A COMIC/SERIOUS IMMORALITY TALE FOR OUR TIMES (a fantasy if it’s your sort of scene)
The story starts in London just over 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
Time was when Raul’s businesses ran more smoothly than they did latterly. His former colleague, Gregor, had been the ideal business partner. Or he had seemed to be. But then, about a year ago, Raul had discovered that Gregor had been screwing him over in a part of the business that had become a kind of personal fiefdom for him. And that was the sad thing with this industry; maybe any industry. You couldn’t afford to let anyone screw you over or else everybody would be at it.
It hadn’t been easy to decide which was the most efficacious way to effect Gregor’s exit but eventually Raul had hit on the perfect solution, significantly aided by his remembering how Gregor’s wife, Ingrid, had so unceremoniously one evening three months previously tried to hit on him.
He waited until he knew Gregor was abroad – indeed, in Dubai for the purpose of shafting Raul – before going round to Gregor’s house to do some shafting of his own. Ingrid hadn’t noticed him setting up the iPad so he’d nailed the wife and the next day he mailed her husband. It was fair to say the photos had caused some ructions, not least because a large part of Gregor’s income came from a trust fund which Ingrid had inherited from her family, so there was a limit to the damage he could do at home. If Raul had any guilty conscience, whatever one of those was, it was thus duly salved. He wasn’t bothered about any further repercussions from Gregor against himself – for starters, he didn’t have it in him – but the end result was that he now had to deal instead with his new guy, Vladimir. He wasn’t the smartest tool in the box but he wasn’t a complete tool and he wasn’t likely to start thinking he might mess with Raul.
“Have you seen this on Twitter?” Vlad offered.
Vlad shifted over on his seat to give Raul a better view of his computer screen, of a very attractive woman in her early 20s wearing just a bikini. Stacked with it.
“She says she’s wearing black because her cat has just died,” explained Vlad.
“Very nice,” said Raul. “I bet her pussy is very much alive and well though.”
They both laughed.
“Actually, she looks a bit like the bird in that selfie we got sent last week,” said Vlad.
“Which one? There’s getting to be so many of them.”
“The one in the tiger-print knickers showing her knockers.”
“Oh yes, I remember.”
“Jesus, Raul, how could you forget?”
“You’re right. I’m not getting any younger.”
“Hey, find me someone who is and we’ll make our next fortune.”
Raul laughed, if a trifle mirthlessly.
“For a Russkie your English is pretty sharp, Vlad.”
“It would be if I was a Russkie. Except I’m from Ukraine, remember?”
“I do remember that,” replied Raul in a tone that that made Vlad unsure whether he did or not. “Just saying it to wind you up.”
There followed a few moments of vaguely uneasy silence.
“OK. I have something else to show you,” announced Vlad. “It’s an email from Peaches.”
“What does she want now?”
“A pay rise. A large one.”
He showed the email to Raul.
“Fuck me! She’s got to be joking. The clients only want to rent it, not buy it.”
“I think it’s not only her breasts that are over-inflated.”
“You’re right there. The girl has some ego on her for doing a job for which the only essential qualification is the possession of a pussy.”
Raul moved off to his own desk.
“So, Vlad, has anyone had any more thoughts about new website names following our last meeting?”
They had come up with several – Happy Valley, Valley of Sin and several other variations on the V-word – but they hadn’t found one that hit the spot.
“Not yet. Obviously, it’s your decision. I thought In-Tight Entertainment was good but that doesn’t do it for you?”
“No. I think too many punters will miss the in-flight word play and they’ll think it’s…oh, I don’t know, they’ll think it’s to do with something else, and something uncomfortable.”
He put some papers in his briefcase.
“OK. Vlad, I need to go. Did we arrange the meeting with the Brazilian guy?”
“Yes. Set for two weeks from today. You’re fixed for dinner with him. I hope that date still works for you?”
“It does. He could be a big deal for us going ahead. He’s liquorice, Vlad.”
“Sorry, what does that mean?”
“He’s into all sorts. The stuff we like. Chicks, charlie…all that and more.”
“Great. Meanwhile, what do you want me to do about Peaches?”
“For now, nothing. Greedy bitch. Make her wait and let’s see what she does next.”
“But don’t you want to show her who’s boss?”
“She already knows that, Vlad, or else she wouldn’t have sent what’s effectively a begging letter.”
“So you’re OK with her having the last word for now?”
“Very much so. I think with text or email conversations, the power often lies in not having the last word.”
This guy, around 50 Lulu reckoned, had her dressed up as a nurse, which wasn’t so unusual, while he lay on a table wearing only a loose-fitting gown with a white cloth underneath him as if on a makeshift hospital bed. The weird bit was that he put on a preposterously faux German accent.
He reached out and attempted to put his hand up her skirt. She slapped him hard across the face.
“Don’t you dare do that! What sort of woman do you think I am? I’m a nurse, not a streetwalker. Just behave yourself if you want to avoid big trouble.”
Wiping his cheek, he said: “With what I pay for this room, I deserve to get some good personal service. I tell you, they look after you much better in Berlin hospitals than they do in London.”
“I don’t care about that and I don’t care how much you’ve paid. You haven’t paid to do that to me. Only my boyfriend gets to touch me.”
“Lucky boyfriend. How long have you known him?”
“What’s that to do with you?”
He tried to put his hand up her skirt again.
“Does he fuck you every day?”
She slapped him again.
“How dare you be so cheeky? Keep your horrible hands off me and don’t ask such impertinent questions.”
She turned around and bent over, as if to pick something up off the floor. He pinched her backside. She turned back and slapped his face again.
“Keep your hands to yourself, you disgusting old man. Anyway, I don’t know why you keep asking me such questions. I bet it’s been years since you got a hard-on.”
He grinned lasciviously.
“No it’s not. And in fact I’m getting one now.”
“I don’t want to know about that.”
“Wouldn’t you like to see it?”
Lulu reached to pick up one of his pillows, during which process he reached in vain for her breasts. She again slapped him across the face.
“It’s the last thing on earth I’d want to see. And in a moment you’ll no longer have it.”
She slammed the pillow down on his groin. He let out a howl and slumped back on the bed. She threw the pillow at him and walked out of the room.
The papers were full of Theresa May, even more than she seemed to be full of herself. Yesterday at the launch of the Tory ‘Maynifesto’ she had declared “there is no Mayism” but that didn’t alter the fact that the Conservative party was taking a distinctly second billing to her in all the publicity material and posters. And with all she had to do, keeping things strong and stable, she hadn’t found the time or the inclination to participate in last night’s leaders’ debate on ITV, which had also been swerved by Jeremy Corbyn but attended by the other five who – Nicola Sturgeon apart – would be lucky to have 20 seats between them after it was all over. Pointless.
But maybe she’s taking a chance somewhere along the line. When even Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail has had enough of “strong and stable” and remarks that all “the soft-soap sofa interviews in the world can’t disguise the rampant megalomania”, it seems her ‘friends’ are not entirely sure about her. And if commentaries in both the Mail and The Guardian can find much to approve of in the ‘Maynifesto’, is this a good thing or does it signal a sense of confusion? As one columnist noted of her in The Times: “You do not swallow the whole of Ukip at a single sitting without some risk of indigestion.”
Having flicked through a whole load about that, Lulu caught up on some online reading, including Rory’s latest offering.
I saw a story the other week which said that for every 2,000 of its videos that were viewed, a business called Pornhub – apparently a gigantic online sex-content clearing house, whatever one of those is – would donate one cent to a ‘Save The Whales’ organisation in Washington State, USA. (The chief recipients would be killer whales even though Pornhub, as you might have guessed, would have preferred a different breed of whale.) The writer did a calculation and figured that by the end of the month what he rather neatly called ‘the pornography/philanthropy nexus’ would have earned ¢27,000. If it was available for sale, I’m guessing that would buy quite a bit of blubber.
Talking of blubbering, whales sadly seem to have needed a lot of help recently. The problem is, they’re just so damn big. Beach itself on the Norfolk coast, as some have done all too regularly, and a whale is not an object that a handful of beachcombers can manage to drag back into the water, even if they are hardy enough folk to be out by the North Sea. Life is manifestly not a beach for whales. It’s death. (Of course, these days, what with the story of Jonah and the whale in mind, I assume the border authorities need to check them out for possible people-smuggling.)
Making a transparently clumsy link to keep on the subject, I was reminded when reading the aforementioned piece of a wonderful rant by Peter Cook, playing Clive, in conversation with Dudley Moore (Derek) in their swear-word laden 1970s sketches, on the matter of whales, and the fantastical leap of imagination he made to pillory the poor mammals for letting down the human race. (I have undertaken some editing, mostly to deal with the abundance of expletives.)
Cook/Clive gets underway. “Some [guy] comes on telly and he says: ‘Oh, the whale is being wiped out by mankind. Save the whale.’ Well, during the war, did we notice a lot of whales rallying round and saying: ‘Save England’? I didn’t notice many down my part of the world. I didn’t see whales coming up with Union Jacks saying: ‘We’ll fight the Boche.’ No, they were doing fuck all, swimming around the sea sucking plankton!”
There was quite a bit more in this vein – ‘they’re such [strong expletive] they can’t even breathe underwater. They have to keep coming up the whole fucking time and spouting’ – and Dudley Moore was, as ever, a giggling wreck. Of course, Cook did have a point. There they come, beaching themselves at Brancaster, hurting our holidays, when they have a whole ocean to swim in. The problem is, I guess, that we’re never going to win any argument with them about what have they ever done for us. It would be fantastic if we could but that’s another problem with whales. They’re so crap at reasoning.
She thought about texting him but, all considered, decided against it.
The following week she hooked up with Summer for another coffee. They met at one of the ubiquitous Pain Quotidiens that had perpetrated themselves all over London, this one being near Marble Arch, and caught up on each other’s news.
“How many times did that guy ring you to come around for a whipping?” asked Summer.
“He got whipped five times. Any and every excuse he could think of. The last time, after committing his sins with drink, tobacco and chocolate, he forgot to say ‘Miss’ when he rang me. And he knows that’s a no-no.”
“More like a yes-yes.”
Lulu grinned. “Indeed. More like a yes-yes.”
“And I don’t know it myself but that sounds a weird choice of music. You know, to be whipped to.”
“Lieutenant Kije? Perhaps, though I’m not sure what the most appropriate music for a good whipping is. Bat Out Of Hell? Actually, I quite like the Prokofiev myself.”
“Did he ever say why he wanted that music?”
“He said it reminded him of Christmas, and Christmas as a kid is the happiest time he can remember before he met me.”
“Takes all sorts, I suppose.” Summer sipped her coffee. “So nowadays, you don’t do oral either? I mean, no sex at all?”
“No,” Lulu said firmly. “No personal at all. [She grinned] It’s funny the way you put that, like I might give head even though I wouldn’t do full sex.”
“Funny in what way?”
“Since that Bill Clinton thing with the intern, I think it’s pretty clear that the biggest difference between the UK and the US is that in the States a blow-job is less than sex whereas in the UK it’s more.”
Summer laughed. “That’s true! There’s one girl working near me – Selina, she’s called – who says she’s not had to fuck a guy in ages because they’re all so happy with how she blows them. [She grinned] She says she’s thinking of changing her name to Olive.”
“As in oil. Cos she’s extra virgin.”
Lulu laughed. “Very good. She could restyle herself as The Head Girl.”
They both laughed.
Summer then asked, with evident caution: “Can I just ask you – did you ever climax with a client?”
Lulu paused for a moment. “You did just ask.” She added hurriedly: “No, that’s OK. The answer is very occasionally. It usually took me by surprise. A nice surprise, though.”
Summer grinned. “It’s never happened with me, I have to say. Though, of course, you have to pretend you’re enjoying it as well, don’t you?”
“Yes, you do, making all the right noises and so on. But I think that since that scene in When Harry Met Sally, most men get that women can fake an orgasm and they won’t know that they have.”
“I know what you mean, but I think some of them like to think that they’re so awesome in bed that they’ve just made a woman come even though she’s doing it as her job and might be thinking about something completely different.”
Now Lulu grinned. “You mean they’re so up themselves that they’re so into you?”
Summer laughed. “Exactly.”
After a short pause, Lulu grinned and said: “Of course, he’d be the kind of man who’d go home and then start thinking ‘hang on, I just paid for that, she wasn’t supposed to enjoy it’ – the bastard.”
They both laughed again.
“I don’t know why but that’s reminded me of something,” said Lulu. “I had a guy ring me last week saying he liked the look of my site and could he fix to see me? Anyhow, from the way the conversation drifted, it was clear that we were at cross-purposes. Then he said something about being very keen on large breasts. I said he wasn’t alone in that but why was he mentioning it to me? He said because my website made a point of emphasizing that. I asked what he meant. He said, all uppity: ‘Well, otherwise why would you put the word ‘BOSOM’ on it?’ I told him that wasn’t on my website. He had me wondering by now, so while I was talking to him I logged on to my site to see if someone had perhaps hacked it. I asked him where it said ‘BOSOM’. He described where it was on the home page. Turned out he’s long-sighted and he’d been looking at it without his specs on. He’d misread ‘BDSM’ as ‘BOSOM’.”
“Oh, how funny.”
“Yes, you might say he was a complete tit.”
THE NEXT UPDATE WILL BE PUBLISHED ON MAY 1