iris & zerah 1

the other day i met iris and zehra. i just got done shopping. two relativly pretty girls are standing outside the shopping mall, surrounded by about 7 shoppingbags each. as i get into my car, they ask me if i could give them a lift to the trainstation. since this happens to be where i am headed to next, i agree to take them. pretty soon it is clear, that they are cabaret-girls, meaning they work in red light bars, sitting around in sexy clothes, animating customers to buy them champagne, performing a striptease show once a night. they work on commission. the more customers buying them champagne, the more money they make. in order to avoid legal prosecution the agencies, who run these places, transfer the girls to a new cabaret in a different part of switzerland once a month.
iris & zerah just arrived here the night before, transfered from another shitty little city in the french part of switzerland. iris is originally from cote d’ ivoire, zerah from marocco.
somehow they decide that today i should be there errand-boy. i play along, because i find this quite interesting.
first we go to the post-office. zerah, who cannot write french, and only just barely speaks it, wants to send money home to her family in marocco. in an envelope she carries around 5700.- swiss francs in cash. iris writes and speaks for her, she tries to copy the adress from a miserable looking piece of paper. it’s hard to read the adress. we speculate how to spell the town correctly. this looks all pretty iffy to me. luckily the post-official declines the wire, since zerah’s passport is not valid.
next we pick up their luggage at the trainstation. they each have so many bags, that along with their shoppingbags my car is now completly packed. they want me to drive them to their appartement. but they do not remember how to get there. we drive around the small town for almost an hour before they finally recognize the house. it’s a huge building on the outskirts of town.
their apartment is a terrible fleabag of a place. only the two of them live here, yet they each lock their individual rooms with those ridiculously unsafe, basic doorkeys. these apartments are provided by the cabaret. iris complains about this place. it’s too far from work; but i would add, it’s a very sad place to be staying at.
the living room is furnished, but just barely. a huge scruffy looking couch, a table, that almost falls apart, and a color television, which only manages to display magenta of the spectrum. one window has a splendid view of the mountains, but the curtains are closed shut. i open them and show them the view. they say, they don’t care about that.
it’s almost 4 now, the girls have to rush. at a quarter to five they must be ready for work, a taxi will pick them up. or else they will get penalised.
each day they work from 5 pm to 4 am. they get 1 hour break in there somewhere, but never together. one day of the week is a free day, but never the same one, so they can’ really plan anything, and never on weekends. quickly they throw together some food, get dressed and made up. they cook meat with onions and tomato sauce. they offer me some, i decline, mumbeling something about being a vegetarian, and drink my pepsi. then they are off to work and me off home.

About Jan Zuppinger

Jan Zuppinger has been writing this blog since 2002. He likes to grow vegetables. He likes to eat them too. He has opinions on everything, but sadly no one cares. Jan Zuppinger is not joking, just joking, he is joking, just joking, he's not joking. *click.