By A.J. Llewellyn
So I'm having a book launch next week and my brother blew into town from his home in Paris to be a part of it. He arrived with his French girlfriend who somehow knows more about what's hot in Los Angeles than I do. Not that I honestly care what's hot in Los Angeles, unless it's the weather.
But I digress.
She insisted that I needed a facial and a treatment from somebody called Helga.
"A.J." - she sneered in her French way my brother finds charming but reduces me to an insecure puddle on the floor - " 'ave you ever 'ad a facial?"
She skewered me with an indignant look and I heard her muttering "Neanderthal" as she pulled out her French cell phone and tapped away with her long fingernails.
While my brother got to go out and record his music, I was dragged to an apartment in Encino where I saw a young woman limping out of the building. She whimpered as she came down the stairs.
Hot tears flowed down her cheeks.
"Miracle worker,"she breathed. I was mystified.
Another girl followed also in a seemingly injured condition. As we sat waiting our turn, I heard screams and cries coming out of the inner recesses of Helga's apartment.
"She does this treatment that if you hate to exercise, but love food, she pounds the fat out of your body," one girl told me. I eyed her in a frightened way. She was skeletal. I'm thinking she could use a sanwich, not having somebody pound non-existent fat from her body.
My brother's girlfriend rifled through pages of Paris Match just daring me to make a run for it.
Women in immaculate shape would walk in, disappear to a back room with Helga, a tall blonde woman who was muscular and sweet until she got her hands on you.
These same women would then come out limping and sobbing and PAY the woman to toss them around the room.
"I want to go home," I hollered when it was my turn.
Helga pulled me along the corridor. I could smell melons...then chastised myself for my obsession with food.
"Take all your clothes off," Helga shouted, pushing me into a room and closing the door. It was a bathroom. I took everything off and the door flew open.
"Put your clothes back on!" another woman shrieked. She seemed really freaked out. I did as I was told and when Helga returned, I was petrified by the manic look in her eye.
"DID I NOT TELL YOU TO STRIP?"
I wondered how many bones I would break if I threw myself out of the bathroom window.
She didn't apologize when I told her what happened. She threw a robe at me and barked at me to take everything off.
From another room, I heard an ear-piercing scream and I ran from the apartment. I mowed down a money tree in the entrance - is this bad luck?? - and I did what any sensible man would do. Gay or straight.
I went to my car, fired up the engine and blasted the horn until my brother's girlfriend reluctantly joined me.
"Neanderthal," she muttered.