An Evening Out Pt 1
The girls of the Lotus Blossom Palace were getting dressed up in their finest clothes. Madam Wong had decided that they deserved, and indeed needed, an evening off. This was a rare occurrence for the lotus girls; they were in high demand on the First Cropship of the White Crane, and free time was a precious luxury that most of them could ill afford.
Many things had changed over the centuries since the Long Yu fleet set off from old Earth, but New Year remained the most important date in the calendar. It was the ideal time for the girls to take a break and Madam Wong was so determined to take them somewhere nice that she was even willing to leave the mochibots in charge of the Palace while they all went out.
‘Now,’ she said to them, ‘do you know what you’re supposed to do if someone wants to get in while we’re shut?’
They squeaked in unison.
‘Good. And if someone tries to force the doors?’
The bots squeaked again, more loudly this time, and then shook visibly, giving Madam Wong the distinct impression that they were utterly outraged by the very idea. Mr Zhang had done a fine job of making sure the things still worked efficiently while limiting their repertoire to a just few squeaks, almost as they’d been before he fixed them.
‘I should think so, too,’ she said, putting a fresh roll-up into her mouth and lighting it as it hung loosely from her lips. ‘Can’t be ’avin’ none o’ that goin’ on around ’ere.’
They squeaked again, then made their way obediently through the door to the waiting lounge to tidy up after the last of the customers. Most of the men were very considerate and would leave nothing behind except the chair they had been sitting on, but others were somewhat more careless; when they got up to visit their chosen girl, they would leave a ring of crumbs and other debris scattered behind them.
For this reason, Madam Wong had the bots hand out mochi and jasmine tea on arrival, thus reducing the necessity for customers to bring in messier food of their own. This strategy was successful up to a point, but there were a few who would not relinquish their dirty habits. Those who brought food in despite the complementary mochi were likely to be less than scrupulous about personal hygiene. But Madame Wong did not discriminate; she insisted that all the men must visit the washrooms before making their way through to the girls.
A quick freshen-up was usually all it took, but it made a big difference to the lotus girls. Nothing was worse, they had all told her at one time or another, than servicing a man who seemed not to have washed for a week. Ugh. Better to make sure they were clean before they went through, to spare the girls the revulsion of possibly having to pleasure a man with an unwashed member. Penises were not the most attractive of appendages at the best of times. The least the men could do for the girls they visited was to make sure their own was clean and fresh before they went in.
With the bots programmed to take care of the Lotus Blossom Palace, Madam Wong went through to her own room to get ready herself. As befitting such a grand occasion, she had chosen a red qipao for this evening, decorated with thousands of tiny green stitches around the hem. On the back of the dress was embroidered a detailed image of an open lotus flower sitting on a patch of water; on the collar, a dozen tiny golden dragons swooped among silvery clouds. An image of Guan Yin blessed the left sleeve; on the right, the great female warrior of ancient legend, Hua Mu Lan.
Madam Wong sat down and opened a drawer to pull out a jar of white powder and a large brush. She dipped the brush into the powder and fluffed it around her face to brighten it, providing a good foundation for the rest of her make-up. Then she reached back into the drawer for something Yelena had brought on her last visit; something rare and very special, in the shape of a stylus. Yelena had called it kohl. Madam Wong used it now to line her eyes, and was startled by the resultant alteration in her appearance. She rummaged around in the drawer again and brought out a smaller jar, an even smaller brush; this time, she swept the forest green powder across her eyelids. To finish off, she dabbed a spot of coloured paste onto her lips.
Madame Wong looked in the mirror, pouting as she turned her face from side to side. Whoever saw her on the street tonight would hardly recognise her! The thought made her smile. Closing the drawer, she stood up, slipped her feet into her shoes (forest green, to match her eyes) and went to fetch the girls.