Kath and the Au pair
Kath was fuming. Fuming was an understatement, she was furious and outraged. The Au pair from Germany was feeling jittery. Kath persuaded the fifteen year old Gertrude from Germany that it was an excellent opportunity to come to New York. It was a fantastic way to see the world and learn another language and experience another culture. Now, instead of coming when baby was three weeks old, Gertrude was coming a week late, and this meant that Kath won’t be home to settle her in and to assess how dependable she was with a new born baby as Kath had taken only four weeks off from her high power job as the credit controller of multi national company. She couldn’t afford to take more time off because behind her back, there were many ready to stab her back and take her job.
Kath was awared that she was not academically qualified for her position. She had started as a junior clerk, often filling in anyone who called in sick or away on holidays. Kath had the gift of the gab, and the credit controller called her to assist the credit clerk. Kath loved her job, being persuasive and effective in talking to the clients when their repayment failed behind. Her employers were very impressed with her, and when it was politically correct to have coloured staff in senior positions, Kath was the ideal candidate who fitted the position of the newly created position of the Assistant Credit Controller.
The rest of the staff were jealous of her promotion. They were bitchy and shot arrows with their eyes. They, especially the credit clerk refused to co-operate with her. As far as they were concerned, Kath was one unqualified African American bitch who sucked up the boss and did favours for him. The credit controller was glad to get some one to do his work and sat in his office watching the computer screen, looking at the ups and downs of his shares.
Kath was unfazed, she worked hard and she produced results. The employers knew they made the right decision to promote her. The debtors list was shrinking by the day. They were generous when Kath requested for time off so she could go to university to get her formal university degree. They knew it was important for her to get her paper qualifications to stop all the vicious gossips about her. They knew she performed her duties just as well without that piece of paper diploma.
Kath worked hard both at the office and at the university. She put in long hours doing the work of three: The credit clerk and the Credit Controller. But she did not complain, lest she invited gossips that she wasn’t coping. Her biological clock was ticking, she was approaching the big four O and had never been kissed. Kath was also inheriting her mother’s pear shape. She was looking matronly, and was now nick named the old maid.
One morning, Kath was busy on the phone, and looking at the computer screening, multi tasking as usual as was her efficiency style. The credit controller Ted knocked on the door of her cubicle.
“Kath, this is Joe from the city community college. He is our intern for ten days. Show him the ropes please.”
Kath looked up, here was her black stallion. His eyes glistened, and looked like Eddy Murphy. He had the charm of Eddy and Kath wanted to swoon at his feet.
“Hi, Ted told me that you are the employee of the year every year for ten years until you were disqualified from being nominated because you won it too many times.”
“I have to work doubly hard, as the sole African American staff; we have to prove ourselves to dispel the stereo typing that we are lazy and incompetent.”
It was a whirlwind romance on the part of Kath. Kath had never had a boy friend before. Joe was impressed with a successful African American woman who owned her own apartment in a good neighbourhood. Kath was not to know that he was a useless bum failing every examination he had ever written. He was in the community college purely because he was in a special program designed to give under privileged kids a chance to break out of their poverty trap.
To Joe, Kath was his ticket out of the ghettoes. He ignored the talks of the girls that Kath was a cradle snatcher. Joe was twenty, and Kath was approaching forty. That didn’t matter; she had her apartment, her nice car and probably lots of shares. Joe came to the office with roses, perfume and chocolate. He was placing himself in as close proximity to Kath as possible.
Kath was infatuated with her Eddy Murphy look-a-like. They worked late because Kath had to much back load since she had to teach Joe who was rather slow in comprehending the ins and outs of credit controlling. He found talking to the clients rather daunting and became tongue tight.
On the last day of Joe’s intern training, Joe was packing up his back pack.
Kath told Joe, “As a reward for being such a very attentive pupil, I am going to drive you to China Town and treat you to a delicious Chinese meal.”
“Thanks, I love Chinese food, not that I have eaten much.”
Kath ordered Peking duck, lobsters cooked Chinese style, chicken chop suey and roast pork chow mein.
The waitress in her long red Chinese Cheong Sum gown came with a bottle of expensive champagne and two champagne flutes. She popped the bottle and poured the champagne into the flutes.
“Now to celebrate the making of a promising credit controller, let’s us toast.”
“I toast to the most successful African American credit controller in New York,” added Joe.
The Peking duck was rather fiddly to eat with chop sticks; they took a long time to wine and dine. Anyway nobody was in a hurry to go anywhere as it was a Friday evening.
Kath felt the heat flushed in her body by the champagne and the close attention by Joe. It was rather late by the time they left the restaurant. Not after they were politely chased out by the little Chinese man.
“Ex se cue me, you want to ol da some more, the kitchen al leady closed and the cook wants to go home.”
“Oh so sorry, we were enjoying the food so much that we forgot the time, we will leave when we get our fortune cookies,” said Kath.
The Chinese man came with the two fortune cookies.
“You take first,” said Joe.
Kath was rather nervous as she cracked open the cookie, she needn’t be. She got the best prediction she could wish for.
“The journey is many miles long, but the God of fortune is smiling on you and you will not walk alone.”
Joe read his, “Your luck has changed; your life will never be the same again.”
“I am glad I brought you to this restaurant, it has brought good luck to both of us. It’s rather late for you to catch the subway home, would you like to spend the night in my apartment. There is plenty of room.”
Joe didn’t wait to be asked twice. “Yes, please, it’s rather cold for me to walk from the subway station to my place.”
Kath drove Joe to her apartment. Joe couldn’t believe his luck. Kath had her own car park. They went up the elevator to her apartment twenty storeys up. It wasn’t the pent house, but it was pretty posh. As a matter of fact, Joe never dreamt that he would be staying the night in such a luxurious apartment.
“Wow! Sista, You mean you live here all by yourself?”
“Yes, every dollar used to buy this apartment comes from me. I worked hard, and I didn’t spend money on anything else.”
“Wow!!!! You done good sista!” exclaimed Joe.
“Champagne?” asked Kath.
“Am I dreaming or what?” added Joe.
Kath took out a bottle of champagne and two champagne flutes and Joe popped the bottle. They sat down on the settee drinking. Kath couldn’t handle so much drink as she normally didn’t drink so much. Joe was very attentive, and she was flushed and her face turned crimson from the alcohol. Joe started kissing Kath and she didn’t resist. She kissed him back. She’s never been kissed by a man in a romantic sense and she welcomed Joe’s tongue flicking inside her mouth.
Joe laid Kath on the settee. She didn't have a good body, but that didn’t matter. Kath literary offered herself and it suited Joe just fine. Here’s the ticket out of the ghetto. When it was finished, Kath thanked him.
“Christ! I won’t have done it if you had told me that you were still a virgin, I am sorry!”
“Don’t be, I wanted you to do it. I never had a boyfriend and had never slept with anyone before. Boys found me too ugly to go out with me. Did you like it?”
“I love it, I love you.” Joe replied lying through his teeth.
Joe fantasized that Kath was the belle of his old school, a pretty young chick who had snubbed him.
“I am sorry I am not experienced, I haven’t done this before.”
“You are excused, just try harder.”
“I am sorry.”
“You have done good. Now I am spent, and need to sleep. Where’s the guest bedroom?”
“You sleep on my bed, Joe.”
Joe crashed on the crimson satin bed sheet in his birthday suit.
“Never in my wildest dream did I imagine myself in such a beautiful king size bed and such smooth sheets.”
In a matter of minutes, he was flat on his back and snoring away like a runaway train. Kath sat on the bed looking at her Adonis. He was so handsome, and so young. He was her tall, dark and handsome prince. Yet he didn’t mind an old maid like her. She was ecstatic. Looking at his lean body without an ounce of fat, his torso was sculptured as though he was advertising an abs machine. He must have spent a lot of time in the gym. Kath didn’t sleep a wink that night. Her eyes were glued to every part of his body. She wanted to touch him, but was afraid to wake him up.
She got up at nine and started preparing a breakfast fit for a king. She had egg Benedict, bacon, and muffins. Joe still didn’t stir so Kath got into bed to snuggle into his beautiful body and finally fell asleep.
At noon, Joe got up and woke Kath.
“Wakey! Wakey! Sleeping beauty.”
“Oh! I was up and wanted to make you breakfast in bed. I guess we will have brunch instead.”
Kath brought the breakfast in two trays and instructed Joe to go to the fridge and get a bottle of champagne. Joe thought to himself, she had planned all this. I am not going to feel guilty since she threw herself at me.
They sat in bed eating a long breakfast .Kath believed in the fortune cookie. They didn’t get out of bed the whole day just touching and caressing each other.
“Are you hungry? Joe, shall I call for a pizza?” asked Kath.
“That’s fantastic. You are making me live as though I am in seven heavens.”
Kath had rung for a jumbo supreme seafood pizza, garlic bread and chicken pieces. She was amazed at Joe’s appetite. He literary wolfed down the pizza and Kath fed him her wedge of pizza. Then he ate her big tub of Hïagen-Dazs ice cream. Joe had never had such good ice cream before.
“I am so full that I want to sleep.”
Before Kath let him sleep and waste the evening, she suggested she gave him a full body massage. She thanked her fortune God for bringing this special gift to her. With her tender loving care, Joe was ready to play his game and pretended that he loved her and let her be consumed with passion.
On Sunday, Kath asked Joe if he wanted to go out. Joe took it that she was asking him to leave.
“No! No! I am not asking you to leave. I thought we might like to go out for a while.”
“I would rather stay in and watch TV. “
On Monday morning, Kath got up to get ready to work. She left a note and a spare key for Joe so he could go and come when he wanted. She also left two hundred dollars for him to do some clothes shopping.
At noon, she called her apartment, the phone rang a long time. Kath thought Joe must have gone out. Just as she was about to hang up, Joe answered the phone.
“Sorry love, I was in the bathroom.” again lying in his teeth. He was still sleeping when she called.
“Go and shop for your clothes before I come back. I have made reservations in a French restaurant.”
The game of courting with cash incentive to entice Joe to stay on went on and on.
“Joe, would you like to move in?”
“Oh thank you. I love you and I want to make you happy,” again lying in his teeth.
The credit controller retired and it was a natural progression for Kath to take over his job. With the new responsibility, there was the unspoken company rule that a woman had to be unmarried in senior management positions, however, there was nothing to say that she couldn’t have children.
Kath often wondered about the motivation of Joe staying with her. He was just a toy boy. She knew that she couldn’t keep him for long. Her body clock was ticking, and soon she would be forty. She would have him sire her kids. Despite all the lovemaking, even working at it overtime, Kath was not getting pregnant. Out of frustration, she made an appointment with a fertility clinic. Tests showed that her ovaries were not producing enough eggs and IVF was recommended. She hated the injections she had to take, and Joe was not helping either. She was supposed to abstain from sleeping with Joe and he wasn't co-operating. After two failed IVF attempts, she was forty three, and the third time lucky, she conceived. The gynaecologist had recommended that she abstained from sex to stabilise the pregnancy.
So at forty three, she became the proud mother of Joe Jr. Her employers weren’t too pleased, but there was nothing they could do if they didn’t want to face a discrimination law suit. Kath promised to be back after four weeks. She arranged for an au pair from Germany. Gertrude was rather young at fifteen, but there wasn’t much choice. Not many girls wanted to work for employers of another race. In short, an African American.
Joe went to the JFK international airport to pick Gertrude up. Gertrude was a blonde lanky girl and spoke with a heavy German accented English. Kath had taken a day off to orientate Gertrude with the requirements of taking care of Joe Jr. during the day when she was at work. After dinner, Gertrude was free to go out and meet with other Au Pairs provided she was back at ten pm.
In theory, it was an excellent arrangement. Au pairs were cheap; they were not paid but given some pocket money. But in practice, it wasn’t exactly a piece of cake. Gertrude often quarrelled with Kath when she got back at mid night. She was sloppy with the baby. What irked Kath was Gertrude would come to tend the baby in her sexy negligee. When asked by Kath to wear a dressing gown, she rudely replied.
“You told me to tend to the baby the moment the baby monitor beeps. How do you expect me to go to the baby quickly and waste time wearing my dressing gown.”
Other times when Kath had to work late, and Joe was no where around and not answering the mobile phone she gave him, she returned to the apartment to face a sulking Gertrude.
“My contract doesn’t say I have to work over time. You are lucky I didn’t take off and leave the baby alone.”
Kath was also getting frustrated with Joe. He was acting as a prima donna. He was still a student in the community college without passing any paper he studied for. He was behaving as though he had provided a stud service for Kath and he expected to be paid for it. He was entitled to expensive shopping sprees. He was upset that Kath would not give him a supplementary credit card. He accused her for not marrying him and he was used as a toy boy which was a humiliating thing.
One day, her neighbour Jean told her that Gertrude had been taking Jr out despite that it was the middle of winter a couple of times.
“Such little babies should not be taken outside in the cold,” advised Jean.
When confronted by Kath, Gertrude denied ever doing so and accused that Jean was lying and resented that Kath had made used of Jean to spy on her.
One day, much to Kath's chagrin, her employer had asked her to attend a five day conference in Washington DC.
“Do I have to go? I have a baby,” asked Kath.
“Haven’t you read your job description? Travelling is expected? We have been very tolerating with you, you as a solo mother isn’t exactly giving the company a good name.”
Reluctantly Kath came home to pack. She pleaded with Joe to be home in the evenings and offered Gertrude one hundred dollars if she didn’t go out that week Kath was away.
As the saying goes, when the cat is away, the mice will come out to play. The first night Kath was away, in the middle of the night, Gertrude knocked at Joe’s door.
“Joe, come quick, there is something wrong with the baby.”
Joe came out of the master bedroom in his birthday suit and followed Gertrude to the nursery. Jr was fast asleep. Gertrude bent down and told Joe to feel Jr’s breathing.
“I think he’s stopped breathing.” and helped Joe’s hand to Jr’s nose.
“He is breathing OK,” and he suddenly realised that he didn't have his pajamas on and Gertrude was wearing her sexy negligee. He tried to retrieve his hand but Gertrude held it tight. Joe could feel the stirring in his groin. He could see Gertrude’s cleavage from her low cut negligee. She was deliberately bending over so he could see her. How different youth was. Here was a fountain of youth like he was.
“Come in to my room,” offered Gertrude.
Joe followed blindly. He was to play the same game he had played when he first came to the apartment. Only now, it was with someone he had wanted to for a long time, not with the wrinkled old prune. In the light, Joe saw what a beautiful body a white girl has. He had never had a white girl. She was all peaches and cream, and her blonde hair so light
“I will make you the happiest girl tonight.” whispered Joe.
“What are you doing shacking with an old hag?” asked Gertrude.
“Let’s not talk about her, tonight belongs to you and me. Talking about her will only ruin our fun.” Suggested Joe.
“I have been dreaming about you the day I came to this apartment.”
“The dream is mutual, I wanted you when I picked you up from the airport.
For five days, it was like a honeymoon for the two. They ignored Jr’s crying as long as they could. Only when they were hungry, did they remember to feed Jr and change his diapers. They did not bath him, and just used lots of wipes to clean his pooey bottom. Soon Jr’s bottom was red and covered with diapered rashes.
Kath was shocked to see Jr’s diaper rash and rushed him to see his doctor. He said Kath was lucky to bring Jr in time. He was not only suffering from a severe case of diaper rash, he was also badly dehydrated. Jr was a case of baby abuse and made Kath feel guilty.
“Mothers should decide what their priorities are. I won’t report you this time, but I make it clear that I don’t want this to happen again. You should never leave a young baby under the charge of a fifteen year old. She is a kid herself.” Admonished the doctor.
Kath went home seething, but she could not reprimand Gertrude or Joe. The words of the doctor were stinging in her ears. She couldn’t give up her job now, if she wanted to give Jr a good living. Joe had spent so much of her money the past three years. Money, that she had prudently saved and invested. She was unaware that Joe was giving Gertrude money to subsidise her for the poor allowance that Kath was giving her for her services in bed.
Meanwhile when Kath was at work, Joe and Gertrude were doing their carrying on. Joe had not bothered to go to college. It suited him fine when Kath was less demanding in bed. She was always busy and stressed. He was giving all his energy to the hungry sex kitten down the corridor. They even progressed their escapade the master bedroom leaving the door ajar so they could hear Jr.
To add variety to their repertoire, Joe up loaded hard core and child pornography on to his lap top.
“This lap top is the best gift from Kath to me. With this, I don’t have to leave the apartment the whole week.”
Joe taught Gertrude to imitate the porn stars they were watching. Sometimes they added sadistic acts and Joe loved it when Gertrude became a dominatrix.
One day, Kath realised that she left an important document at home, and she drove home in the mid morning to get it. When she unlocked the front door, she could hear Jr screaming. Gertrude was no where to be found. Then she heard giggling sound from her own room. Kath crept quiet as a mouse to her room. She froze as she entered the door.
Gertrude and Joe were in her bed in the middle of their steamy love making. But of them were stark naked totally unaware of Jr screaming in the next room and Kath standing at the door.
“Out! Out! You hussy!” Kath screamed hysterically, and grabbed things to throw at them.
Gertrude ran out of the room and slammed shut her door.
“Sorry Kath, Gertrude tempted me, she came to the room naked and I did what any hot blood male would do. I promise it would never happen again.”
“You realise she is just fifteen and under-aged? You could go to prison for raping her.”
“I didn’t rape her, she raped me. We could send her back to Germany.”
Kath went to Gertrude’s door.
“Gertrude, as soon as I can get a ticket for you to go home, you will go home.
The next morning when Kath went to Jr’s room, Jr was sleeping quietly. She left him to sleep and went to have her breakfast. Before she went to work, she went in to check on him again. Call it a woman’s intuition if you like, Kath felt something wasn’t right. He wasn’t screaming for his morning feed as usual. She turned him over and she shrieked,
“Joe, come quick, Jr’s stopped breathing.”
Joe came and dialled 911.
The ambulance came quickly.
The medic said, “Sorry, Mam, your baby is not breathing, I suspect he is in coma.”
Kath and Joe went in the ambulance. Kath was shaking uncontrollably.
At the Accident and Emergency, they rushed Jr to have a scan. Kath and Joe waited outside.
“Are you the parents? I am the attending doctor at the A & E. I am afraid your baby is suffering from shaken baby syndrome. He is still in coma and will slowly slip away. There is nothing I can do for him. I have to make a police report. Are you the sole carers for him?”
“It’s Gertrude, I am going to kill her!” shouted Kath.
The police came the next morning to take Gertrude to the NYPD to be charged for killing Jr. In giving her statement, Gertrude admitted that she had shaken Jr violently in the heat of the moment. She was bottling a lot of pent up frustration, Kath was a terrible employer, Joe had raped her over and over again knowing she was a minor. He subjected her to watching hard core and child pornography.
The German Consulate was informed and Gertrude was taken to their care.
Joe was charged with rape of a minor and also the indecencies he had inflicted on her. Joe like the murderer Michael Blagg thought he could destroy evidences of his pornography by deleting the disgusting pictures. Like the police in Michael's case, the NYPD found on his hard disk thousands of obscene and illegal porn pictures.
Enough to nail him and send him to jail for a long time.
After Jr’s funeral, Kath returned to her cold empty apartment. Kath sat in her settee, Jean brought her a cup of tea.
“I am finished, I was a stupid woman to think a young man would love me.”
“Hush! Kath, treat it as a bad dream. Joe is bad blood. It is better Jr had died because he probably had bad blood too.”