I cannot be bothered to spend a long time packing. Just throwing a few things in, my Victoria Secret underwear, the black sequined bra. Cosmetics, of course, my Vanilla perfume, which I just bought from Ebay and then off to the States. Got a return ticket still to be collected from the Airport, all paid for by Ninotshka. Yes, I know that you know. Ninotshka did not really pay for it. More than $1000, you must be daft. Her Greek Tycoon boyfriend searched his pockets for cash and came up with it. Can’t remember his name. Met him in London. He got enough dosh not to bother about the cost, a mere snip in his purse. I am only staying four days, hardly worthwhile, is it?
Where did I meet Ninotshka? God, that’s a long story. Do we have time? Sit down, put the paper away, I can’t tell you if you’re reading.
It started with an ad in the Lady, remember, that posh magazine where you search for employment as a nanny with Lord and Lady Blah Blah or as a housekeeper for starlets. I came across this: “WANTED. A young lady to look after an exclusive flat in Hampstead. Owner often abroad on business. Light cleaning tasks in return for living rent free in one of the best areas in London.”
Great, I thought. The voice on the phone, reassuring, even sexy.... inviting me for an interview. Most impressed by the tree-lined cul-de-sac, the perfect lawn, the manicured hedges. No fuss, classy. I rang the bell and nearly fell onto a young woman who rushed at me like a whirlwind. “Hello, come in”, she smiled. In an East European accent she introduced me to a fat short man with glasses who looked me up and down, “I think I made a mistake” he said sheepishly pointing at the dark-haired young woman who had opened the door. He already had found a girl and now would not need two. Trying to dazzle him with my most radiant smile I crooned: “Oh, what a pity! I do understand your dilemma. But would it not be better to have two girls, if one fell ill, the other one could take over. They also would keep each other company during the lonely nights in a large flat.” It took all my persuasion convincing him to take me on too. And yes, I succeeded. Mr. Winner agreed to me moving in. Later I heard from Ninotshka, (this was the dark-haired girl’s name) that she was broke when answering the ad, that she had fallen prey to temptation and become the mistress of the short fellow Winner. He and his super rich Arab business partner, who mostly lived abroad, had bought the flat as a love nest to entertain a host of girls. A Jew and an Arab, partners in crime!
I was intrigued. First thing I got familiar with the house, its interior. Gold plated tabs in the bathroom! A waterbed, proudly taking over most of the main bedroom. Mirrors everywhere, even on top of the bed! The colour scheme: creams and browns, a grasp for elegance with a vengeance: a lady-like attempt that had gone tarty. Ninotshka and I were hitting it off. We decided to do a runner. No way for me to shag Mr. Winner or worse, wait for the Arab to arrive. We were planning our escape. I had a brilliant idea. I dotted Ninotshka’s lovely face all over with my dark lipstick, enjoying the result: all of a sudden poor Ninotshka got the measles! For sure it kept Mr Winner at bay. He stood like a dog with his floppy tail between his legs, his face in a scared grimace. He urgently had to leave for a couple of days. This gave us breathing space for a bit of fun. We earlier had met two students and invited them in for a party. We found plenty of wine and Champagne. How most of it ended up across the ceiling, I can’t remember, only that we all rolled on the floor in a wrestling match. Wanted to show the boys we girls can be tough! The day we left, we took the key (who knows it might come in handy in future) but left a phone bill. That probably made Mr. Winner’s eyes pop. Good bye Mr. Loser!
Some weeks later we were back. With the key. Came to visit the new Eastern European girls now occupying the flat. Warned them off. Monsters come in all disguises. Yes, Mr. Loser!