Farrah Marilyn lived in Remuera. She was twenty and quite beautiful.
People who got to know her would comment that she had been aptly named.
Her parents had named her after the legendary Marilyn Monroe and the seventies icon Farrah Fawcett.
Farrah would look at pictures of these women, both dead, and felt they looked too made up, too manufactured.
She preferred a more natural, bohemian look. Flowing dark blonde hair, cut in long layers. A pretty face with small features and large hazel eyes gave her a Disney princess look. She was petite and liked to dress in feminine, floaty clothing. She liked minimal makeup. Sunscreen with a tint, bronzer, mascara and a tinted lip balm.
Fortunately this made her all the more appealing as she looked natural and approachable. Other girls liked her and guys wanted to date her.
Farrah’s parents had died in a car crash when she was seventeen. She had inherited their small house in Remuera. This had increased in valuation over the years and her lawyer had advised her just to stay there and let it increase further. Farrah wasn’t too sure about this. She had no siblings and her parents had both come from small families. Their siblings lived in Australia.
She found the increasing power costs and land rates were hard to meet.
Given her beauty, she had not been gifted with intelligence. School had been a social exercise but she had learned nothing. There was nothing at school that she felt particularly drawn to, and nothing she was particularly good at.
Farrah had left school when she turned sixteen. Her father had asked a friend for a favour and she had found employment at the local book shop. This was ironic as Farrah didn’t read books. She preferred magazines and was fortunate to get the old copies at a very cheap price. Her parents encouraged her to save, warning that she never knew what may lie ahead.
It turned out to be good advice, because following their deaths, her savings were quickly devoured by rates bills. Her weekly income covered her food and bus expenses. She was able to save fifty dollars per week providing she kept her food requirements basic and didn’t buy clothes.
This was hard for a seventeen year old girl. She learned to shop at second-hand stores and charity shops. She found this suited her well, especially as she liked somewhat impractical and floaty styles. She was reasonable at sewing any torn areas and sewing buttons.
So, for a while, Farrah continued on. She felt lonely at times and missed her parents.
Because she didn’t have many friends, or the money to get out and about and do things, she found the nights were the loneliest. She would make dinner when she got home from work. Then, do her dishes, have a shower, do any laundry, and watch tv for the rest of the night. Or read magazines.
The three years since her parents died had gone reasonably fast but there was always the feeling that she was missing out on life. The tv programmes she watched portrayed young girls as being busy with friends and boyfriends. Driving, shopping and living glossy, fun filled lives. With occassional melodrama about insignificant things.
She was so bored working at the bookshop. She applied for a job at the Warehouse store in Newmarket.
She got the job and enjoyed the higher pay, although it was constantly tempting to buy clothes, especially with her staff discount.
One night when she was working late, she was approached by a man while she was waiting for her bus.
He asked her about how much she earned and said he could help her to earn lots of money.
He seemed very nice, if not old. He must have been at least forty!
He offered to take her out to dinner the following night, he said he would pick her up when she finished work.
Years later she would question why she ever said yes.
Farrah took a pretty dress in her bag the next day. She wanted to make an effort and after work changed into it.
It was a brown and amber coloured floral dress with floaty sleeves and a floaty skirt that went past her knees. Feminine and innocent looking. She reapplied her bronzer and lip gloss and brushed her hair. She used one of the store testers to apply fragrance as she couldn’t afford to buy any.
It was an exciting feeling to be going out instead of staying home as she always did.
The man turned up at 6pm. He introduced himself as Karl and told Farrah she looked beautiful.
Farrah was starving. Payday was tomorrow and she had run out of money yesterday. All she had at home was bread and butter and strawberry jam. So for dinner the previous night and this morning for breakfast she had eaten buttered toast with jam. A male workmate had bought her a milkshake at lunchtime so he could spend some time talking to her. She would have loved a burger and fries but was worried that she’d be leading him on as she wanted the food but had no interest in him.
Karl took her to a beautiful Chinese restaurant just down the road from work. She had never been to a restaurant before and she loved every minute of it. She let Karl order for her and ate an entree, main and a dessert.
She had a glass of wine which made her feel hazy and light-headed.
Karl was very attentive. He kept asking her if everything was to her liking and wanted to know about her life.
She talked a lot while he listened.
He was especially interested in her finances. He offered to set her up in a flat and pay for it all.
She explained about her parent’s small house and said she wanted to stay there.
He said, “I guess you have a lot of lovely memories there, and it would be hard to leave.”
She agreed but actually couldn’t remember a lot about her parents. They were always working or going off on holiday without her. At those times her father’s older sister would move in and look after her. But she never seemed happy about the situation. She once said to Farrah that she only did it to get extra money.
Her name was Rachel and she was an unemployed actress. Her claim to fame was a small recurring role on a local drama called Close to Home where she played the mistress of one of the main characters.
Rachel’s main interest in life was herself, the way she looked and also tracking down people who would smoke marijuana with her. Kind of a drop out, and really lazy.
Farrah seemed to be always washing her dishes and clearing her rubbish out of the house.
Rachel was dead now. Had accidentally killed herself by overdosing on tranquilisers.
The irony was that she had just been offered a part in a movie that an American studio was filming in New Zealand and had been very excited about it all.
Karl was asking her a question and she hadn’t been listening.
He looked at her expectantly.
She frowned, “Sorry I was miles away. The wine has made me sleepy.”
He smiled, “I was just asking whether you may like to come and work for me?”
He went on to say that he owned a small business and needed a receptionist to work between 8pm and 4am from Thursday through Saturday. The pay would be more than working full time at her current job and he would give her a generous clothing and cosmetic allowance each week. He would also pay for a taxi to and from work.
This sounded like heaven to Farrah.
She hated getting up early five days a week and having to work a rostered late night each week. The work was okay but catching the bus in all kinds of weather was annoying.
This new job sounded glamorous and fun.
Karl explained she would just be talking to customers on the phone and in person.
He asked her to think about it overnight and would pick her up tomorrow after work and take her shopping at Smith and Caugheys for a new dress and shoes, then dinner at a new Italian restaurant.
When he drove her home she felt energised. It all sounded so exciting.
He waited until she had unlocked her front door and then drove off.
Farrah prepared a bath. She tipped some Body Shop bubbles in and lit a candle.
Twisted her hair on top of her head in a hair tie and lay back in the hot, stawberry scented water and thought about the night.
She felt tired but so good.
She decided she would take the job that Karl had offered.
After her bath she went to bed and drifted into a relaxed, deep sleep.
The next day at work went so slowly.
After lunch break, Farrah was just over it all.
She kept thinking about the prospect of this new job, and, getting a new dress and shoes.
The thrill of getting something new…
Finally it was 5.30pm.
Karl turned up smiling. Some of Farrah’s workmates had seen her with him last night.
They had asked her questions today. She had said nothing and just smiled.
Her workmates knew she wasn’t easy to get to know. Very reserved. Cautious.
Karl seemed more buoyant than the previous night.
They walked up Broadway to Smith and Caugheys.
Farrah loved this store. So elegant and beautifully lit.
Many of the sales assistants seemed to now Karl and fussed around him bringing beautiful dresses for Farrah to try on.
Some were just too glamorous and Farrah chose a simple velvet dress in pale blue with soft ruching down one side. It fitted her perfectly and suited her ethereal quality. She felt like Cinderella. Especially when trying on several pairs of shoes.
She eventually chose a silver pair with kitten heels.
Karl talked her into leaving this outfit on for dinner.
Farrah was worried she would spill something down it, so attached a napkin to the neckline which made Karl laugh.
Farrah explained, “I only have three really pretty dresses and all of them are from charity shops.”
“Well, from now on you can have as many pretty clothes as you would like!” he smiled as he said this.
Farrah explained that she’d thought about his offer and would like to take the job.
Karl looked happy. Smiling, he ordered champagne.
They enjoyed a delicious meal and Farrah commented that if they kept this up she wouldn’t be able to fit any of her clothes.
While they were walking to the car park, Karl suggested he take Farrah to his business and show her around.
He explained that no one would be there as it wasn’t open tonight.
Farrah asked what type of business and Karl explained about it being an exclusive gentleman’s club, old fashioned really.
Farrah looked surprised, she had imagined some kind of small, intimate bar or even a motel!
When they arrived, Farrah was surprised that it was a large house, up a long driveway and hidden from the road.
Soft lights were on and Karl explained that these were on a timer.
They got out of the car and he unlocked the impressive wooden door with an ornate knocker shaped like a lion’s head.
Inside it was warm and softly lit.
There was a gorgeous waft of flowers in the air.
Karl showed her downstairs and the reception desk where she would work.
He had a guy who would answer the door.
There was a huge seated area with a well stocked bar. A large kitchen was out the back.
Karl lived here and had a housekeeper who came in for three hours each day. She did laundry and kept the house clean. She also cooked meals for him when he was going to be home.
There was a small bathroom downstairs as well.
Up a rounded flight of stairs and there were six bedrooms and each had an ensuite bathroom.
There was the same floral smell, it seemed decadent and expensive.
Karl showed her into each room – they all seemed feminine and were decorated in shades of soft pink and cream.
Except for Karl’s room which was dark colours and dark wood.
It still had a warm feel to it.
Karl explained that he had some young females working for him and they would bring a man up to a designated room and give him a massage. He explained that a lot of these men were very lonely and needed company.
Farrah innocently thought this all sounded very pleasant.
She decided to resign from her job the next day and start the following Thursday.
She was excited.
The week went fast, especially as Karl took her back to Smith and Caugheys and bought her two more dresses and heels. He instructed her to wear a different one each night of work and have them dry cleaned. He would pay that bill.
Her workmates were interested to hear about her new job.
However she said little.
Her first night approached. She got ready at her home feeling nervous.
She wore a peach coloured satin dress with a fitted bodice and a full skirt, with matching peach coloured heels.
She felt so glamorous. Her freshly washed hair was piled on top of her head in a loose bun with soft tendrils around her face. She had intensified her usual makeup as Karl had told her, given the softer than usual lighting at the club.
The taxi arrived and they set off. It was only ten minutes drive from Farrah’s home.
She closed her eyes and thought about how different her life was turning out.
Farrah arrived at the house.
The girls were all sitting in the bar area.
They looked glamorous in their pretty dresses.
When she walked in they all looked her up and down and she introduced herself as the new receptionist.
They all smiled and looked at each other.
Farrah remembered Karl saying that they all knew each other well now and were wary of any new competition.
She sat with them for about thirty minutes, listening to them talk about the customers. Most were over sixty, but there were a few who were a little younger.
Farrah thought they all sounded jaded, and interestingly most were only a couple of years older than her.
They told her to take her position at the reception desk.
The men started to arrive after 9pm. It became busy and suddenly it was midnight and Farrah was starving.
One of the girls offered her a fruit smoothie explaining they lived on them as it kept them slim.
Farrah drank it gratefully and rushed to the toilet while it wasn’t busy.
Most of the girls were busy in the rooms and only one was seated in the bar area.
Karl came down from his bedroom to see how the night was going.
He had a chat to Farrah and looked at the reception book and seemed pleased by the amount of men that had been through tonight.
He explained to Farrah that Lori who was the oldest and had been working for him for the longest, earned six hundred per hour and Jackie who was the youngest and had worked there for only two months earned three hundred.
Karl watched Farrah’s face as he talked. He noticed that she looked very interested.
He had already had text messages from some of the men asking about her.
At 3.30am, the last of the men left and the girls were showering for the last time and removing their makeup in the ensuites.
Karl was pleased it had been a busy night and handed Farrah two fifty dollar notes. He explained that on the third night she would get an extra hundred for her makeup and any extra clothing she may like to purchase.
Farrah went home tired but happy. The work wasn’t difficult, in fact it didn’t even really feel like work.
She just had to keep a record of which girl went upstairs with which man so they would be paid accordingly.
Some of the guys would come to her and chat while they waited for their favourite girl to finish but Farrah didn’t mind this. They were easy to talk to and treated her with respect.
The next few weeks went fast. Farrah spent most of her spare time looking for clothes, hair accessories, shoes and makeup.
The competition between the girls was intense. Farrah couldn’t keep up, with what she was earning.
She mentioned this to Karl who quickly suggested she may like to earn a lot of money by doing what the other girls did.
Farrah felt shocked but was also intrigued. He took her into his bedroom and showed her his large tv screen.
He was able to watch what was happening in every room. He showed her the footage from the night before.
It all seemed fairly straightforward, it wasn’t as full on as she would have thought.
Some of the girls didn’t even have sex with the men. They just lay beside them caressing them and talking.
They were naked, but it didn’t seem sleazy in any way.
Karl said if she were to start, he would ensure that she got the easy ones to start with.
He told her to go home and think about it.
The next evening she told him she was ready. He smiled but didn’t appear surprised.
He organised for her to go upstairs with an old friend of his.
His name was Max and he seemed pleasant, and looked at least sixty.
He told Farrah he was sixty-five. He watched her undress and then asked her to lie on the bed beside him.
It felt weird to Farrah. She had only done this with two guys in her personal life and it had put her off. It seemed so over rated. It was always over so quickly.
Max just wanted to talk while he caressed her.
He talked at length about his three failed marriages. Farrah decided that his former wives must have been bored senseless.
The next guy was much the same, he just wanted her to walk around the room while he was talking. Farrah felt self conscious until she realised that he was less interested in her than his own voice.
Farrah didn’t mind. At the end of the week she had made a thousand dollars and hadn’t even put out.
She was delighted.
She asked Karl if he would mind finding a new receptionist. He just smiled.
The other girls told her they had all started doing reception.
Farrah was surprised, and it didn’t take her long to acquire the same expensive tastes as the other girls.
No more skin cleanser, shampoo and makeup at the supermarket.
She spent two hundred on haircare items at a hair salon, and then spent a further three hundred on skincare and cosmetics at Smith and Caugheys.
The following week she spent four hundred on lingerie that had to be handwashed.
Farrah started to lose her innocent prettiness and her face took on the same bored, hard edged look the other girls had.
She started getting men who wanted more and more.
Farrah began to dread going to work.
She talked to Karl who pointed out that she could return to her boring job with low pay.
She realised it would be too hard to go back to that lifestyle so she confided in the other girls who suggested she just take a pill before she went upstairs with anyone who seemed energetic, or had been taking Viagra.
Farrah thought about her Aunt Rachel and her drug problems.
But she was a flake.
She decided it couldn’t harm so long as she was sensible about how much she was using.
She started taking one or two pills each week.
Within a few weeks she was taking two or three per night.
The other girls told her she would need to get her own supply and gave her a guy’s phone number.
It didn’t occur to Farrah that she was becoming addicted. She was swept away in it all, focusing on how much money she was making, and spending.
It also didn’t occur to her how she had gone from being an innocent girl working at the Warehouse to a high priced prostitute in less than six months…
Farrah became obsessed with how many jobs she was getting each night. She started freaking out if she was left on the couch and other girls were busy. She felt nervous and her heart was pounding, wanted to feel calm and composed. She asked the pill guy if he could get her something calming. “Sure thing honey, anything to help out,” he said in a reassuring tone. Farrah was relieved. She felt weird a lot of the time now. Nervous and feeling like the other girls were talking about her all the time. When she went upstairs with a guy she felt jumpy. The other girls kept telling her to breathe and calm down. Bitches. They were jealous of her beauty and popularity with the customers!
The pill guy dropped off her package and she gave him the cash. “Don’t take more than two in one day, you’ll get too sleepy.” Farrah took one immediately. Thirty minutes later she didn’t feel much different. She took another and went to the couch and sat on it. All the girls were busy apart from one of the newer girls, Caroline. Farrah ignored her. Bitch. Why was she even working here, she wasn’t pretty.
She felt a hand on her, shaking her. “Wake up!” It was Karl. He looked angry. Farrah felt disorientated. She must have been asleep, how did that happen! Karl took her into the kitchen and made her a cup of coffee. He talked to her about her pill habit and suggested she try to come off them if she wasn’t able to use them appropriately. Farrah barely heard him, she asked him for a loan as she had run out of money. Karl explained he couldn’t do that. He suggested she stop spending on luxury items and pills. She gave him a hard stare. Bastard. She had been getting less jobs lately. It must be his fault. She accused him and he explained to her that the customers were finding her strange and opting for the other girls who had it together.
“What a load of crap, you got me here in the first place, you have to give me a loan!” Farrah yelled at him. Karl called her a taxi and gave her two hundred dollars. He advised her not to return until she was feeling better and was off the pills.
When she got home she had trouble unlocking her door. She got inside and slammed the door. Then fell over. Started crying. Karl was a bastard. It was only midnight. She could have had three more jobs! She pulled her dress down and flung it on the floor, kicked off her shoes and fell into her unmade bed. Within minutes she was in a deep sleep.
She woke, sun was up. Her eyes hurt, her head hurt. Felt like someone was hammering her head. She picked up her phone and called the pill guy. Asked him if he could drop off at her house. She gave him the address and said she needed something stronger as much as she could get for two hundred. He turned up an hour later. Farrah wasn’t feeling much better. He gave her two pills and suggested one per day. He said she’d like them. She took both, had to get rid of this sore head. It was driving her crazy!
She started feeling better. Much better. Fantastic in fact. She got dressed and pulled her unkempt hair into a ponytail. Caught a bus to Newmarket to indulge in some retail therapy. Found an amazing dress at Smith and Caugheys, perfect for work. Tight, red and with a short skirt. Found some shoes that were silver and glittery. Total was six hundred. The sales assistant told her that her credit card had declined. Farrah panicked, she wondered if that might happen. She’d been using her card for everything lately. Five thousand doesn’t go very far. She smiled at the sales assistant and put her card in her pocket. As she was leaving caught sight of herself in the mirror. She looked terrible. Smudged makeup from last night and her hair looked like it hadn’t been washed in days. Yuk! Her clothes looked odd too, a tight top that didn’t fit properly with a pair of jeans that looked dirty. She also had odd shoes on for shopping, high stilettoes!
Farrah suddenly felt dirty and ashamed. She would go home and have a bath and wash her hair. But first, back to the clothes section. She found a gold coloured dress and flat shoes with jewels over them. Took them into the changing room and left her clothes in there and walked out wearing the new outfit. She was a good customer. She’d come back and pay next week. She was oblivious to the sales assistants staring at her as she walked through the store. She was walking out the door and felt a hand on her shoulder. The police were called and she told them everything. There was a nice lady cop who talked to her in a soft, reassuring tone. Farrah thought of her parents. The nice lady cop got some woman to talk to her about her addiction problem. Addiction! That wasn’t her. She was ok, just a bit tired lately. No, a bit stressed. She was confused. It was the work. Those horrible men. Horrible Karl. Those girls. Bitches!
Farrah ended up at CADS. With drug users. She kept telling them she didn’t take drugs. They kept her there. She couldn’t leave. She tried but something always stopped her. The staff kept distracting her. She forgot what she was meant to be doing.
Farrah was at home. She had to be at work in an hour. Finishing her coffee she thought about how her life had turned out. She was lucky, she got a lot of help and support. She got off the drugs. Detoxed. Had counselling. Got herself together. Eventually.
Looked in the mirror before she left for work. Lucky she was a checkout operator at the local supermarket. No need to be pretty. All the prettiness had left long ago. The reflection showed a thirty five year old woman, who looked more like forty five. Very thin. Short, fine hair with streaks of grey. No makeup but a lot of lines. The woman in the mirror smiled at Farrah. Those teeth! She didn’t have the money to have them fixed. She’d destroyed all the photos of her younger self. Too painful to see what she’d had, all those years ago. She thought she would always be beautiful.
Farrah grabbed her coat and locked her front door. Caught the bus to work. Put her name badge on. A new guy was being shown around. She introduced herself. “Farrah! Were you named after that babe in Charlies Angels? he asked. Farrah smiled and nodded. That was so mean of your parents!” he laughed at his own joke.
Farrah didn’t laugh, she didn’t smile. Just ignored it. Her name was an ironic reminder of what she’d once had.