her daily bread. With the help of her good totem, who must be somewhere helping her at long last. Oumou felt her totem had already woken from its long lethargy and had decided to look after her. And she felt easy, comfortable, with it. So much that she created a name for her: Abenat, the model, the one who sets an example.
But things had not gone so wrong for her, if you thought of it better: she had escaped from her family, who wanted to mime her. She had undertaken very hard situations, true, and her stay in Spain was still uncertain, and the possibility to be discovered by police and sent back to Africa was still very high, much higher than at Eufemio’s. On the other hand, she felt very comfortably with these two girls, even if she did not know them well enough not to be sure they did not want to take advantage of her. In a white men’s world, being with a nice little black girl could be a novelty for Mediterranean males. But now two white girls were all her family. She did not trust them a hundred per cent, but she trusted them more, much more than her real family, not like the one who were so only from a biological point of view, but had cared so little for her. Yes, they wanted her to get married with someone important in their tribe, someone who granted her and her children to have always something to eat, thus they wanted to mime her so that she could never deceive her husband and thus he could repudiate her, giving her back to her parents when they were already old and could not feed her.
Between both options, mimed in her country and married to a rich man in her village, or unmarried and a whore in a foreign country in another continent, but whole, she preferred the latter. She'd rather be a bitch in the first world than a honest comme il faut wife in the third one.
The day after they arrived in Alicante, while they were still organizing things, she went to the harbour for a walk. Then the three of them went shopping and she saw smart and simple dresses for the first time in her life. In her country people wear dresses which have a lot of very bright colors and complicated embroidery to show the high rank of the family, but here expensive dresses were simpler and more comfortable to wear.
«How will we pay for this?», she asked Merilou.
«With our bodies. Don't worry, Oumou, as we are paying with my credit card, we won’t pay till next month».
Oumou understood nothing about what was happening. Merilou was an expert at buying with a card, because when she was working in that road club she had a regular salary and she bought and paid the following month.
«Then», she said, «we’ll have much more money than what we are spending
Oumou still did not understand a thing, as only what she had bought, and Meriou had paid, cost over a thousand euros.
«Eventually we’ll buy better clothes. This is just to start with».
Oumou had never had silken underwear or demi transparent negligée. What
was all that for?
«It is our working uniform», Alona would tell her later. She thought Alona was overdoing things, too. but as long as Merilou paid, the other two should not complain, Alona said winking at her.
«Don’t worry», she said, «I’ll help you always».
After they got an extensive wardrobe, they got a shower, dressed and
went to a Galician restaurant which is very near their home, in fact next
door. They ate till they were filled up, and Merilou paid again with her
«You know you’ll have to pay me one third of the common expenses when you can».
«I have no money», Oumou said. «And I think I’ll never have so much money to pay my share».
Alona cackled and as she cuddled her protectively soothed her: «You’ll be surprised to know how much men will pay to enjoy that pretty black body of yours, love. Do not be afraid, you are with friends».
Oumou could have cried. For the first time in her life she was not alone. She had friends. Two.
After supper they went for a walk together, arm in arm, telling on what they had gone through in their countries of origin, trusting their secrets one another, on how they had ended up there, in front of the Mediterranean Sea, and also about their plans of future. The Ukrainian girls wanted to go back to their country as soon as possible, but Oumou was not so willing, not at all.
When they came home, late at night, and Oumou had already had a shower and was in her new silken pajamas and her slippers and she was finally lying on her fluffy bed, she felt she was the lady of her home for the first time in her life.
But everything was not a rose garden: Oumou had been a prostitute before, but then she had been forced by survival. She had not been enslaved by any pimp, but she had been forced by the terror she felt for the idea of coming home, or dying on the way. She wanted to live better, and living in her tribe with something missing in her body and in her soul was not living. She did not want her mom’s life, or her grandmother’s. She wanted something else, even if she did not know clearly what that thing was. She had been told that in the North, in the Land of the Sun, people were happy. And she wanted to be happy. She wanted to live with no suffering.
The problem appeared six months after they started working. They had ruled out ads in newspapers. Instead they invited customers in hostess bars and the hotels in the city center, the finer ones, since by that time they had progressed so much that every one of them could buy a full wardrobe and the two newcomers into the job had paid Merilou their debt. Now they paid the rent of the apartment easily and they were even considering buying it.
That day they were in the Palma Hotel, at Saint John Beach, in its luxurious ballroom. The porters did not bother them because by their looks they seemed hotel customers and because in those places there are usually more men than women.
They were soon dancing gaily, first they three together, but after a little time three men in their forties came to them and wanted to be intimate with them. When they said their price one of them left in great anger, but another man, a bit younger, had overheard them and said he was willing to pay the three hundred euros Alona asked for her favors. They took them to their rooms because they were customers in the hotel.
One hour later Merilou came down, happy, with her money in her bag…, to find that Oumu and Alona were not there. She phoned them, and they said they were at home.
When she met them, they told her the story: Alona’s client had gone mad and started shouting and hitting her. The customers in the neighbouring rooms had called the hotel security service and had to seize that beast before they could rescue the girl. They had requested her to stay to sign a declaration for the police report, but she decided to go home. She called Oumou and they both went away. It had been a bad service. Oumou’s customer had paid, but Alona’s had not. That day they understood they could have problems with crazy clients who could seem nice people at first. That’s why they stopped getting new customers and decided to work only with their regulars, even if with the money they got from them was enough just for the rent, the food, and just very few things.
«We have to employ one or several security guards», Merilou said. She was the girl with the big ideas.
«That costs a lot of money», Oumou said.
«Think it over… Even if we pay him two thousand euros a month, we’ll be able to work every day for a lot of hours, and even if we invest more money, we’ll earn more, too».
The next day they published this ad in the city newspapers:
And then Merilou’s cell phone number.
At seven o’clock the following morning the phone woke them up:
«Good morning. My name is Gustav. I’m calling for your ad».
Although several other candidates called and had interviews along the day, Gustav impressed them more than the others because of his personality and physical strength. He looked like a real gorilla for so wide were his shoulders, and because he was very tall, and also his serious countenance. His voice was very deep, so they thought all that gave him an impressive look which would deter the violent, if one of them escaped their filters, to do something stupid. They soon reached an agreement on money, as two thousand euros is much more than what a security guard earns usually, and the job was not really demanding. He’d have to let their clients in and answer the phone from a table at the entrance hall, without losing sight of a little panel where three green lights were always on. If one of them turned red or simply was off, Gustav would have to enter the concerning room to carry out the troublemaker.
Gustav had to act only twice in the year and a half he was working there. But he got too used to it, and he started to argue when the girls had to do an outing, and then they understood it was his free time, above all when it was a week-end, so they agreed an extra money for every outing: €500 for the whole day. That halted his complaints totally, and then he wanted them to work outside on weeks ends, since that could mean an extra pay of €1000, half his regular salary, and if it was two weekends, doubling it.
When he escorted them he did it incognito, and he had never had to act, really, but they felt much safer. When they were alone in an out of town detached house, Gustav accompanied them as far as the door and picked them up at the same place when they finished. He usually talked with a member of the household and he often was invited to get into the servants’ part of the house. But always the cell phone link with his protected one was unbroken.
Yes, Gustav was good at convincing everyone, chiefly women. His mistake was thinking that was going to work with his bosses. They were women, ok, but they were his bosses, and also foreigners who had suffered a lot because they were in a foreign land the way, traditions and laws of which they did not know, and so they had to learn them the hard way. And Gustav was their good man, the one who protected them. But who protected them from him? That was what they started to question themselves when he tried to abuse his status to gain working advantages.
Oumou did not like him too much from the very beginning, because he reminded her of her own father in some gestures. She still remembered that fatherly talk her dad gave her when he was trying to convince her the beating he’d just given her was for her own good, and the best thing for her was to let her genitals be mimed so that her husband could never repudiate her for deception: without that sinful appendix she would never feel any pleasure or like for any man but her husband. And he, her father, wanted her, his daughter, to be happy.
And Gustav, for some strange reason, reminded her of his father. Maybe because both of them gave her protection in two different times in her life. Maybe because she felt physically inferior to him. It was good he was big and strong to fulfil his duties to them three. But that was self-defeating for Oumou.
So when he suggested them an increase in his salary, was very clear:
«Two thousand euros a month», she said, «is more than enough».
«But you gave me no increase in nearly two years».
«Well…», Merilou started.
«Well nothing!», Oumou interrupted dryly. «We starved for too long to start giving money out now».
«And you should increase my outings, too», the man insisted. «I risk a lot for only five hundred euros».
«How much do you want?», Alona wanted to know.
«Not less than seven hundred».
«You two give them to him, if you want. I will not».
After a two hours discussion there was no agreement. Then Gustav gave them his keys and went home in rage. But it was only staging. He knew they were going to give in sooner or later. They could not be with no security for very long. And it would be difficult to find another security guard who did not want to take advantage on them.
Yes, Gustav thought his plan was going to be successful in the long run. But he was overconfident and lost the game…
A month after Gustav went away in rage, they had not called him again. Certainly it was not the same thing, and they had to be much more careful than they used to, but they wanted someone they could trust, and not a Mr. Muscleman with no brains who wanted to take advantage on them, three foreign, immigrant women.
In one of her usual morning walks, Oumou met some NGO activists whose aim was to help, among others, people in her original country, Mali: Oumou had already got the local accent, so people who heard her speak thought she had spent the whole of her life in Alicante city, as she not only spoke Spanish perfectly, but she also spoke Valencian much better than the aboriginals there.
«Imagine», that young woman was telling her, «you have to fly from your country because of political or ethnical reasons…, would you not like anybody to help you, anyone from the First World, even if it was with only a little amount of money a month?»
You have to fly, Oumou thought, political reasons, and help with a little amount. Those words crowded inside her head while she smiled at that girl.
«Did you study?», she said at the end.
«Yes», she answered. The girl was young, but Oumou was still not very good at telling the age of well fed white girls.
«Yes. A year ago I finished Civil Engineering».
«Civil Engineering? What is that?», Oumou asked. Seeing that young girl she wished she'd gone to university, too, but all over those years she was busy fighting for her life and freedom instead of attending a learning center, like this girl. Oumou often wondered how her life could have been had she been born in a country like Spain. But she finally was here, after her long trail from a place she could scarcely call home, taking her degrees on life in Mauritania and her doctorate in Alicante...
«I am called Rose», she said, «and with my degree I can design and supervise the building of ports, canals and ways».
«Yes, any kind of roads».
Design, Oumou thought. She imagined a large, long motorway from her village to Alicante and Merilou driving her in her white Ibiza car all the way.
«And you can get a lot of money making roads?»
«Well..., you know..., the crises... I would if I worked in my profession, but you've got to work on something. You've got to make your living. I can scarcely get to go by. I cannot buy fanciful dresses like yours, but I can't complain too much..., at least I have a job».
What a pity!, Oumou thought. With machines and other people this girl could have built the roads on the way I walked on my bare feet. Yet she feels unhappy because she can't dress like me. And then Oumou did something unexpected: she took off her Versace jacket and put it on Rose's shoulders.
«It suits you well. I give it to you. When you're ready I'll explain to you how I earn my living. I live in that building opposite», she said pointing at the door. «On painthouse B. I'll see you again».
So speechless Rose saw how Oumou got into that building while she was staying there looking at the entrance door while holding the expensive jacket with her hand just wondering at what had just happened.
Fifteen minutes later Rose was still trying to sell some peace of mind to some passers by when she saw Oumou come back in a different, yet equally expensive, dress. On her hand there was a very fine bag made of suede, and on her other hand she had a perch with the rest of the dress the jacket of which she had given her only some minutes earlier, and also a white silk blouse.
«Take this», she said. «I think the blouse is your size. When you come and visit me, you can wear this on my behalf».
She kissed her and went away before Rose could do or say anything.
Gobsmacked, she saw how Oumou disappeared and dissolved into the crowd who were walking in the city centre. Was it just a dream?, she asked herself... But there, hanging from her hand, there was still the expensive Versace dress, such as she had never seen and which she could never buy with her present wedges.
Rose looked for her boss, gave her the questionnaires, and went home.
«What was my great mistake?», Rose asked herself when she was at home, alone again. At 30 she could not emancipate totally yet. And that black girl, so young, could give her, a perfect strange to her, the best dress Rose had ever seen. While she was having a relaxing bath, she thought of her life, on how much her parents had praised work, saving continuously to achieve a good noble goal, a Spartan yet altruistic life, at least as far as you could..., and then, at the end of her academic life, after earning a much deserved doctorate in engineering and getting a diploma in martial arts because of mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body) she had found only a mini job in Germany for €400 a month or working for no money in Spain, or else for a handful of euros at an NGO, the best salary of which was the feeling she was doing something for other people and getting just enough to eat. Yes, she’d visit the black girl, of course. She wanted her to explain her secret to her, why she could give away such a fine dress as a Versace, while a doctor engineer could not. Why the foreign black girl could have pity on the white one, who lived in her own country, and why the latter was not upset at all.
As she came out of the city tram, she was thinking that young girl was certainly the daughter of someone important in her country…, or may be his lover? Because to get rid of a Versace dress so lightly was not within the reach of anybody. Not hers, of course, or any of her friends’, or anyone else she was acquainted with. In addition, she could not understand why that young black girl had given the Versace particularly to her. At the moment she had not decided to throw it away, as it was new and also because she was wearing it and it suited her very well. She had found a card in the jacket pocket with her name, Oumou, and then her full postal address. So the young girl lived in a Penthouse at the center of Alicante. Waw, it was clear to her that Oumou had a lot of money.
Rose went into the lift and pushed the penthouse button. The lift went up increasing its speed so smoothly that she thought it was not moving. After several minutes the door opened and Rose saw herself in front of a bright alley at either end of which there were two doors labeled A and B.
Rose pushed the bell on B, and some bells were heard, but she thought in the other house there was also a buzzing sound. And then the door of penthouse A opened and Oumou came out.
«Oh, I made a mistake…»
«Hello, Rose. No, you did not. I live in B, but I was visiting my friend in A. Come, come in this way, please».
Rose came after her hostess and after getting through the hall, where there was a closet for coats, hats and umbrellas, they went into a wide sitting room over fifty square yards large.
«This is like the whole of my flat», the guest told as if to herself as she saw it.
«Have a sit», Oumou said. «I’ll show you round the house later, if you wish. First I’d like to have a chat with you. I want to be your friend».
«You have a perfect accent, Oumou. However you are not from here. Where were you born?»
«You know my country, Rose. My original country is Mali», she said with a smile. «That’s why I stopped to talk to you a few days ago. But I don’t think I’ll go back there again. Now my place is called Spain».
Rose was shocked. So many Spaniards talking badly of this country, and then a Sub Saharan lady adopts Spain as her Holy Land…
«Are you Spanish?», Rose asked.
«No», she answered in a trembling voice. «I wish I were, but I’ve been around very little in this, our country. I can’t ask for nationality yet.
«Our country…», Rose echoed as for herself. «Well, I hope you are a Spaniard soon, the same as I am».
«Oh, thanks, Rose. Would you like to drink anything?», Oumou replied.
«Oh, what can you give me?»
Oumou got up and went to the little bar on the corner of her sitting room. Rose followed her and was surprised to see so many bottles with liquor and other drinks, expensive ones, she had never seen before. Her sight fell on a bottle with number 21 on its neck, and a bit lower she read: Chivas de Regal.
«A Chivas would do»».
Oumou served two glasses and came back to the coach with both glasses on her hands.
After the first sip, Rose went on with the conversation:
«You told me you’d tell me how you earn your living, Oumou. Are you a doctor?»
The black girl laughed quite noisily, and then, still smiling, she added:
«Oh, no, Rose. I am a hetaera».
«Hetaera?», she said drilling into her memory, as that word was not completely unknown to her, though she could not recall its meaning. «What is that?», she finished her question. She did not like to be taken for an illiterate kind of girl, but she disliked even more not to know what they were talking about.
«I am a whore», the brown girl struck. «But a luxury one, I sell my company to men who can pay for it».
«A whore!», Rose said slowly, feeling the floor was opening under her feet to swallow her. «That’s not possible!»
«You look so nice…, you don’t look like a bitch at all».
«I told you I am a luxury one. I am a high class whore, a courtesan, a hetaera».
«Uh huh… How long have you worked like that?»
«A couple of years», Oumou said. «I came to Alicante with two other girls and a lot of illusions in a white car. Now one of them is thinking of selling us her share and going back to her country. We work together, and help one another».
«Do you live in this flat? How large is it, two hundred square yards?»
«Two hundred and forty. We live We live next door, but work here».
«Are both penthouses yours?»
«Yes. If Merilou goes back home, I’ll keep this one, and Alona the other one».
Rose did not dare ask how much they had paid for both penthouses, the whole floor.
«And what is your fare, if I am allowed to ask?»
«A thousand euros a night», Oumou said. «Or two hundred an hour».
Oh, my God!, Rose thought, and I sell subscriptions for just a few cents.
«Would you like to see the rest of the flat?», Oumou offered.
The penthouse was very well furnished and decorated, though it could be better…, Rose said to herself. In the dining room there was a smaller copy of Picasso’s Guernika, and in every one of the five bedrooms there were copies of other famous pictures, though they were not photos, but they were painted by a painter who had sought inspiration on the works of the masters. In every bedroom there was a shower and a king size bed. There were also marble sculptures, but the best thing of all was the balcony, which was common to all the rooms and to the ones in the other penthouse too. In fact the open space equalled the size of both penthouses. Oumou led her to the other one through the balcony, where she met a beautiful blonde sunbathing in her yellow bikini.
Oumou introduced them to each other:
«My friend Alona, who is working with me, this is Rose, my new friend. Merilou is not here at the moment», she said.
Alona stood up and kissed her cheek. Rose realized she was tall and beautiful, and had big nice breasts.
«Yes. I'm a bitch too», she said with a great smile and the self assurance Rose lacked. «So honest a job as any other».
«Yes, I know some jobs which are much less honest», the engineer said.
Now she understood about the Versace. And the penthouses. So those nice three girls earned three thousand euros a week, since they did not need to work every day. In all €9,000 a week, Twelve days a month meaning €36,000. No wonder. They might have bought the penthouses in two years, maybe in only one.
«Well, we used to work every day, but we had to slow down because we were exhausted».
Yes, poor little things. They got tired of lying down in bed, Rose thought while she remembered the long days standing on the streets, eight, even ten hours a day, for just a shilling.
«I can see you get adapted to your circumstances», she said. «That’s good!»
«You could do the same», Alona said. «Or do you think this is not good enough for you?»
Rose looked at Alona in surprise. Was this girl really suggesting her to become a bitch?
«Well», she tried to be nice, «the truth is I have never thought about it».
Alona looked at her coldly, but said nothing. Then she looked at Oumou, and shrugged her shoulders.
Oumou sent her a sweet look. «What can you do, besides making roads, canals and harbours?», she said finally in a soft voice.
«I can sell NGO subscriptions in the street…, I have the black belt in Karate and Tae Kwondo…»
The two girls looked at each other, and Alona sat up again, getting interested again in her mate’s friend, though she said nothing.
«Well», Oumou said, «we might employ you».
«Me? No, I would not be a hetaera. I do not think I am fit for the job. Also I don’t know the tricks of the trade».
Oumou looked at Alona, who nodded.
«No, we wouldn’t take you as a whore».
«We need protection. We used to have a security guard, but he left us some time ago because we did not want to pay what he demanded.
Rose was paying a lot of attention.
«Our customers are peaceful, but we may get the wrong one some time. In fact Gustav had to intervene only twice in nearly two years. But having him made us feel comfortable. Could you kick out a man who weighs double of your weight?»
«The bigger they are», Rose asserted as if she was reciting the first basic lesson at school, «the easier they are to deal with».
«Well», Alona said finally, «if you wish we can test you. We’ll pay you €1,000 for the first 15 days test».
Rose rose in her seat: she could not believe it: a decent job, finally, even if it was working for three whores. But she liked them.
«What are the other conditions?»
«Well, you have to open the door and greet our customers. When you go to the lift to greet every one of them, just push the doorbell button. As you know, it will sound the bell in one house and the buzz in the other one, so we know someone is coming in or out. When he comes you will go with him to one room, and one of us will go to him after you serve him a drink. Then you’ll leave him and will not see him again, unless you hear this alarm», Alona pushed a little wireless key and an alarm was heard in one of the rooms and a red light was on at the entrance table. On the top of the concerning bedroom a light blinked. When she pushed the key twice everything went back to normal.
«You’ll have a master key to enable you to enter any room with the tools you need».
«But I am not a security guard…»
«You needn’t. But if we do hire you for good you should do the course just for the legal stuff. We want it to be legal».
«Will I have to live here?»
«Your working time will be eight hours a day, but in two parts, from ten in the morning to eight in the evening, but with two one hour long breaks to eat».
«I’ll have to think of all this», Rose said. «Thanks for the drink, Oumou».
Rose got up and made for the door. But before she reached it she stopped, turned back to them and asked:
«If I move here…, will my salary be the same?»
«Of course. You will not have to pay for the food or your room, but we’ll ask you to do some errands, order the food, even cook some times...»
«Don’t you have a maid?»
«Yes, but the less she knows, the better».
Yes, it made sense. These girls were foreigners. Did they have their papers in order? She did not know, but it was none of her business.
Probably they did, as they had bought their homes, but could you buy a house in Spain if you were not living here? Well, she did not know, but many foreigners owned houses and flats in Benidorm… Well, they might have their papers in order or not, but she cared only for the job they could give her. A very well paid job. They might give her €2,000 a month, probably more. But she had to fight for them. Was it worth while?
«How long can I think of your proposal?», she asked Alona, who was the tough one.
«I don’t know… Till Saturday. That day we may be on duty for the whole weekend, and we always used security when we go out. We have refused three offers so far because of this, as we are afraid to go alone».
«Will you pay me extra money for the outings?»
«Of course we will. An extra thousand euros for you».
Good Lord! That was talking business!, Rose thought. And I was messing with leaflets… How much money do they do in a weekend?
«But they might take me for one of you…»
«No. You’ll wear a uniform. Your dress will have nothing to do with ours».
«They might take me for your boss».
«I wish they did!», Oumou said. «It would save us a lot of arguments and they’ll see it will be difficult to fool us if they know someone Spanish is looking after us».
«Well, I’ll think it over, Oumou. Your offer is really tempting. WilI I have to work every day?»
«Only three days a week. The other days will be extra, if we request you; €500 a day. And Saturdays and Sundays will be double, €1,000 each».
«Well, I’ll have to think it well. It’s a lot of information, Oumou». Rose said goodbye from the door, kissing that smooth face where there was no ghost of a wrinkle arose some envy and fear in her soul.
She came home strolling and thinking around...: Aguilera Avenue, Orihuela Avenue, and at the end there was her dwellings, a tiny, 50 square yard flat for which she paid €400 a month, which was eating her savings little by little, till she had to go back to live with her parents…, unless she found a good job…, like the one these girls were proposing her.
But what could happen if the thing did not turn out well? Well, if she went to live in that penthouse, she’d never leave this den. It was her shelter, the symbol of her independence.
She came home, undressed on the way to the bathroom, so when she was turning the taps to prepare her bath she could see her body in the mirror: there was no comparison with those beauties. She’d have to keep in shape, of course. She’d be able to use their gym every day. She had not taken care of that lately… Slowly she took off the last piece of garment she was still wearing, those cheap knickers which did not go well together with her Versace. Once naked she submerged into the bath totally, and closed her eyes, thinking of nothing, just feeling the world run around her, feeling she was just a small part of the Universe, yet having her own course. After several magical moments, she sat up and rubbed her body with gel vigorously, creating a lot of foam. She looked at herself on the mirror and laughed noisily: there she was, in the bath, hiding her nudity under a dress of foam while she was considering if she changed her life totally or not. She sat back on the bath tube, and then lay down in her full length. While she was there, feeling alive, thinking of nothing, she turned on the warm water tap twice to make up for the cooling of the water. She even had to pull the plug so that the water did not overflow the bath. Then, with everything under control, she went on thinking of her options.
«Ugh!», she said, Yes, the money would be better than nothing, till she got a real job, or at least a better one. In that case she should tell her bosses well in advance.
On the other hand, she could say no. She had been a decent, respectable woman all her life. She might meet a good man some day, a man she would want to marry, as she had wished secretly for the whole of her life, and then, when she found him, what would he think when he realized her salary came from a group of whores? And, of course, they’d try to pay her in black. Oh, no!, of course not. She wanted a legal contract, and social security, paid holidays, and… Suddenly she exploded into a burst of laughter. She had scarcely €600 in her bank; and at the bottom of her heart she’d like to be like those girls, but she lacked the courage to know the trade, physical preparation and culture. Because her traditional parents had paid for her education in a nuns’ school, that of Immaculate Conception and then that bloody crisis had to come and wash so many things away… Waw, if Sor Emily heard her…, well that Blessed Crisis came, as the nun would say. Or damned, the cursed fraud by banks, politicians, her parents’ generation. Now she, a real doctor in Civil Engineering was doubting between going on with her voluntary work to earn a poor life or getting on board of bitch money, as she saw it then. She had to kill nobody but to prevent those women from having problems. Poor little things…, every day women like them disappeared. She remembered Oumou’s face when she gave her the Versace jacket… How much does the full dress cost? She’d look it up in Internet later.
An hour later she stood up, unplugged the bath and cleared her body with a final shower, with cold water to tone her muscles. She dried her body carefully while she kept thinking of their offer. God, if she refused she’d be thinking on it for the rest of her life. She pondered the thought, that manipulative and perverse thought. So, what was there for her to lose? A fortnight of her time? And the gain would be a thousand euros, maybe two or three if she was needed for the weekend… She came back to the living room and gathered the pieces of garment she’d taken off and put them on a chair, properly folded. She stuffed in a red robe and sat on a chair and started her computer, combing her hair as the machine booted.
When it was working, she googled Versace, and after a few seconds she could see a page full with links among which she chose Women’s wear, and she found it at once: there it was her dress: it was called Vunk Little Black Dress. What the hell was vunk? The model or the name of the person who designed it? But she stopped caring about it when she saw the price: €1700! Three times her savings! She looked for her jacket and found hers: Alexander Wang, €623. Over two thousand euros as a gift for someone she did not know. That was Oumou! Yes, two days working as a whore. Better working as a bitch than as a dog, indeed… Oumou started paying for it on Monday and finished on Wednesday. They told her they’d buy her a uniform. So she’d not dress like them, but dressed by them. At least two uniforms, ok. And money. What had she to think about? Was there anything at all to think about?
She got the phone and called Oumou:
«Who is it?», Alona asked.
«Hello, Alona, can I talk to Oumou, please? Rose here».
«Oh, hello, Rose. I thought you would not call so soon. Hold on, Oumou will be with you presently».
«Yes?», she heard her protector’s voice after a minute.
«Oumou, I’m not thinking it any longer: I accept your proposal».
«That’s great news! I hope you like your job and stay with us for good. Will you come for supper with us?»
«Oh no, thank you, but I need to sleep tonight. I’ll have a sandwich while I watch TV and then I’ll head for bed early for a change. It has been a very long day. Just tell me this: do you have a gym in your home?»
«Of course. One in either flat. You can use them when you want».
«Good. Tomorrow I’ll have to solve some papers, but if you invite me for lunch, I’ll be with you at two in the afternoon».
«Ok. I’ll see you tomorrow, ten».
She had a beer with her sandwich while she watched a TV dope telling the news his master gave him. She did not pay a lot of attention because she was still thinking if she had taken the right decision or not. She, a very religious child who went to mass and had communion every day, when an adult ended up working for three whores…, as a bodyguard.
She took everything to the kitchen, washed the dishes and then cleaned her teeth. Then she threw her robe onto an armchair and, nude as she was born, submerged between her sheets and into a slumber at the end of a weird day, the weirdest in her life. The day her life changed for good.
At two o’clock the four of them were having lunch together. A few minutes earlier she had met the other shareholder, Merilou, the exuberant red haired one. They were not at the penthouse, but in a nearby restaurant where food was delicious, especially seafood was great there. Thanks goodness she had told them half joking, if you invite me for lunch…, because Rose could not afford to pay for her food there with her mean salary.
However, they were not shy to ask for the dishes: it was evident they were regulars there, because they were acquainted with all the dishes, so they helped Rose choose hers.
«We come here very often», Oumou explained, «as we don’t enjoy cooking».
Then she told her story, how she had to get away from her family, their people and their barbaric customs. She told her about her long trail on foot from Mali as far as Torrequemada, in the West of Spain, and how at Eufemio’s farm she had spent the best period in her life since she was born. And then Merilou had convinced Alona and then her to come to the Mediterranean and so she had got the best quality in her life so far. At first it had been hard for them, and it had not been without suffering, but not physical, but psychological. They kept thinking that if they tripped up with a mad man or psychopath, they were really only three lonely women in a strange land, who had no preparation for a melée with a man who wanted to harm them, or simply steal from them. That’s why they looked for security and they found Gustav.
«Tell us your conditions», Merilou asked then.
«Well, €2,000 a month is very good for me. And €500 per extra day, or €1,000 at week ends is great».
«Well, if you keep us safe and happy we’ll talk about money again within six months».
«I hope you’ll be happy with my service, Merilou. But deeply in my mind there's the basic rule: the best security is the one you never need. I’ll try to be nice and kind, but however firm with your customers. They may not expect a woman can pin them to the floor, but I can fell down a man three times my weight within seconds. You’ll have no complain about that».
«I am glad to hear that» Merilou said. «And I wish you never have to act. But knowing you can do that is like having a safety net. If you give that safety feeling to us, we won't regret any single euro we pay you».
The three girls had already got their papers to live legally in Spain, though the Spanish citizenship would cost them a few years still. Notwithstanding this, the papers they had already let them go in and out of the country, and so they had already spent one month in Ukraine, where they invited Oumou to stay with them, in Kharkov and Kiev. They intended to spend a couple of months at home every year, but Oumou would rather spend that time discovering other countries in the world outside Africa. Specially painful would be for her to go back to her native Mali, and even going to her Consulate in Madrid, in Padilla Street, was quite an ordeal for her, but nobody told her anything when she was asked a few questions. She said she was a maid in Alicante.
Rose would have the same holidays as them. As they four agreed, they subscribed their agreement into a written contract for six months, which was signed by Rose and Oumou on behalf of them three.
Rose knew she had to keep in shape. Since she started protecting her girls, as she called them, she got up every day at six in the morning to exercise her muscles at the gym. They did aerobics, but there she found a lot of tools and machines they had bought so that Gustav kept in shape and now it was only a treasure for her. That was the final reason which made her decide to move to Oumou’s penthouse. The house really belonged to them three then, but when the girls came there was a married couple living there, who had rented penthouse B only a few months earlier than they arrived. The husband greeted them when they met at the lift, but the wife always showed distaste to them. Foreseeing problems, and taking advantage of the fact that the owner of their penthouse also owned the flat of their neighbours, they made a good offer: €500,000 for both of them, to be paid within a year. However they succeeded paying them in eight months, only. They had to work very hard for those months, when they already had Gustav’s help. They registered the new flat to Oumou’s name, and the other one to the other girls’ ones, even if they had had a private contract which stated that both flats belonged to the three of them. But Oumou said she needed the penthouse for herself, so the tenants had to go. That’s why Oumou and Rose lived in their work place, whereas the Ukraine girls lived in the other one. However Oumou wanted to pay the other two their share in flat B, and so have a home of her own in future.
To Rose it was a dream to live in a three hundred square yard penthouse in the center of Alicante. She was even happier when Oumou decided to live with her even if the other two relocated in flat A.
But not everything was going to be that easy.
She started working on Monday and on Wednesday she had already her first red light. It was a regular customer’s friend. He was a bit unstable, and suddenly started hitting Merilou. It could happen to any of them, though. As she fell against the bed, she pulled a little string on the bed head piece and an alarm started shouting in her room while the red light started flashing. Rose took off her skirt, and went into the room in her shorts and blouse. She took Jason, a six feet tall young man by his right hand piercing his wrist with only two fingers and drawing it suddenly to his back by means of the intense pain that pinching caused in the man’s wrist. Then she pushed him to the floor, while Merilou watched from the door, anxious.
«His clothes», Rose ordered. Merilou threw them to her. Then the guard said:
«Ok, Jason, you’ll be now a good boy and will get dressed and go away, will you?»
Rose pressed her knee against the back of his waist and gave him a double blow on his plate bones, which made him shout. Then she pulled his hair up into the air and said slowly into his ear: «I could kill you now. The police will believe you tried to rape me and nobody will miss a bag of dirt like you. Do you hear?»
He was totally helpless, but even so he did not understand:
«When I am released I’ll kill you!»
«Ok, man, you asked for it».
Rose gave him a vicious blow and sent him KO. Then she dressed him up and sat him in a wheelchair they had for such a case. Gustav never used it, but this man was too heavy. Rose sat him in it and then, took him into the lift. When they were on the second floor, he came back to his senses, and wanted to stand up, with an angry face. She stopped the lift with a finger while she pressed his neck against the lift wall with her right foot.
«Do you really want to die today, stupid?»
He went red and then white. She released her foot a bit and then he could breathe, noisily, and finally he said: «Ok».
«You won’t get up till I say so, ok?»
She released him and set the lift in motion again. When it halted, she nodded, and then he stood up and went out, while she said:
«Never come back for more, Jason».
He went away grumbling.
Next time it was Oumou’s turn to suffer the dangers of their job. It was a misfortunate coincidence that the customer was acquainted with Mali, and he spoke Bambara, her native language. She had not heard it for years. The man had been her customer for some months. He was white, but he had lived in Bamako for several years at the Spanish Embassy. When he knew she was from Mali, he started talking to her in Bambara as a nice gesture to her, but she was terrified, as it reminded her of her family, her village, on the lips of that man. Rose came as soon as she saw the red light on, but she did not need to hit the man. He was invited to leave, and left the place at once in peace.
Then Oumou explained what the problem was to Rose, and her two colleagues, who came as soon as they could when they heard the shouts, and they all advised Oumou to seek help from a psychiatrist, as this problem was not normal and was a problem for the job of them three. With Oumou’s approval, Alona called her customer later to offer him a session with herself, once they saw that it was not the man’s fault. They never stole clients from one another, but this time the transfer was more than justified, and approved by them three. And then they told the black girl attitudes like that were not good for their business.
Yes, indeed Oumou felt herself like the child who left the village never to come back. And she agreed to seek help from a specialist.
The next Tuesday Oumou was at Dr. Méndez’s, the best psychotherapist in South East Spain. He asked her why she was there, and she explained what had happened. She told him straight away she was an escort, a hetaera, and she had never had a problem with anybody till this man started talking Bambara, her native language. Then she explained what had happened exactly.
«I never thought someone called Paco, a Spaniard, talked Bambara even better than I. That’s why I went mad and someone had to come and help me».
«So what happened?»
«Nothing, really. He left and my fellows demanded me to come to see you, Dr. Méndez, to see if you could help me heal my soul».
«Hum, Miss Farafin, there must be a reason for you to be so much afraid to relate to your own country, even just to your language. What happened to you in Africa?»
Oumou felt pain when hearing that name, Africa, which however was so close to her real family name. That’s why she wanted to change it when she became Spanish, as Farafina means Africa in her native language, and Farafin, her family name, is black woman, among other things, what she was, indeed. But she did not see herself usually, or called herself by her family name. She liked being in Spain because it made her feel she belonged in another culture, a culture where nobody had ever tried to harm her, where everybody had been nice to her and had treated her as a human being, and she had found a family, a real family, in her two friends, even if they belonged to the East of Europe. She had met a wonderful woman from Spain, too, Rose, whom she felt to be a good person as soon as she first saw her. Now she was her employee, but above all she was her friend.
«Ok», said Dr. Méndez, «let’s do a full analysis, Oumu. Please, lie down on that coach and answer freely to all my questions as long as you can».
«Ok, doctor», she said moving to the coach.
«Tell me our earliest memory», he asked when she was lying on the coach and he was near her, with his note pad and pen at hand but also his phone recording the whole conversation.
«I can see the sun shining above. It is very hot. The people there are making a lot of fun. I am very small, and my brother is holding my hand. Come, Oumou, he says, let’s play. And we play hide and seek. I could not find him because he had climbed a tree. The next thing I remember is a leopard. It was sleeping and my brother told me not to make a noise. Then we moved away and he told me it was a bad animal which could eat us. I was fond of my brother Baba, but one day he disappeared. A neighbour told my dad he’d seen him fall to the river and never come out. Probably he drowned or a crocodile ate him, they concluded. Or he may have run away, if he got out of the river when nobody was looking. I haven’t thought of Baba for many years. I’ve just remembered I loved him so much. I was six, he was ten. Then I remember my brother Bemba, who was a good boy, but he teased me all the time. When I was eleven I was promised to a rich man, and I told him in trust that I’ll run away not to marry him. Bemba told my dad and I got the worst beating in my life. Later he told me it was to protect me from my own stupidity, and I’d thank him for the rest of my life, he thought».
«And you didn’t».
«Well, in a way I did. I learnt the hard way not to trust anyone, even my dear brother, and that gave me, also, the courage I needed to run away later».
«I see. Ok, go on, please».
«Then there is dad. I can’t even remember his name. I called him dad always. When I flew from home I never thought of my parents again. Do I love them? I think I never did. They just happened to me, or I happened to them, if you wish. I was with them for the first twelve years in my life, and I have never missed them, really. I missed Bemba and, much more, Baba. Yes, I think Baba is the closest I’ve ever had to a father, for he really cared for me…, and he is dead...» Oumou stopped to blow her nose, for she had been crying for the last ten minutes.
The doctor went on taking his notes on what he was seeing in her, even if they were silent for several minutes. He was still taking notes, and she was silent, but breathing fast and noisily.
«Where are you now, Oumou?»
«I am talking to Sira. Last year she was taken to the desert. She was excised. She was ill for months. She nearly died. But now she is ok. I am terrified. I don’t want to go to the desert. I don’t want my mum to be near me. I do not want to be a woman. Never».
She paused. Then she went on.
«There's that friend of my father’s, Ibrahim. He came from a long journey. He was in Egypt. He told us about the Promised Land, Cockaigne, the country where everybody is happy and can live without working. The North, friend, I overheard him say, the future is the North.
Bemba told me at midday the sun is in the north. If you follow the Sun, you’ll reach the North eventually. It was part of a game, but I kept thinking of the North and the desert; Cockaigne and excision. So when mom told me I was going to be a woman the next day, I woke up before everybody else and left my home. I haven’t gone back».
«When was that?»
«Twenty five years ago, doctor», she said as if coming out of a dream.
«You must have suffered a lot since then… So you were a twelve year old child when you left them».
«Yes. It took me a lot of time to get to the Mauritanian coast. It was a difficult time for me, but I forgot much of it».
«In Mauritania you learnt French, didn’t you?»
«Yes. I spoke only Bambara at home».
«Do you have any special bad memory about Mauritania?»
«No. There I lost my virginity and became a whore. But that gave me independence from my tradition, my country, my culture. I was somebody else, and also something else, something new I liked better than what I was before. Whoredom made me a free woman».
«Did you still feel it in Spain?»
«Yes. When that dog, Brusco, licked my face, I felt everything was changing for the better».
«How old were you then?»
«Seventeen or eighteen, I do not really know».
«So when you left home, did you think of what you left behind?»
«No. It was fear what made me move».
«Why Spain? Did anyone tell you about this country?»
«Oh, no! I heard one of my dad friends say happiness was in Cockaigne, the Land of Freedom and Happiness, so I headed for North, I followed the Sun wherever it brought me to. And then in Mauritania I joined a ship for Europe, and I did not ask for the exact destination. I only wanted to be as far away as I could from Africa, my country, my village, my dad, my mom…»
«Have you ever thought of going back there?»
«Oh, no, Sir! I’ve been most of my life out of Africa, and I’ll stay away from it».
«Well, Oumou, this is the end of your visit. Next time I’ll give you some tasks to do. For the moment it will be enough that you take it easy. Now you are with us, dear. you are no longer alone, and I’ll give you a solution. You need to feel reassured, nobody is going to harm you either in your country or here».
«Well, how did you do at the psychologist?», Merilou asked her when she came back. Being the oldest one at home made her care for both of her girls a bit more. Also they were there because she convinced them, and even if at first she had accepted Oumou as part of Alona’s luggage, soon she had got very fond of her and considered, somehow, that the black girl was her responsibility.
«Well, he only asked me a few questions about my early life».
«Did you answer them?»
«Oh, yes. I even told him things I did not remember I knew, like my eldest’s name, Baba. He died when I was ten».
«Oh, I’m very sorry. Were you very fond of him?»
«I loved him. He’s still the only man I loved, Merilou».
«Oh, I am sorry», she said, being aware of what she meant: at the black girl’s heart there was no place for love for her dad or any lover. She'd just have sex and fun, maybe, but no feelings at all.
«Oumou, do you make your customers believe you love them?»
«I don’t know. But they are very happy with me, you know. They always want to come back for more. Nearly all my newcomers have become my regulars».
«Oh, yes, you are right. I see them very satisfied with you. You have more regulars than us. Sorry I asked a silly question».
Oumou smiled and touched Merilou’s head and said: «Silly, you can always ask me anything you want, promise me». And then added: «Because you are my friend and I love you».
Merilou hugged her and she knew there was love and affection in Oumou’s heart, even if not for any man. She was sweet and desired to have had a nicer childhood. But she had built a much better life than anybody else in her village.
On the next visit, Oumou told Dr. Méndez about her life in Spain. She spoke very highly about Merilou and, above all, Alona.
«She’s a beautiful blonde, and the first friend I made in Spain».
«No wonder you love Spain».
Oumou was silent for a while.
«I had never thought of that», she said slowly. «All the countries in Africa were my stages, places to go by. But when I was about to leave Spain, near Portugal, my strength went out, I got exhausted, as if my body knew Spain was my goal».
«Were you not afraid because the people and the background were so different from yours?»
«Oh, no! That was the good thing about Spain! Nothing reminded me of my country, my family, my language. It was like being born again. I wanted to be born again here».
«Interesting. So you were not afraid because you could not understand the people».
«I half saw a dog which was licking my face. Then a man took me home and looked after me. It was very nice being taken care of, for a change. That man even gave me a job. I would have never left there, if Alona had not convinced me».
«What made you change your mind about that?»
«She was my only friend there. You see, we were all foreigners, and they talked in their different languages. Only Eufemio, the farm owner, and his wife talked to me in Spanish. But Alona approached me from the beginning, even if there were other Ukrainians there. We fell for each other, if you know what I mean».
«And then my only friend was leaving. She offered me to come with her, so I grabbed the opportunity to stay with her».
«And there was that other girl, Merilou».
«Oh, yes. I did not know her, but Alona trusted her, so I trusted her, too».
«It seems you shifted your affection from your family to your friends…»
«Yes, I think so».
«Do you ever think of your family?»
«When I did, I felt afraid. So I tried to avoid it».
«Well, you should overcome that feeling of helplessness. You say you’d not even step in Africa».
«Yes, Sir, that’s correct».
«That’s too exaggerated, Oumou. You should go to Morocco, at least, with a friend. Maybe for the weekend. Then come back to me in a month’s time and tell me what it was like. This is your first task. I’d like you to keep a diary where you’ll write all your feelings while you are there».
As soon as she told her friends they were happy to know Oumou was making progress. She decided not going to Africa exactly, but to Tarifa, the closest point in Europe to Africa. Rose and Oumou spent a weekend in a hotel, the Two Seas Hotel. They walked around the town and from the closest they could be to Africa Oumou watched it from the distance, and even went to the embarking points for the other continent in the harbour. But Oumou could not get on board. Rose did not push her.
«Would you like me to go and bring you something from there? A handful of sand, or a pebble, for example?»
Oumou smiled, afraid.
«Oh, no! There’s not use…»
So they came back by plane from Jerez to Alicante. But the next weekend they were there again. Oumou had thought it over, and this time she decided she’d force herself to obey the doctor’s orders. So they went into the ferry as soon as they arrived at the city. An hour and a half later they were in land. During the trip they had been talking about different things, like Oumou’s experiences in the Torrequemada Farm, Spanish politics…, and then they came to Melilla… It was Africa! But it was still Spain, and that made a great difference to Oumou. She still felt at home, at her new home, the home she had freely chosen.
«Maybe next time we should go to the Canary Islands», Rose said. «They are much farther south. They say they are very beautiful».
«Yes, we could go. But let’s see what’s here, first».
They had just passed the police control and were then heading for the hotel. They had decided to stay at the Parador, as it had a touch of the traditional atmosphere, and it was very nice. Then they had a shower and went to see the city center.
«Do you know you are in Africa after so many years?», Rose said.
«Are we? It is very similar to Spain. People even talk Spanish here. No, this is not Africa. This is Spain».
«Well, it's Africa and Spain at the same time...»
Africa and Spain at the same time... Yes, indeed, Melilla was just as any small city in Spain, people talked Spanish here, though there were two differences: there were a lot of people who came to and from Morocco every day, and also there was a high metal fence which surrounded the city. Oumou and Rose walked around the city, and when they were in the harbour, the African told the European: «Look, Rose, to the north there is Adra, Granada and Almería. It's another world, but we are now in a drop of that world inside my old one».
Rose had never thought how fortunate she had been to have been born in Europe. She had never thought of it because she had always been centered on herself. But now, there, in Africa, with this little African whose life had been so difficult, and yet she had overcome her problems and she had even hired her, she thought Oumou was a real example of how you could solve the difficult troubles in your life.
They saw the sights, and on the next day they got the ferry back to Almería.
«Next time we must go to Ceuta», Oumou said. «It will be more like Africa, I think».
Rose shrugged her shoulders.
«I think it will be the same. Why don’t you go to Casablanca?»
«Well, I don’t know. I prefer Ceuta first».
«Ok, if you need it…»
The next weekend they went to Ceuta, but as Rose had foretold, it was the same as being in Melilla: that was Spain, so the problem was not geography, but culture.
That’s why the next time they did not go to Casablanca, but Marrakech, deep down South of Morocco. They spent a week there. At Hafna Square they walked around a lot, and stopped and talked about the criminals who had been hanged there in former times. They found it very strange that the square owed its name to robbers and murderers who were hanged there. They also saw the Palace of the King, a magnificent building, a very beautiful residence. They got lost in the Medina, and enjoyed that. They also met a lot of Moroccans who were very nice to them. What surprised them most was the high concentration of people in streets, and even in open spaces, like the Hafna Square itself, where people behaved as if they were water in high tide divided into streams, and yet nobody stole anything from you, even if you could not notice, or had the chance to know who had done so.Yes, Morocco was very different from Spain, and yet it had nothing to do with Mali.
«Well, Oumou», said Dr. Méndez next time she visited him with her conclusions on her three trips, «You have conquered Africa. To overcome your deepest fears you should go to Mali, even if before that you have to visit Angola or Senegal first. But I think you really needn’t do so. We all have our little fears, so I’d not worry if I were you».
She looked at her doctor for a long time. Then she said:
«Well, doctor, I don’t know».
«Have you visited your consulate?»
«No. Not again».
«Ok. Do go there, talk your language with them. Make an enquiry about your family. But if you are not comfortable, do not tell them anything».
Oumou was thinking of it for the whole week and then asked her friend:
«Rose, would you come to Mali with me?»
«Of course, Oumou».
«I’m thinking… I don’t know if I’ll dare go. Do you remember I was away for two days recently?»
«I was in Madrid. I was at my consulate and made an enquiry on my family. My dad is dead. My brother Bemba is on charge of the family. Everything is different now. I should go before it is more different, so different that I know nothing familiar over there…»
«I see. So you need to go back there soon…»
«No. I don’t think so. I no longer need it. But I think I can go now. I was talking to that man at the consulate in Bambara, and he told me things are the same as they used to be. But my village was very little. When I finally go there I might know nobody there. And they must have forgotten about me, too».
«Well, that sounds as if you are cured, Oumou: you can talk Bambara, you can see people from your country. What’s the difference if you don’t know anyody or nobody in your village knows you? The point is you will not get mad at hearing Bambara again. And you could still go and enjoy your time in Mali».
«Yes. I think I can go there. But I do not feel I have to prove anything to anyone. Even to myself», Oumou told the psychologist the next time he visited him.
After he’d taken down everything she had said, he smiled and said:
«Ok, Oumou. I think it can be useful to you going there, but you no longer need it. You can now lead a normal life, as I think you are now cured, if you can go on with your life. But it could be interesting if you go back to your country for a quick visit and analyse your feelings when you are in Bamako, or even in your home village, talk to your family and your neighbours, even if you no longer know them. They say the places we knew when we were small are specially dear to us. You might like that or not».
Finally Oumou was eligible for Spanish citizenship. She had been many years in the country, and she had profited her time here. She had worked a lot and besides some money she had earned her Spaniship at heart, because she could speak the language with no foreign accent at all, she was aware of the language and history of the country, as she had taken her degrees in Hispanics and History at Alicante University, and had developed a real feeling of affection for her chosen country, not Valencia, but Spain itself. She had visited the whole of Spain and was glad she had settled in Alicante, to her the most beautiful city in the country, with the best weather, too. She once thought what her life would have been like if she had landed in Italy, France or England, or any other part of Europe, and had concluded that she was fortunate enough to have been here, as she doubted she could have ever fallen in love with any other part of the world.
When she went to the police station for the visa she met Irene, the clerk there. I wish I were her, Oumou thought the first time she saw her. She was so young and beautiful, she had been in a civilized country all her life, with her family, who cared for her, and had a decent job, not like her, who had to sell her body every day. Merilou had been with her the first time she had been at the Police Station, as she did not dare go alone because she thought she’d be deported if they discovered she was in Spain illegally. But Merilou insisted, as she would not let one of her girls to have a problem with the police. Alona was there too, and they both got the residence permit, as they proved that they had stayed in the country for several years. But she did not have to explain a lot. Irene was a very nice, young girl, and very helpful, too. They liked each other all of a sudden, and every time she had to go there she waited longer to be attended by Irene. Oumou envied her because she had not to sell her body to earn her living. Probably if she knew what her salary was she’d not think so, though. But probably she would still think it was a good price to have a decent job, a boyfriend to get married with in future, have children, lead a normal life…
All that would come within her grasp some time later, when she met Irene. That had happened in the cinema. She went to the movies, as she often went to the picture house, alone, because her friends did not like it very much. That day she saw an old Spanish film, Amanece, que no es poco (It is dawn, which is not little), by J. L. Cuerda, which made her laugh a lot. At the queue at the ticket office she met Irene, and they saw the film together. After the film was over they went for a drink and discussed what they had just seen. Oumou agreed that even if it was funny, it was only a stupid story about nothing, really. Perhaps that is what she needed in that time of her life, with only work. In fact she had been studying just to kill routine.
In the course of the conversation Oumou told her she envied her, what shocked Irene, since the black girl had so nice dresses while hers was very modest an attire. They told about their private lives, and finally Irene knew that while she was a regular Spanish girl, daughter or a standard religious Catholic couple with a strict morality, her new friend was only a high class whore. That shocked her, and Oumou saw discontent and disappointment on her face. And then she understood why Oumou envied her: she had not to earn her living with her sex, though she was embarrassed to confess to herself that she also envied Oumou because her own sex life was nihil. In fact she was still a virgin, at 26!
«So you’ll probably will not want to see me again, since I am a whore…», Oumou moaned.
«Of course I will see you again, Oumou!», Irene answered. «See, my parents enforced a very strict moral on me and I’d never do as you do for a living, but I find you are a fascinating person, and I’d like to know more about you. I do not judge you, and I think your life must have been a very hard one. You were not born in Alicante, it’s true...»
«No, I was born in Mali, Africa, as you know».
«Yes, however you know more about Spain and Europe than I do».
«Oh, well, I studied at university here. I took a degree in Hispanics and another one in History».
«So you are clever. I never went to university. But you needn’t be a whore if you don’t want to. Look: eventually you'll get the Spanish citizenship, and you have plenty of time to prepare the programme to sit a special exam we call Oposición. If you pass it you might become a teacher on History or Spanish in a secondary school. There you have the possibility to earn your living without your present trade».
The next day Oumou went to the Consellería de Educación (Education office) in Alicante, and found out everything about the oposiciones. She had just finished her degrees, so she had to do a special course called CAP (Pedagogical Aptitude Certificate) which lasted one year. She knew now she only had to become a Spaniard to be able to sit those exams and she'd have Irene's life, Oumou's dream.
So life started being bright for her again, she had a dream, a target in life. But she knew she could not do that unless she could have peace of mind. That meant there was something she had to do before she came into a school and teach young people: she had to go to her country, talk to her remaining relatives, and bury all her fears there.
Oumou had often seen Irene, nearly every week they went to the cinema together. Irene did not ask anything she considered improper, but Oumou sometimes told her about her life and worries. Irene was Oumou’s friend by now, the only one who was not related to her whore life, so she invited her to visit her home town, as she would like to share this with her. That’s why she told her about her origins, and why she had left her village, her family, her country and even her continent. And then Irene could not stop dropping her tears once and again even if she did not want to.
«But I do not want to make you sad, dear», Oumou said.
«Of course not! Please, go on. What happened after you met Brusco?»
Oumou went on with her story. In the bottom of her heart she felt proud of herself. She had come into a new land, a new culture, and she had taken two university degrees. In fact she was about to have a test to become a secondary school teacher to win a position in Alicante itself, for the rest of her life, hopefully.
And then she decided she was finally ready to go home and face her own ghosts…
Oumou understood she could no longer live with that fear to go back home. Of course, her home was already Alicante, but there was something she had to do about her previous life in Africa, those twelve years in a tiny village in Mali, those seventeen years in Africa. She was now thirty-four, and had got the same education as if she had been born in Spain, and she was even a Spaniard in citizenship, and no longer a Malian, as there was no agreement on double nationality between both countries. That meant that she would be a foreigner in Mali, and if something happened to her while she was in Mali it would be Spain and its ambassador who would have to take care of her, not the local government. Well, it was nice feeling she had rights in her native country, even if they were granted only by her country of adoption.
The flight to Bamako was around ten hours, and had a stop in Barcelona, where she had to board a plane coming from Paris. From the airport a taxi took them to the Relais Hotel, in the city center, at Liberty Avenue, la Avenue de la Liberté. Oumou could not talk French when she lived in Mali but she had learnt it in Mauritania and later in Spain, so now she could understand everybody in her old country, since French was spoken all over the place, as well as in neighboring Senegal and Cameroon.
Oumou was not alone in this trip. She had invited her friend Irene and also her shadow, good Rose. Neither of them had been in Mali before, and even in Africa, but for the short visits Rose had made to Melilla, Ceuta and Marrakech. That's why everything was new for them: the people, the scenery, the habits... They two could talk French, too, though not so well as Oumou, whose frequent visits to different parts of France had given her a nice native accent from L'Île de France, the Paris area. In fact people in Bamako were surprised to see she was Spanish and not French: to them Europe was France and surroundings…
In the first three days they were in the capital they made plenty of sightseeing: they visited the African House of Photography, which is inside the National Library in Bamako. They saw also an interesting Women’s Museum and the Palace of Culture, where they met African and Malian cultures for the first time in their lives.
After they had spent a week in Bamako, they decided to go to Mutry, Oumou’s village. It was sixty kilometers northways from Mopti, in the North bank of the River Niger. Mopti had always been referred to by her dad as The city, the great city in the area, over 100,000 people large, but coming from a city four times that size, Alicante, that was really a town to Oumou now.
They knew the trip out of the capital could be weird and dangerous, so they hired private security. They were Tim and Don, two Malian retired soldiers who worked now as security guards for foreigners who dared to get into Deep Mali. Usually they told them the country was safe, but even so Oumou insisted in hiring them. They did not charge a lot, $200 each for a fortnight though they’d come back earlier, she told them. Irene was a bit worried at the thought, but Rose reassured her, as she really believed the guards’ point of view.
The next day they left for Mutry in a large jeep, the six of them: Kassim, the young driver, Oumou and the two girls plus the two body guards, who seemed to deny their previous words with the Kalashnikov they each held tight.
After a few hours they came into the small village which had been Oumou’s universe for the first part of her life. Everything was different, smaller, even the people were smaller and thicker than she remembered. She scarcely recognised her mum, who was an old woman with white hair who could not remember her at all. They had told the poor woman Oumou had died, but it seemed as if that had happened centuries before. Dad was dead, and three of their other children had died, too: one girl and two boys. Oumou guessed the girl had died at excision and the she was told the boys had died from illness at an early age. Her brother Bemba, however, had not died and he was now the head of the family. Oumou was not very happy when she saw her mom did not greet her warmly. Her brother told her everybody in the family was upset at her desertion and they agreed to decide she was dead. But now she came back as a ghost and she cannot expect everybody to be happy. Yes, why did she have to come back?
«Well, you’re my family, brother. I have nothing in the world but you».
«Well, we haven’t you any longer, sister. Go back to Europe and forget about us».
Oumou heard that and then burst out in laughter. Was this rubbish what she had been afraid of? These people were small, mean and limited. Of course, she couldn't blame them, but it was her own fault to think they were giants who could harm her. They could never. She had beaten them all when she left them.
«Well, Bemba, I may buy a house in Bamako and come back from time to time. Come and see me some time, if you please. Bring your children, I can help you send them to university».
«What for? I do what dad did, and granddad…, and so we did since the beginning of times, and so we’ll do till the end of time».
«Well, at least give me Saifa. I’ll pay for her education in a good school in Bamako, and she will become a doctor or whatever she wants at university, so that she’ll be something in life».
«Oumou, you have your life, we have ours. My children will be what their parents were. You are a mongrel among foreigners. Well, good luck, sister. Come back if you want, but there is what you can see. If you don’t like it don’t come back. If you still want to be one of us, stay with us. But you’ll never be one of us again, even if you try. You cast shame upon us and we’ll never forget that. If you want us again you will live with us, you will forget about Europe, and you’ll get married to the man I decide, as things have always been done in our family. Otherwise you go and do not come back. You take it or leave it».
There was not much more to say. The day was nice, there was sun and nice weather at the banks of the Niger River, but there was something cold in the air. It was her brother, the one who was so lovely as a little boy. Now his ideas were a thousand years old. Yes, there was cold, a lot of cold, in the heart of Oumou.
So the next day they decided to leave early in the morning.
At mid-morning they came near a wooden hut in the middle of nowhere.
«This is it», Kassim said.
«What?», said Oumou.
The two security guards pointed their guns at them and said:
«This is where you are staying».
«You must be crazy!», she said.
«Don’t lose your temper, Oumou», Don said. «We are kidnapping you. Do as we say, as we are getting money from your people either dead or alive».
«It is very clear», Rose whispered to her, «do as they say if you want to keep us alive. I'll think of something».
Oumou translated for them and they smiled and said they wanted $100,000 for everyone of them. If they did not get the money, they’d kill them.
They were taken into the hut and chained to the wall. Then the driver and Don went away with the Jeep. The remaining guard, Tim, was told not to go near the women till they came back. But he was looking with greedy eyes at Irene and Rose even as he said yes.
Two hours later, Tim came into the hut and stared at them, one by one. Oumou was feeling bad for bringing her friends along with her. She was terrified. Nobody was going to pay $300,000 for them, so they were as good as dead. Oumou could understand nothing, and was very afraid. It had been stupid to leave their wonderful life in Europe to come to Mali to get only dirt and an undignified death at the hands of scum.
Rose was afraid, too, but she stood Tim’s stare and even half smiled. The girls were sitting on the floor with their backs against the wall and their hands tied to a chain which was pending from a hook on the wall. As Rose looked at Tim, she moved her legs slightly apart and closer in a nervous movement, which might show something and then hide it, as if it were an unconscious movement. Tim came to her and put his hand between Rose’s legs. She smiled and moved as if he had tickled her. She even shouted with a low, short cry, as if surprised, unwillingly. Tim put his hand under Rose’s knickers, and she opened her legs. Satisfied, he unlocked her chain from the wall hook and took her outside, pulling from her chain. She followed him and winked at Oumou, who understood nothing.
Tim closed the door and took Rose to the other side of the hut, outside, looking for the shade in that hot day. He fell her onto the ground while he left his gun leaning on the wall, well outside the girl’s reach, and putting his hand under her skirt, he pulled her knickers out. She looked at him without losing the half afraid smile she had been wearing since he first looked at her in the hut. He then pulled her skirt up, exposing the woman’s crotch. Then he invaded the woman in all his length, getting a loud pain shout out of Rose. He maneuvered into and out of her for ten minutes, inside the horrified girl who could not help crying and then weep while he finished showering her inside. Then he lay on the woman’s body, motionless. But Rose remembered what she had read once about The kiss of Shanghai, and pressed his manhood with her vagina muscles, so that she further excited the man, who went on pouring his essence into her. He tried to go off her, but she was pressing so hard he could not, till his member became flaccid. He was really exhausted, after twenty minutes sexual intercourse. Yes, this woman was really great. And there was another white one just for himself. Yes, he thought he had been privileged. But then, as he was about to go out of her, Rose, put the chain around his neck, several turns, and then she pulled very hard with either hand to either side. Tim was a strong man and tried to counteract the woman’s movement, but he was really tired and could not. So after a few minutes, he gave up: that woman was much stronger than he had thought. He kicked the woman and hit her with his fists and knees, but she would not let go. After a couple of minutes he choked to death, looking at that strange woman’s eyes, as if saying good-bye to her. A strange woman, indeed, who had let him rape her, now he understood, just to make sure she got away from there. The struggle for life had a loser, and it was not her. But she did not release her grip for another quarter of an hour, at least. Then she bit his lips, and saw no reaction from him. She released her pull and hit the man in his eye with her thumb as hard as she could, but there was no reaction from the man. Then she concluded he was dead. She released the chain and felt his weight on her, and felt her horrible situation, with her skirt up, no knickers on and her legs well spread apart, with a man inside her. A dead man. She made the two of them roll so that she was on top of him. She got free from him, and put her ear on his chest. There was no sound. His heart no longer bit. When she released the chain from him, she understood he had not been suffocated into death, because his neck was broken.
She searched his pockets and go the key to unlock herself free from her chain, and then pulled him inside the hut. She saw some blood on the grass. Her first blood, the blood she had been keeping all her life to give the man her heart chose as the right one to share her life with. Now that dream was broken. But she had just been born again. So she thought it was the blood of her new birth, she had given birth to herself again, with pain and blood. And she did not feel unhappy. She did not feel happy, either. It was a weird sensation: now she was a murderer, and probably she’d have to kill soon again, or be killed. Yes, it was a hard life in Africa.
The other girls were surprised to see her come in pulling the dead man. Rose unlocked them and told them what had happened. Irene wanted to go away immediately, but Rose told them that without a car they'd be dead from the sun, and heat, or else the other two men could chase them very easily from their jeep, and they had firearms.
The men came back at six in the evening. They were three, plus the driver. They were surprised not to see Tim outside.
«Stupid Tim! Probably he’s having fun with the girls!», Oumou heard Don say.
«Well, let’s we join the fun, too», Kassim said.
The four of them came inside the hut cursing Tim all of a sudden. As soon as the four of them were inside, they found Oumou and Irene still tied to their chains on the wall, and from the third hook there was a chain pending down, and the third woman seemed to be hid by Tim’s body, which was sitting on a chair and leaning on a table, sleeping under his hat. Don came to him and hit him hard to wake him up, but did not understand fast enough why the man fell to the ground and there was nobody tied to the third chain. The door closed and Rose shot four times with Tim’s Kalashnikov, and the men dropped dead to the floor, one by one. As his three mates were dropping dead, Don turned round and pointed his gun at Rose, but her bullet found his forehead between his eyes before he could shoot. That look would never be forgotten by Rose, either. But she did not feel guilty then, or at any other moment in her life. It was the minute she had become a cold murderer. She had murdered Tim to save her own life. Now she was saving her friends’ lives. Five lives was a small toll to keep alive. Specially if it was not her life or those of her friends.
«Now what?», Oumou said to Rose, as she was hanging the gun from her shoulder.
«Now you get one gun each. We do not know if those sacks of dirt had friends around. We might have to shoot our way out of here. Can you shoot?»
«We’ll try», Irene said. «It is them or us».
«You learn quickly, Irene, I like that», Rose said. Oumou took a gun, too, but she did not know really what to do with it. She was not ashamed to see herself helpless and thanking her life to Rose and perhaps to Irene if they met the scum boys again.
«And now we get on the jeep and leave this place», Rose said.
They had no problem to go back to Bamako, as there was only one road. Soon the reached solid ground and after a few hours they reached their hotel. They left the guns in the boot of the car, which they parked in a no parking place so that the police got the car soon.
However, instead of going back to Spain the next day, the girls still spent some days in Bamako, relaxing and adjusting their lives again.
«I’ve never been so afraid», Irene started talking after breakfast.
«I’m really sorry I brought you here», Oumou said. «There was not really need to come. And my problem was nothing compared to the ordeal we have just suffered».
«I’d never killed anyone. And then I had to kill five other people one after the other».
«They wanted to rape us and then murder us. It was them or us», Irene said. «Do not feel bad, Rose. We two owe our lives to you. We will always be indebted to you for that. We’ll do as you say».
«Well», Rose said, «then do not tell about this to anyone. Even to your parents I could be put into jail for this. In some countries law seems to protect only criminals».
«But they might have asked our relatives for a ransom».
«Tell them, then, that they stole your phone and it was a fake kidnapping. It happens even in Spain nowadays: people say they have your son, or your husband, and you must pay in such a bank account if you want to see them alive again. And then your son or husband come all of a sudden in your home, because the criminals had nothing, just your phone number».
«Ok. I’ll tell them my cell phone was missing, then».
Oumou agreed, too. But she had a question: «I wonder how you could kill Tim, Rose. He had a gun and a lot of bullets. And he was a very strong man».
«I used a woman’s weapons», Rose said. «But I had to let him rape me first, and then, when he was really tired and far from his gun, I broke his neck with my chain. Yes, I had to kill him with my hands. Killing his mates was easier: I only had to pull the trigger».
«But how could you break his neck?»
«I put the chain around his neck and pulled as hard as I could».
«Uh huh, I see», Irene said.
«If I had tried to fight him earlier, he’d have killed me with his gun or his hands. He was very strong. But I knew they’d kill us anyway, even if our families had paid the money: we had seen too much, we knew them and how and where they get their victims. How many people have those bastards murdered in the past?»
«Well, thanks Goodness everything is over now», said Irene.
«But do not feel bad, Oumou. We do not blame you. These things do happen all the time. Unfortunately they usually do not end this way. I do not blame you, however, if you don’t want to come back here. It was a horrible trip till now, and it has not finished yet…»
«Oh, no! It was my family I was afraid of. But I fear no more from them. I see them small and far from me. The danger was not in them, it never was, but only inside my mind. Now Bemba, my brother, is nothing but a stranger. My mom is what she always was, a stranger, too. And I no longer fear Africa or Mali. In fact I think I’ll buy a house here, and you will always be my guests, as long as you want».
«Will you not come back to Spain?»
«Of course I will. Spain is my country. Bamako will be my holiday place, in the same way as Kiev is Alona’s and Merilou’s».
«You may count on me, dear», Rose said. «How about, Irene, will you come back to this country?»
«Well, Rose, I feel safe with you. Much safer than with any private security we can hire. So why not?», she laughed. «After all you are the only one who can kill for me».
So Oumou bought the next day a detached house near the Railway Station so she could go easily to other places in the country. They never reported what had happened, because they did not want to spend more time explaining five deaths, and also they did not know if those men had friends who would avenge them. But on the day they were leaving, they saw on television a report on the strange death of five men belonging to the terrorist group Boko Haram, among them the owner of a jeep which had been found by the police in Bamako city center recently full with firearms and ammunition. Reporters thought they were going to do something nasty in the capital, but apparently they had fought among themselves, and a blast was expected in the near future, so police recommended people to contact them if they saw something strange.
When they saw Alona and Merilou again, they told them they had left their cell phones in Alicante, and upon coming back they hear a strange message in a language they did not understand. It was in French. Oumou heard the messages and told them it must have been a mistake, or else it sounded a joke, and they did not pay attention to it, so explanations were not needed. But the message was in Malian and broken French, and said: We have your three friends. If you want to see them again alive you must deposit €300,000 in this bank account. And then it followed a long number, the IBAN of a bank account in Gibraltar.
Oumou told them it was really an advertisement, and they could safely delete it. yes, their trip to Mali would be a secret shared by the three friends.
The first sequel to the trip was that Oumou was no longer nervous when she had to use her native language, Bambara, and she could from then on go to Africa and even her country, Mali.
The next time Oumou visited her psychologist, Rose went with her and in fact she asked for a session for herself, too.
Oumou told him she had been in Africa, in Mali, in Bamako, in Mopti, and even in Mutry, her own village, and had talked to what was left of her family.
«Was it hard for you?»
«No, not really. I know now that the problem was here», she said pointing at her head, «and probably also here», she said pointing at her chest.
Both girls looked at each other and then Rose smiled and looked down to the floor.
«Well, then I guess you are cured, Oumou. Good for you». The psychologist paused and then said: «Is there anything you’d like to add before we close your case, Oumou?»
«Well…, yes. But I prefer you hear Rose first».
The psychologist looked at either girl, one after the other, several times. Them he asked:
«Well, Rose, I’m listening».
«Well, doctor, I went with Oumou to Melilla, Ceuta and Marrakech. So it was only logical that I accompanied her to her village, too».
«Of course», half said the doctor taking notes. He used to do so even if he was recording everything his patient said.
«Well, when she was ready to go back to her original country, she did not have to ask me: I really knew I had to go with her. I did not know, though, that Irene, a good friend of hers, would come with us, too».
«Well, to cut the long story short, everything went on well. But on the way back we were kidnapped by the private security men whom we had hired at the airport, Tim and Don. They were aboriginal from Mali, from the race Mandinga, unlike Oumou, who is Bambara. They looked nice and good people. But then, when we were coming back from her village, in the middle of nowhere , they pointed their guns at us and chained us to the wall inside a hut in the countryside. There was nothing we could do. We were forced to give them our cell phones an and our PIN numbers so that they could ask for a ransom for us from our families. I am a security guard myself, but all my preparation was useless in front of two Kalashnikovs. So they had their way and we had to let them chain us to the wall. Tim was left to look after us while the other two went to Bamako to ask from the ransom from a public phone box.
»When the other men were already away, Tim looked at Irene and me with greedy eyes. I learnt then he had a taste for white women, and so I took advantage of it. I sent subtle messages to him, so that he chose me instead of Irene, who is much more fragile than me. I stood his stare so that he felt he had to teach me a lesson, but I also moved my legs in a seductive way, half showing and hiding what is between them. I was sure then that they were going to kill us as soon as they understood nobody could pay that money for us. Well, since they were going to kill us anyway, I tried to seduce Tim, which I did easily, but with enough subtlety for him not to realize. I was handcuffed and tied to a chain which was fixed to the wall. Tim was too eager to rape me, so he might liberate my hands, but he did not. If he had not been so excited, though, he should have wondered why I did not fight for my virginity.»
Here Oumou looked at Rose in surprise. Dr. Méndez was startled, too, at this confession. How can a woman of 30 be still a virgin in present day Spain? However, these things still happen…
«Well», Rose went on uninterrupted, «I was really afraid. But not of being raped, but murdered, which would happen as soon as the other two came from Bamako, because I had fooled them, and Irene and Oumou two or three days later, when they realized money was not coming, and even if they did, we had seen them and knew where they contacted their victims, so they would kill us anyway. That's why we could say I was not raped really, but I traded my virginity for our lives. If everything turned out well, it would be a sacrifice to Eros so that Thanatos would not take us with him. And in so trading, I realised, as in a sudden picture, the reasons why many women become whores: they trade sex for their own lives. So I seduced that bastard, that murderer, and even cooperated in my first copulation. What I had in store for my Mr. Right for so long was the coin I used to gain back my life and those of my friends. It was really painful, and so I shouted in pain when that brute invaded me all of a sudden with his battering ram, which was really thick and long».
She made a pause to blow her nose and dry a couple of tears, and then went on:
«I held on the thought that I had to watch the second he was weak and take advantage of the situation in case I could control the brute, in the same way as matadors patiently wait for the bull to let him the way for his sword to find its heart. That was why I had to try and do the so called Shanghai kiss, you know, that procedure by which I had to press his member by contracting my vagina muscles so that he was more and more excited so that even if he tried to go back, my sucking power would not let it get out before it got deflated. So he got a huge orgasm, and when he finished, he was really weak, and drowsy. And that was the moment I had been waiting for. Then I put my chain around his neck and pulled from both sides as hard as I could, so he contracted every muscle in his body, searching liberation from it. He banged me all over my body with his, but I would not let go, as I was fighting for my life and also for those of my friends. And his strength had been diminished by his orgasm. Suddenly his eyes went in white and he dropped on me. I had scarcely time to keep my face away from his on its way to the floor.
»I stood still there, below him with my legs well spread apart and his member inside me for many minutes, maybe a quarter of an hour, till I realised he was dead. I noticed the only breathing I could hear was my own one. I made us roll over, and then made sure he was dead. In the process his neck had been broken, so I was certain I had nothing to fear from him. I got rid of my handcuffs and took him inside the hut and they two helped me to sit him at the table so that he could partially hide my place on the wall to anybody coming from outside.
»Their friends came into the hut several hours later, shouting at him and telling him off for not being outside on the watch. But they did not see me behind the door till I was shooting at them.They died instantly without realizing what was going on. Only Don faced me as and got his gun ready as he got a bullet between his eyes. I’ve dreamed of that picture ever since. And Tim’s face, too, who died looking at me in despair. But I think I did well: it was them or us. And they were mean people who lived on the suffering of others and the world is much better without them. But I have thought ever since that I killed five people in cold blood, which contradicts all my culture conditioning. I even killed one of them with my bare hands, so to say. And I think my life changed in that moment…»
Rose was quiet for a moment. Oumou and Dr. Méndez could not say a word. He had not stopped writing his notes, though, and still wrote for several minutes. Then he stopped and looked at the woman.
«So how do you feel now?», he asked at long last.
«I know I am a murderer, though I never had a choice not to. But what worries me is that I do not have any remorse at all».
«Are you happy you killed them, then?», Dr. Méndez avoided the word murder on purpose.
«No. I am happy I saved my life and my friends’ lives. But I feel no remorse for them. It is as if I considered them animals I had to kill to keep on with my life».
«Indeed they were not real persons…», whispered Oumou.
«But there’s more to it, Rose», Dr. Méndez added. «Were you not shocked to lose your virginity like that?»
«I suppose I was excited then because I saw myself facing death, Doctor. You know, Eros and Thanatos, sex and death were close together in front of me, and they are in our genes. And then I knew I could do something about it: I could use Eros to defeat Thanatos. And so I did...»
«However, Eros took revenge on me, Doctor: I am pregnant».
Oumou and the Doctor kept on listening. The latter watched the former, and knew she did not know about it.
«Help me, doctor. I don’t really know what to do!»
«You can have it, or suffer an abortion. Nobody would blame you to get rid of it, as it is the consequence of rape».
«I know, Doctor. But it is a life. I caused too much death already…»
«Then you can have it».
«I don’t know. His father was a violent person. He could be violent, too, and make my life miserable when he or she is an adult. On the other hand, all my cultural conditioning is against abortion, as my parents are very strict Catholics, and I have been so, too, till very recent times. I do not know if there is a God who will disapprove on me for that».
«Well, Rose, the way I see it, it depends on how you look at it. It depends on what will make you happy. Did you ever regarded you as a mother?»
«Yes, doctor. With the right man. A happy marriage, and my husband helping me all along… I don't think I can have it and give it a happy life alone».
«Was yours…, is yours a happy life, Rose?»
«No, I guess it is not: unemployment till very recently, quarrels with dad and mom…, I got my own flat because of that».
«Are they a happy couple?»
«Yes, I think they are, more or less. They love each other».
«However their child was not happy. Not all the time».
«You have up to 14 weeks to think it over, Rose, though the sooner you make up your mind, the better for everybody, including the unborn. And as soon as you decide not to have it, everything will be over in six days. You only have to go to your medicine doctor and tell him or her and things will speed up without anyone else knowing about it».
«I did not know it was that fast, doctor…»
«Well, whatever you do, you must think it is the right thing and never think the what if… rubbish. It would harm your mind and your soul. This is my professional advice. I have seen many problems from that. Just do it and never think of it again. Or else have your child and look after him or her for the rest of your life with love and no regrets».
«I suggest you to go home and think about all this and come back in a month. Then tell me about your decision, and I’ll try to help you».
«Oumou», the doctor turned to the other girl, «everything we said here is secret, it belongs to Rose’s privacy. It's better that you discuss it with nobody else but her».
«Yes, doctor, I understand. If anybody else knows about it, it will be because Rose tells them».
Then Oumou’s case was closed and Rose’s was opened. Both girls left the doctor’s. Oumou no longer had any problem in life. Now it was Rose’s which was only starting.
On the way home, Oumou asked Rose how long she was pregnant.
«Well, we came from your country two months ago. When my second menstruation was missing I did the test, and then I went to the doctor for a blood test and then I saw there was no mistake about it».
«You could have shared it with me earlier».
«Well, I was going to get rid of it without anybody else knowing about it, but then I thought I could be a mom, and I liked the idea. Your doctor made me caress la idea».
«But you can still get a good man as a husband and have your own children of love…»
«Children of love? A good man like dad? I was not very happy with him, even if he is Mr. Right for mom. No, I think happiness is not related to your parents or how they behave to each other. But you have to work your happiness every day».
They were silent for a while. Then Oumou asked some practical questions:
«Are you telling the other girls?»
«No. Not until I finally decide I have it, if I do. So, please, give me a month's time to talk to myself».
«As you wish, friend», she said pressing Rose’s hand. «But know that if you decide to have it, it will be mine, too, somehow».
«What do you mean, Oumou?»
«It was me who took you to my country. It was me who hired those evil men. And they were people from my country, my race…»
«Oh, that’s nothing to do with it, Oumou. You were a victim of theirs, too. And you get evil men anywhere in the world. We’ll both be more sensible in future. And also, motherhood is an accident which can happen to every woman, you know», she half smiled. «But if I have this child, it will be wanted, and loved since the first day».
So, when they reached home they told Alona and Merilou the good news: Oumou was totally cured from her phobia, and she'd go to Mali a month a year, and Rose would spend that month with her.
Life went back to normal and the customers were only the regulars, nobody new. Rose often thought she had done what these three did: sex for a profit, and then she no longer thought she was any superior to them, her employers. Yes, they worked as whores, but she had been a whore once. Just for once, even if she did it to save her life and her friends’. She had no other choice. Did her employers have another chance? Anyway she understood now that being a whore is not the dirty, filthy thing she used to think. Then, further, she thought she should learn the trade to have a better judgement on the issue. There must be much more than letting him do it. She had done it only once, while Oumou and the others had done it several thousand times.
Rose pondered the advantages and disadvantages of having her baby. It would be a mestizo, a half-breed, neither white nor black, and so he or she would not fit well in Spain or Mali. She’d not live in Africa, on the other hand, as she did not like what she saw there, a place where only the weather was nice to her. But she touched her tummy and thought there was somebody there, a life developing. She could not fail to feel someone important to her and others was already developing in there. And that thought was stronger day after day, and she liked it. Other times she thought it was just a piece of meat, not even flesh, and she should get rid of it now that she could, as otherwise it would ruin her life. She could not work with a swollen tummy, and she realized the girls would have to hire someone else if she went on with her pregnancy. And she didn't want to lose her job.
She got interested in Mali and its culture, and she read about Yambo Ouloguem, the writer of a curious book, The Duty of Violence, which attracted her attention because she had felt such a duty just to keep alive. She was not proud of what she had done, but those four people were on the way for them just to go on living their lives. The girls might not lead exemplary ones, but they harmed nobody, except those five evil men.
She told her mom when she saw her next. She usually had lunch with the girls, but every second week she visited her parents. It was while his father was sleeping his siesta:
«Mom, I am pregnant».
«What? Are you sure?»
«I did not know you had a boyfriend».
«No. I haven’t».
«It’s a souvenir from Mali».
«Who’s the father?»
«He’s dead now. He was a security guard there, in Bamako, the capital city».
«I see. What happened to him?»
«He was murdered».
«Oh, dear! I’m sorry, honey. Were you two attached very closely?»
Rose thought it very hard: was she attached to him? Well, physically they were attached when she was killing him, as he was still inside her. So she said: «Yes, mom, more than to anyone else in the world».
«Oh! I am so sorry, dear». After a short while she went on: «Well, you had a romantic affair in Africa. That’s very nice».
«What name are you going to use for him or her?»
«I am still thinking whether I’m having it or not…»
«You…, but you know my way of thinking, dear. Abortion is murder!»
«I know you think like that, mom. But your child was the result of your love, dad's and yours, while this is the result of only a moment of lust».
«Oh, dear, I thought you loved that man even for a few minutes».
«I would not like to talk about him, mom. He’s dead now».
«Ok. At least tell me his name».
Joan looked at her daughter and stopped talking or even thinking. She just followed her instinct and hugged her daughter while she whispered on her ear: «You are my daughter and I love you. And as long as I live I will always stand by you in whatever you decide, my little Rose».
«Thanks, mom», she said with a tear running down her face.
On the way home that day she thought it might be the last and only opportunity to make them grandparents. Mom would like to be a grandma, of course, and after what had happened to her she could not see herself under a man again. That had happened under extraordinary circumstances, and if she was ever in such a situation she'd probably do the same, but not for pleasure. Pleasure..., did she feel any pleasure at all? She felt pain, a lot of pain. But she did not regret that pain because it was part of her plan to keep them alive. She thought they were going to die then, but they survived..., for a price. Her toll was her virginity and taking five lives. She thought she had not suffered any damage..., until she told the psychologist. Should she have kept that inside her heart for good? No, in the long run she'd have felt worse. And now she had a decision to make: would a sixth death be her cure or her problem for the rest of her life? She'd have to have her child with grandma all the time..., or with her and the girls. It did not look like the best idea to raise her child in a whorehouse..., or might it be the best for him or her to learn from the beginning the lesson she learn at thirty years old? Life is hard and you've got to be harder than life. Should she ask the other girls? Well, if she was having the baby, they’d know anyway. And yet if she was not, they’d never know…
For the whole month she was thinking it over. She only was aware of both her mom and Oumou supporting her in whatever she decided, or at least they had said so. Her dad and the other two girls knew nothing and that was part of the support she needed to choose on her own.
«You know whatever you decide will be all right to me, Rose. To get rid of it will be the most convenient. On the other hand, every time I see him or her I’ll remember I owe you my life, and he or she lives because you were saving my life. I will never forget that», Oumou had told her half in tears.
But Oumou had not talked to her again about it since then.
The four girls went on with their lives. She had to work with Oumou and Alona for two weekends, with either girl for one day. And so they recovered their routine. Rose had to kick out two newcomers, and that made the girls be a bit more selective. They no longer searched customers, but they came to them recommended by other customers, their regulars, though sometimes it was evident that they did not know them well enough to recommend.
And finally, a month later, Rose had a special dinner cooked at home and she told them she had something to celebrate.
The girls thought it was the fifth anniversary of the day Rose started working for them, which was near that day. But at the end of dinner they saw a big cake with strange words on it: Welcome Tim/Sarah.
Then she cleared her voice and said: «Friends, bosses, I have something important to tell you: I am going to have a baby!»
They all were speechless, except Oumou, who hugged her and started to cry as she said «My Rose!», several times.
Then the future mom told Alona and Merilou what had happened in Mali. The best argument for her to have it was that she could not imagine to have another opportunity to be a mother. She had never met a man she liked enough to have a common project with, and probably she would never find him. She met her baby’s father by a very bad chance and did not have the wish to repeat it, and then she made up the decision to do for somebody else what had been done to her by her parents.
The girls were very understanding and gave Rose support. They told her she’d have a work leave for the last three months or more, if she needed it, and meanwhile they’d hire a temporary bodyguard.
Her mom was really happy to be a grandma, but her dad wanted to know more:
«Dad, there was a special man I met in Mali, but unfortunately this baby is everything I keep from him because he is dead».
«Oh». People feel a strange thing when death comes up in the middle of the conversation.
«So were you two very attached?», he asked.
«Yes, dad», she said, thinking her dad would never know how much they two were attached, attached by death, who shifted its target at the very last moment. «Yes, we were attached, very much. We were together only once, and then we did not meet again. The next I knew of him was that he was dead».
«Ok, dear. You know you can count on us both. I know to rise a child is not easy. You are very brave to do it alone. But you're not alone, you have your old parents on your side, and you can leave your kid with us as long as you want».
«Thanks, dad», she said with watery eyes, for she had never expected her dad to be so generous.
Her pregnancy was not really hard, even if it was the first time she was in such a state. On the seventh month her belly was so prominent that she was no longer fit for the job and the girls had to seek another bodyguard. Oumou talked to the other girls and convinced them about her candidate: Gustav.
He had been unemployed for a lot of time after he had resigned his position with them. He did not like the offers he found, and now was working for a company which underpaid its employees. So when Oumou called him, he went to see her immediately. The Malian told him it would be only for four months, and the conditions were exactly the same as he had when he was working for them. Of course he accepted and subscribed the four months contract. That day, as soon as he came home, he told his wife he was working for the whores again, even if it is only for four months, what made her very happy, because in four months he’d get more money than in the whole year for the company he had been working for the last years.
And finally the baby came. Exactly 260 days after Rose was raped she gave birth to little Tim. She had not wanted to know her baby’s sex till she knew him or her. That's why she had chosen Sarah, like her grandma, if it was a girl. But it was a boy and then she named him after his father, Tim, so that her boy will cure her definitely from her trauma. Her psychologist, Dr. Méndez, agreed that could be right, in the long run, since to solve your problems you’ve got to face them, as otherwise they may sleep deep in your mind till they are woken up in the most unsuitable moment, as it had happened to her friend. But living with Tim could be the best way to overcome the other Tim. This Tim can dissolve the previous Tim into nothingness, and therefore the son can redeem the father in his mother’s mind.
But after the baby was four months old, Gustav was offered a renewal. Everything happened in a very simple, hazardous way:
When Rose’s birth leave finished, the girls offered her two extra months' leave with half her salary, provided that she agreed to work for half her salary when she came back for as much time. In fact that was trusting her a lot, even if they really gave her no money, as she’d have to refund it later. But in such a way her little baby could be with mom more time. And Gustav got two extra months for his full pay. But when that extension was about to finish, Rose left little Tim well fed and sleeping at his grandparent's home and went to see her bosses, wearing the Versace dress and jacket Oumou had given her the first time they met. The girls were busy with her customers at the moment, the three of them, so she was talking with Gustav about different things of their job, and the incidents which he had had in those six months she had been away.
And then there came a new customer, Charles Stepman, recommended by Arnold Castle, one of Alona’s oldest customers, and while Gustav was reading the presentation letter he brought, Charles asked Rose if she was one of the girls who were working there. Before the startled Gustav could react, Rose said:
She did not know why she said that. The man seemed nice, but he was older than her own father. Maybe that was what attracted her. As he was a new customer the procedure was, she knew, that he should be given the chance to choose among all the girls, but for a strange reason he chose her without seeing the other ones, or he may not know about the procedure.
Before any of the men could say a word, Rose said:
«Well, Gustav, accompany my customer to room 4 and tell him about the rules, while I get ready».
A surprised Gustav took him to a bedroom nobody used, and meanwhile she painted her lips and added some color to her cheeks. Then she made sure she looked attractive for a date with the man she had just met, and waited for Gustav to come back.
«Are you sure of this?», the bodyguard said.
«Yes, Gustav», she said. «Don’t you approve?»
«Well», he said avoiding the answer, «that bedroom has no door light. You can use this wireless to call me, if you must», he added giving her a remote control.
«Thanks, Gustav, you sweet», she said kissing his cheek.
She came into the room walking slowly with a broad smile on her face. The man was looking through the window, and turned to her as he heard the door close.
She took her jacket off and left it on a chair next to the door.
«A drink?», she offered.
«Well, yes. Maybe a whiskey, please».
All this shallow conversation had a lot of sexual content inside, as she talked with a lot of innuendo in her voice, and the man, it was obvious to her, was doing this for the first time in his life. That gave an extra amount of excitement to her. He was an experienced man in life who had met many women in the past, but he had already an age and position which made him search discretion to have a good time.
She sipped his drink briefly and then gave the glass to him with a smile. Then she came closer to him and kissed him, pushing the whiskey into his mouth. Then she released him and said:
«Did you think I was stealing you from your drink?» She touched him and found it very hard.
«How do you like it, Sir?», she added after his groan.
«You’re doing it very well, dear…»
«Senda», she said. «You can call me Senda. Do you want me to lead the way?»
She undid his tie and took his jacket off. Then she undid his shirt buttons and touched his chest with her open palm, her fingers spread to caress his skin as they pressed his thick chest hair sideways. He liked that. He had to lean on the window frame, gasping louder and louder. Then she undid his belt and zip, and took his trousers down, together with his slip. Then she got the man’s hard limb into her mouth and caressed it with her tongue and hard palate. It was the first time she did this in her life, so she wanted to do it tenderly and well. She kissed it and took it partially outside her mouth and then inside several times, while the man caressed her hair. She thought he was on the verge of ejaculation, so she took it off her mouth slowly, looking at him from down there, and said:
«Are you ready to take me, Sir?»
«Oh, no, please, go on!»
She smiled and gave it a soft lick at the underside from the back to the tip, and then she got a fast gust of semen on her face. She did not want her expensive dress stained with his essence, so she put his pending limb inside her mouth again and swallowed his remaining pulses while she spread the first one all over her face so that her skin absorbed it and did not drop onto her dress. The man groaned louder and louder, till he shouted:
«Oh! Please! Stop! Stop!»
She stopped and then released him slowly and received the last drops in her hand and licked her hand dry again. He looked at her and smiled.
«You are very good with your mouth, Senda. I’m your fan».
«Will you take me as your regular?» He knows, she thought.
She smiled and thought for a moment. She never before thought of becoming a whore, and in fact not so long ago she disapproved of this, but the man was so nice that she did not want to disappoint him.
«Of course, Mr…»
«Stempan. Charles Stepman».
«Is that your real name?»
«Yes, it is».
«Ok, Don Carlos», she said. «There’s our deal», and she kissed him on the mouth, giving him a bit of the taste of his own scent. «Let this kiss seal our contract. I’ll be your girl whenever you want, for a price, of course».
«What is your price, Senda..?»
«The usual, Mr. Stepman: €500 an hour».
«But you have still 45 minutes».
«Do you still want to be guided, or would you rather take the lead, Sir?»
«Oh, yes. Undress», he said as he put his shoes and socks off and lay on the bed, leaning on an elbow.
Senda had never undressed in the presence of another person, but she vanquished her shame and unbuttoned her expensive blouse, not forgetting to put some sensual music on as a nice background before she took it off. It was not exactly strip tease, but she took her time. First she took her shoes off, and then she put a foot on the bed near him, while she pulled her stocking down. She did not fail to notice the man's stare beyond her stocking into her crotch. She smiled at him. After her right stocking was on the bed, she pulled down her second one, and then she got rid of her blouse by taking first one sleeve and then the other, and the rest of the blouse at the same time, as the man appreciated the large breasts of the young woman. Then she undid her zip and let her skirt drop to the floor with a quick hip movement without losing his stare. She knew he was captured by her now. She felt herself powerful in that moment. Now she was wearing a sort of very expensive bikini. Her silky knickers had cost her €125, while she had paid not less than €250 for her bra. They were very seductive, of course, though when she bought them she did not suspect a man, even a stranger, would see them. She had bought them just for the pleasure of wearing them under such an expensive dress. But the man was delighted, and not exactly because of her bra or knickers, but by the way she was undressing. She put both hands behind her back and undid the clips which kept the bra supporting her breasts. Upon releasing them, her tits fell a bit, but not so much as she put the bra on the chair, together with her other pieces of garment. The man looked at her chest nodding approvingly…
«Shall I go on, Sir?», she demanded.
«No, Senda. Do come with me. I want to check if all that is yours.».
She knelt on the bed and went closer to him.
«Of course all this is mine, Sir», she said as softly as she could, with a sweet smile».
When she was near him, he put one hand on each breast. He pinched the nipples softly, and told her how sweet her tits were.
«I like them», he said before he sank his face between them.
Then he searched her crotch and pressed it slowly but firmly. She realized she was getting aroused. Now it was her turn to gasp. He pulled her knickers down and so both of them were totally nude.
This is, she thought as she moaned, the second screw in my life.
But there was a great difference: the man was not so eager as Tim had been because he was older and also because he had had an orgasm fifteen minutes before. He pulled her on top of him and kissed her tenderly. Then he pushed her breasts till she was sitting on top of him.
«Now you grab it», he said, getting hold of her hands.
She smiled, as there was only one way for her to grab it handless. She moved up and down till her femininity was on top of his erect manhood and swallowed it slowly.
Kiss of Shanghai, he muttered.
She remembered it very well. She was alive because she learnt to do it all of a sudden by herself. She pressed her member with her vagina muscles and stopped her motion. She pressed and released several times and found that she could control him, totally. And the thought of it excited her. After several minutes both of them exploded into a joint orgasm, a new experience for the woman.
After that rewarding moment of ecstasy, she fell sideways, still moaning.
When their breathing came to a normal pace, he said:
«I thought you professionals did not feel orgasms…, or else you are really good at pretending. I like that».
«No, I did not pretend this time, Sir. I really had one.»
«Well, I do not know if I believe you, but I thank you a lot in either case, Senda».
They still had some minutes. The man did not want to take advantage of that. He only kissed her mouth again, and then said: «You are the first professional I see, and I hope I’ll see you again soon».
«Whenever you choose, Mr. Stepman».
«But you surely have a lot of clients».
«Oh, no. Not many. I am starting in this house and still am creating my book, so you are taken down as my regular, Don Carlos».
«I suppose you’ll need certain frequency».
«Oh, no. Not for you, Don Carlos. Come when you need me. I am for your service, not the other way round». Then, with a perverse smile, she added: «It is not that you are my stallion, Sir, it is that I am your bitch. It is you who pays».
He laughed aloud. «Well, my dear Senda, let’s see if you can dress me in the eight remaining minutes».
She did in five. Then she accompanied him to the door of the room and kissed him Goodbye.
«Mr Stepman, next time we'll have a shower at the beginning and at the end of it», she pointed at the built in shower in a corner of the room. «But this time I want you to keep my sweat on you, so that you think of me, Sir. Tell Gustav to charge you for just one hour», she added, realizing that they had overdone time.
She did not have a shower either. She wanted to smell her first customer as long as she could.
When she was finishing dressing, Gustav entered the room.
«This man», he said, «says he must pay €500».
«Yes, that we agreed».
When Don Carlos had gone, Gustav told her the other girls charged her customers €700 per hour. There had been a price update while she was away.
When she came to the hall, she met the other three girls.
«I heard now you are one of us», Merilou said.
«Well, no, that man mistook me by one of you, and then I thought I could try… I know it was stupid. Well, he now thinks I am a hetaera and he says he’s coming back».
«Waw, you have a regular!», said Oumou. «Congratulations!»
«I am sorry if I took him away from any of you, girls. But he in fact asked me if he could be my regular and I thought it could be funny being one of you for a while, so I said yes. Now I think I should have him even if I have nobody else. I should have talked to you before making this move…»
«Oh, no!», said Alona, «you can keep him for you. Blessed he may be if he convinced you that you can be a good hetaera. Do you think you are?»
«Well, I liked what happened in there», Rose said. «Don’t you really mind, girls?»
«Well, a new mate is good for business», said Merilou. «And a trusted one».
«But I am not sure if I want to change my job…», she said looking at Gustav.
«Why don't you think it over? You can see me when I am with a customer through a hole in the wall», Oumou offered. «Then I can teach you some secrets so you can decide from a better perspective. Did you find it nasty?»
«No, I found it funny. He's older than my dad».
«Oh, so you like old ones? There we can reach an agreement in that: I can give you some of my regulars», Alona said. «I don't like grandpas».
Rose went back to her parents soon later, as she had to breastfeed her baby, as she intended to do so as long as he took it. That's why she had to go to and fro several times a day from her working place to granny's. That would be another reason to change her job, as she'd be freer to leave between every third customer.
The great change however, was mental: she no longer had that attitude against being a bitch. The event with Mr. Stepman had convinced her she could do it. When he asked her to be her regular customer she had been delighted to say yes. Earning €500 an hour was good because it would solve all her money problems, and she felt she could learn fast. Yes, she'd take advantage of Oumou's offer to learn all the tricks of the craft and will ask her also any doubts on the art of seducing and love making. Yes, that encounter with Tim in Mali had brought her down to earth: Mr Right does not exist, And even if you met such a man, eventually you'd realize he's just a man, in the same way as you are just a woman, even if someone believes you're a fairy..., for a while. In comparison, Mr. Stepman was that Mr. Right, for Mr. Wrong had been Tim, obviously. And that meant she could cope with any Mr. Plainsman to be her customer.
The next one who required her came the following day. She had come to see the girls again when someone called. Oumou told him they were not on duty on Tuesdays, but he insisted, as he'd be away on Wednesday. It was one of Oumou's regulars, so she winked at Rose and said for fun «I can't, but a friend of mine might see you if you need it so badly. Just hold on...»
«Well?», Rose told her, surprised.
«He's my regular. He's going on a trip tomorrow. He says being with me is lucky for his business trips. Do you want to see him?»
«Tell him you're calling him later».
«Because I want you to tell me about him».
«Just a minute, Mr. Peters». Then she faced Rose and said:
«Ok. He's about forty and works for a multinational company, what makes him travel a lot. He likes one of us before every trip. He says we make him lucky in business».
«Ok. What is he like?»
«He's got brown hair with some white in it. Strong, though not too much, about your height, he weighs a few pounds more than he should...»
«Is he smart?»
«Yes, very smart, he dresses well. But he's a little queer».
«Yes, suddenly he asks you to smack his face. Can you do it?»
«Well,I guess so».
«Then will you see him?»
«Ok. Tell him my fee is €800 a hour. I'll see him in an hour if he can».
Oumou told him everything.
One hour later he was there.
Mr. Peters was really nice looking. Oumou was at the reception desk and took the money from him and escorted him to her own room. A few minutes later Senda came in half naked. In fact she was wearing a robe and a bra and knickers, but the robe was so loosely tied that the bra was seen. She looked very sexy.
«Hello, Mr. Peters. I'm Senda», she said as she came into the room. «How are you?»
«Oh, what a surprise, Senda! Were you not..?»
«Yes, Mr. Peters, I used to be a security guard, but now I'm Senda, your hetaera, Mr. Peters».
«Do you know what? When I came to see your friends I often wished you were one of them. Thank goodness I can fulfill my dream at last».
Senda smiled, and without getting her hands out off her pockets, said:
«Ok, Mr. Peters, how would you like it?»
«Well, I'll direct you Senda».
He came to her and kissed her mouth. Then he undid the knot in her waist and opened her robe. He smiled at what he saw, but he was seeing just a woman in bikini. He set a hand just under each breast and pushed her bra upwards, releasing her tits and then he went on till he got the bra over her head. He threw it onto a chair and then got hold of each tit with either hand and caressed it, and then pressed it hard. Nobody had ever pressed her tits, but she did not feel pain, but a strange sensation, like pain and pleasure at the same time. Then she asked:
«Do you like my tits, Mr. Peters?»
«Please call me Jack», he said releasing her breasts.
Then he touched her right nipple and then kissed it, and then pulled her knickers down her legs and put it together with her other garment. Senda set her legs apart a bit and opened her arms, glorious. She knew she was in command.
«Well, Jack, what do we do?»
Jack said nothing. He kissed her again and hugged her while he caressed her chest. Then he took her in his arms and put her on the bed and took her soon in the normal way, the missionary position. Jack was not very well endowed, but he could still do a decent service. After fifteen minutes he flooded Senda’s belly with his essence.
Then he undressed and turned her down so that she was lying on her face.
«What's happening now, Jack?», she said.
«Don't worry, Senda, I only wanted to see your buttocks», he said spanking her once with a lot of sound, but not pain. Nobody had done that since she was a child, and that thewought made her laugh.
«Are you punishing me for something, Jack?»
«I'm only touching your buttocks. I hope you don't mind».
Jack took her still several times face down there within that hour. At the end of that time he got dressed and kissed her again.
«This is for you, dear. I hope I'll enjoy you often», he said letting a €200 note drop into her robe pocket.
«Do you want to be my regular, Jack?»
«Well, you are. I must tell you I'm on duty every day. Just tell me two days in advance and I'll be yours».
She felt her belly tickle as she said yours. She smiled and got up, coming closer to him and went with him, holding his arm. Even if she was still naked she kissed him goodbye by the lift, and on coming back home, she explained a surprised Oumou:
«I know we don't go with them as far as the lift, but today there is nobody else but you, and I felt like being nude. I really enjoy it».
«Well,I don't really approve this», Oumou said. «Our customers might expect it from us, and I don't think the girls will agree».
«Yes, I'm sorry, Oumou. Please don't tell them. I won't do it again».
«Ok. But what about him?»
«I think he'll do as I say».
«Oh. Do you manage him like that? He's a bit kinky».
«That's why. I think he's delighted. He paid me an extra €200 note...»
«I didn't know you were so artful with no clothes on, Rose», Oumou said.
«There's something I'd like to talk to you, Senda», Oumou said, changing topics again.
«Are you on the pill?»
«No. I don't think I can get pregnant while I am breast feeding».
«That's nonsense. Also there's the health hazard. Did he use a condom?»
«Well, that's stupid!»
«I thought all our boys were medically controlled».
«No. We are». You must go to the doctor today or tomorrow and have an IUD installed...»
«An Intra Uterine Device, a coil».
«Yes, and you must have a blood test done to check if you have any sexually transmitted infections, STI's. And you must never do it without a condom, unless you saw a recent blood test of your customer».
«I wonder why I should tell you this...»
«Because you are my Elmer, dear, my whore teacher, and I need your tuition. This is not only about fucking, but about many other more important things. This is a different philosophy of life, and I need and seek your advice and teachings, my dear friend. I appreciate you help me, dear. The point is I had never been a whore before... Now I know I’m only starting being competent in this job thanks to you, Oumou».
«Well, you don't want to have another baby, do you?»
«Well...,I don't know», Rose surprised her, «I might, or I might not, I had never thought of it. It's difficult having a child, and yet it’s good, too. Now I am at my parents' every day, since I cannot have Tim here, and I am much better since I'm no longer independent. But you're right, one child is enough. You should try sometime...»
«Me? Oh, no, thanks. My view on family is other».
«Well, Oumou, I'm happy. I have two regulars. I'll pay my debt soon, and will have a decent salary».
«How many would you like to have?»
«Well I'm new in this... I guess five a week would be right».
«Five a week... That is a lot. It might mean something between five and twenty men a month. We three are happy with what we have, around three a week each. So newcomers will be for you, and then you'll report them so that you can pass some to us. Do you agree?»
«Yes, dear, of course. I'm still on probation, really; so I'll seek your approval. I want to be a good whore».
«Hetaera, Rose, we call ourselves hetaeras, the high class, educated workers of love who have soothed men's souls since the dawn of time»...», Oumou said with a stain of sadness in her voice.
«Oh, yes, of course, pardon me».
«So you have two regulars now. I'll pass you another one, and probably Merilou and Alona will pass you one more each. That means you'll get around thirty seven hundred euros a month. Or more, since some of them come more than once a month».
«Ok. I wonder why you don't work everyday...»
«Well, this job can be tiring... Eventually you'll drop some customers. At first wet did it every day, but we had to stop some times. Probably you will, too, even if you enjoy it now».
«Enjoy? Not exactly, but yes, you may be right».
Rose wanted to talk to the girls, as she doubted she could do both jobs at the same time, so she asked them to have lunch out to explain. But then Merilou had a customer outside, and Charles Stepman wanted her again at noon. He even asked Rose to be available for him twice a month... Well, that's why it had to be supper instead of lunch.
At eight in the evening they met at the Galician restaurant they often visited since the three irregular immigrants had once celebrated their changing of life. Now the fourth girl wanted to celebrate the same thing, the most important turning point in her life.
«Well, friends, I want to be one of you. Can you accept me as your colleague?»
«What are your conditions? We've been working for long and bought both penthouses...»
«Well…, I have no money to invest, but what I can earn with my body. But I can work hard… I have thought this: I can be your bodyguard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and work as a hetaera myself on Tuesdays and Thursdays. so you pay me my normal salary and for the outings you can have Gustav. I can talk to him into this. What do you think?»
«That’s not a bad arrangement, if you convince Gustav. I miss him sometimes», Alona said.
Oumou looked at the three of them and said something surprising:
«I don’t agree».
«What?», Alona and Rose said at the same time.
«You know I am very fond of Rose. You also know that I want penthouse A for myself when I give you the money of your share of it, plus my share of penthouse B, don’t you?»
«Yes, we do».
«And you also know that I succeeded in the test I sat to become a secondary school teacher. I’ll be due in my school in a month's time. It means I will no longer be a hetaera. Rose and I’ll reach a private arrangement which will let us pay you for the rest of your share on this penthouse. In short, we could say Rose is inheriting my position in the house: she’ll work instead of me from next month, and in this month I’ll teach her all the tricks of the art I know. Well, this is my proposal: you keep the other penthouse for you two, and this one is for Rose and me. I think in one year our debt will be paid to you two, considering my share of the other penthouse is valued, too, as part of the pay. Regarding Gustav he gets his old job back, though I think this is a better arrangement. What do you say?»
«We’ll have to think both proposals, Oumou», said Alona. «I didn’t expect you wanted her so much».
«In fact we all want you, Rose. But if you want to join us you can no longer be our bodyguard. Because we do need someone full time for that job. What do you think about Gustav?»
«He’s all right».
«So if you convince him to come back on his last conditions, I will not object at any arrangement you meet with Oumou, provided you work in Penthouse A», Merilou said finally.
«Well, we could pay him a bit more, but ask him to be on duty from Mondays to Fridays, plus extra pays at week ends, if there is some work to do».
«What is your proposal on that?», asked Oumou again.
However, may I remind you of the tales we have shared in this page so