by Violet Carson
The two weeks raced by. Klava heard from the letting agents that some Chinese tenants had been found for her house on the condition that they could stay for 12 months rather than the 6 she had initially hoped for. After careful consideration and considering that they hadn’t questioned the price she agreed. After all, if she didn’t want to remain in her new lowly paid status beyond the 6 months she initially planned she had money in the bank and was going to hide away enough means of accessing additional funds if need be. As much as she wanted to escape the trappings of wealth she wasn’t about to jump head first without some kind of parachute!
She had been in touch with the seedy Bill McDonald on behalf of her “cousin” Klava and had been able to provide enough documentation for her to be added to Andrews’s payroll. He had assured her that Klava would receive the minimum wage and that within a week she would have work at a university campus. Klava thanked him and felt relieved by the timing as this would give her a full week in her new flat to immerse herself completely in Klava’s new world.
Every waking moment of the past two weeks this had been all she’d thought of and the crazed excitement that she felt was becoming unbearable. She knew deep down this was sheer madness and she was taking a number of insane risks but she knew there could be no turning back.
She awoke on the Saturday morning and stripped the bed of its sheets and put them into a bin liner. The only thing left to do was to empty the remains of her fridge before the cleaners arrived on Monday to prepare the house for her tenants.
She looked at the large and incredibly cheap, wheeled suitcase that she’d bought for herself, along with a sports bag. This and her new fake leather handbag and backpack contained everything she was taking for her new life. She took off her silk dressing gown and nightie for the last time and added them to her rubbish bag and walked into her on-suite bathroom. She read the instructions on the packet of hair-dye and then left it in place under the plastic shower-cap for 30 minutes longer than instructed. She then had a shower to remove any remnants of the coloured liquid before admiring her new reflection in the mirror. Her hair was a bright canary yellow. With the right clothes, some of which she certainly now owned she could look almost like a cheap hooker and felt a sexual tingle all over her body just by admiring herself. Her fingers reached down to her recently pierced clitoris and the temptation to finger herself was overpowering, but the pain of the piercing was still too much to enable her to satisfy her lust. She sincerely hoped this would heal soon or she’d begin to regret this aspect of her changes.
She dried her hair and body and pulled on the bright pink polyester thong and black padded up lift bra. She squeezed a tight t-shirt with some gawdy sequins on it over her head and padded breast. Just as she’d hoped with cheap clothing it was smaller and tighter than any designer item in an equivalent size and made her breasts point out incredibly. She then pulled on her tight bleached jeans with their trendy rip at the knee and new chunky heeled ankle boots. She pulled her hair back into a high tight pony tail and with a bit too much make-up and adding a pair of excessively large hoop earrings, she looked exactly like the cheap East European woman trying to look 10 years younger than she actually was. The look was perfect, it was absolutely thrilling for her and her heart pounded faster than she thought possible!
An hour later she headed out of the door posting the key back through her letterbox. She felt free, but also petrified of what she was letting herself in for. She had only visited her new home in Nelson Mandela House once in the last two weeks and it was even more unloved and down-market than she had expected, with stained carpets and moldy bathroom and kitchen. The bed was also very old with a soiled sagging mattress. She knew that when she arrived she would have to spend the rest of the day cleaning, but thought to herself that would be good practice for what lay ahead of her for the forthcoming six or more months.
She put her back-pack on and with her sports holdall and handbag in one hand, she pulled her large case with the other. It was only a 20-minute walk to the tube station but she could feel the sweat building under her arms and between her legs when she got there. Her new cheap deodorant and perfume were not going to be enough to hide the smell of sweat by the time she reached her new home. Also, her overly tight jeans were making her newly acquired piercing dig into her body making her move far more slowly than she’d like. She was also not looking forward to having to change tube lines half way across town, knowing she would have to drag her case up and downstairs but she knew that she couldn't admit defeat and order a taxi at this stage. She had also only given herself a small allowance of cash to sustain her until, she received her first pay from the university cleaning job and she had not yet seen any contract to know when that might be.
Just as she got to the underground station, she was mortified to almost bump straight into one of the few neighbours that she ever spoke to. The woman took a double take not sure if what she was seeing was Claudia Andrews or some cheap impersonation of her. Whilst feeling herself blush, Klava managed to keep her composure and stared straight past her as if she’d never set eyes on the woman before and hoped that she’d escaped.
Just under an hour later she emerged from the underground ready for the long walk to her new home. Twenty minutes later she got into the lift that thankfully worked, and emerged on the 7th floor. She turned the key in her door to savour that unmistakable damp musty smell of an unloved home where no window had been opened in weeks. She closed the door behind her, took off her uncomfortable clumpy heeled boots and collapsed exhausted on her sagging mattress. She thought she was fitter than she obviously was and wondered how those long hours in the gym clearly hadn’t readied her for dragging a few heavy bags across London on a hot day!
After dozing for an hour she got up and started to unpack and fill the chest of drawers and hung her clothes on the wire hangers hanging sadly in her new wardrobe. It took her no more than 10 minutes and she realized that she must now have about a tenth of the number of items of clothing she had previously and only 6 pairs of shoes that included one pair of trainers, her boots, two pairs of very high heels, ballet pumps and a cheap canvas pair that she expected to wear for work. It was a very sorry sight but she knew it was what she wanted.
She knew that she would have to head to the supermarket soon as the kitchen was empty but first needed another shower after her hot and sweaty journey. She stepped into her bathroom that was smaller than her old guest cloakroom, looking at the outdated avocado toilet and the shower with its awful plastic shower tray and moldy curtain.
Heading toward the supermarket she discovered a small Polish discount store and managed to buy enough East European food there to help create her new life and felt delighted with herself. There were also a few bars and cafes in the are that clearly serviced this part of London’s new east European immigrants and stopped for a coffee in one before returning home. Almost as soon as she sat down a young Latvian man sat down asked if she’d mind if he sat opposite her using his broken English. She guessed he’d be able to speak Russian and told him it was ok. He seemed relieved to be able to converse fluently with someone and soon told her that he was a plasterer working on a large building site. He quickly asked her if she wanted to go out for a drink with him one evening soon and she was both shocked at how forward he was, obviously believing her tale of being a cleaner and how different her new image must make her seem. A few weeks ago he would have been far too unsure of himself to approach Claudia Andrews but as Klava she looked poor but also available! They exchanged numbers, she hoped simply so he would stop pestering her but she had no intention of calling him and hoped that he wouldn’t call her and if he did she would have time to think of an excuse.
She finally got home and decided to clean the bath before doing some cleaning and then relaxing in the bath before getting an early night as she felt exhausted after carrying her belongings across town.
Unfortunately, as much as she tried she couldn’t get any hot water to flow and on inspecting the boiler could see that it was obviously faulty and she had no option but to call a plumber.
She found a telephone directory that had been left and made some calls. She quickly realized that if she were to stick to living within her new self imposed means she could not afford an emergency plumber and would have to wait until Monday when the hourly rate was lower. She booked in a visit for Monday morning and resigned herself to two days without a warm bath. She felt deflated but decided to smother herself in her cheap perfume to compensate and wondered what a Saturday night out in this part of town might mean and after heating a tin of soup decided to face the world as Klava!
She then removed her sweaty underwear and decided to make it obvious to anyone that she was pretty low on the social scale. She put on her new ultra short miniskirt and stilettos and coupled that with a crop top and her fake leather jacket. Her hair felt slightly greasy so she kept that pulled back in the tight pony-tail and with plenty of make-up and way too much perfume felt ready for a night out. She could not remember when she had last gone out alone without any real destination in mind and the last time she’d gone out looking anything like this was to some student parties. She checked her reflection in the mirror and knew she looked just right. Nothing of the old Claudia remained!