“Well frankly I think this is absurd. I mean I’ve been here like ten times already and there was no problem then, was there? No. exactly. No problem with taking my money that’s for damn sure. So then if you agree with me then why in the hell am I still sat here?”
He speaks and she rubs her eyes gently as if they were at risk of popping.
“Fine, fine well then let’s get this over with, already.”
He speaks but she snaps an interruption.
“You already know my name…and my age for that matter; you want that for your evaluation you can take it from my file. So what’s next?”
“I am here for, well just routine stuff naturally. Little bit of botox. Tummy tuck could be improved. Foolishly went to another surgeon last year and-”
Now he interrupts her; all smiles, shoulders drooped.
“’And?’ What do you mean, ‘and’? I still don’t see how it is any of your business what I’m having done, or why for that matter.”
He says he has her file.
“Well if you have my file why the hell are you asking me? Yes, that’s correct I am having rhinoplasty too…Yes and jaw restructure.”
He wheezes a question at her which stings her like a dying wasp.
“It will be my third rhinoplasty, correct…is there a limit on how many one can have? A shortage of little girls noses for rich old women to steal?”
He shakes his head and tries to laugh.
“Well then, I guess the world will keep on spinning won’t it? And before you ask the jaw has been an issue since childhood, I’m just finally getting around to fixing it.”
“The last time I checked it wasn’t a crime to want to improve yourself, especially when big sums of money are involved. Which is lucky really considering if it were you’d be with the rest of the vermin down town under a sheet of cardboard doing god knows what.
He returns to the jaw.
“An issue as in its never felt right; always seemed to give me pain. Slight over bite as well. Leaves a crater in my lower lip like some cattle brand of bad genes. Kids at school noticed of course, used to call me ‘Goofy’ which was mostly upsetting because of the sheer lack of effort they’d put into it. I mean to be called names is one thing, but to be considered too worthless for originality. Now that really hurts.
So yes it’s fair to say it’s been something of a pet hate of mine for a while. Art would make note of it also. He’s my-was my husband. He died a few years ago though I’ve no doubt you already know that considering the way those vultures plastered it on the seven o’clock.”
He enquires further and she slips into it.
“Sometimes; he was a meticulous person, liked things a certain way. He was the same in the house. Everything in order and at its most presentable. When the help arrived he would inspect their uniforms. Anything remotely out of place and he would go to his study and make a note. Too many of these notes and they’d be shown the door. In the end I started coaching them all beforehand in the end, lest we go through every Mexican in the city! But sure he would make comment; tell me if my eyeliner was running or if my dress didn’t look right or fit as well as it used to. I remember one Christmas I’d found a huge present wrapped in the basement. The excitement was overwhelming, my fingers stroking the glittery lace ribbon that kept it together. But I resisted and waited with a warmth of anticipation circling me for weeks. When Christmas day came he invited me downstairs and I ripped at the box like a child. The excitement soon faded. He’d bought me an exercise bike. No expense spared of course, he delighted in telling me. Showed me all the different levels of tension and the calories one could burn. It was something to behold.”
He remarks on her last statement.
“Was it romantic? No. But it was thoughtful. Taught me something that I had taken for granted until then.
That beauty was a battle against time twenty four hours a day. If I was sad about anything it was the fact I had so complacently wasted all that time before. Giving free radicals forty years head start. This machine in front of me was one of the keys to everlasting splendour. A fountain of youth for a women close to the edge. Needless to say that bike and I became near inseparable. Some days I swear I needed cutting away from it; like I was fused to it somehow”
He looks at her in silence as she takes a large gulp of clear water from a spotless glass.
“But that was then and this is now. Anyone who thinks they can keep time at bay with exercise bikes, rollerblades and all organic fruit juices on the sunset strip is either under twenty five or fucking delusional. We’re all slowly crumbling, no? So sue me if I have the money and desire to cheat a little and pay my way through the remaining years.”
He asks her a personal question.
“Why honey, are you after a date?”
She laughs like a Queen on her throne at his stutter of a response.
“Relax, I knew what you meant. And no there isn’t anyone else that’s in my life right now. Not intimately anyway. Lot of friends on social media. Mostly men. Mostly from overseas. Japan. Last count I had twenty thousand followers. I did try and do a vote on what my next operation should be but that idea died a death. I am not having any more breast augmentation, thank you. Not until they build a spine out of titanium. But it didn’t matter, the face lift photos got thousands of likes and comments. Very sweet. Some of them. Others a little rude but still nice in their way. If I’d have known I’d have this attention I wouldn’t have waited for Art to wrap himself around a Redwood and got online years ago. Still I probably owe all the fame to the accident really. And the court case”
He asks about the court case and she snaps like a gator.
“Don’t act naïve. Unless you were living under a rock you’d have seen how they paraded me in front of a judge. Tried to say I had something to do with his death. Like I’d know anything about brake fluid. As if I knew he was seeing some girl on the side. Day after day, question after question. It was agonising. Sound familiar to right now doesn’t it?
I still can’t get that image from the TV out of my mind of me leaving court a free woman.”
There is a pause and he hands her a handkerchief which she dabs her eyes with.
“The most relieving day of my life, immortalised on screen with me looking my absolute worst. Christ even my dress was a shit stain piece of cloth.”
He does not keep her gaze as she stares at him.
“So here we are. You’ve got what you wanted. Me crying. That’s what it was all about wasn’t it?”
He shakes his head and tries to spea-
“Well congratulations. Mission accomplished. So I may be a little vain after all this time. Take a little pride in my appearance. So what if I get off on the attention and praise of absolute strangers. It’s all I have.”
He swallows hard and it breaks the silence.
“Any other questions?”
He says no and says he will write up his report but there should be nothing to worry about. Her lips give a thin smile as she gets up to leave. As she does he asks without thinking who could have tampered with her husband’s brakes. She turns slowly and examines him.
“Art attracted enemies like flies on shit. The list would be endless and tedious. Little Sonia however. Despite what she was up to with my husband…she didn’t deserve to go like that. I heard her father agreed for the crime scene photos to be used in some speeding awareness course. She’s going around the country for every drunkard and speed freak with a licence to puke and cry over.
I found them online you know; those photos. And there’s a video too if you look hard enough. Last I checked it has a hundred thousand hits.”
He hears her teeth crack from across the room and then she vacates.