“Is the same for us all, that all the decisions in life are really made for ya.” said the girl
“I do not think that is so.” said the man
“Look, the cards fell out of heaven and they were the shittiest cards in the pack, the ones that arrived with me birth. My cards came from a marked deck!”
“How come and please don’t swear, it upsets me to .…” the man stopped in mid sentence for the girl was consumed by a far away expression. She was no longer listening to him.
“Mi mum drank, lots, mi dad buggered off at the first nappy change and mi main parent bin the state. Ya know the story, foster homes, children homes. At 14 when I knew I knew everything there was to know in life I meets this man who drove a nice car, took me to night clubs, parties and the good life. I thought this adulthood. He took me lots of places including his bed.”
“What at 14?” asked the man
“Shit yes, I had sex at 13 for Christ sake, I knew everything, like I said, there was no telling me anything.”
“Oh” commented the man.
“Where was I , oh yes, Abb as I called him , surname Malik, mark that well, was of Pakistan origin and so I was in with his friends and relatives. I kind of moved in with him in a little flat and one night with some business partner came round, he asked me to sleep with this guy to pay off a massive debt. He said he would be in trouble if he could not pay of the debt some way. Like a fool I thought if it saves him, what the hell. This business partner, well he was not ugly put it that way.”
“Don’t tell me, pretty soon you paying off more of his debts.”
“Kind of but he was giving me drugs which I quite like, better than booze which having seen my mother I was kind of suspicious off, not that I was tee total but careful ya knows. But the white stuff , great.”
“I can see where this is going .” interrupted the man , a little concerned.
“Yep, before my 16th birthday I was,” she raised her two hands to indicate quotes, “entertaining’ 10 to 12 men a day, or rather day and night.”
“But that is illegal,” stated the man bluntly, “Police?”
“A f… “ she checked herself from swearing, smiled at her companion and continued, “totally useless. I managed to escape and half drugged found mi way to police station. They were quite interested until I mentioned the name Malik and confirmed they were Pakistani in original. Bang before you know it they had taken me back to the f… ing children’s home.
“At least you would be safe there “ stated the man relieved.
“His sister and him picks me up the next mornin from the home, as bold as brass.”
“You didn’t go with them, did you!” exclaimed the tramp amazed.
“Had to , I needed the drugs. It t’was his sister who got up mi nose. She patted mi arse as I got in the car and said, “lets put this back to work, shall we?” She weren’t much older than me for Christ sake. I knew there and then I had to quit the drugs. So over the next 6 months I cut my use slowly.
Luckily they trusted me enough, or thought I was hooked enough to self admin… trouble was by the time I was nearly off them I was carrying. Up the stick as they say round here. A condom from one of the punters must have split or failed in some way. But I saw it as a chance to get out.”
“How come?” quizzed the man, “It must be a common occurrence in your line of work.”
“I maybe so, but me figured if I could keep it hidden long enough they would have to take me to a hospital or somethin. It is dangerous to abort after a certain time isn’t it? Anyway that would be my chance to escape or tell the nurses and doctors, anyone in authority, ya knows, or so I thought. It nearly worked.”
“Good plan ,” mused the man nodding his head approvingly, “They could ignore you but they would not ignore a baby.”
The girl nodded her head but fell into a reverie of pure silence.
“So what went wrong?” asked the tramp tentatively.
“I managed to conceal it for 4 months plus when they realised but I had expected that , what I adn’t reckoned on was them having doctor ‘in t’ ouse’. Asian , one of their own.
“But doctors have an ethical code” protested her companion.
The girl gave a sarcastic laugh, “What are ethics against, family, community, race and above all money?”
“True” agreed the man, “only the rich can afford morals and ethics, neither come cheap.”
He gave a strange kind of chuckle as if remembering something.
“What?” asked his companion
“Oh, I was just thinking of those smug leftie sods living in North London pontificating, nay demanding things like foreign aid, gay rights, every bloody right there is wrapped in political correctness and having no idea how the likes of you or I live.”
“But you may have been one of them” put in the girl a remark that pulled him up short.
A silence followed this remark. This silence was a possible badge of shame to the tramp, then he added in a hush tone, “Alas that could have been so.” then after another moment added, “And the baby?”
“Ah, “ sighed the girl, “I was reet, they couldn’a risk a normal abortion. Me is, or my body is ,apparently an asset. ”
They took me to a large posh house set back off a main road with own electric gates.
There were a some cars, big expensive ones up the drive. There was a party or gathering of some kind , I never did find out what. In the kitchen, big with marble work surfaces and a huge cooker, they made me wait. Abb came with his mother and soon two other women. They were dressed in rich sari’s bedecked with gold and stuff worth a fortune. His mother appeared in charge for she walked up to me and slapped my face.
“Bitch” was all she said. Soon another Asian woman appeared only she was different. Dressed in a smart black trouser suit it turned out she were a doctor. The women undressed me and sat me on a large kitchen table were the doctor gave me a quick once over. She disappeared only to return with a portable ultra sound, is that what they call those machines for looking at ya insides?”
The tramp nodded, “yep”
“Laying on my back, on table, all women gather round looking at the machine then all hell broke out. Voices were raised, shouting at each other, all in Hindu or something, whatever they rabbit in.
Propping myself up I could see them some way down the kitchen arguing with a middle aged woman who by here clothes was richer than the others. It’s all status with them and she had status. The doctor woman came to me and told me to get dressed.
‘What are they arguing about?’ I asked.
‘Oh’ she said , ‘they are debating if to abort you or go full term. ’ She looked at me as if I was litter left on a bench she wished to sit on. An inconvenience , an ugly reminder of another world.
The argument did not last long, for by the time I were dressed the rich woman were writing cheques, one for Abb’s mother the other for the doctor. She approached me and said in a thick Asian accent, ‘I have just bought you, are those rags all you have.?’”
“After perhaps 30 minutes in back of big black Range Rover we arrived at ouse, more a bloody mansion. We swept through electric gates up a drive that needed a satnav to locate the ouse. All time we had been on road she had been on ther phone barking instructions in Hindu at machine gun speed. We entered by a back door into a huge kitchen. A grey haired Asian woman greeted us.
Her name was K . In English my new owner said
“Strip her , clean her, feed her and then put her in the flat. I will see her then.”
K, took no prisoners I soon learnt.
The girl stopped abruptly and looked hard at her companion.
“I’m not makin this stuff up, ya know.”
He smiled, “Yes, I believe you. You would not be sitting here in the cold freezing to death telling me such a story unless it was true.”
She smiled back at him, reassured that he took her seriously.
The man rose removed his large overcoat and put it round the girls shoulders saying
“You are freezing , the cold will finish you before you can jump.”
Rising the girl slipped on the huge coat and hugged it around herself like a blanket.
“Thank’s” she said in a soft voice.
Like a mycelium spreading threads through the ground of human experience a bond was growing between them. A common aim, a common misery and very common exclusion all helped form this bond. She looked at him, really looked at him in the fast fading light and saw all the pain and worry there. Seeing that lined, grey face she wondered what kind of torment makes a mind close down, makes a brain say ‘enough’ and quit. She could not quite grasp it, the force needed to bring such a change but she felt in her core that perhaps she was also close to that edge, the edge of reason. Tears came to her face as she looked upon this kind abandoned man. Never in her life had she felt any sympathy for a male of the species, until now.
Pulling herself together she continued..
“Well, to cut story short, I was in clover. A ‘granny flat’ they called it but it were huge compared to anything I have had. Little modern kitchen although all my meals were brought to me and they were superbly cooked by resident cook, Ama Then clean bed linen, they changed my bed linen twice a week. Can you imagine, clean linen twice a week! I had a bloody balcony to sunbath on.
All day lazing about in the sun, can you believe it? The garden was huge and was allowed to walk there most evenings. I loved sitting by a pond the size of a lake watching the carp, all gold, yellow and white. Each one were worth thousands apparently. A bloody fish worth thousands, would anyone believe it?
All this time I was getting bigger. Ya should have seen the size of mi. The doctor lady came and ran tests which I passed and everyone was delighted with me. My aim was to be behave myself. They were never nasty to me or threatening so long as obeyed a few simple rules. No computer or phone mind you, but what the hell I had no friends worth a light and I was enjoying the luxury even if a captive. After all I being a captive in this palace was better than being a captive in a brothel , reet? Everythin is relative, don’t you think?”
Her audience nodded his head, “Einstein would certainly agree with you on that.” said the man
“Who the f.., sorry ,who is Einstein.?”
“Oh, “ replied her companion, “Just some guy, who changed the world.”
“No, one important then.” added the girl.
“Well, his theories don’t appear to help us two much do they?”
She laughed a simple little girl laugh.
“The baby were a boy, I gave birth 4 no, 5 weeks ago. Easy peasy, like being constipated at first then woosh, all done. The doctor said I were young and a natural with the right size hips. Praise I think.”
Now the story teller drew quiet, withdrawn. He prodded her,
“Did you see him?”
“Very briefly, Ama smuggled him in to me and allow me to see him for a few minutes. A darling, very dark, very Asian but nearly all the men I had bin with were Asian. The Memsaab was very pleased with him. Things went down hill after that. I was now a problem and all I needed to do was to supply milk and once they had all the false documents Ama told me I was to be sold. Apparently, with the baby in the house they thought I would never make a bolt for it so they let me still go in the garden for walks. A mothers instinct is to stay close to her offspring, reet? I constantly begged to see him. Ama tipped me off one afternoon saying the next day I was going to a gang in London. So I took my chance and left over the garden wall. Some climb but I made it. After a few days I am here.”
“God, that is horrible, an awful story.” exclaimed the man.
“Fuck God,” said the girl then apologise, “Sorry for swearing, but he ain’t ever done anything for me, nor the cops, nor social fucking workers, no body.”
“Why is that?” puzzled the man, more to himself than anyone else.
“They freeze up at the mention of Asians, like they’re terrified or something.”
“I don’t understand , “ mussed the Tramp, “Why are they so terrified, so reluctant to intervene?”
“Cos I am low life” said the girl.
“I don’t buy that” said the man, “Everyone has value.”
“Yea, so why ya wanting to marry a shopping cart and sleep with it under water? No value?” she spoke with bitterness and her eyes flashed at him. “Anyway” she continued “Me think workmen are goin.”
The man listened and realised the demolition site had become quiet. So engrossed and appalled by her story he had not notice the machines and voices falling silent. It was dark now.
“I will come with you.” he said in firm no none sense voice.
She stood and looked at him for a long time but said nothing.