NOTE: This story contains some discussion of sexual content. Mature audiences only.
I’m Pink Lady Apple and my friend Deviled Yeggs suggested that I record each project that I set up in the hopes of reforming the people who continue to work for Lily the Pink Enterprises. If for no other reason, it would show how God is at work.
But this file that I am starting is rather personal. When my mother abandoned me when I graduated high school, leaving me all alone in a huge house, I was left with no one, a huge house, and a warehouse behind the house that my uncle, Red Delicious Apple, was using to chop cars that had been stolen across the entire state and beyond.
Partly because I was Uncle Delly’s favorite and to protect his business interests, he felt I needed a housekeeper. He gave me an allowance that paid the cost for an employee and for all my living expenses, including tuition and books to complete college. Really, I think he set up what he owed my father for services rendered (enemies who ended up ‘missing’ or ‘found, but not breathing’) and he turned that into some sort of annuity for me to live in relative luxury. But Red Delicious Apple wanted me set apart from the community so that he did not have a weak link in his criminal empire.
I advertised for a housekeeper who could cook. I got a lot of phone calls. I interviewed many of them, but the shy woman who struggled to make eye contact interested me. The fact that her ‘address’ was general delivery at the post office and she claimed to not have a residence intrigued me even more. Thus, for a couple of years, the only two people in the mansion, that my father had built in the rich neighborhood, were two women, Gwen Quinn and me, until Scrambled Yeggs started to visit. I owned the property and my live-in housekeeper and cook had her choice of several bedrooms. My father had planned a huge family, but he did not plan on going to prison.
But Gwen loved to cook so much that we had a contractor come in and add a bathroom and bedroom off the side of the kitchen. The bathroom had two entrances, one from her bedroom and one from the kitchen. Her bedroom opened to the outside, so that Gwen could easily go out to the grocery store. I think that her plan was that she would be the fly on the wall after I got married. The original house would all be mine, but this one addition was her area that felt like home, but it was a place from where she could serve the family once I had one.
Her humility showed in the interview as well as a servant’s heart, but when she saw me reading the Bible, she groaned. We had a conversation about it. At first neither of us believed any of it, but we both eventually came to faith. All I knew about the Bible at first was the prior of the monastery said that I could find answers in the pages when times were hard. Gwen had someone use the Bible as a weapon against her. She never admitted how, but she admitted that she had never read the book. So, since we were the only two at the house, we would read several chapters to each other each day. When we felt we had read enough, we would ask each other what the meaning was of what we had read and if it was helpful. We would each shrug our shoulders and giggle like little school girls. But that did not stop us reading the Bible over and over.
My Bible reading slowed down during my love affair with Scrambled Yeggs, but after Baldwyn Apple took over and turned the house into a brothel, he moved me to the dining room. He moved the dining room table to the den on the other side of the kitchen, for Rotten Apple meetings in grand style. There was a hallway created that walled off the doors in the kitchen to the bathroom and the dining room, now my prison cell. The hallway opened to the kitchen, the bathroom, Gwen’s bedroom, and my prison cell. Gwen and I could meet each other without disturbing the ‘business’ in the rest of the house. Half the dining room became my office where I did the financial records for much more than the brothel, and thus my means of bringing down so many of the Rotten Apples, and the other half of the room had a small twin-sized bed, minimalistic in décor.
In a way, Gwen had some freedom of movement, but we were really trapped there together. She became a mother to me at times. She became a big sister at times. But she had given me vague answers about her past. But now that we were ‘family’ it did not matter. Once I learned that Baldwyn had forced all the people I had hired into prostitution, it was Gwen that I went to first. She admitted that Baldwyn had forced her to have sex with him, to humiliate her and with our deep friendship to show his control over me. But she had little connection to the prostitution, only expected to serve about one customer per quarter of the year. She assured me that she had been to bed with men in the past. She said that it was no big deal, but I knew it was for her. She had been used, but I did not know in what way. I simply was afraid to ask. Was I being concerned or was I being nosy if I had asked?
Then, we went on a grand adventure after my joint wedding shower with Maeve Collins and I found out that Gwen knew my future grandfather-in-law well enough to use his nickname that only close female friends were allowed to use. And they talked of how long it had been and how they desired to renew their friendship. I had to know what was going on. After all, she was my maid of honor. We had to clear the air.
I invited her into my office a couple of days after the wedding shower, and I was blunt in my questions. I fired so many at her without her having a chance to answer, that she finally raised her hands in surrender. She asked if she could give me her life story without interruption. I agreed. She said:
“I made no secret about growing up in the hills, way back in the backwoods, far from what anyone might call ‘civilization.’ We lived by our own set of rules, but when we went into town, we understood that they had different rules, and we had to be very cooperative, even compliant, or us country folk might end up in jail or something worse. But in our area of the sticks, we had two types of people that had an arrangement in order to coexist. The farmers populated the valley where there were large expanses of land to grow crops. And the gypsies lived in the hills. Some gypsies and some farmers made moonshine that was sold to the towns’ people in the valley behind the backs of the local government. But mostly, the farmers farmed, and the gypsy men would travel the country as contractors. Sometimes they would go in after a natural disaster and ask for money up front to repair people’s homes and then they would leave town without doing any work. Sometimes, they would do legitimate construction work, but the quality was based on how much they got paid. I was a gypsy. Our gypsy homes were similar to yours. They were mansions, while the farmers had simpler homes in the valley.
“Most gypsies only stayed in school long enough to reach the age where they were no longer considered truants. Since school was rarely encouraged, most gypsy children never got past the eighth grade, maybe about half of those finishing much lower. If one or two passed every grade until they reached that magical age, they might be through the ninth or tenth grade. But when one was shown as being rather smart, they would be allowed to finish high school. They would then be the financial person for the clan or something of that nature.
“I was the smart one in our gypsy clan. I even graduated in the top ten, tenth, but I made the list. My father worked on the road doing construction work or getting paid to not do construction work, if you catch that meaning. When you told me that you were connected to the local criminal organization, I was not bothered by that. Red Delicious made a lot more money doing similar things than my clan had done. My mother worked in town, taking the bus early and not getting home until late. The two of us lived alone in the mansion for nine months each year, just Like you and I once did here. I had to cook the meals and have all my homework done before Mom got home. That was the way it was with most of us gypsy girls. The boys had it much easier. While being a latchkey kid is frowned upon today, every one of the gypsies and most of the farmers were latchkey kids.
“But since we went to school at the mouth of the valley, in the big town, we took the school bus to and from every day. Our bus driver had only graduated high school a few years before I reached sixteen and in the tenth grade. I could have stayed home, but the clan encouraged me to keep going. There was a buzz around the bus about the bus driver, but when I asked, no one volunteered information. I was so into reading my assignments on the way home, I just ignored the gossip, but then one day, the bus did not stop at our home. I was too busy reading to notice. A few stops later, I complained, and the bus driver said that at the end of the route, he would take me back home in his car, but he had to complete the route first. A few girls started murmuring and giggling, but no one said anything to me.
“The bus driver drove me home in his car as he said he would do. He explained that this was part of what he did all the time. There would be a requirement for discretion, and a small fee for me being absent-minded and missing my stop. Of course, he knew to stop there and did not, but he made it seem that it was all my fault. Being a gypsy, my parents had taught me to be compliant so that the local government would leave us alone. The bus driver followed me into the house and then explained that having sex with him would satisfy as payment for my mistake. I had never been brought up as a church goer. The gypsy rules were a little different than the town rules, so I was compliant, not knowing if he was telling the truth or not. He did little foreplay. He simply reached a climax and was gone.
“I was sore down there that night and I pulled him aside the next day. He assured me that he had used protection, but if I really was concerned, he would drop me off at a preacher friend of his who would help me overcome any bad feelings that I might have. My parents had never had a Bible in the house, but they had kind words to say about preachers, so I opted to visit him. The preacher quoted from his Bible using the King James language. It sounded authentic. Who else speaks that way? When he said something about “Thou shalt spreadeth thine legs and accept redemption thrice,” it sounded legitimate. Who would argue with King James? I had sex with the preacher three times to obtain “redemption,” not really knowing what redemption was. I never knew he just made up the quotes he was making. What made it worse is that the bus driver missed my stop four times that year, and each of the four times meant that I had to visit the preacher three times for each of the four times. I was doing as my parents taught me, being compliant with those who I thought were responsible members of town society. From that moment on, I made friends on the bus so that several people would scream when my bus stop was approaching. He could not say that he accidentally missed my stop.
“But that ruined me toward dating. The boys knew that most of the gypsy girls were married by sixteen, so there had to be something wrong with me, not married and still going to school. They wanted sex on the first date. I would fight them off, until the gypsy clan labelled me a girl that did not like boys. They never learned of my story about the bus driver and the fake preacher. That is why I resisted reading the Bible with you at first, but then when we never read the preacher’s verses that he quoted, I kept wanting to read the Bible over and over, thinking I might have missed it. Or maybe with more modern translations, the words might have changed a little. No, the fake preacher had made it up.
“But then right about the time I graduated from high school, a young man, I think from a rival gypsy clan, dark and handsome, came to the farmer’s market. My mother and I sold vegetables there every weekend, and some of them we had not stolen from the farmer’s fields. We had a little garden, and my mother was good at growing tomatoes, and bright red tomatoes attracted the crowd at the market. The young man explained to my mother that he wanted fresh picked tomatoes and if I went with him, he would pay a handsome price. As his hands started roaming in his car back to our home, I explained that I was not interested, but he convinced me that he could give me pleasure and that his pleasure was secondary. He asked when my period was, and I was dealing with that at the time. He said that he would return when that time was over. He explained the rhythm system, and how that was free license to have unprotected sex. Again, I fell for it. He returned in two days and then for the next two months at the appropriate time, but that was when my mother came home early from work and caught us. She said that my father would deal with me, but she took the young man into her bedroom. From the noises from behind the closed door, my mother had taken my place with my boyfriend. I suppose spending up to nine months with your husband away, it could get tough, but I had to be punished for doing the same thing. Of course, she never admitted her guilt. It was a Gypsy clan thing, according to my father once he got home.
“It was a couple of months later when my father returned home. After the story was told about my indiscretions, he had me go with him to a lodge meeting that weekend, with both farmers and gypsies attending, just the men. I was brought before the lodge and auctioned to the highest bidder. I had to take my clothes off, so that they knew what they were getting for their money. A grandfather bought me for his grandson who was socially awkward. The young man was a farmer in the valley, inheriting a couple of his uncles’ farms, those without male children. My Dad got a pretty good price for me, and he got even more in good will with his farmer neighbors. I became the farming grandson’s ‘wife’, but my ‘husband’ refused to go to bed with me. He was interested in girls, just not a harlot. The farmers in the valley all seemed to know what the bus driver had been up to, but no one did anything about it. My husbands’ older brother visited, and I cried on his shoulder. The brother told me to take my clothes off. I did so right in front of him. He said that his little brother was an idiot for not jumping my bones, as he called it, but he encouraged me to never wear clothing again until his brother bedded me. It took months, but my ‘husband’ got drunk on some gypsy moonshine one night and could not resist me. The ice was broken, you might say. From that point on we had a normal married life. He never loved me, and he insisted that I never wear clothing. He even did the shopping so that I had no need to wear clothing. Otherwise, you might say it was normal. I sometimes put clothing on while he was out plowing the fields, just to feel normal.
“For five years, I remained nude all the time, cooking and cleaning for him. With his awkwardness socially, we never had guests at the house. One day when I was having my monthly troubles, he ran into town in anger because I refused him. Within a couple of days of him going into town, he wished for me to place his manhood in my mouth. He said that was what the ladies in town did. I suggested that he simply go back to town. He did so, and then he brought ‘her’ back home with him. He convinced her that we had never consummated the marriage, even though I stood there naked before both of them, and before I knew it, I had gotten dressed and had stolen his available cash, and I was on a bus, bound for Tracy. At least, that is where I stopped. I saw your ad the next day having used the newspaper as my bed linens on the bench at the bus stop.
“Don’t worry about my ‘husband’. He only had a bill of sale, not a marriage license. And he must have done things with his new wife that were more conventional. They have six children. I have looked them up online.
“You and I had something blissful here before Baldwyn showed up. I thought when I saw you and Scrambled having such a nice time together, I dreamed of that nice family that I wanted, so that I could be the unofficial aunt who kept the house.
“Then Baldwyn appeared. You convinced Red Delicious to start a legitimate business of making hard apple cider. The chop shop was already in the process of relocating anyway. You and I had been experimenting with recipes for a long time for that best tasting hard apple cider, really since I first arrived. I knew cooking, cleaning, and moonshine making. Baldwyn had worked in the chop shop and loved you from afar. Let me change that to lusted. I do not think he had the capacity to love. But when the chop shop was moved to where he could not ogle you, he became obsessed. He caught you with Scrambled and the rest is history.
“It took him a few months with you hiring everything from buyers and sellers to accountants and security for the cider house. He pitched the idea to Red Delicious of turning the house into a brothel and used your name as the idea person. When you threw a fit, and wanted to be with Scrambled, he got the idea of exerting his control over all you had started. He made all of us become prostitutes. Red Delicious bought the apartment complex and tied the buildings together with enclosed walkways. You had your cider house, but Red Delicious used his muscle to close down all prostitution in Tracy. The only source was to come to Lily the Pink. So, the prostitutes filled the apartment building, and the cider house employees used the bedrooms upstairs to do their business with customers, mandated by Baldwyn. And you cross-trained the prostitutes to help out in the cider house, thinking you could reform them – and you reformed quite a few.
“And yes, Baldwyn was forceful and jealous of our relationship. He forced me to do the oral thing. He knew I hated it, and he wanted to humiliate both me and you. Afterward, I only had to have one person come to my room each quarter. I was a special case since much of my time was cooking food for everyone else. Within a year, Millennium Yeggs showed up. It was as if he had this sense of a woman in distress. He became my only customer, and he did not touch me.
“The Millennium Yeggs routine was that of a very dirty old man. I must admit that. He would ask the person that he had bought for the evening to do a strip tease. Then once the lady was naked, he would protest if they got close enough for him to touch. He would invite them to sit at the table and talk. Millennium had a sense of knowing when a lady was not comfortable doing what she did. He would ask if they wanted to escape. Almost every one of them did, and he provided the funds to get them started on the right track in another town. If he had not helped so many women get a fresh start, he would be worth millions now. Who knows? He still has a lot. Hugh McAdoo is not just a spy organization administrator, but he is Millie’s financial advisor.
“You said you would not interrupt, but I can see a couple of questions in your eyes. Yes, I did a strip tease, although I had no idea what I was doing. Millennium could tell. And when he asked me if I wanted to escape, I told him that I could never leave without taking you with me. At first, I did not even know that he was your old boyfriend’s grandfather, but with him being my only customer each quarter for all those years, we talked about everything. He never touched me, but once I was naked, he never let me put my clothing back on, at least not for the first year. Like I said, a dirty old man. I would fix him a meal, just as I had done with my ‘husband’ many years before, without a stitch of clothing on, not even an apron. That replaced the strip tease after he discovered that I could not dance. I had burn scars in places no one should have burn scars, but with each meal, once each quarter, I fell madly in love with Millie. Yes, he suggested the nickname when he realized that my honor prevented me from leaving you. That is why he kept coming back, paying Baldwyn extra to have me exclusively. But for nearly two decades, he allowed me to never have sex with another stranger. If he could not rescue me, he would save me that indignity. But never fear. He is a dirty old man, and he wants to look without touching, until…”
I blurted out, knowing that I had sworn not to interrupt, “Until when?!”
She laughed, “The night after the shower ended in the Hobbit Hole. I hugged him which was against his rules, but he did not protest. The wedding party all went home. I helped Pauline and Mashie fill the truck they had borrowed to move some of their stuff to their new home. And when they left, they tossed us the keys, Millie’s idea that he had prearranged. Millie explained that one duty of the maid of honor was to dance. He knew from the beginning that I was no dancer. He said that he would give me my first lesson in ballroom dancing, and that I would be a master by the time you got married. I doubt his confidence, but in two lessons, I am not stepping on his feet as much. But he insisted for old-times’ sake that I had to take the lessons in the nude. Dirty old man to the end. I started to shrug out of my dress, but he stopped me. He said for ballroom dancing, we had to trust each other and know each other extremely well. He told me to stand as motionless as possible. I couldn’t. I was trembling. He then slowly took each article of clothing off, kissing as he went, but not the private areas. He instructed me to do the same for him. Two rules down the drain: him not touching and he always remained with his clothes on. He put on some big band music, and we danced until the sun came up. Okay, we stumbled and fell a few times, but maybe that is like jugglers dropping what they juggle. You can’t learn unless you make the basic mistakes.”
I was flabbergasted, “But he never touches. He wants to keep the memory of his long dead wife untainted.”
Gwen nodded, “He said that it was the right time. He said that I had aged as he had imagined his wife would have aged. She died within two weeks of Thousand-Year-Old’s birth. He did not think that he would ever marry me. He was too old, but he wanted to have a normal relationship with the one who endured great hardship to stay true to a friend. Thank you, Pink, for being that friend. I get the family I always dreamed of, the family that I can be the dear auntie for. And all the bad that happened in both our lives has led to good in that I have someone, although very old… You love me and I love you. Millie loves me. Jesus loves me. I could not have a better life.”
Then I asked, “And the really raunchy lingerie that you gave me for the honeymoon, gladly given in privately instead of at the shower… What is the story behind that?”
“I said that Millie would not allow me to put clothing on at first, but after the first year, he knew that I would have no further customers that night. He paid Baldwyn extra, so that he could spend the night. We never touched, but I set up a cot in my bedroom, and he produced something from his pocket that he had bought from one of those sexy magazines. There is a couple of drawers in my closet that are filled with raunchy lingerie, for me to wear for him only. I think I look sexier wearing the lingerie than being in the nude. I don’t have the curves in all the right places as you have. In thinking of that, I could not resist doing the same for you and for Maeve – but Maeve may take coaxing to try them on. She is far too prim and proper. If nothing else, the four honeymooners will get some laughs. I have been buying all your clothing for so long. I know they will fit.”
We laughed and then it got quiet again. I was lost in thought for a moment. Scrambled and I had not mentioned a honeymoon. I could afford anything that he could dream up, but we had never discussed it.
After a few seconds, she continued. “And you know how Millie would give those other girls enough money in which to escape after only one evening together?” I nodded. “He gave me monstrous tips, and I have invested well. If you need to borrow some money to start the bakery, I can pay for it in total. I can even throw in Zuzka’s idea of enclosing the pool area and turning all the grounds between the cider house, the apartments, and the main house into a giant greenhouse and solar farm and possibly a jungle. I can pay for all of that and all of that again with money left over. Pink, you are my family. I know you have no need of the money, but at least let me build the bakery as my wedding gift.”
I hesitated, knowing that I did not need her money, but I knew that she wanted to feel like an equal member of the family. So, I opted to ask, “Do I have to return the lingerie?”
She laughed, “No, but can I have a very private fashion show? You know, you could try everything on so that I can see if these items fit right. Some of them are complicated and you might put them on backwards without ever knowing. I know which is the front and back and the top and bottom.”
I thought of how embarrassing that might be, and Gwen and I had seen each other without clothing before, sharing the same bathroom and forgetting to knock. That evening became an evening of laughter, and after the simple teddies, I got things backwards or upside down more than I got them right. The evening was only cut short when GrandPa, Gwen’s Millie, called her from the kitchen, demanding the next ballroom dancing lesson.
When I did substitute teaching on the fringes of the hills, I had gypsy girls in some of my high school classes, and the depiction of the gypsies in the hills above was fairly accurate to that experience. As for the mansions, that was a different set of gypsies in a different state. Mansions, yes, but to maintain their privacy, the mansions’ windows would have aluminum foil on the inside surface that would block peeping eyes, at least on the first floor – with ornate iron work covering the windows. And as for how the gypsies made their money, that is fairly accurate as well, the good and the bad, or at least so I was told.
So, if the roof of your house has been blown away by a bad storm, do not give money up front to your contractor without knowing the contractor. Most reputable contractors would never ask. If the storm did wide-spread damage, building supplies will be in great demand, and sadly, the prices will go up, more than once. But the crooks in the industry prey upon your desperation to get things back to normal in a hurry.
The story of the pedophile bus driver was told to me many years ago when I was in college, told by a high school girl who ran from the bus driver and locked him out of the house. Later hearing the stories from all the girls on the bus. I have no idea if the stories were true. As far as I know, he was never caught, and the circumstances were far from the “hills” or “backwoods,” but in an area where latchkey kids were prevalent. I added the fake preacher in that there are so many stories of such “preachers” and even cults developed on Scripture that is misquoted or conveniently added to the canon of Scripture to prey on those who do not read the Bible for themselves.
In Gwen’s dream of an idyllic family, the similarities to the Brady Bunch are almost coincidental. I wrote it before I saw the similarity, and then went in that direction.
And if you do searches on ballroom dancing in the nude, you might get more than just ballroom dancing. Possibly a LOT more. I am just putting that out as a warning.