When I left my house by the beach to go pick up Maggie at the train station, 35 miles away, the mood was anything but jolly. Indeed, May Linh and Lily, living nude with me in this always warm southeastern Asian country, had found, just like old Mr. Me, some comfort in the way the three of us lived in seclusion, away and hidden from the cruelty of the world. But Mrs. Wan called and there I was, leaving the train station with yet another Asian woman, Maggie, on my tail.
Once in the car, I could discern some hostility in the way she put her seatbelt on and there was, thus, some hostility as well in the way I put my seatbelt on. What? My car wasn’t good enough? For Christ’s sake, this was a bad start but I could tell, now that she was close to me and had taken her sun glasses off, that she was rather good looking.
I started to drive away from the train station and this was bikes’ country, poor people country, and I could tell this Margaret Law, Maggie, was feeling uncomfortable, like an urbanite discovering the country side. What the hell was she thinking?
We remained silent for a while. Then I felt compelled to get things straight.
“Did Mrs. Wan tell you about the particularity of this job?” I asked with as neutral a tone as I could.
“Yes, she told me,” Margaret Law said.
“So what did she tell you?” I asked.
“She said, I quote ‘there is this old occidental white man living in a remote place by the beach who wants Asian women to live in the nude around him. He’s harmless and kind of a good guy and he pays good money and all you have to do is accept that he’s ogling at you all day like a maniac’. That’s what she told me.”
“I see,” I said.
Somehow I was in no hurry to get out of the city and I was somehow getting all the red lights.
By now, just the way we spoke in English, I had a pretty good idea where she was from.
“You’re from Hong Kong, aren’t you?” I asked.
“Yes,” Maggie said, “how did you know?”
Christ, I was thinking, how many good looking Asian women come about and they speak impeccable English, with a Hong Kong accent, and their name is Margaret Law?
Fuck I thought. A Chinese, a Chinese woman. I was bringing a Chinese woman home. I knew the two Southeastern Asian women already living at home with me wouldn’t like that a bit. Anyone but a Chinese chick. Fuck fuck fuck and now she was Chinese, from Hong Kong, with a British name! I was even more pissed. What was wrong with Mrs. Wan?
“Well,” I said, “there’s a lot that Mrs. Wan doesn’t know about.”
In fact I was curious to see what Mrs. Wan knew and didn’t know.
“Did she tell you about a contract?” I asked.
“No,” Maggie said, “she didn’t tell me about any contract.”
“So she just told you that you’d have to be nude all day around me?” I asked.
“Yes, that’s all she told me. I don’t know Mrs. Wan very well, I just met with her for a few minutes a couple of days ago,” she said.
She didn’t know Mrs. Wan? What in hell was this now?
“What brought you here?” I asked, to keep the conversation going.
“I need to take a break,” she said, with a stern face.
A break from what? I was thinking, waiting. But she didn’t say any more and I could tell she wasn’t going to. I’m no cop and if she didn’t want to volunteer more information, who was I to ask?
So we remained silent for a few minutes.
“Alright,” I said to Maggie, “see, there’s a lot that Mrs. Wan doesn’t know. So here’s a copy of the contract,” and I handed it to her.
She started to read. Then she shrieked.
“What’s with article 6?” she asked, looking at me in surprise and there was something mean on her face.
“What does article 6 say?” I asked, calmly.
“Article 6 says,” and there was some disgust in her voice, “article 6 says, I quote, ‘May Linh consents that Mr. Me may be fondling her, here and there, weather permitting’??? Who’s that May Linh and what is that fondling business for fuck sake?” she cried. “What do you mean by fondling?”
“What do you think it means? Which word don’t you understand?” I said, in a very ironic tone. And I was ready to have her gone. She was reading again the contract and she still couldn’t seem to believe what she was reading.
“You want to put your fingers up my ass?” she was saying in disbelief, “here and there, weather permitting!!! Do you think this is funny? Fuck this, I’m not up for this. This is not what Mrs. Wan told me,” and she was furious.
There was a lot of spite in the way she was speaking and that was just the excuse I was waiting for so I just stepped on the brakes. I parked on the side of the road and when I could, I turned around and started to drive back to the train station.
Maggie bitch saw she had made a mistake talking to me like that so she shut up, biting her lips. And she saw that, at that point, I was ready to take her back to the train station just so she would go away. She was fuming and she had put her sun glasses back on. And I knew that, sending her back to where ever she came from, I was doing a favor to May Linh and Lily and myself.
But, as we were already downtown and almost to the train station, Maggie saw a bar and said: “Stop right here, let’s have a drink.”
That’s what she said. So that’s what I did. I parked and we both went into that bar, a sorry place in the sense that it was close to the train station and this was the kind of bar where people have a last drink before going somewhere to kill themselves.
When the bartender showed up, before I could say anything, she asked: “One bloody Mary.” The bartender looked at old Mr. Me. I was thinking, ‘Hey I’m not her father’.
“Make it two,” I said.
He shrugged. Why should he care? Why should I care? I couldn’t wait to be gone on my merry way.
Still, sitting at the bar, this was the occasion for me to look at Margaret Law in her stewardess suit and I couldn’t help but imagining her naked. I could tell she had nice breasts and I had already noticed she had a nice ass too. And Maggie couldn’t blame me for the ogling, Mrs. Wan had told her about the nudity rule and she had come anyway, on her own account. She could tell I was looking at her, I wasn’t even trying to be discreet. I could tell she was used to be looked at, only not in a so obnoxious way. I just wished she would go away on her own. She took a big swig of her bloody Mary and started to talk again.
“And it’s only fondling we’re talking about?” she asked, picking up another of my cigarettes.
“No, there’s more,” I said and I was ready to disgust her.
“There’s more?” she asked defiantly.
“Yeah, this contract was made before old Mr. Me knew there was some Tarzan left in me and, now, it somehow goes a bit farther than just fondling.”
“Sex?” she said, as if this was more comprehensible for her.
“Well, yes, mostly up the round eye,” I said.
“The round eye?” She looked befuddled.
“Yes the round eye, the bumhole, the anus, the ass, whatever you name it, that’s where sex happens,” I said and I was hoping that, by being so blunt, she would have no choice but to flee, fast and far. She was even close enough to the train station so that she could walk there by herself.
But she stayed on her bar stool and remained silent, thinking, smoking, drinking and I was sipping my bloody Mary. She had finished hers and asked for another one.
“Make it two,” I told the bartender.
She sighed. “Anything else I need to know?” she asked after a while. “Like you want to cut me in pieces and fry my pussy up or eat my shit or something?” There was anger in her voice.
“No,” I said, “this is pretty much it: living in the nude, be fondled once in a while and fucked in the ass sometimes, that’s it.”
This was as blunt and as vulgar as I could get. Still, she wasn’t fleeing. What in hell?
“So, who’s already there?” Maggie asked once the bartender had given us our drinks. I couldn’t help but strut my stuff.
“May Linh and Lily are there,” I said.
“And they signed that contract?” Maggie asked, and for the first time I could see in her eyes something that was close to curiosity.
“Yes,” I said.
“Article 6 and everything?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said, “and everything.”
Maggie seemed lost in her thoughts for a long while. Then she drained her bloody Mary.
“Let’s go,” she said.
So I paid for the drinks, gave a good tip to the bartender so that he would forget about us and we were back into the car.
I turned the radio on but the mystifying voice was gone.