The days that followed passed in a hurried blur of anticipation and anxiety. It took almost two days for the dye to wash out of my hair and even then it looked slightly dull and matted, robbed of its typical gloss. ‘I really should have gone to a salon’, I sighed as I fingered the mass of split ends and combed it into something resembling the mane I usually wore proudly on my head. Still no matter how much I washed, nothing seemed capable of completely removing the tanning lotion. I looked like I had been on holiday or visited a cheap tanning salon.
The last meeting before I started my reckless adventure therefore passed off under the confused gaze of a few participants who knew me reasonably well. Fortunately hardly anyone else did and, for once, my lower profile in the company had worked to my advantage.
I could barely concentrate on the meeting. I was now almost exclusively focused upon my ‘trip’. I still had to deal with a number of outstanding issues concerning Marta. Her pay (minimum wage of course + a bonus); her accommodation (the hotel of course, but a private room); her supervisor (hotel manager). As intelligent as I considered myself, I was giving myself headaches trying to think of everything that could possibly go wrong. And there was a lot. If not for my impulsive nature and the obsessive need to fulfil my fantasy, I doubt I would have carried on. So many things could go wrong, but I was no longer listening to my inner thinking.
When the first day of my ‘trip’ finally came, I could hardly contain my excitement. Clumsily I finished my packing: maid’s uniform, several bottles of tanning lotion and hair dye, the various elements of my disguise, undies and some other clothes for when I was not working. I also hid my actual ID and purse in a special pocket of the bag. Just in case. That thought made me pause for a moment, surveying the opulence of the room I was vacating. I felt a shiver of expectation, fear, but most of all adrenalin. I was like a tightly wound coil ready to spring into action.
After saying my goodbyes to the staff, I took a cab to the station and within several hours I was in Abbottsville. Donning some sunglasses, I headed for a local diner to pause for a moment and compose myself. Taking the window seat, I surveyed the town and the people, happily discovering that I had been correct in assuming that there would be very few, if any, Latino people here. I sipped my coffee and felt the anxiety ebb as I saw the various elements of my plan falling neatly into place. My phone has been quiet since I left the city and, gazing at my emails, I could see nothing had happened to concern me. I switched it off and slid it into the hidden part of the bag.
Tonight I had booked myself into a small motel just on the outskirts of town. I would spend one last night as Katherine. Well I say Katherine, but the room was booked and prepaid by a ‘Justine Green’ and a certain Marta Fernandez would be leaving very early in the morning. Arrangements had been made to leave the keys in a safe box. I smiled, kidding myself that I was completely covered for any eventuality. Naturally I knew that was a foolhardy assumption, just I had to place my faith in something for me to gain sufficient courage to see this all through.
Upon arriving at the motel, I spoke quietly in a casual manner to the manager, avoiding eye contact and appearing relaxed and disinterested. The motel was not as advertised. It was rundown and in what seemed to be a rather squalid part of town. Even the taxi driver had checked the address twice to make sure I knew I was going to the right place.
I thought back to the cab ride noting the almost symbolic nature of that journey. I was being carried over, somewhat figuratively if not literally, to the wrong side of the tracks. Leaving the reception, I felt anxious as I carried my bag to the room, sealing myself safely inside. Parting the curtains discreetly, I peered outside to make sure no-one had followed me or was watching. And of course, no-one was. No-one knew where I was right now. That realisation sparked hundreds of little scenarios in my head. I could run away! I could disappear! I might be killed! The whole sensation was scary and, of course, highly liberating.
I looked around the room. For the first time, I saw the seediness with which I was surrounding myself, the poverty and decay of my surroundings. With its fresh lick of paint, the reception had masked the reality I now found myself within: the damp on the wall, the peeling wallpaper, the stale smelling sheets. I took off my clothes, piece by piece, silently, hearing my heart in my head. All I could think was how these clothes were too good for Marta. She could never afford them. Each item I removed, I threw into the bin. I slid my expensive, silky panties down my thighs and tossed them in as well. I was naked in perhaps the worst motel room I had ever stayed. Inside my bag were Marta’s clothes, her cosmetics, her ‘things’. The whole situation made me shiver intensely. I took the bag and went to prepare myself.
I sat in the darkness of my seedy motel room peeking out of my window at a group of men standing around in the parking lot drinking and shouting. The evening, which had heralded the start of my erotic experience, was now turning a little sour and scary. Obeying my better instincts, I had turned out the lights as soon as they had arrived to avoid attracting any attention and it seemed to have worked. That was almost 25 minutes ago and had interrupted my transformation into Marta, a process I had imagined would have been much smoother.
I was still feeling sick and nervous at what I had seen upon taking the towel off my head. I had followed the instructions to the letter, but with this application of dye following so soon after the previous one, my hair had reacted badly. So badly that it had started to frizz at the tips. In a panic I had tried to rinse the liquid off my hair, which had seemed to stem the frizzing halfway up my hair.
It was when I was figuring out what to do next that I had heard the commotion outside. After what seemed another half an hour, the gang finally dispersed and headed off in separate directions. I waited, still afraid and unwilling to switch my lights back on till I knew they had gone. Backing up into the room, I stumbled over the bed, tumbling in a heap. It took me a moment to find the switch and lift myself so I was face to face with the mirror.
My heart sank as I looked at the frizzy mess on top of my head. I tried to comb it but that just made matters worse. As my frustration grew and lumps of hair were falling from my scalp, I realised that I would have to lose almost half of my hair. Fortunately or not, I had brought a pair of scissors and, as I reached for them, I paused, feeling a curious sensation of excitement build inside of me. Is this how Marta is meant to look? I pulled some of my hair up and away from my face, giving me an impression of how it would look shorter. I shivered. My hair had not been that short since I was a child. It was one aspect of my looks I was particularly vain about and I had always made regular visits to the salon, much more often than was necessary.
However, standing there in that rundown motel, it made perfect sense. Katherine was rich and fortunate. Marta was not. Marta would never have had the money to have the kind of hair Katherine did. Marta inhabited a world of home cuts and cheap care products. *Snip*. She could only have a cheap looking style. *Snip*. I stared at my naked body as I cut away a big part of my identity. I had worried that I might be recognised, now that seemed highly unlikely. I hated how the jagged ends of my hair now looked. Shorter hair hardens the features and all my imperfections were now fully displayed. My eyes fell to my crotch. For a week now I had not tended myself down there. Most boyfriends seemed to like the smoothness they found there. But not Marta. She did not have that inclination. Hours of looking at porn pictures of Latinos had taught me that they were hairier. I therefore, as Marta, had to be hairier.
It took some time. After some trial and error, I finally got my hair into a short bob. While I had thought I could lose just half the length, I found that all my mistakes had added up and I actually lost two-thirds of it. My hair had gone from shoulder length to just below the cheekbone in less than an hour. I gasped as I looked at the plain looking girl in the mirror. I felt a little repulsed, but totally entranced. Driving on past the doubts gripping me, I smeared the tanning lotion onto myself, constantly staring at myself in the mirror. I think if someone had burst into my room at that point, I would not have even noticed. I knew that, for a light tan, I needed to leave the lotion in place for just 30 minutes. But the thrill of the moment was getting to me and I felt myself burn at the thought of leaving it on for an hour, perhaps longer? How dark should Marta be? I fell forwards a little, reaching out for the dresser to hold myself up. My hand now pressed between my legs, feeling the fuzzy new hair growing there.
Marta should be dark, there should be no mistaking her as ‘white’. I trembled so hard that my legs appeared to buckle. Though this change was temporary, I knew with regular application of dye and lotion it might take on air of permanence. For the next hour I reacquainted myself with the state of utter depravation I had enjoyed several times over the past few weeks, though never before so deeply, nor so closely. As I squirmed on the filthy old bed, my body darkening, changing, I peered up towards the cracked ceiling and let out a filthy moan. The fantasy was becoming real. Katherine was gone and only Marta remained, laying in her true surroundings.
It was about 5am when I left the motel, the tattered remains of Katherine’s clothes left in shreds in the bin. The long, fuzzy strands of hair thrown in for good measure. Walking out into the daylight provoked an array of mixed emotions, most of them feeding my growing appetite for embarrassment. I shut the door and posted the key back through the letterbox. I was now trapped outside, unable to hide. Nowhere to go except my father’s hotel to work as a maid. No not a maid. A cleaner. Let us be clear. For despite my recommendations, as Katherine, the letter had been quite clear, I was just a cleaner. Perhaps an exceptional cleaner, but they would view me as nothing more. Before the day was out I would be scrubbing floors and cleaning toilets. The next fortnight would not be easy, but it was not meant to be. This would be a template for many dirty fantasies of the future. I would lay in my silky sheets and touch myself remembering this for years to come - my fortnight as an immigrant cleaner.