A soothing, relaxing day at the spa. Or is it? (12/2002; ultra short)
Mary Thomas had just completed a grueling six-month assignment with a demanding client and decided to treat herself to a day of pampering.
After sleeping in until ten o’clock – something that she hadn’t done in years – Mary rolled out of bed and put on a pair of sweat pants and a ratty AIDS Walk t-shirt. She didn’t even bother to shower. She pulled a torn, fading Yankees baseball cap down over her unruly hair instead of combing it. After a quick bowl of Special K cereal, she drove the thirty minutes to her appointment and arrived five minutes early.
“Hello. My name is Mary Thomas. I have an 11:00 appointment,” she said to the young girl at the front desk.
“Hello. Welcome to Mr. Kims. We’re almost ready for you. Have a seat and Andrea will be right out.”
“Thanks,” Mary replied cheerily. She took a seat on a large bench that appeared to be carved from a large oak tree. Mary heard the soothing New Age music being piped through the facility. Probably Kitaro or something like that. Maybe that Japanese guy she could never remember the name of. She looked over at the small shop at the far end of the room. CDs, tapes, books and tchotchkes were stacked high on the counter tops. All were targeted to help Type A people like her.
Mary picked up a Cosmopolitan from the magazine rack on the floor to the side of the bench and began to read some inane article about dieting and its effects on sex drive. When she was about half way through the article, Andrea came out and said, “Hi Mary. Please, come on back.”
Andrea led Mary to a dimly lit room at the end of the hall. Andrea motioned to Mary and said, “I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Mary looked around the room. She saw Andrea’s tools of the trade crowding the countertop next to the steel sink. So many different bottles and containers, all different colors, shapes and sizes.
A few minutes later, Andrea returned to find Mary resting comfortably. Born and raised in Russia, Andrea had small but unusually strong hands. She needed strong hands in her line of work. After a bit of preparatory work, she began. Mary moaned as Andrea worked. Eventually, her moans subsided and were replaced by a light snoring sound.
Throughout the course of the next hour, Mary experienced the blissful calm that can only come from a place like Mr. Kims. Her muscles were completely relaxed; Andrea was helping with that. Her arms hung down loosely from the table and her entire body felt heavy. The stress from her recently completed project – and all those that had come before it – was receding from her psyche. The dark room and comforting music was helping with that. And the slight lavender-mixed-with-spices smell that permeated the room, while difficult to get used to at first, was also helping.
Mary stirred and slowly realized that she’d been dozing. She wasn’t sure for how long. As Mary looked up in the room’s darkness at the ceiling, Andrea came back into the room. Mary wondered how they always seemed to sense when she would stir, so that they’d be there when she woke up. Maybe they were magicians or telepathic, she thought to herself.
What Mary didn’t see was the real reason Andrea was able to time her re-entry into the room – the camera and recording equipment behind a large gold-framed mirror on the wall.