by Noëlle Lague
(Freely based on "Maid in China" by Barefoot Servant)
(Freely based on "Maid in China" by Barefoot Servant)
The next day was going to be filled to the brim with duties for Maddie. She had to wake up at five o´clock and was immediately told by Rosario to get dressed in her cleaning uniform, the pink smock in thick nylon that she had been using cleaning up after the guests. It made the serving uniform seem light and airy. Just like the day before, she was to wear only the smock, without bra and panties. The fact that it was worn without apron, for some reason, gave the outfit an even more restrictive impression. Maddie felt her nipples attacked with every movement, the stiff fabric was merciless. Rosario instructed her to put the large white hairband in her hair to keep the it away from her face. Maddie saw her reflection in a full-length mirror and groaned audibly.
”Yes Maddie, that´s how Miss Heather wanted you to look for your cleaning chores today, that is, for the moment. She wanted me to tell you that you later today have a hairdresser`s appointment. You will be given a more appropriate haircut for the maid you are, the lowest in rank.”
Maddie squirmed feeling tears of anger welling up in her eyes.
”But….Mrs. Dalaga….I….don´t want to cut my…..”, she complained but was cut off by Rosario.
”Enough of your whining.”
She seized Maddie´s arm and held it with a firm hand.
”Ow, you´re hurting me….”
”Don´t you contradict me again, Maddie,” Rosario barked.
”Ow….I´m……..ow….sorry, Mrs. Dalaga.”
”If Miss Heather wants to cut your hair, that´s what´s going to happen. Nobody is asking for your opinion about anything around here girl, you are here simply to obey, to clean and serve.”
”Yes, Mrs. Dalaga, I´m so sorry.”
”You will be put to work right now, Miss Heather insisted on having you do all of the cleaning today, and - as I understand it - for the rest of the summer. So that´s what you´re going to do, clean, Maddie. Or rather, learn to clean the way Miss Heather wants the cleaning to be done, understand?”
”Yes, Mrs. Dalaga.”
”Off you go.”
A swat to her bum made Maddie start waddling submissively in front of Rosario toward a morning of household chores, instructed by her superior maid.
Exhausted from hours of sweeping, rubbing, swabbing, dusting and all imaginable cleaning chores without break, Maddie was told to fetch a plastic bucket, a floor cloth and a cleaning pad. Rosario would wait for her in the kitchen.
”Don´t forget to put on your rubber boots”, Rosario added.
Maddie hurried away. Once back Rosario directed her towards the toilets close to the part of the house where the Kim family had their bedrooms. It was around eleven o´clock. Maddie heard voices from the master bedrooms. She recognized Skye´s, Heather´s and Jenny´s voices, but there was also a male voice. She was soon to know who it belonged to.
Rosario ordered Maddie to fill the bucket with hot water and stand at attention in front of the toilets, with the bucket in one hand, the cloth and the pad in the other.
”You just wait there, yes, that´s right. Stand up straight, and stay like that”, Rosario instructed before walking toward the bedrooms.
She knocked at one of the doors.
”Yes?”. It was Jenny´s alert voice.
”I have Maddie ready for you now”, Rosario said.
Maddie heard perfectly clear every word of the conversation.
”Just open the door Rosario”, Jenny said.
Rosario did as she was told. Maddie couldn´t see anybody, not even Rosario, as the corridor that headed to the bedrooms was beyond the angle of the passage to the toilets. But she heard the girls chat cheerfully and, after a moment, she could hear their happy voices mix with the sound of their high heeled pumps as they walked on the tiles. The clicking sound increased in intensity and Maddie finally understood that they were approaching her and that she was to greet her classmates in her utterly embarrassing and humiliating position, in her degrading outfit in front of the toilets.
Maddie looked straight ahead as she saw them, trying to hold back her tears. She was sweating heavily and had begun to feel angry, her entire figure screaming submissive indignation. She had to put an end to this awful humiliation, she thought. It was outrageous and unfair.
Skye, Jenny and Heather stopped when they discovered her, silently waiting for a reaction from the poor girl. Feeling the irresistible power, the strong determination that Heather possessed and the obvious authority she had exercised over her, Maddie suddenly swung from anger to submissiveness. By constantly patronising her, Heather had deprived Maddie of a good portion of her self-esteem. Jenny, Skye and Heather, all three were her superiors, it was a simple matter of fact, she should know that by now, she thought all of a sudden. Rosario had said so.
Drowning in humiliation, Maddie accused herself for being not good enough, having signed a contract without carefully reading it, being clumsy, having low grades and, looking down on her ridiculous pink outfit, she finally lost control of her thoughts. Throwing a glance at her classmates and Heather - all of them staring at her debased figure with derision - Maddie was overwhelmed by their beauty and their self-confidence, and, at the same time, her own wretchedness. I´m the maid of my classmates. I´m worthless. There was only one thing left to do, that she could think of.
”Good morning, Miss Jennifer, good morning Miss Branham, good morning Miss Heather”.
Maddie said it with a facial expression that could be mistaken for cheerfulness, a weird and slight distance in glaring contrast to the utter chastisement she was actually subjected to. The girls felt Maddie was just trying to save faces, and they were probably right. Heather adored it, the combination of Maddie´s subdued appearance and her attempt to look unmoved or even amused, accentuated Maddie´s state of degradation, making Maddie´s shame even more palpable.
The intensity of Maddie´s humiliation was in fact unbearable and she had to search for anything that could give her the slightest relief. The curtsy that accompanied her polite greeting was unusually deep, and Maddie felt a wave of curious and ambiguous sensations invade her body, despite her predicament. It certainly couldn´t be because of it. Or? She felt confused. With all her power, she repressed what her mind was going through. Her tormentors said nothing, they just savored Maddie´s distress.
”Miss Heather”, Rosario interjected, ”is this how you wanted her this morning?”
Heather approached Maddie, correcting the position of her head, turning it slightly to the side to face Jenny. Maddie, biting her lip, avoided eye-contact with her classmate.
”Tell me, how has she managed to perform the duties imposed on her this morning?” Heather asked Rosario.
”I´m afraid Maddie is having difficulties with most of her tasks, even the simplest rubbing can cause her big trouble and I´m therefore obliged to monitor her every movement.”
”Is that so, Maddie?”
”Yes, Miss Heather,” Maddie, meekly replied, glancing at her interrogator.
”I have a small request before you continue, Heather.”
”Please Skye, go on.”
”I find Maddie is holding her bucket too close to her body, I would suggest you tell her to distance it a good bit. I´m sure it will make her more attentive to the lesson she is given.”
”That is definitely an excellent idea Skye,” Heather chuckled.
Maddie´s pleading eyes met no reaction from Jenny, and she promptly, with a pained look started to bring the bucket as far away from her body, as possible. As the bucket was filled almost up to the top, she managed to change its position only a tiny bit, but it was clear that she tried hard, her grimacing and panting entertaining her onlookers greatly. Skye studied her disciplined rival desperately struggling to keep the heavy bucket in position.
”That´s a good girl, now you keep it that way, and don´t you spill a drop,” Heather instructed.
”Maybe she should also hold up her right hand, with the floor cloth and the cleaning pad right aside her face?”, Skye proposed.
”Yes, that will sharpen her attentiveness, go ahead Maddie, you heard what Miss Branham said”, Heather bellowed.
”Yes, Miss Heather.”
Maddie obeyed and offered a ridiculous pose for her tormentors.
”Is it ok if I continue with her Jenny?” Heather asked.
”Yes, please do, Maddie seems to be particularly sensitive to your authority Heather, it can only amplify her humiliation and consequently be beneficial for her obedience.”
”If there were grades to be given for cleaning tasks Rosario, what grade would you give Maddie?” Heather asked.
”Oh, I think an F is adequate for Maddie,” Rosario answered looking sternly at the grimacing victim, her bucket beginning to tilt from right to left.
”Maddie, what does an F mean?”
”Failure, Miss Heather”, Maddie answered, now heavily panting and squirming from side to side with tears building up in her eyes.
Maddie was having more and more trouble with the bucket.
”Good Maddie, failure, that´s correct.”
The lesson was far from being finished.
”You have just been given an F Maddie, and I find that condign. Do you understand that word Maddie?”
Heather was crushing her completely.
”I….. don´t know, Miss Heather,” Maddie said , barely audible.
”Speak up”, Heather barked.
”Sorry Miss Heather, no, I…. Miss Heather….maybe……. low?
The room was filled with laughter, Maddie closed her eyes.
”Look at me little one, it means deserved. Do you understand?”
”Yes, Miss Heather”.
”Now, does Maddie think she deserves an F?”
”Yes, Miss Heather.”
”Repeat the whole sentence”.
Maddie obeyed almost faltering, close to losing control over the bucket. Heather approached her and corrected her arms, forcing the bucket into a higher position. Maddie groaned helplessly, wincing.
”Thank you, Rosario, for your opinion. And……what can you say about Maddie´s attitude?”
”Maddie will need strict guidance and to be kept in tight reins, at all times. She has been whining about her tasks, even very simple ones and questioning my counseling with childish protests, often beginning with the word but. She has also talked without neither my permission nor any understandable reason, complaining about how strenuous her chores are and explained to me what her favorite lemonades are. Miss Jennifer told me that Maddie at several occasions interrupted Mr. Buckley tuckering him out with stupid questions about anything and everything. Maddie behaves like a cheeky little girl and requires - actually I sometimes get the impression she´s almost craving it - the strictest possible discipline.”
Rosario looked again with a stern face at a mortified Maddie.
”Is this a fair judgment of how you´ve been performing your tasks, Maddie?”
”Yes, Miss Heather, I´m sorry”, Maddie answered, heavily panting, squirming almost uncontrollably.
”Good, Maddie, I knew you would admit your misconduct.”
Turning to Rosario again Heather went forward in her interrogatory.
”Thank you, Rosario for giving us all a good picture of Maddie´s unacceptable and stubborn insolence. Maddie needs to be held under strict discipline and I´m sure you will help me in all ways possible, won´t you?”
”Yes, Miss Heather, I will be glad to do so.”
Now Jenny intervened.
”Maddie´s obligations in the household, as simple and tedious as they may appear to us, will give her an excellent opportunity to show that she understands the importance of her obedience. It is obvious that you Heather, have a decisive contribution in this context.”
”Yes indeed, Jenny. Having listened to Rosario´s description of Maddie´s behavior, her impertinence and lack of respect for her betters, Maddie´s training calls for stricter measures to correct her. Targeted actions, exercises without any other objective than to improve her devotion and obedience, will be used to cope with her misconduct.”
Maddie looked with an anxious expression at Heather.
”To give you an idea about what I mean Maddie will immediately be put through a series of exercises. In fact, Skye´s idea with the bucket is a good example of what I´m talking about.”
”Maddie, put down the bucket and place the cloth and the pad on the floor. Hurry up.”
Maddie quickly complied.
”Stand up straight with your arms neatly by the side.”
”Turn your head to the right.”
”To the left”.
”To the right”.
”Keep going around your bucket and continue until I snap with my fingers, then stop.”
Maddie turned around the bucket, lap after lap, in front of her amused spectators. Heather eventually snapped with her fingers, Maddie froze.
”Look at me.”
”Turn your back at us.”
”Turn your head to the left”.
Maddie obeyed blindly.
”Get down on your knees.”
”Put your hands on your head”.
Heather´s orders were given at a constantly accelerating pace. Maddie kept obeying quickly.
”Turn to face us.”
”Open your mouth.”
Maddie made big eyes, offering her tormentors a ridiculous sight, but complied.
”Open up big.”
Maddie groaned but, again, obeyed.
”Look at Skye.”
Maddie, tears flowing down her cheeks, obeyed and met Skye´s derisive look as she cheerfully started playing with a pink bouncing ball. Skye let it bounce a couple of times while slowly approaching Maddie, who was still keeping her mouth wide open and her hands on her head. Then, abruptly and with a theatrical gesture, Skye stopped the bouncing and held the ball in front of Maddie, close to her face. With a few dance-like steps she went to stand behind Maddie, whispering in her ear.
”Back-talking servant girls must be silenced. Look at your friend Heather.”
Maddie obeyed and moaned as Skye from behind and without effort slided the ball in between her protruding lips, forcing Maddie to keep her mouth wide open, stopping her from speaking.
”That´s a good girl” Skye continued, ”you keep looking at your good friend Heather.”
”Arms along your sides, Skye commanded her, Maddie did as she was told.
”Go stand in the corner,” Heather barked.
Heather directed her degraded victim to a corner close to the toilets, Maddie hurried with her arms tight along her sides and took position with her face against the wall.
”Hands on your head.”
Maddie obeyed. Heather had her completely under her thumb, perfectly docile.
”So Rosario, what would be her grade in, let´s call the subject, for the sake of simplicity, obedience, shall we?”
”Here too, she gets a big F, Miss Heather,” Rosario answered with a beaming smile.
”Oh, there´s another failure for our hero”, Skye teased.
”I think Maddie´s both F:s are merited, justified and so perfectly fitting. Don´t you think Skye?”, Jenny said smiling at her friend.
”Indeed, Jenny. Maddie is an unbeatable loser, she should wear a sign on her chest with a big ”F” followed by the word ”Loser”, Skye said smiling.
”I´m getting hungry, and you Skye?”
”Yeah, let´s leave Dumbo for a while”, Skye said.
”In a moment Skye, we shouldn’t´t forget to organize the afternoon a little first”, Heather interjected.
”Rosario, when Maddie is done with the toilet cleaning she is to serve us lunch.”
”Yes, Miss Heather”, Rosario answered.
”You will thereafter prepare her for her big outing in town.”
”Yes, Miss Heather, I have laid out the clothes you wanted her to wear on her bed and I will supervise her as she gets dressed.”
”She will of course wear her service uniform to begin with. Make sure we come in time for her appointment with the hairdresser.”
”Yes of course, Miss Heather, I understand how important it is for you.”
”Put her to work, Rosario”, Heather ordered coldly.
With a shrill voice Rosario ordered Maddie to get her bucket and speed up. Maddie quickly lifted her cleaning gear and turned to one of the toilets and got down on her knees, soaked the pad in the water and started to rub the WC.
She noticed that the girls stayed for a minute to see her start cleaning, but soon heard them leave for the pool. Maddie rubbed diligently, listening carefully to Rosario’s instructions. Her movements were persistently corrected by the meticulous woman. Maddie had come to a point where she stopped thinking about the injustice of the treatment Heather imposed on her.
She now knew that being at the bottom of the social ladder irrevocably had become her station in the Kim´s home. Along with the self-contempt Maddie could feel for herself, she felt both admiration and respect for her classmates and even for Heather although she hated her. They were all three beautiful, clever and sure of themselves. And they obviously wanted to put Maddie in place.
”Maddie, I think someone is here to see you” Rosario said in a exaggeratedly tender voice, giving Maddie a break in the continuous stream of admonitions.
Maddie stood up and saw Graham looking at her.
”Oh, Maddie, you really have to do the hard work in the Kim´s house, don´t you?”
Maddie hesitated before answering, curtsying of course.
”Good morning Mr. Buckley, yes …..I must do as I´m told, Heather wants me to work hard.”
”But that´s good for you, Maddie, I´m glad to see you put in place. How could you ever think I would accept to date you, Maddie?”
Maddie jerked her head to the side at this intimidation, fighting against tears of humiliation.
”You do understand the absurdity of even thinking the thought?” Graham continued with a stern look on his face.
Maddie looked up, now reduced to tears.
”Yes, Mr. Buckley….I´m ….sorry.”
”You should be. Now get back to your chores”.
”Yes, Mr. Buckley”, Maddie answered sobbing, with a curtsy, turning back to her toilet, Graham to a moment at the pool with Jenny and Skye.
With the lunch approaching, Maddie followed Rosario to the maid´s quarter where she was told to clean herself in the shower. In her light blue smock and bib apron she then served her three hungry classmates lunch. Even Jenny was now picking at Maddie constantly, dissatisfied with her performance, and, as Heather was enjoying a bath, Skye was the one showing great pleasure in Maddie´s discomfort, taunting her mercilessly throughout the meal.
”You must be so proud of your new position at the Kim´s.”
Skye and Graham chuckled.
”And, you know, not everyone has gained access to the ”Special Unit””, Skye pronounced the words Special Unit with a feigned puzzled expression. I don´t know, but it´s probably a secret mission involved in what you learn there. Or……. wait a sec, then why is it called the ”Dunce-house”?
Graham laughed uncontrollably, Skye followed and finally Jenny burst out.
Maddie struggled not to listen to her rival, but it became more and more difficult for her, Skye continued relentlessly and didn´t stop until she was sure Maddie couldn´t hold back her tears. Still Maddie had to continue serving her guests and try her best to please them.
At a quarter past one it was time to leave for the hairdresser. Maddie got permission to have some of the leftovers. Standing at the counter in the kitchen, as there was not much left of neither the hors d´oeuvre nor the main course, Maddie had to content herself with some potatoes, bread and a glass of lukewarm milk.
”Come with me, Maddie,” Rosario instructed.
After a curtsy Maddie followed behind Rosario to the maid´s quarter again.
”There, Maddie”; Rosario said pointing at Maddie´s bed, ”your clothes for the rendez-vous with the hairdresser. Take off your smock and get dressed.”
”And faster than that,” she barked.
”Yes, Mrs. Dalaga…sorry.”
Maddie speeded up her movements and hung her light blue smock on a hanger.
”You can keep your underwear.”
Maddie was wearing a pair of pink high waisted knickers in thick cotton.
”Pull them up properly,” Rosario continued.
Maddie pulled them up a little bit.
”I said properly,” Rosario yelled.
Maddie all of a sudden felt a strong anger explode in her.
”This is ridiculous, I……..ouch..…your hurting me…..”, Maddie whined.
Rosario pulled her ear.
”So you need a little more stalwart persuasion huh?” Rosario scolded her, hardening her grip.
”Owwww….no…sorry….” Maddie wailed.
Rosario released her and ceremonially pulled up the knickers in a ridiculously high position on Maddie´s hip, almost giving her a wedgie.
”Now get dressed you silly girl”.
”Yes…Mrs. Dalaga….I´m sorry.”
Maddie lifted the white Peter Pan blouse, put it on and started do up the buttons, the rest of her ridiculous outfit waiting for her on the bed, a tartan jumper, a pink crew neck cardigan, white knee socks, her white hairband and a pair of pink Mary Jane´s.
”You will stand in that corner when you´re finished, hands on your dumbhead, understand?”
”Yes, Mrs. Dalaga”.
”I´ll go tell Miss Heather about your insolence. I hope you will receive an appropriate punishment immediately.”
Maddie got dressed in her childish attire and quickly turned to stand in the corner as she was told.
Maddie heard someone coming, heels clicking loudly against the tiles.
”Come here, Maddie.”
It was Heather giving orders.
Maddie instantly turned and moved toward Heather, hands still on her head.
”Put your arms tight along the side and come closer, here, stand in front of me.”
Heather commanded Maddie with a sharp but calm voice. Maddie obeyed blindly, panting.
Heather´s expression was enigmatic. Relaxed but at the same time alert.
Maddie´s was more simple. Her face screamed shame and fear.
Heather let Maddie stand at attention, in complete silence. Maddie avoided eye contact with her.
Heather had slapped her in the face. Maddie looked like a statue, her beaten cheek facing Heather. Eyes wide open in stupefaction.
The room froze, Heather stared at her sister´s petrified classmate. With the index of one hand she made Maddie face her again without any effort. This time Maddie looked her in the eyes. You are hurting me, a voice in her protested, it´s not just. But, as she looked into her eyes, feeling Heather´s self-evident superiority, her irresistible strength, determined to crush her, she knew in her heart that it was right. She deserved to be beaten by Heather. She looked aside.
One more. Maddie froze, again leaving her slapped cheek exposed to her tormentor.
The third resounding slap landing on Maddie´s cheek was followed by Heather violently pulling Maddie´s ear.
”Ooowwww…”, Maddie wailed from pain again, getting up on her toes to escape the pain, grimacing.
”So, Maddie, we are in need of more old-fashioned measures to discipline you, are we?”
”No,” Maddie groaned, ”I´m sorry Miss Heather, ooowwww… I apologize…”
”You will repeat after me little one; Maddie has been naughty and needs to be punished”, Heather said, now raising her voice somewhat.
Maddie repeated with a pained expression, still whimpering.
”That´s better. Now thank me for slapping you.”
”Thank you …ouch….Miss Heather for oww….slapping me.”
Heather released Maddie from her grip.
”The outfit you´re wearing is what Jenny wanted you to show off on your way to the hairdresser. But since you have been behaving badly, talking back to Rosario, obeying to your own irrelevant caprices instead of the orders given to you, I proposed Jenny to discipline you further. You understand that´s what you need, don´t you Maddie?”
”Yes, Miss Heather”.
”You will therefore be forced to wear even more humiliating clothing. Rosario, give her the stuff I showed you.”
”Yes, Miss Heather, right away”, Rosario answered and opened the cupboard, pulling out the gear.
Maddie - in her childish clothes - was helped by Rosario to put on the rainwear Heather had chosen for her to wear. To begin with a high buttoned raincoat in thick rubber. The long, bright red coat had a round collar, puff shoulders and was similar to what Maddie remembered wearing as a child. It looked unbearably juvenile. Rosario held it up for Maddie to put her arms in. The bib pants that followed were even worse than the ones Maddie had gotten used to wear at the Unit, these were extremely baggy, shocking yellow, with large shoulder straps and big push buttons. The model was a perfect copy of Heather´s childhood rain bib pants, even the color was exactly the same. Rosario took care of pulling them up and over the coat, fastening the buttons on top of the shoulders and above the armpits.
If this kind of rainwear is cute on little girls, they give a completely different impression on a teenager, especially if it´s like Maddie, a quite well-padded girl with ample bust and protruding seat. Rosario helped her put on a pair of bright blue rubber mittens, surprisingly long, finishing above the elbow. A matching blue sou’wester was carefully secured under her chin. Finally, poor Maddie had to step into a pair of white rubber boots. She looked like a traffic signal, absolutely silly.
Heather dragged her ridiculed underling in front of a full-length mirror where Maddie was told to look at herself. She groaned.
”How do like your new clothing, Maddie?”, Heather asked cruelly.
”I…. don´t like it, Miss Heather,” Maddie said, curtsying.
”But you think it´s good for you to wear it, don´t you, Maddie?”
”Yes, Miss Heather”, Maddie obediently answered, tears now flowing, curtsying again.
Maddie was made to repeat the whole phrase, curtsying, drowning in humiliation; ”It´s good for me to wear my new rainwear.”
She was ready for her first outing, Heather inspected her outfit, correcting the shoulder straps. Rosario smiled as Maddie was made to walk around in circles in the room. The rustling noise was unbelievably loud and of course added to Maddie´s discomfort. She was eventually told to stop and stand at attention again.
Heather and Rosario laughed hard at poor Maddie who stood crying in her shapeless, rustling attire.
”It really makes you look what you are Maddie, can you guess what I´m thinking of?”
”No, Miss Heather”, Maddie answered curtsying.
”A dumb silly girl, Maddie. That´s what you are. Let us hear you say it.”
”I´m a dumb silly girl, Miss Heather,” Maddie repeated obediently.
”That´s right, Maddie. Linda will love to see you in your fashionable rainwear. Come with me.”