Viktor and the Pad

by Homeless T  No, by the Man-Maid 

1969: CABANA HAVANA

Composed in hospital
Before there was Man-Maid, there were Mamacita and Boy-Maid Viktor, un hijo de pelo y pecho born onto the white sands of the Cuban playa of 1961, part of an island paradise flush with the justice of Fidel Castro's nationalization of property and long-overdue equality for all citizens. To the new owners (the Cuban people) it would always be the Havana Hilton, but the new regime changed the posh hotel's name to the Cabana Havana.  It was like having Conrad Hilton as your uncle in the early sixties.  Tio Comrade Hilton. 

At the age of eight, the boy Viktor was unofficially apprenticed by his Mamacita, who was Head of Housekeeping at the Cabana Havana. Like his mother, prepubescent Boy-Maid cared little for money and more for social justice.  His mother had a good position, one earned and given--not a dream deferred by capitalist corruption. Viktor would hurry from school to be at the Hilton--er, the Cabana Havana--by lunchtime.  Boy-Maid appreciated the 60-hour work-weeks for the honor they brought to his country and to his family, and for the knowledge he would acquire.  And for love of his fellow trainees.

Mama's housekeeping trainees were all pretty quinceanos girls--mainly 15, but some older--selected for their tourist-appeal. Their families knew they would get fair treatment from Viktor's mother, who worked hard, but also played hard too. The girls in Viktor's group might have been forced into whoredom during earlier eras, but now people were equal and they all had Tuesdays.

Fidel Castro, the greatest young leader of the western hemisphere, had given hotel workers many tokens of recognition, including a day for them to enjoy the hotel's first-class facilities.  Fair Play Tuesdays, Fidel called them, days when Viktor and Mamacita and the other housekeeping trainees could spend the long afternoon as guests, amidst the splendor of the Cabana Havana--let their hair down like the rich, and have a chance to practice their German too. On Fair Play Tuesdays, Mamacita allowed her pretty trainees to wear their skimpiest bathing suits if they wanted, just like the European tourists.  For one afternoon a week, they lolled by the pool, sipping soft drinks on lounges in the sun--enjoying all the former-Hilton amenities, just like guests, like rich tourists.

The other six days of the week, Comrade Mamacita was the no-nonsense boss of all maids.   Every day of her month-long training block, she warned her girls--and bambino Viktor, always within ear-shot--about floor fourteen.  If Concierge Maximilian Sebastiano de Casa Ora ("Pudgy" to them) ordered a trainee to the fourteenth floor--"to tidy the long rose runner, dust the crystal sconces, and freshen the air with blossoming fragrance"--smart fifteen-year-old maids should stop, think, and put in a pad, just in case.

"Go first to the break-room after el Pudgy is out of sight, and slip a woman's pad into your clean cotton panties. Preserve your treasure.  Before going up, just in case." Such was the science of maidenliness mama taught to her maids.

The first time Viktor heard about the pad, the eight-year-old nodded wisely with the rest--si Mama, I do too. He heard it many times, and once he located the pads, he began demonstrating for new girls where to find a pad, quick--although the ones he produced were the steel-wool bleach-pads used to removed rust. He would hold one and wink like Mamacita---these will protect us, sisters.  Just in case . . .  Nobody contradicted him.

Just in case what? Viktor never quite thought to ask, and most of the housekeepers already knew more than was proper for eight-year-olds.  Pudgy's gentlemen were pescaderos (fishermen) of miserable sardines, given shore leave one night in 40.  The front desk routed them thru the back, and put them all on fourteen--where in the past, men had lured an empty-headed maid into their fish-stinking room, and got her passion all fired up on sweet wine and money, until she gave in to men's desire--and for the few measly pesos they would give.

When los sardineros got going, they gave no wiggle-room. Sinverguenzos. So the pad, just in case, the pad, for it sobered fishermen up fast--especially when pulled out as a last resort, and thrown directly at them. Then the fools would scream like grandmothers and run down the rose colored runners back to their sardine nets. But enough about bad fishermen and good women.

At the umpteenth repetition of Mamacita's pad directive, eight-year-old Man-Maid Viktor demonstrated per usual, extracting and holding a scouring pad high.  As usual, nobody blinked.  But this day Victor embellished things by slipping the steel-wool biscuit into his own clean cotton panties.  The young trainees gasped and giggled.  Mama's eyes popped, but she said nothing until she had Viktor alone.  Then she had him quickly remove it.

His off-target knowledge of pads was clarified for him, discreetly and not unkindly by Mamacita, who loved him as could only a mother, knowing that corrosive steel-wool tucked into his panties was full of strong chemicals, chlorine and lye. These would surely chafe and sting his young boy-part, still in a seedling state--burn and damage it, possibly for life.  He might even lose it, but he didn't.. 

It was thus and so that Viktor learned how girls are different than boys--certainly the grossest stuff he had ever heard, but Mamacita didn't mince words.  Also, Mama's hombrecito learned how scouring pads are different than sanitary napkins, and never mixed them up again.

Like all mothers and devotees of the Blessed Virgin, Mamacita preached also chastity and especially, especially girls, clean cotton panties.  Even as an old woman, she feared that her own kidnapped, raped body would turn up on the coroner's cart . . .  in dirty panties.  Death?  That was nothing to her.  Guns, knives, horrifying brutality--they didn't scare her.

But dirty underthings?  In front of others?  The archangels surely would not permit such a maid to pass into heaven.  Nonetheless, a scouring pad was still a very bad idea.


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