No Future Ch. 02bybradley_stoke©
An Englishman's Home Lindiwe 2065
After so many months of struggle and sacrifice, the arduous journey was finally over. Lindiwe had arrived. In the town's short history, few had suffered as much as Lindiwe to reach Ashton Lovelock. Few could have endured the adversity, hunger and rape. Few would have willingly paid so much from so little savings to make a home in the fifty year old English New Town.
But desperation had driven Lindiwe to extreme measures, as it had her fellow migrants who'd also survived the journey.
Lindiwe hadn't viewed the stops on her voyage as a tourist might, although there were few European tourists who would venture into sub-Saharan Africa these days. What she saw of the thousands of miles between Southern Africa and Northern Europe wasn't through the round windows of an aeroplane soaring above the clouds and streaking ahead of a trail of prohibitively expensive fossil-fuel. She saw no airports and most definitely no passport controllers. Had she met even one between Lesotho and London, she'd have been unceremoniously bundled away in the back of an immigration police-van either to be dumped back in her country of origin or detained in one of the countless refugee camps that lined the shores of North Africa. And from what Lindiwe had heard about these camps, her most likely fate there would be a lonely death while she waited for a decision from the many government agencies and private charities that were fruitlessly arguing with one another over the responsibility for feeding the millions of desperate souls in their care.
No one would want to be burdened with such responsibility when there were so many other more immediate needs to address.
Lindiwe didn't expect Ashton Lovelock to treat illegal immigrants with any more kindness than Nairobi, Cairo, Harare, Sarajevo or Rotterdam would have done if her presence had been discovered by an official at any point on her voyage. And when she had been obliged to declare her presence, well...
There had been several times when she'd had to use her body as currency to keep her and her companions safe. This had been the case from the very start of her journey when she'd had to sacrifice her virginity simply to secure an exit visa from the United States of South Africa. There were the weeks and, in the slums of Cairo, the months of working for very little pay and a great deal of verbal and physical abuse in occupations that were far more menial than her post-graduate degree and professional training had ever prepared her for.
Here in the Kingdom of England there might be an opportunity to make good the qualifications that were surplus to requirements in Maseru. Lindiwe had high hopes for Ashton Lovelock. Despite the crumbling decay of the hastily-built house she was staying in, it was a relatively young town with energy-efficient housing, extensive parking spaces, and a profusion of windmills and solar panels.
The truth was that Ashton Lovelock was a veritable paradise compared to her original home in Africa. The years of African famine hadn't reduced overall population numbers by very much. Maseru still housed a population far greater than its infrastructure could support. The police were ineffectual against the criminal gangs that made it hazardous to venture out whether at day or night. The few available jobs paid very poorly if they ever paid at all. Offices and homes were collapsing from neglect. Queues of starving people wound through the high streets for the few goods the criminal gangs permitted to arrive in the shops. Only a lucky few were ever rewarded for their patience.
Ashton Lovelock, on the other hand, was a town of owner-occupation that had now become a neighbourhood of squats as the number of those who could afford to buy property in the over-crowded Kingdom of England had shrunk at the same rate as the supply of non-derelict housing stock. This town had once been home to a prosperous community of second and third generation Asian immigrants, but the regrettable policies of the recently deposed Government of National Unity had resulted in their total evacuation. This inevitably left a vacuum that was now being filled by the latest wave of immigrants: of which Lindiwe was one.
But she was only one of many. There were people gathered in Ashton Lovelock from all over the world, though almost all of them were pretending to have come via the Northern European Union. This was a necessary lie, made plausible in the aftermath of the National Server Centre Riots. Many came from Africa, at least as many from the Middle East and Asia, and, inevitably, refugees from the racially intolerant Republic of North America. Fortunately, the one thing everyone had in common was a shared understanding of English.
"Where can I find work?" Lindiwe asked her friend Apara whose optimistic postcards were the beacon of hope that had drawn her across two continents to this far distant island.
Apara shared the same single mattress with Lindiwe in a room that had once been a loft extension. Three mattresses filled almost all the available floor-space and each of them, including the mattress the two friends shared, was home to one set of people during the day and another during the night. Apara and Lindiwe shared the mattress in the daylight hours. At night, a black married couple from Mississippi slept on the same mattress and frequently left behind the trace of semen stains.
"There are no jobs at KFC-McDonalds," said Apara, referring to the franchise where she worked. "You're just going to have to look for work elsewhere."
Lindiwe's heart sank. She couldn't sleep on the mattress at night because Mr and Mrs Martin would be there and there weren't many places open in the evening where she could hope to find work. This meant that her pursuit for employment would also mean going without sleep.
Nevertheless, bleary-eyed and bored, after a night spent in the vicinity of the bus depot in the company of others with nothing else to do, Lindiwe resolutely wandered the streets of Ashton Lovelock in the hunt for an employment opportunity. Not that there were many places to visit in the town centre. The proprietor of KFC-McDonalds, herself a South African immigrant, was sympathetic but pointed out that there was a long waiting list of equally desperate candidates. The other fast-food chain, Yo Sushi Pizza Hut, was rather less friendly and more or less told her that only Muslim men could apply. Other than that, the only supermarket—a Tesco-WalMart—was openly hostile and told her that the company had a policy of reporting suspected immigrants. So there was little hope there either.
Lindiwe soon realised that there were no jobs for her in Ashton Lovelock at all. The immigrant community had already taken all the available low-paid opportunities. And this was much to the evident distaste of native English citizens, many of whom openly taunted Lindiwe with unsubtle reminders of the unethical practices of the deposed Government of National Unity.
The ever-widening radius of her job-search eventually encompassed a business estate on the perimeter of Swindon where Lindiwe at last gained a position but as nothing more demanding than a nightshift cleaning-woman. Although this position required an expensive two-hour commute by bus followed by a half-hour walk it was still better than having to spend the entire night avoiding the couple sleeping on her daytime mattress.
Her official tasks mostly involved switching on and switching off the various cleaning machines and robots. However, it wasn't long until Lindiwe discovered that cleaning wasn't everything she was expected to do, although it wasn't written into her terms and conditions of employment (which, in any case, were entirely verbal and agreed with a handshake).
During the first week that Lindiwe worked at the George Monbiot eco-business park, she became aware of the existence of rooms that were out of bounds to her and the other night-time operatives. There would invariably be an e-paper sign pasted on the door of these rooms that requested that they be cleaned later. In case there might be some misunderstanding, these doors were locked from the inside. This was odd because the only people supposed to be working at the offices so late at night were security guards and technical operatives.
It soon became evident what was happening when Lindiwe bumped into any of the people who'd been staying in a locked room. It was always a man and a woman. The woman was invariably much younger than the man and usually an immigrant. Lindiwe also noticed the smell of sex that was lingering on their person. Her nostrils had become well attuned to the odour after the weeks she'd spent in Sarajevo in which her survival relied on the provision of blow-jobs to total strangers..
"I like all the staff to chip in," Lindiwe's boss explained as he handed her the meagre rewards for her first week's work. He was a slender dark-skinned man with a turban and a West Midlands accent. He was an exile who'd returned home after the change of government. "The benefits are extra pay. I can't promise a fortune but tips can make a difference."
"Why don't people go to brothels and massage parlours?" asked Lindiwe, who understood that her continued employment was almost certainly conditional on her accepting this extra work.
"The change of government brought about many good changes," Mr Singh said with a sigh, "otherwise I wouldn't be here, of course. But one measure the new government also introduced was to close the illicit sex establishments that were an unofficial refuge for the immigrant women who'd stayed on in the country, despite the constant pressure to leave. This operation is similar to many others you'll find all over this country. It's a way for the Business Park's landlords to use empty rooms in offices that would otherwise be decommissioned and for the punters to get what they want."
And what they wanted was something Lindiwe now had to provide about twice a week in one of the several out-of-bound offices. They were furnished with rather basic beds rather than desks, computers and chairs. The felt-covered partitions around each cubicle now served the function of hiding what was going on. There was a steady stream of customers who came to enjoy the inexpensive pleasures that immigrant labour was now providing: their appetites whetted by the VR fantasies they could enjoy in the comfort of their own homes.
For Lindiwe this provided no pleasure at all until she squeezed into the office shower with the other nightshift cleaners to spray off the semen, urine and other bodily fluids that the customers believed was a necessary part of love-making but during which ordeal the vaginal penetration was probably the least distasteful part.