A COMIC/SERIOUS IMMORALITY TALE FOR OUR TIMES (a fantasy if it’s your sort of scene)
The story starts in London nearly two years ago, beginning in March 2017, when Britain was – albeit unaware of the fact – heading towards a General Election. Miss Lulu is a dominatrix with a sharp mind and sharp heels, full of intellectual curiosity and sexual know-how. She meets Rory Smith, a journalist, in a hotel bar in Soho and their relationship begins over a conversation about politics, morals and the world in general. There’s a bit of bondage and a lot of badinage, some sex-related villainy and a nascent love story. It also reflects contemporary politics – Trump, May, Brexit et al. Put another way, this is the story of a strong woman with a stable of admirers. Among these is a young woman called Summer, a person in whom Lulu can see something of her former self and with whom she strikes up an unusual friendship. Love is a Battlefield is an acerbic take on the cocktail that is modern Britain. It’s zeitgeist on the rocks.
LONDON MAY 2017
Rory had come round to see her etchings, or rather her equipment. They were in her lounge, not yet in the entertainment room, each with a glass of white wine.
“This is a terrific place,” he said enthusiastically, looking around. Then, with a grin: “Business must be very brisk.”
“Thanks,” said Lulu. “In fact, it was effectively bought for me. I was left quite a lot of money in a Will. By a maiden aunt, ironically.”
The both grinned.
“Did you watch the Prime Minister on the telly over the weekend?” asked Rory.
“With which one? Marr or Peston?”
“Either or both.”
“It was neither for me. I can’t take much more of this ‘strong and stable’ guff. It’s as if she thinks she’s the only adult in a world in which the rest of us belong in a kindergarten. I’m sure the Tories are going to win and probably by miles but that’s not so hard when you’ve got that idiot Diane Abbott plucking any old figures out of thin air – for most of us there’s quite a difference between £300,000 and £300 million – but I’m not sure that talking down to people is a good idea, like we’re all from Lilliput or something.”
“I agree with you about that bloody catchphrase of hers. I’ve been trying to work a line into a piece about her – something along the lines of her hoping to close the stable door before the north has voted – but I can’t quite get it there. As to her self-proclaimed competence, after that Downing Street dinner and Juncker telling Angela Merkel that May lived in a different galaxy, that isn’t remotely unquestionable.”
Lulu grinned. “And as for accusing EU officials of meddling in our election, since she seems to have decided that Brexit is the only issue it’s about, like it’s Referendum Mark II, it’s no wonder they have a thing or two to say about it.”
“Indeed,” agreed Rory. “At least it’s brightened up George Osborne’s first week as editor of the Standard.”
“I know,” said Lulu, smiling. “Poor bastard. Having to muddle through with five six-figure salary jobs.”
“I’ll drink to that,” said Rory. Which they did.
“Anyhow,” she said, “it’s not our job to put the world to rights. I thought the idea was that I’d show you a bit of what my work entails.”
“Indeed,” he agreed. “One thing I wanted to ask about that…oh, I don’t know how best to put this.” He paused. “Do you have people watching you do…er, whatever it is you do to your clients?”
“I’ve not had that here. When I had the flat before this place, it was a pretty cruddy one in Bayswater, the landlord was a bit of a perv. Early on he made it plain he wanted to be a client – for full-on sex, that is. I told him I didn’t do that, which I didn’t by then, and I told him that in any case I wouldn’t mix my business and his. He asked what sort of work I did and I told him what it was. He asked if he could watch one time. I said I’d see about it, and I’m sure some clients would have liked the idea of someone watching them being beaten. Probably have paid extra for it, in fact. But because this guy was a creep I didn’t fancy involving him so it never happened. Satisfied with the answer?”
“Yes. Very comprehensive.”
“So you want the tour? It won’t take long.”
“As long as a tour is all it is.”
“Honestly, the way you regard me. Remember, I don’t do anything they don’t want doing to them. In fact, I had one guy who was so proud of the fact that I broke two canes on his backside. And if they want, they can use a safe word.”
“It’s a word we’ve agreed on that if he calls it out, I stop doing what I’m doing, or at least tone it down.”
They moved downstairs. She showed him the entertainment room and her cupboards and racks of various outfits, boots and shoes, sundry sex aides, whips and canes.
“What do you think of my office?” she asked.
“Terrifying. I suppose most clients do choose to have a safe word?”
“About 50/50. The more experienced ones will often manipulate the situation to get what they want, which I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know is often for the punishment to get more severe. For example, I might tell them I’m going to hit them 12 times and after every time they have to count aloud the number it is and say ‘thank you’. Often you’ll get to the 11thhit and they’ll say ‘11’ but they won’t say ‘thank you’. I don’t think it’s usually because they have forgotten to do that. So I’ll say ‘Right, you didn’t say thank you. I’m going to have to start all over again.’ And off we go again. That can go on several times. I tell you, my arm can get quite worn out.”
Rory pointed at a hook situated about five feet up on a wall.
“What’s that for?”
She had no idea – it was an old feature she had never got removed. Still, no harm in a bit of fun.
“Oh, let’s leave that one.”
“What do you mean? What’s the hook up there for?”
She smiled mischievously. “One or two clients do have [she paused for effect] quite extreme tastes, should we say. That’s for them.”
“As a reward or punishment?”
She looked at him admiringly. “Now that is a philosophical question. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.”
“But you actually hook people up on that?”
“Don’t worry. I don’t actually execute people in here.” She grinned. “Come one, you haven’t seen my dungeon yet.”
“Promise you won’t lock me in and throw away the key?”
“Of course I won’t. Where’d the money be in that?”
They crossed the room and she opened a small door, about three-feet high, and gestured for him to peer inside.
“God, it’s cramped.”
“Rory, it’s a dungeon. It’s not a suite at the Ritz.”
“But why do you have it?”
“Two reasons. Some clients want to make use of its…er, facilities. They like the claustrophobia it induces and the fact that it’s so uncomfortably small that they can’t stand up.”
“God, you do see to some sickos.”
“Yes, but I do it very well. And the second reason is that you can’t get on to the best dominatrix websites unless you have a dungeon. Think of it like how building a loft extension adds value to your house.”
She beamed at him.
“OK. Tour over. Some food?”
He followed her up into the kitchen where she has a few light snacks on display – vol au vents, dips with hummus and taramasalata, cheese and bread. And wine. They were standing close together as they had a second glass.
“Is this OK?” she said. “I didn’t promise you dinner, did I?”
“No, as I recall you promised to show me your equipment. And I assume the equipment you’ve just shown me was the equipment you were referring to.
She smiled broadly. “Rory, are you being cheeky? You can imagine what I do to people who are cheeky, can’t you?”
“Yes, I can. But since I haven’t paid you any money, and I’m not planning on doing so, I’m feeling fairly safe.”
She was now standing right in front of him.
“Mr Smug, hey?”
“I wouldn’t say that.” Another pause. “Maybe more like Mr Hopeful.”
“Hopeful of what?”
“What I wish for?”
“And what’s that?”
By now their faces were almost touching.
They kissed, at first gently, gradually with more passion. Within two minutes thev were in her bedroom…
…and 20 minutes later they were in her bed with the glasses of wine she had retrieved from the kitchen.
She chuckled. “I was told by some Cambridge don I was beating once, while he was tied up with my stockings, that the Latin past perfect tense of ‘I am horny’ has to be ‘I’ve been laid.’ You like that?”
He grinned. “That’s very good. Was that the same guy who told you that number thing you mentioned when we first met?”
“What number thing?”
“The thing my friend was banging on about – perfect numbers, I think it was.”
Her expression brightened. “Oh yes. I remember.” She grinned back. “No, that guy was from Oxford.”
They both laughed.
“That was amazing,” said Rory. “Just now. I can’t believe I’m in bed with you.”
“Why – that you’ve just been with someone as gorgeous as me? “Suddenly looking stern. “Or perhaps with someone as plain as me?”
“Haha. No, I thought you’d be unattainable. I’d thought about it, of course, but I never thought it would happen. Not a chance.”
“Until you stood close to me when we were in your kitchen just now.”
She reflected for a few moments. “You seem a nice guy. No, you are a nice guy. Well, if we ignore that business with your best friend’s wife. Sssh! And while I may be a dominatrix, I also do want to fuck now and again. Hence I have the condoms. And as you may have figured, I haven’t been with a man in some while.”
She paused again.
“You say you’d thought about going to bed with me?”
“Yes. Sorry. Was that being presumptuous?”
She laughed. “Hardly. You just have.” She took a sip of wine. “So you had thought about having me?”
“Yes, I just said so.”
“Meaning you had imagined what it would be like to fuck me?”
“Well, yes. I’m sorry. Is there anything wrong with that?”
“Not at all.” She smiled. “I was just checking.” She paused. “So how often do you masturbate?”
He looked shocked. “Excuse me. Did we just change the conversation?”
“No. It’s still sex-related, after all.”
“I don’t know really.”
“What, you mean it’s so often that you lose count?”
He laughed. “No! It’s just that I don’t do it, say, once a day, or twice a day. It varies.”
“You might not at all some days?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Have you done today?”
He paused. “I’m pleading the 5thon that.”
She grinned. “I’ll take that as a yes then.”
After a brief pause, she said: “Do you sometimes type your articles using only one hand?”
He ignored that. “I’ll tell you one story that might amuse you since clearly you’re fascinated by the subject. The last time I went to have a blood test – you know, they check men for possible prostate cancer symptoms, as well as cholesterol, kidney, etc – the nurse at the surgery wasn’t the usual one. She was older, in her 40s I’d say. As she was getting ready to take the sample, she said: ‘And you’ve had nothing but water this morning?’ I told her that I hadn’t. She then said: ‘Have you ejaculated today’?”
Lulu laughed hugely.
“I almost fell off the chair, I was so shocked. She looked shocked that I looked shocked. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘that can affect the reading for the prostate test.’ Really!”
“I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. But that’s what she said.”
“I bet she just liked to say ‘ejaculate’. I like the fact she asked that rather than whether you’d had sex that morning.”
“That would have been a bit personal.”
“Hey, she’s a nurse. They can get a bit personal.”
He chuckled. “Another one you’ll like is an old friend of mine had to supply two semen samples for some reason, and on the day he’d done the second one he happened to be going close to the hospital where he needed to send them. So he took them round rather than post them. And on the envelope he wrote ‘By Hand’.”
She laughed hugely again. “That’s fabulous.”
“He’s Irish. When he first came over here and somebody used the term ‘a fork in the road’ in conversation with him, he thought it meant sex in a car.”
She laughed hugely again. “That’s also fabulous.”
“He has a phrase – WTF sex. It means sex on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday. He gets pissed all weekend and Monday and Tuesday are for recovering.”
“OK, that sounds a bit too laddish for me but I guess it works for him.”
“So do you imagine the same woman every time?”
“What do you mean?”
“Every time you masturbate, is it the same woman you’re thinking of?”
“God, I thought we’d moved off that subject. Look, it depends.”
“Will I now star in your next one?”
“Stop it!” He hesitated. “By the way, I’m sure your real name is not Miss Lulu. Or even Lulu. It seems odd to call you that. But presumably you don’t want to tell me your real name?”
“A girl has to have some secrets.”
“I’ll take that as a ‘no’ then. But you have to agree that a girl’s secrets seldom include her name.”
“I’m not your average girl.”
“Indeed. I’m sure most of them don’t talk about masturbation as much as you do.”
“Maybe not. But don’t worry, I’m not knocking your hobbies. [She held up the palm of her hand to stop his imminent protest.] In fact, I can see the advantages of it. You can pretend that you are with the woman – she may be some glamorous movie star – you want to be with. You don’t have to worry that you might not be up to it, you come when you want to and you don’t have to worry whether she’s satisfied or not. It’s a bit like a personal porn film.”
“That reminds me,” said Rory. “I read a joke the other day about what happens at the end of the latest Swedish porn film.”
“The guy actually does fix the fridge.”
They both laughed.
“You haven’t asked me,” said Lulu.
“Asked you what?”
“Whether I masturbate or not?”
“That’s because unlike you, or that nurse, I’m not thatpersonal.” He paused. “Well? Do you?”
“Of course. In general women should do it more, like men. The more orgasms you have, the better you feel.”
“OK. That’s enough information about that for me.” He grinned. “Although I did read a great line some time back from a guy called Simon Hoggart. He died a while ago but he was a terrific columnist in The Guardian. He suggested that if they had a regulator for wanking – God knows how he got the notion in the first place – it should be called OffWhack.”
She laughed. “That’s very good.”
“Yes, and you’d probably apply for the job of running it.”
“I certainly would.”
Another sip of wine apiece before her next question.
“So, can you tell that my breasts aren’t natural?”
His delay in replying was enough to suggest the thought had occurred to him.
“No. I hadn’t noticed that. But they are lovely.” Now a long pause. “But if you were going to go through surgery to have them done, did you think about having them…”
“Sorry, yes. God, that sounds dreadful. And they are beautiful.”
“Well,” she said coyly, “thanks for the partial compliment, even if clearly you are somewhat disappointed.”
“No!” he protested earnestly. “Of course I’m not. I’m enraptured by you.”
“Hey, anyway, they’re only breasts.”
“Only breasts! That’s like saying the Taj Mahal is only a building.”
She smiled. “The thing is, naturally I was between a 34A and a 34B. I’m now a D cup. I actually did think of having them made bigger but then I was afraid that if I did [she paused and grinned] I’d just keep toppling over.”
He chuckled. “What really surprises me is why would a woman who’s as confident in herself as you seem to be bother to have surgery at all?”
“Money. For what I do now, overall appearance is vital. And breasts are part of that – they make me look better, or at least I think they do. [She paused again] There was a guy about three months ago who was staying at a posh Mayfair hotel. Well, obviously it was posh. It was in Mayfair. Not many B&Bs there. Anyhow, he’d clearly looked at my website and liked the look of me. He paid me £1600 for parading around in some of the outfits I wear on my site.”
“Just for doing that?”
“Why? You don’t think I’m worth it?”
“No, of course I do. But why would a guy pay that money and not expect sex?”
“Because he has a lot of money and liked the look of me. It’s what I just said. He knew they’d be no sex. I’d made that perfectly clear. [Another pause] Mind you, he had a suite. I think there was a girl in the next room.”
They each had a few more sips of wine to lubricate their somewhat lubricious conversation.
“One thing that’s interesting,” said Rory, “is how women take off sweaters, T-shirts, whatever compared to the way men do it.”
“Yes, you mean pulling up from the waist, whereas men usually pull clothes off over their heads?”
She grinned. “Well now at least I’ve got the breasts to thrust out like that.”
“There’s another difference,” she said. “Men call them tits while women will usually say boobs.”
“I hadn’t thought about that but I guess you’re right.”
“I am. Also, there’s the getting-into-bed routine.”
“How do you mean?”
“A woman will typically first sit down and then lie down. Men sort of fall into it.”
They both laughed – again.
“Talking of beds,” she said, “I’m afraid you probably should be going. I do need my beauty sleep tonight.”
Although he would have loved things to pan out differently, he wasn’t going to risk spoiling the evening with any sort of argument. They both got up. He retrieved his clothes and got dressed while she went off into another room which he discovered, when he went to look for her, was adjoining the bathroom.
She was in a dressing gown, rummaging through a drawer.
“What’s in there?”
As with the dungeon, she gestured for him to peer in.
“My God – a throng of thongs.”
“Indeed. I do have a few.”
“But then again not too few to mention…”
“I get it. From Frank Sinatra?”
“Yes.” [He paused] “One more thing out of interest.”
“Not back on masturbation, are we?”
“No! That seems to be your specialist subject.”
“I can assure you I specialise in more demanding activities than that.”
“Yes, I know. But one of the things I was wondering was if you did stuff with a partner, a colleague…you know, two of you doing whatever you do.”
“As a matter of fact I did, in the past. Not very often but I did have a regular partner-in-crime, if you like. In fact, she was a nice girl but she was rubbish at getting the money in for the work she did on her own.”
“Was it a lot?”
“Why do you want to know? Do you really work for the Inland Revenue?”
“It’s OK. She was doing all-night dom sessions for under a grand. I explained to her how to get it up to £1500 at least.”
“So this is very distressing.”
“I realise I’ve just had sex with a pimp.”
She laughed and slapped his arm light-heartedly.
“Hey, you can’t hit me. I’m not a client!”
“I know. If you were I’d have to charge you for that.”
As they left the room for her to show him to the door, he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket to blow his nose and some loose change fell out of his pocket.
“It’s OK,” she said grinning. “You really don’t have to pay me. In coins.”
THE NEXT UPDATE WILL BE PUBLISHED ON MARCH 1