Serendipity 07: The Wild Year – Pt. 02

tagIncest/TabooSerendipity 07: The Wild Year – Pt. 02

VII. The Wild Year — Part 2
Our shared lives changed somewhat after our two-week vacation in New Mexico.
As I mentioned, just after the vacation, we all moved into a new home. We felt that, as close as we had become — and considering our rather "fluid" sleeping arrangements — that it would be desirable financially, logistically, and socially, to live together as a family, in a single home. After some false starts while we tried to figure out what we were actually looking for, we found a huge 4-bedroom condominium in the city, in a high rise building that gave us wonderful park and city views.
Janey and Lauren had both graduated and received their degrees in June. Lauren already had a job commitment from the finance and accounting division of a large real estate firm with international operations. Janey was still trying to decide if she would be better off taking a job with a large non-profit or going on to graduate school for an MBA. Our new home had great transportation — it was on three bus lines, and only an eight-minute walk to the subway — so Lauren would be able to either take the bus or, in good weather, walk to her new job; and Janey had the flexibility that comes with being able to get almost anyplace easily.
Other than the fact that Paul and I no longer had to drive several hours each way to see our girls, our lives didn't change that much. We did have a new, more beautiful, and much larger place to live those lives, but the important thing — the relationships — didn't change, and in fact, they kept getting better and better.
Also, we cooked a lot more. The condo has a beautiful kitchen, with room and counter space enough for several people to work at the same time. And since Janey and Paul discovered that they both had "inner chefs, yearning to be free," our collection of cookbooks grew steadily.
Less than a month after we moved into the condo, Paul got a request from the CEO of his company to go to Ukraine to follow up on a deal his firm was negotiating with a large Ukrainian grain exporter. The trip was to be for two weeks, including travel time, but possibly less if everything went well with the business arrangements.
One evening Paul asked me, simply, "Hey, would you and Jane and Lauren like to come along with me? I know that Ukraine is not at the top of everyone's list of fantasy travel destinations, but it's different, and none of us may ever get the chance to go to a place like this again. And except for the airfare, all the expenses will be paid once we get there."
I gave it a thought. Janey had not yet decided what she was going to do, and Lauren's new job didn't start until sometime after Labor Day. Things were not especially busy at my company, and I was sure that Ben could manage day-to-day operations and business issues and could call or email me if anything out of the ordinary came up.
Janey and Lauren talked it over and thought that it would be different and a bit exotic. Besides, at their ages, who would pass up a chance for a trip to a foreign country?
I was, of course, concerned about a lot of the practicalities of such a trip, especially to a country where tourism is not as developed as in Western Europe, where we have done all of our previous foreign travel, and especially someplace where the language was totally unfamiliar and where a phrase book would probably not get the job done.
Paul said not to worry. "The Ukrainian company will take care of all arrangements for us — deluxe hotel, a driver when we need one, and a guide to accompany us anytime we are outside of business." Then he added, "Marv at the office — he did the advance work on this deal — said to see if we could get 'Svetlana' as our guide. He said she's excellent — knowledgeable, incredibly organized, and has an amazing ability to solve any problems that come up. He also said, and I quote, 'Man, I could follow that ass all over Kiev!'"
"Well, Svetlana certainly does sound superbly qualified, doesn't she?"
"My thoughts exactly! Anyhow, does that address all your questions?"
It did. Paul's company was nice enough to get visas for Lauren, Janey, and me at the same time they got Paul's. They also took care of booking the travel for all of us and were very good about arrangements for us to reimburse them for our fares. It was all going to happen!
If you've ever gone on a multi-week vacation, especially overseas, you know the routine: send your itineraries to friends and business; notify the security company; check the expected weather at your destination; buy those things you'll need (like several converter plugs to fit Ukrainian electrical outlets); stop the newspaper and leave "Hold Mail" instructions with the Post Office; etc, etc. Also, as Janey reminded us, "You two be sure to take along your boner pills — you never know what'll come up."
LAUREN (aka, "Lara")
We left late on a Saturday afternoon, overnight to Frankfurt, then changed planes. Our same-day flight to Kiev arrived 20 minutes late; and that was about the only problem on the entire flight. Even all our luggage for four people for two weeks arrived on time and went through Ukrainian customs easily.
Just outside customs, in the big arrival hall, was a man holding a card that said "P. Janowitz Grup." He was our driver who would take us to our hotel today, although he would not be our driver for the rest of our visit. He whisked us (yes, whisked — it was a Sunday, remember?) to our hotel in the center of the city. We had been give a choice between The Opera and another, more modern hotel. The Opera is a grand old hotel, and probably quite luxurious. Unfortunately, grand old hotels often have grand old rooms, and old hotel rooms tend to be on the smaller side. Even if each room has been redone and has "all the amenities," those amenities are often shoe-horned into a traditionally small room.
We opted for a more modern hotel with the curious name of Windows11. It was built to modern standards and was very centrally located, between two major cathedrals, near several parks, and — interesting to Jane and me — near a university, and we were curious about what an Eastern European university looked and felt like.
Our main reason for choosing the Windows over other modern hotels was that it had a number of very spacious suites which featured striking contemporary design and furnishings, and we thought that if we're going to spend two weeks in a hotel room, it might as well be a gorgeous one. I thought of an old Joan Rivers' joke: "When you're over 60, it doesn't matter if the sex is fabulous — only that the hotel you're having it in is." She might have been talking about us — except for the "over 60" part, of course.
"Spacious contemporary suites" do not come cheap, however, so Dad and Matt arranged to pay the additional cost of our suite beyond the price of the "Superior King" room the client had already reserved for Dad.
For the rest of the day, we just luxuriated in our spacious contemporary suite, experimenting with all the goodies and reveling in the luxury. About 7 o'clock (Kiev time) we had dinner in a small restaurant two blocks from our hotel. We all felt fine, even after over 22 hours of traveling, so we strolled a little, enjoying the summer evening, then headed back to the hotel for much-needed sleep.
While we had all felt fine Sunday, on Monday we crashed and burned. Traveling eastward through so many time zones really did a number on us. We thought that having a good American-style breakfast would be the best way to start, and it did seem to reinvigorate us — for about an hour. Fortunately, Dad's client had the foresight to not schedule any meetings until the following day, Tuesday, so that he'd have some time to recuperate. We kind of stumbled around for a while, feeling very low-resolution, and with very little ambition. We didn't feel like eating at "lunch" time, so we put it off — until we all crashed and slept 'til about 8 p.m., then decided we really were hungry and went outside to look for someplace in downtown Kiev that was still open and serving food at that hour.
Tuesday morning and things were better. Dad was close enough that he could walk to his client's headquarters offices. Our guide, whose name, we were told, was Svetlana, was to meet us in the hotel lobby at 10 o'clock to help us get familiar with the city and to see a few of the sights. It turned out that Svetlana ("Call me 'Lana'") was fabulous. She was dressed in business attire, but also for the summertime — plain robin's egg blue skirt to just above the knees, matching jacket with white blouse underneath, stylish silk-like scarf, medium heels.
She definitely had an eastern European look — the shape of the eyebrows, a slightly Asian cast to the eyes, and a slight curl of the lips which was exotic — and very sexy. Her brown hair, which had streaks of a reddish tint, was pinned up in proper business fashion. Despite her professional look and age — Janey and I guessed early- to mid-30s — her attitude and manner were those of a younger woman. We all hit it off immediately. In fact, Dad even seemed a bit smitten by her — it appeared that underneath that proper, business-like suit was a well-tended, womanly body.
We decided to take it easy for today, since we had just arrived. We went around the neighborhood, she showed us the parks, different kinds of places to eat, and introduced us to some of her favorite boutiques, as well as more standard places to get necessities like toothpaste, nylons, etc. And keeping with the idea of a light day, Lana took us to a Nu-Art Gallery, near the hotel — an enjoyable blend of art gallery and modern art museum. After a late lunch she returned us to the hotel, with plans to meet tomorrow at the same time.
Back in the room, Janey and I kicked off our shoes and changed into some loungeable clothes and opened up Janey's laptop computer. With an agenda.
We had heard — you know how you "hear things," kind of like the "they" of "they say" — that in Eastern Europe it was not too hard to find clubs that were, shall we say, "specialized." What they specialized in was various kinds of sex shows. And ever since this trip was announced, Jane and I had been wondering — hoping? — that Ukraine was one of those places.
Well, it took a login and just a few searches for "Kiev Underground" and "Alternative Kiev," and similar (with the help of GoogleTranslate), to find that there were maybe four places in greater Kiev that featured such performances. [ We later learned from Lana that one of these had been temporarily closed by the officials, although it was probably not from a surfeit of public moral outrage and more a matter of the appropriate bribes not being paid.]
Now, how to bring this to the attention of the dads?
How? Easy. Dad's first day with the client had gone well, and he was enthusiastic about the prospects for the rest of the trip. We went out and had a nice dinner — not too heavy, as we were still adjusting to the travel changes. Dad told us a little about his day, and we told him all about how we spent the day with Lana and how great she seemed to be. On the way back to the hotel, we passed a wine and liquor store and picked up two bottles of what we were assured were very good wines from Georgia. And it was after all of us had had a couple of glasses of wine that Janey brought the subject up.
"You remember how when we were at the house in Taos we all watched those videos of people having sex in front of audiences? And we were curious but didn't think we'd ever have a chance to experience anything like that? Well, we heard that there might be places that did that sort of thing here in Kiev, so we went on the Internet and found several 'clubs' that look like they have live shows. You guys game?"
We really had expected some serious resistance. But after they made a few concerned inquiries — "Are you sure this is something you'd like to see, I mean, watching videos on the small screen in private, in your own home, is a lot different from seeing it happening in front of you, in public, with a bunch of people around" — they both said, "If you're certain this is something you'd like to do, then, sure, we're up for it. One practical matter. How do we find these places and get into them. Are they like membership things, or by invitation only, or … what?"
Janey had the answer. "No problem — we ask Lana. After all, she's a professional guide. I'm sure she's accustomed to handling all kinds of requests from foreign visitors. And she certainly doesn't strike me as being a prude. What did you think, Daddy?" I think she asked her dad that question just to be provocative.
"No, she strikes me more as a practical, live-and-let-live kind of person. I don't think there'd be any problem in asking her." And so it was settled.
The next morning, after Dad had set off to his meetings, Matt, Janey, and I met up with Lana, today to see some cathedrals, which, as a thorough-going atheist, I love.
So, after a morning at cathedral number one, we picked up a take-out lunch and headed for a tiny nearby park. We surreptitiously opened a bottle of sparkling wine and brought up the subject that had been on our minds, Janey, as usual, taking the lead.
"Lana, we'd heard that there were some special clubs here in Kiev that we might want to visit. Here, we found these names on the Internet," showing her a small handwritten list, "and wondered if you knew any of them?"
Lana read the list carefully, studying it, even though it contained only four names. Then a little smile crept across her lips, and she said, "You know that all these are places where they make shows of people having 'unusual' kinds of sex, yes?"
To share the weight with Janey, I swallowed and said, "Yes, we know that." And just let it hang there.
"And you would like Lana to take you to such clubs?" Still with the sly smile.
"Yes, we would."
"And who would be going to these clubs?"
"All four of us — we three, and my father."
"Yes, I can arrange this. This Friday night might be the best time. And — would you like Lana to come with you?"
Here Matthew burst in, "Yes, we'd love it if you could be there with us!" I love him so much! It tickles me when he goes all horndog.
We finished our lunch — and our wine — and went on to cathedral number two, which really was quite impressive and quite beautiful. But all the while, I'm sure all three of us — and maybe all four of us — were excited thinking about Friday night.
For the next two days, we kept occupied with an agenda of sight seeing, museums, shopping, and enjoying the beautiful summer days. But the time seemed to drag on. Until, all of a sudden, it was Friday evening!
While Paul and I were told to wait in one bedroom, Janey and Lauren went into the other to dress for the evening. And then they came out. They were a stunning pair, Janey, in high heels, her long curly copper-blond hair falling down to rest on the straps of her "little black evening dress," Lauren in high heels that made her appear five or six inches taller than the adorable Janey . Her mahogany brown hair, now in a new medium-length shag cut, just touched her little black evening dress, almost identical to Janey's but with slightly wider straps over her shoulders.
But what completed the picture: Janey was wearing a short strand of pearls, while Lauren was wearing a narrow royal-blue velvet collar around her neck. Paul and I were knocked out. Speechless.
Finally, I was able to croak something like, "You two are stunning!" Paul simply nodded in agreement.
Lauren said, "We just wanted to look nice so our men would be proud of us." They smiled.
Paul said simply, "Well, you succeeded — spectacularly."
The phone rang to tell us that Svetlana was in the hotel driveway, waiting to take us out for our evening's adventure.
Her ZAZ four-door sedan wouldn't have had room for us with our luggage, but with no luggage, it was adequate for the five of us, so we didn't have to worry about a driver or having to return the car at a certain time.
I didn't mention it, but it was somewhat late in the evening. The club Lana selected ("nicer, cleaner, a better class of audience") didn't open until 9, and the show didn't begin until 10.
She drove us for a long time, through the central city, then the inner suburban rings, and well into the outskirts of the city, until we were in a sparsely occupied area that appeared to be a mixture of the old farms plus newer warehouses and other storage facilities. She finally turned off the main road and drove around to what seemed to be the back of a squat commercial-type building of fairly recent construction. When we got around to the back of this seemingly-deserted building, there were dozens of cars, most of them new, some fairly expensive.
As we got out of the car, Paul and I had a chance to fully appreciate Svetlana's appearance. Instead of the business-professional attire we were used to seeing her in, she was wearing Roman sandals with lots of strappy things up the ankle, a soft black leather skirt which went down to mid-thigh and fit her fine legs and ass 'lovingly,' and a tight red pullover that seemed to have some kind of silver metallic thread in the fabric. It was sleeveless and had a collar that went up her neck. It appeared that she was not wearing a bra, because of the slight — not actually sag, but 'absence of lift.' Her dark brown hair with the reddish highlights was no longer pinned up. Instead, she had let it down to its full length and gathered it into a ponytail, which had the dual effect of giving her a girlish quality while emphasizing her Asian cheekbones and giving her an exotic look. She had on more eye makeup than usual, and a hint of some musky perfume.
Once inside the commercial-type double doors, we saw that it was attractively decorated, much in the style of any western nightclub or cabaret. No tickets or admission fees were evident. (We later learned that Svetlana had arranged for all of that to be taken care of the day before.)
The interior of the club — the "show lounge" — was like many other cabarets — a stage, maybe 40 feet wide and 20 feet deep, with several rows of round tables on the floor in front of the stage and perhaps three or four more tiers of tables rising up from the floor level.
While the hostess was showing us to our table — one of the larger stage-side tables, because there were five of us — I noticed that the girls had stayed back and were talking with Svetlana about something. They appeared to give her a piece of paper. Or it might have been money. Anyhow, once we were all at the table, we realized we didn't know the local drinking customs, so we simply asked Lana and she ordered Campari-and-sodas for all of us.
As we sat and waited for our drinks, more and more people came in and were seated. Most were neatly attired — some, expensively — while others appeared to be wearing worn or artfully damaged clothing that probably cost hundreds. And all ages. Most were from mid-20s to early 60s. A few appeared to be just old enough to qualify, legally, as adults, so the authorities would not have grounds to pull any liquor licenses or shut them down. And what surprised us was the number of clearly older people — late 60s and beyond.
Drinks came, and we toasted and waited. As the place filled and the crowd began to quiet expectantly, I noticed that I was a little anxious about what was to occur. I was actually experiencing a kind of queasy feeling, but also excited. I wondered — perhaps things that are really exciting should make you a little queasy-nervous too? Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous about seeing whatever we were going to see with the girls. In fact, their presence seemed to make it a little better. I guess we've gotten so used to sharing things — all sorts of experiences — that their presence seemed totally natural, like everything was normal.

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