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Just before Christmas, one day in primary school we were allowed to bring a doll to show all the other children.
One girl arrived with the most beautiful doll I had ever seen, petite, graceful, blue-eyed with blonde hair tied in a ponytail with lilac ribbon to match her ballet tutu and even wore white ballet pumps.
Her legs and arms could be moved so naturally, bending at the knee and elbow. She could sit, stand, dance. I was transfixed. I had to have her. She was called Sindy and it took until Christmas the following year until I had a Sindy of my own.
Truth was I wanted to be her. And now in this book I can be her. Sindy in Real Life.
Dad has the emotional depth of a goldfish. I don’t think he’s capable of love. Any sort of human love, not really. It takes too much away from his self-preservation instinct
At twelve, I had about as much control over my limbs as a new-born giraffe. I had no friends. It’s difficult to form close bonds with tight-knit groups when they’re whispering together under the height of your armpits.
I had to have something to make me feel good apart from vodka, if my liver was ever going to make it to thirty – sex seemed to be the answer.
Alcohol has always been my friend
I’m good for a few more before I quit, get hitched, become a married bitch.
It’s the fucking coconut in this drink, imitation spunk with juicy bits, splashed into Spirytus, ninety-five percent Polish like my men, topped up with orange juice that gets me loose like this.
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Sindy in Real Life
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The man himself looked up and made it obvious he fancied me.
Maybe it was the tight embrace of my scarlet party dress.
Maybe it was because I am built like a Viking warrior princess.
Maybe it was the artfully styled mop of blonde hair bleached to match Marilyn Monroe’s movie wigs.
Maybe it was because I was flashing more cleavage than Dolly Parton.
Finally, we got to the menu part of the form. I wasn’t exactly expecting dating site photos and profiles, but I thought that intelligence or education, professions, occupations, physical or sporting prowess, height and weight, personal and family health history, might have categories to welcome or veto.
My initial interviewer, a competent looking woman in her twenties, was thinking more about hair colour and the features that usually went with it. I could make a choice between blonde like me or auburn to match Mark or accept either. If I put restrictions like on my application however I could be waiting for months.
I asked about the other options and she smiled, as if I was a child or dumb.
‘Haven’t you been reading the papers. Children are going to have the right to know their biological fathers when they are eighteen. The data is going to be on record. Men are shit scared it’ll come out earlier and they’ll be sued for child support by the mothers claiming functioning problems for not getting pregnant in the traditional way. The donors who want to pass on their genetic inheritance beyond their own children for the good of the gene pool have disappeared. Now all we get are the ones who want to go for the maximum of ten to make it worth their while financially.
‘You mean they can get a pot to wank in but otherwise can’t afford a pot to piss in, so they’ve nothing to lose?’
She laughed with me, rather than at me.
‘Brilliant. Do you mind if I use that line on clients who are a bit slow on the uptake?’
‘So, what do I put on the form?’
‘White,’ she said, ‘and hope for the best. They do extensive blood testing.’
I was in a dysfunctional firm, geared for profit and not justice with no alternative but to work just for the money.
I had to handle two weeks of white trash cases, most of which concerned residents of a holiday caravan park. We had a new cold-calling introducer. I knew the place by reputation. The holiday homes and caravans were rented on ten-month leases. The place shut down in January and February. Almost everyone who lived there worked for cash in hand. Many of them had police files if not criminal records. They took an eight-week winter holiday somewhere warm.
And then they had discovered the power of litigation in the civil court. Their vehicles were mysteriously involved in accidents resulting in whiplash. They suffered injurious falls in public places and injuries at work. They needed an expensive hire vehicle following their own being out of service after an accident.
Normally all this dross would have been written up by paralegals with each case submitted without proofs for a quick settlement. Only the ones that looked very profitable initially or those in which a settlement had been declined, would have involved me.
But this was an important new introducer, capable of great volume, I was told. I almost replied that a sufferer from diarrhoea was also capable of producing great volume of the same thing.
All cases were to come to me for three months. I was to process as many as possible, and report respectfully to the introducer exactly why I would normally have turned a case down so that it could be re-assessed. In other words, the firm wanted me to coach the introducer on how to coach the prospective clients.
I guess what surprised me most was how ordinary the punters were and how mundane their everyday lives. I was the icing on their infrequent slices of cake when I was an escort.
Occasionally though, somebody turned me on. Then I was living the dream.
The first one was Noel.
As my sex shop, BE A TART 101 kit was due to arrive on Monday, I was happy to agree to meet on Tuesday. I even told him about the kit. He asked if I had ordered a spanker and I tried to sound sophisticated as I told him I had.
‘I want to use it on you. I want you to submit to my will and accept your punishment like the whore you are,’ he said. When I hesitated he added, ‘if you’re OK with that,’ in a gentle voice.
I was no sooner in the door and my coat off, before I was on the sofa with a glass of wine. He started kissing me immediately and slipped my dress up my thigh probing me with his fingers. I was amazed when my body responded again.
He told me to take off my dress and get on all fours. I obliged. He took my spanker and gave me a hard crack on my arse, I felt myself get wet. He smacked me again and told me to stick my bum up in the air. I did, and he spanked me several times. I loved it and was nicely wet.
In my day job, I’m the one who sets the agenda and gives the orders.
My real life is as ball-buster, decision maker, dominant female, in charge of life, work, kids, dogs, the lot.
So, my fantasy was as a PVC clad dominatrix, whipping blokes until they were frothing at the mouth in a frenzy, showing no mercy, issuing commands.
And yet there I was, submissively playful as puppy and feeling good about it.
It wasn’t even a baby.
It was an ever-growing bump.
Sure, there were cute pictures of a heart pumping and limbs moving. People who usually avoided me asked for the privilege of feeling the kick, but that was all the upside.
The downsides, well feeling like I wanted to throw up after three bottles of meth and grape juice labelled as red wine and a phall or vindaloo, having my bladder squashed until it was as useless as a dripping tap, having my tits bloated out of recognition, crying out of unjustified enjoyment or utter despair, and never wanting to have sex ever again. Feeling trapped with no possible escape for twenty years or more.
And I was supposed to love it.
For what seemed like the beginning of a life-sentence, I was overcome with a sense of duty to care, intensified by my decision to go it alone, and I just didn’t like the small thing that offered no inspiration, no interaction and no feedback on my performance, but just repeated its interminable Wagnerian cycle of eat, belch, piss, poo, scream, whine, sleep, yell out on waking, eat, etc., ad nauseum.
Then one morning, the lump of flesh stretched to an elegant length, wriggled awake against the blanket like a bear scratching its back on a tree, gazed lovingly upward into my eyes and beamed his daddy’s heartbreaking smile at me. All the gratitude to me he felt for his young life and prospects for his future, he channeled mercilessly into that smile, and we both knew we would love and protect each other forever. Hi Mark. Welcome.
One morning as I lay in bed with Mark alongside me and the dogs perched on the far end, I looked tenderly at him. He had woken excited about the new day very early, run about preparing, sat chatting, and then he had gone back to a deep sleep and I wrote my one and only poem for him.
It was 2007 already. I was thirty-nine.
The defiant one was three. There was never any doubt about what Stevie wanted and didn’t want from me. She told me in words and defiant deeds from morning to night, a mini-me in lots of ways, except that I’d given her the stimulus and opportunity to show how clever she could be.
I remember one time she stood at the top of the short spiral staircase holding her special party dress. She was already tall for a three-year-old but couldn’t do up the hooks and buttons, that held it together. It was totally impractical but she’d fallen in love with it at first sight.
We were only going to Tesco. But she wasn’t going to get dressed in anything else. She was adamant and had her mouth puckered for one of her long excruciating wails. I walked up the staircase, stood just below her and tugged the material into place, painstakingly fastened and buttoned everything, while she stood triumphant.
‘You’ll have to put your coat on over that, it’s raining hard,’ I told her in revenge. Then she insisted on taking it off because she couldn’t get it wet and started grabbing at the fastenings.
Food was another of her mind games. She liked omelettes with lots of different flavoured things in them. On good days we’d raid the fridge and cupboards together and decide what we could prepare and chop into small pieces and sauté in oil before pouring on the eggs.
The bad days would start the same way, but she’d suddenly decide she needed to have something in the omelette that was missing. She’d look at it, pick at the edges, decide it wasn’t right without the missing ingredient, leave it and ask for egg and chips instead, when she’d just seen me use the last of the eggs for the omelette.
I would refuse to cook just chips because she never ate just chips, just tried dipping them in various sauces and leaving them. Then she would either sulk, cry or scream depending on her mood.
The pregnancy went smoothly considering the upheaval in my life it was causing. But I was dreading, all the way through it, the birth of another she-devil.
Then Kelly popped out with a big smile on her face, gave a little yelp when her bottom was tapped, then dived hungrily for my right tit. Never once did she exhibit the stroppy angst that Stevie had presented.
I wondered if the contentment chemically administered into her bloodstream by my mild pill-popping had protected her from the turmoil in my head. Maybe I should have done Stevie that favor, I thought.
The important thing was that I loved Kelly to bits.
Mark loved having a new baby sister who would regard him as the man of the house and would be less challenging than her big sister.
Stevie changed too. She was on the receiving end of Kelly’s occasional tantrums and saw how we all had to rush to prevent harm coming to her little sister. She included the baby in her adventures with her dolls, which seemed gentler and more loving. She was less confrontational. I think somebody at nursery might have trained her. She seemed to understand boundaries and not consider them always as walls to be stormed.
At work I just carried on shoveling shit and accepting the necessity for it
Most of the men who paid me for sex I would have run a mile from.
But I was giving my kids a solid start in life and making sure they felt loved. It was worth it.
My mother did the usual mum things including whining about dad, but we meant something to each other. Problem was, she smoked like a steamship and the tar clung to the walls. I couldn’t bring anybody home to that as a kid. They’d seen her when she collected me at school, car window wound down, fag blazing away between her pursed lips, hissing at me from the corner of her mouth to hurry up. Cue for another set of name-calling. I was always fascinated by her ability to smoke an entire cigarette without ever removing it from her mouth. The ash would be a grey curl which I would watch with fascination, waiting for it to drop. I don’t remember a time that it did.
I didn’t want to get that close to my mother. I knew she was trying to find ways of helping me, but there was something stifling about getting too close.
I only found out later that she carried a self-loathing gene through the female line. We shared a belief that we’d be better off dead. It didn’t make us suicidal but limited our enjoyment of life, made us feel worthless. There were suicides and incarcerations in recent generations but I never wanted to find out the details. For mum, there was an almost constant cloud of despair about herself, her marriage and me.
I remember a day in primary school, reception class to be precise, when some new emotionally touchy-feely teacher not long out of college heard me talking about my mother.
‘You shouldn’t say mother, nice girls say mummy like yummy because it makes mummy feel good and your mummy loves you and puts food in your tummy. So, what do we call her?’
‘Mother,’ I insisted and the other kids laughed at the teacher. So, she took me to the Head and she agreed a slippering. When it was over and I was fighting back tears, the teacher asked again.’
‘Now tell the class what you call the loving lady who puts food in your tummy?’
‘Mother,’ I insisted and clipped my lips tight shut.