Chapter 21

Filling Gaps

Detective Sergeant Valerie Haste of the Male Control Force was sitting in Madame Chao’s office at the rear of the Sunrise Tea Parlour. “I’m afraid I don’t have much to report on the absconder,” she said. “He has not appeared on any of our surveillance operations. There was a shot of a man answering his description on closed circuit TV crossing Shaftesbury Avenue near Dean Street but after that nothing. Some of the cameras around there have been vandalised. We think we know where he was headed but nothing yet. He’s probably still in the area but apart from that I’m afraid we haven’t succeeded in finding him.”

Madam Chao thought for a moment. “Please, it is of no concern,” she responded. “I do not think he was any great risk to anyone except his own stupid self. Although, of course, Ms Daniels will be concerned if the project is delayed at all as a result.”

The mention of the Minister for Home Affairs caused a visible stiffening in Valerie Haste’s manner. “Yes, well understandably. I understand that she is anxious for the programme here to succeed and something like this must be disruptive.”

“We are managing but it is, of course, an embarrassment for us.”

“Do you know how he came to abscond?”

“Yes, I believe so. Those issues will be remedied but I wondered, could you help ensure disruption is minimised? We do not need anything special. Perhaps you know of a way we could replace the absconder without bothering Ms Daniels further. After all it is embarrassing for us that he has gone and for you that you have not found him. Best if we solve the problem before Daniels has to worry.”

Valerie Haste was happy to help if it kept the politicians out of things; the last thing she needed was that level of complication in handling dissident affairs. “I am sure we can do something,” she said, as she got up to leave. “Let me see when I get back to West End Central.”

A short time later Madam Chao called Liu Wei in to see her. “Do you wish to explain? I assume you do not wish to dispute the fact you were responsible for slave absconding?”

Liu Wei looked sulky and shook her head. “These girls have no right learning Kòngzhì Rén. It’s a waste of time.”

“Oh. Of course. I was forgetting your long Chinese heritage. Where was it you were born? Guangzhou? Beijing? Ah, no, Shoreditch! Cha, you need different views, I think. We find somewhere else for you to work. Go supervise production line in factory. There you can bully to your heart’s content. If your Kòngzhì Rén skills so good maybe you can get production rates back on target.”

Liu Wei looked unhappy at the prospect. The Sunrise factories weren’t much more pleasant places for the supervisors than for the workers.

“Otherwise there is steamer Mighty Lotus leaving for Tianjin tonight. I could arrange for you to be on board. No place here for people in Sunrise that do not see things the right way. Back in head office maybe you learn to think better.”

When Madam Chao said “on board”, Liu Wei wasn’t sure if she meant as a passenger or cargo. Either way, she had no wish to disappear off to China.

“So I tell from your sour face that this is not a good idea. I will call factory and tell them you start there tomorrow. Please do not visit JUMIST girls. I do not wish the programme to be disrupted more than it has been already.”

Liu Wei was not the only one experiencing a change of direction. Gary, Valerie Haste’s junior clerk was sitting in his boss’s office with a concerned look on his face. “But I’m quite happy here, Ms Haste.”

“I’m sure. Sadly we can’t all be happy all the time. And since you haven’t succeeded in tracking down Madame Chao’s runaway you’re going to fill in until we find him.”

“But I don’t know anything about what Sunrise are doing down in Gerard Street.”

“Fine. You’ll have no preconceptions then. Listen, they are training some girls in the art of bossing men about. They just need some men to practice on. You should be used to being bossed around by now, given you’ve been in this department a month. You’ll find it easy.”

Gary wasn’t sure. A girl he knew had used some Sunrise products on him once, “Just to try them out,” she’d said. The heavy wooden cangue had been a humiliation and the thick plug gag painful after only a short time. He didn’t think he was in any position to argue with Valerie, though.

Gary turned up at the Sunrise Tea Parlour asking for Madam Chao. In retrospect, Valerie told herself, it would have been a good idea to warn Madam Chao about Gary’s dress preferences and to suggest to Gary that turning up to his new placement in drag might not be the way to get things off to the best start.

With Madam Chao busy elsewhere, Tsai Lin had the task of greeting the new arrival. She seemed not to be fazed by the arrival of a moustachioed man in pencil thin knee length skirt, 3 inch heels, black hose and a white high necked blouse that fastened at the back.

“Detective Sergeant Haste said I was to report here to help out with the JUMIST programme. My name’s …. ”

“Good, follow me,” Tsai Lin said crisply, cutting him off without even seeming to notice his appearance. She led the way inside and downstairs to the room where the males were kept between training sessions. “Undress. In there please,” she said pointing at the open door to cage number three.

“Are you sure this is right? I mean… DS Haste didn’t say I’d have to…”

“Of course. But do not think we are not sensitive to different lifestyles. You have stockings and garter belt under that skirt?” Gary nodded. “OK. You keep them on. Everything else off.”

Gary, pleased with the concession, did as Tsai Lin ordered. She was happy to have a fourth slave for the practice sessions and in any case, she thought, he’ll wreck those stockings on the wire floor of that cage before too long, and Madam Chao could decide what to do about all this when she got back.

Returning to the training room, Tsai Lin found Madam Chao talking to the class and introducing another of the Sunrise girls to Fara and her friends.

“This is Wan Yu,” Madam Chao announced pointing to a slim, pale-skinned girl in the Sunrise uniform of yellow blouse and blue skirt, “Her name means ‘Gentle Jade’ but not so gentle with men as you will find. She will replace Liu Wei who has new career directions. Any questions? No. Good. Now, I have one very pleasant duty to conduct.” She clapped her hands.

For a side door Bernard emerged. He had been clad in a leather suit and hood for the occasion. His arms were strapped to his sides and his ankles hobbled so that he could only shuffle forward slowly. In his mouth, a solid rubber ball prevented any coherent speech. The ball had a hook in its centre. From the hook hung a coat hanger and on the coat hanger was a qipao of the most vibrant buttercup yellow silk.

“The first of our trainees have achieved their first step towards black qipao in Kòngzhì Rén. Miss Fara, your examination was excellent, I am told by Mary Tang. So we are happy to make this award. You are now yellow qipao. All others will follow you soon, I am sure.”

Madam Chao took the hanger from Bernard’s hook and waved for Fara to come forward. As she passed the dress to Fara, the others broke out in generous applause. Fara looked up to see Mary Tang at the back of the room. In an uncharacteristic display, she was applauding as well.

Fara took her new dress back to her place. The others gathered around her admiring it.

Mary Tang joined the group. “A very good performance, Miss Fara,” she said. “I was very happy that you met this first standard. I am sure you others will do the same very soon. Miss Fara, I enjoyed the way in which you started with your slave. The wordless confrontation, the use of gesture, the pose and simplicity of movement were all excellent demonstrations of the Path of the Look. When you pulled his head close to your hip, it was clear from the look on his face that he was completely under your command. Cockroach is an easy subject but, nevertheless your performance was compelling. Of course, the qipao you were given is an aid to your Look. You wear it well but for progress to the higher levels you will need to make your own choices. Your use of fear, pain and humiliation were simple but enough at this level to convince me that you see their value and can apply them. These need more work for the next level, though. I did like the way you sent him down to the cage on his own at the end of the session; a very good example of the pressure of humiliation, I thought.”

Fara was happy to bask in the approval of her friends but she had been bitten by the bug. Her only thought was how she could move on to win her green qipao and then, maybe one day, the black. She took the opportunity to talk to Mary. “I did enjoy doing the exam,” she said.

“And I enjoyed watching you.”

“Is it very difficult to win the black qipao?”

“Not difficult but it needs practice and application. And time.”

“How long did you study for?”

“I study still. Never stop. I may have black qipao but only two dragon. There is always more to learn.”

“Yes but how long did you take to become black qipao? Months? Years?”

Mary nodded. “Five years. I had some advantages. House of Pleasure is good place to learn. many different men, soon find out many different weaknesses, many different ways to make them submit. But I was a slow learner. I did not always listen. Sometimes I thought I knew best myself. I failed Yellow Qipao test twice before I passed. You may learn quicker than me.”

Fara nodded, grateful for the guidance and proud to have passed on her first attempt something her idol had needed to try three times. Even so, five years sounded like a long time!