The business card was a simple one. “The Coach” was all it read in small non assuming black lettering against a white background. Lettering so small that Lisa had to hold it to within inches of her face for her to even be sure of what she was reading. And as well, the thick miasma of marijuana smoke permeating the air around her didn’t exactly aid her vision at that. It was her agent who’d handed her the card. He stood before her now, freshly emptied shot glass in hand, awaiting her response.
“Is this a joke, Ben?” she asked. Her voice was a little slurred and her equilibrium was a little off, but otherwise she felt fine—more than fine, thanks to the two or three snorts of high grade cocaine she’d enjoyed a few moments earlier—as she stood before her manager, now awaiting his response. Before Ben could answer, however, a young woman in a provocatively revealing bunny outfit walked inbetween them. The young woman held what looked like a pizza tray, filled with shot glasses, all of them identical to the one Ben was holding now (except that these were filled) at chin level as she passed. Ben quickly traded his own empty glass for one of these and quickly emptied that one as well.
“Good man.” Answered the young makeshift waitress, as she continued to move on “This is a party, not a meet and greet.” Her words trailed off into the distance as she did likewise, her tray still held high. Before she would make it a hundred feet, every glass on that tray would be nonexistent or empty.
“Well, you heard the lady, Liz. I guess even one of the highest paid models…”
“Supermodels.” Lisa corrected.
“Right, right. Well, I guess even one of the highest paid supermodels and her world renowned talent agent doesn’t even get the red carpet at these shin digs. But I’ll tell you what, I have a funny feeling that after a few more of these”—he held up his depleted shot glass—“it won’t much matter.
“Well, first of all, I always get the red carpet treatment, and secondly,” Lisa raised a half full shot glass of her own, (one that Ben had not even noticed was in her possession) to her beautifully thin pursed lips, and emptied it in a single draught. The look on her face was one typical of someone who’d just downed a mouthful of strong liquor in one gulp, as she finished, “I think you’re right.”
Ben chuckled lightly. “You know, that’s why I make sure you get the best slots,” his eye spotted another of his clients off in the distance of the party. He raised a hand to return the greeting that they were raising to him. His smile in their direction was pleasant enough but Lisa knew well that it was as false as silicone breasts. But she also knew that, akin to fake boobs, it served its purpose well. “’cause you’re not like my other models, you know how to get dirty.” And before Lisa could answer, her agent was already headed off in the direction of the other lesser client he’d spotted.
“Oh, my god, I was just thinking about you.” She heard Ben lying as he cut a thin swath thru the party crowd.
“Supermodel.” Lisa whispered to no one in particular, as her agent disappeared into the inebriated throng. She glanced down at the emptied glass in her hand and noticed that, in her other hand, she was still holding the card he’d given her. Ben could be urbanely obnoxious at times, but true to his word, he did have a blessed knack for getting her the ‘slots’ that translated into ridiculously large paychecks, and besides that he was actually a good friend. Which was the only way to account for the fact of how he knew that Lisa, one of the most envied woman in the world for her seemingly flawless (not to mention disgustingly effortless) beauty, actually hated her body. Or rather, it was a love hate relationship she shared with her frame. She loved it for the money and the privilege and the prestige it afforded her, but she hated it for its complete lack (at least in her eyes, which, as far as she was concerned were the only ones that really mattered) of cooperation. She just could not seem to get it down to the weight she was happy with. And if, by some miracle she could get down to an acceptable—here ‘acceptable’ meaning shockingly anorexic—weight she couldn’t convince her body to stay there.
She’d tried every expensive celebrity endorsed ‘dietary supplement’ out there, had went thru personal trainers like other people went thru hard candy, and had long been an ardent participant in the eat it now but vomit it up before it hits your thighs, club, and still, even with all of that, she just could not maintain her targeted weight. There were occasions where sheer will power had allowed her to go days without eating, but unfortunately for her that will power was not enough to enable her emaciated frame to labor thru the necessary photo shoots afterwards. Lisa was not what one might call a religious person but had she been a regular reader of her family Bible it would’ve been likely that the records of men and women fasting for forty days and forty nights would’ve interested her far more than the Beatitudes. All in all her insatiasable need to be toothpick thin was an incredibly stressful affair but one that she could not back out of until she found success. At this point she was willing to try almost anything to achieve her dream of securing a virtually non-existent waistline, but another personal trainer…she had already trodden that road many many times before, and besides, The Coach was a goofy name (and one with no celebrity endorsements, one might add).
She gave the card another brief look over, shrugged her supermodel shoulders and let it drop to the floor where she stood. Then she found her drinkless shot glass a comfortable place on the first empty spot on the nearest table, and went in search of the next thrill at this packed party. A few snorts more of the good white stuff, a few more emptied shot glasses—and God knows what else after that—later, and she was ready to head back to the luxury hotel room she’d rented for the month. She’d come down from New York City to this vibrant, and obviously party going, city of Atlanta to do the cover of three high profile and high paying magazines, and she saw absolutely no reason to not get hammered off her ass while she was in town. But hammered off her ass she was, and now it was time to get her picture worthy body to the heavenly Temper material bedding and high thread count sheets that awaited her in her three thousand dollar a night penthouse suite. There was a recently waxed next model year Erotic Red BMW 650i convertible with her name on the title, waiting for her in the parking, but as she had already, just earlier that day, narrowly avoided what would’ve been a well deserved speeding ticket (she was doing better than 90 in a 65 mph zone, and had only avoided the ticket and a possible trip to jail thanks to considerable cleavage, a brilliant smile, and the general celebrity effect) she was not willing to risk getting pulled over again so soon. Especially not high and drunk, of which she was firmly in both categories.
She phoned the personally assigned hotel concierge that came at an extra fee with her room and, even at one o’clock in the morning as it was now, a shiny Acura SUV soon pulled up in front of the mansion where the raging party was yet being staged, to pick up one very inebriated Lisa Guisen. The supermodel vomited on the sidewalk before loading herself clumsily into the back of the SUV and slurred something to the chauffeur about taking her to get something to eat before returning her to the hotel. “Where would you like me to take you ma’am, there’s…” this was Atlanta and there were more than a few upscale eateries open even at this hour, and the driver was about to run thru a list of some of the nearby ones, but Lisa stopped him.
“Just…just go that way.” She impatiently advised, pointing a finger down the thoroughfare before her. She was hammered and had no interest in talking…or listening. She just wanted something to eat, and now. She ran the back of her hand across her mouth to wipe away the remains of the putrid mixture of things she had just expelled from her stomach as the driver pulled off from the curb. It was obvious from the look on her face as she grimaced at the lightly soiled back of her hand, as well as when she nonchalantly wiped it on the backing of the SUV’s premium leather seating, that she was disgusted. One would thought that vomit wouldn’t have been so heinous to her, considering that she induced it voluntarily on a regular basis, but apparently it was, because she was still trying to rid her supermodel face of it ten minutes later when the Acura passed an all night McDonalds drive thru. In one of the more visible windows of the familiar fast food joint loomed a large advertisement for the Golden Arches’ famous fries. Said fries were superimposed upon a nifty yellow and orange display beneath the words, ’You Know You Want ‘Em.’ And apparently Lisa did, because she pointed feverishly in their direction.
“There! Fries!” she demanded. Had she been sober she would’ve sincerely rued the fact that she sounded remarkably like a small overzealous child at…well, a McDonalds, but she wasn’t sober, not by a long shot, and so she didn’t care in the very least.
“You want to go to McDonalds?” the driver asked, sincerely shocked. His services, like that of the hotel’s, did not come cheap, and usually the Lisa types that could afford to have him drive them around everywhere normally insisted on only the best Atlanta had to offer. Low brow places like this were usually off the tour route.
“Just get the damn fries!” Lisa shouted.
“Yes, ma’am.” The driver was about to add, “Sorry for the inconvenience.” But wisely decided against it. He pulled into the drive thru and ordered two large fries, freshly cooked please, and didn’t bother to ask his charge if she wanted a drink with her order—another wise decision. He collected the food, paid the bill (the credit card with which Lisa had secured her suite back at the hotel would be automatically billed for the purchase as soon as possible) and handed Lisa the bag. The hotel was about thirty minutes away, but Lisa had already finished inhaling her food in about seven. By the time the driver had made it back, Lisa was fast asleep, her head thrown back and her snores at a disconcerting volume, and two of the hotel’s staff had to be summoned just to help her to her room. They laid her on that specially fabricated Temper material bed she had envisioned so ardently earlier and that’s where she found herself when she woke up with an uncomfortable but thankfully not overwhelming hangover late the next morning.
“Ohhh, geez. What happened?” She asked herself in a voice slightly above a whisper (her sensitive temples threatened to rebel at anything higher than a quite murmur) when she did wake up. The question was rhetorical, as she already knew that no one was in the room but her herself to answer it. “You got slammed at yet another awesome party last night, Lisa.” She dutifully answered. “Did you enjoy it?” she asked herself. “Hell yeah, always do…but could always do without the fun that always follows the next morning, though.”
Having concluded this brief conversation with herself she drug herself to the edge of her bed, sat up ever so slowly, and rubbed her temples until she thought she could rise to her feet without painful vertigo. When she did rise to her feet the first place she headed was to the lavatory. The next was to one of the room’s desk drawers that she had had filled with extra strength headache pills and other pain killers. This was her normal routine after a rager like the one last night and it usually worked pretty well. She didn’t remember much about the previous night, except that she had a hell of a time, and so she wasn’t sure what, if anything, she had eaten. What she did know is that she felt fat—as she usually did—so she commenced with the next of the normal routines of her morning; she returned to the lavatory to force vomit as much of the contents of her stomach as she could.
Then she took a long shower, got dressed, and ordered breakfast from the hotel’s gourmet room serviced menu. A colorful and obviously professionally garnished array of delicious foodstuffs and a small assortment of breakfast drinks were ushered to her room, the vast majority of which she would likewise force vomit up some time later, by black suited room service personnel. The hotel thought that its extremely high paying clientele would appreciate a more professional feel, even when it came down to simple room service waiters, and so the two young men who delivered Lisa’s food were neatly arrayed in what appeared to be tailored designer three piece suites, freshly shined shoes, and freshly styled hair. “Wow, you guys sure are clean.” Purred Lisa, as she allowed the young men in her room to set up her breakfast platters and matching drink glasses “A girl could get used to having men like you around.” She signed the appropriate slip authorizing her credit card to be billed for the food as well as penciled down a generous tip for the smartly clad duo. Instead of handing the slip to one of the waiters she kindly slipped it in his rear slack’s pocket, giving his rear end an equally generous squeeze and pat in the process. She smiled demurely as the two voiced their gratitude and exited her room.
Such candid flirting was also a normal routine for Lisa when in such situations. The adoration of cute but completely foreign strangers, like the insatiable flashes of photo shoot cameras, helped her to hide from the fact that in her own mind she was disgustingly overweight with horribly blemished skin, and therefore had little reason to go on breathing. It is highly likely that she would’ve gladly killed herself had she been promised the body she so savagely desired upon her induction into the afterlife. Of course this was a truth about the supermodel that the many other woman who idolized her would’ve simply died from themselves, had they been privy to it while they stared longingly at any one of the number of billboards across the planet that were plastered with the gorgeousness of her image. After Lisa finished her meal, but before she vomited it back up, she honored her agent-slash-friend with a phone call.
“I was wondering when I was going to hear from you, miss super model.” Ben answered after about the fourth ring to his condominium. He had high-rise condominiums in about three major American cities. This one in Atlanta was his newest one.
“Well, considered this supermodel heard from.” Returned Lisa playfully.
“And how did you enjoy the party thrown by our big time movie star friend last night, may I ask?”
“Yes, you may ask, and I had a ball, as usual. But I don’t remember much (also, as usual). Did I flirt with anyone that was completely atrocious?”
“I don’t think so. It was a big party, but I think I kept a pretty good eye on you. After all, can’t have my visiting top client wandering too far out of my sight can I?” Lisa knew Ben was lying. Not about the top client part (her ego was too swollen for her not to believe that part) but about the him keeping an eye on her part. In the state she last remembered him in on the previous night, he was too drunk to keep a watchful eye on anything…other than the next shot glass that was. “I see that you made it back to your hotel alright. Bravo. But what are you doing calling me so early. I feel like certified grade-A ready to ship shit, and if you don’t feel the same you shouldn’t be far from it.”
“Like I’ve told you before, that’s the beauty of the Magic Powder” (Lisa was a least smart enough not to allude to her cocaine habit directly) “it may encourage you to say and do things that you’re likely to regret later, but it works miracles on avoiding hangovers.”
“Yes you have shared that particular remedy with me more than a few times haven’t you? But, unfortunately I can’t trod that path. I have morals thank you very much.” Both Lisa and Ben laughed heartily until both of them were in considerable pain.
“Right, morals.” mused Lisa, threatening to burst out laughing again.
“So, listen, seriously” returned Ben “you know the first photo shoot is 7 a.m. three days from now. I’m thinking we can get together sometime tomorrow morning and begin prepping. How’s that sound to you, Liz?”
“Sounds awful to me. You know I hate morning, unless there with a sexy scuba instructor on a resort island, but you’re the expert and you’ve never steered me wrong yet, so I’ll be there. At your place, yes?”
“That’s the ticket. I’ll be eagerly awaiting. Oh, and Liz”
“I don’t know scuba so I can’t teach it, and Atlanta doesn’t have any water as it is, but one out of three ain’t bad, huh?”
“Sure, Ben.” Lisa chuckled and hung up the phone. “Prepping…wonderful.” But the deep groan with which she said the word did not imply that it was ‘wonderful’ in the very slightest. Prepping was something of a ritual Ben put Lisa thru before any important modeling engagements. It usually included anywhere from two days to a full week, depending on the importance of the gig, of frequenting every spa, sauna, gym, health food eatery, etc. within a hundred mile radius of where she and Ben where at the time. The first time Ben introduced Lisa to this whole ‘prepping’ routine she was more than a little confused, not to mention adamantly opposed.
“What the hell is this!?” she wanted to know “I’m going to a photo shoot, Ben, not a marathon.”
“Have you ever seen a marathon, Liz?” this was the first time Ben had given Lisa her nickname, Liz, and after the undeniable success of the endeavor he was about to introduce her to, he was one of only two people she ever allowed to refer to her by any name other than the one her mother gave her at birth again afterwards.
“I’ve seen a few.” Lisa answered, and truly she had. She was a sought after fashion model even before Ben’s expertise had transformed her into a much sought after supermodel and as such she had been on hand for a few marathons, always holding some big named bottled water or a specially formulated nutrient replenishing drink, in front of cameras that would transform her about five minute relationship with the drink into a life long obsession that they could prostitute as prime advertisement. So, yeah, she had seen a few marathons.
“Well, have you every seen a fat person (or even semi-fat) or anybody with horrible skin at a marathon?” Ben asked. Lisa had to think about it for a long moment. Whenever she was forced to be at one of these marathons she was usually scanning the precession for cute guys, so she did get fairly good look at most of the trotting participants, and upon a little thought she found that in fact she didn’t remember anyone that was even slightly overweight or had any blemish to speak of corrupting their skin. “That’s right, Miss Thang.” Ben returned, when she admitted as much. “And you know why that is?” he didn’t wait for her to answer “Because the training they go thru right before the marathon takes care of all that. Everything I’m going to put you thru, the health food, the manicures, the grueling gym sessions, is gonna get them thighs under control, make those nails flawless (remember that your hands are as important as your face when you’re holding up a product for the flashing cameras), and make your skin absolutely glow.” And true to his word, Ben’s prepping did just that. It was much more work that Lisa was used to doing in such a short span of time, but once it was over she was exhausted and craving a good old fashioned artery clogging, oily skin producing, heart stopping, double bacon cheese burger, but it worked just as Ben had promised. During the course of these seemingly miraculous prepping sessions, Lisa never failed to notice that she was always stiffed with the tab. She never complained though, because the body that showed up on the billboards and in the high end mags afterwards was one she dared not put a price tag on. The only problem was she could never seem to keep that body. Now, that, she would’ve willingly given every dime she had for.
After hanging up the phone with Ben and trying to begin mentally preparing herself for the next few days that lay ahead, before the series of photo shoots for which she had come to Atlanta in the first place, she headed for the bathroom yet again, to finish her vomiting routine. After she had cleaned herself up she arranged for her personal hotel assigned concierge to escort her back to the mansion where her BMW was still parked. When she made it back to her car she found that there were still a few other expensive cars littering the mansion’s huge parking area. By the looks of things and the sounds coming out of the building the party was still going on. Nothing unusual for someone with the money to afford it. The tempting thought crossed Lisa’s mind to head back in and rejoin the fun. It was sure to be more of the magic powder available to vanquish what little was left of the already minor headache she’d had earlier. She even took a single step toward the entrance where the music was coming from, but alas, she had work obligations and experience had taught her that they always came first. Not that she had established an especially laudable work ethic, rather, the seemingly endless parties and friends (a very loose term, indeed) she enjoyed would dissipate rather quickly if the money ran out. And the only way to keep that from happening was to show up for work looking her best.
And so she turned—reluctantly—back to her Erotic Red sports car and prepared to leave. But, so sullied was she by the fact that there were apparently festivities going on that she wasn’t a part of that she was comfortably in the driver’s seat before she noticed a small card that had been neatly sandwiched between her windshield and wiper. The card had obviously been placed so she could read its contents from the driver seat. The black lettering against the white background of the card was small and unassuming but legible. It read simply, The Coach. Lisa rolled down her window and reached out and retrieved the card. She hit the push button to start the car, looked at the card again and tossed it out the window before squealing tires pulling off. “Definitintly don’t need another personal trainer, Ben, thank you very much.” She whispered into the uncomfortably warm air, as she rolled her window back up and pushed the necessary buttons on the air conditioner to bring the temperature down to a more relaxing ambience. She wasn’t out in the open air much but it was summer in Atlanta and she was learning that here you didn’t have to be out in the weather for very long at all before things got really dry and really warm, and really quick. And that was not even to mention the pollen—though she would have her problems with that as well, later.
Now, with her beloved sports car back in her possession Lisa commenced with her plans for the rest of her day. Those plans included first heading to a few designer label boutiques of which Ben had previously already given her addresses, to do some serious (as well as seriously expensive) shopping. As far as Lisa was concerned shopping excursions like this were simply mandatory whenever she was in a new city. She hadn’t really experienced the town until she bought or at least seen every Gucci blouse, pair of Prada high heels, Chanel handbags, etc…there was to behold. Just like many people with too much money for their own good she never actually planned to wear everything she bought, but just to have it on had—you know, just in case—would be equally sufficient. After about the third or fourth name brand outlet she stopped somewhere to gorge herself on fine dinery until it was nearly too difficult for her to walk—though walk she did, right to the restaurant’s bathroom to have a meaty one way conversation with the toilet—before visiting about four or five more stores. It was late evening by now so she took her carful of designer winnings back to the hotel and instructed a small army of the hotel’s staff to kindly escort her things to her room. She wouldn’t have lugged her own stuff up to her own suite even if she hadn’t been planning to enjoy a leisurely ride out beneath the waning Atlanta sun, but she did have just such a plan, so once her car had been cleared out and she had been assured that her things would make it to her room safe and sound, and most of all, unwrinkled, she squealed tires heading back out again.
She knew well that this would be her last opportunity for the next two weeks or so to enjoy a leisurely joy ride on her own. For bright and early tomorrow morning, Ben would expect her at his place. From then on he would do the driving. In the tradition of Prepping he would cart her firstly to the gym, where there would likely be a retained trainer already waiting to spend the next two to three hours making Lisa’s life hell with funky looking machines and myriads of exercises that she would’ve never in her life had any experience with otherwise. After that Ben would drag Lisa’s protesting body to some kind of sauna where she’d sit languidly in the faint worthy heat until she was sure that someone could pour her poor skin over the hot coals just as easily as the water that was normally around for the purpose. After that, Ben would insist that Lisa take a few laps around the pool that was somehow also within close proximity to the sauna. He would then give her perhaps an hour and a half to rest and then the party would continue. Next up in the marathon style prepping routine would be activities that Lisa were familiar with and would’ve enjoyed…under different circumstances. Ben would take her for manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, and a few other paid services of opulence that the average lay person would seldom to never have an opportunity to partake of.
Again, such pampering was nothing new to Lisa, but never (except for when she was with Ben) under quite these circumstances. At any other time she would’ve been able to enjoy herself immensely as someone applied creams and extracts to her face that would make her shine afterward, while at the same time others caressed and labored over her hands and feet until her nails were in pristine condition. But during these session all she could do was cringe thru the highly uncomfortable sensations that would rack her frame from the overwork at the gym and the drastic change in temperature that resulted from her taking a cool swim so abruptly after time in a hot sauna. It felt like her body was going thru shock and that was exactly what was happening. Her body was so busy trying to stop the hurt that she couldn’t feel anything else but the constant pulsating throbs of her skin and muscles struggling desperately to recuperate. It was a truly miserable experience indeed, but it worked wonders. Just how such a crazy invention could leave her skin flawlessly unblemished and her muscle tone gorgeously in stride was beyond her, but as the old adage goes, results are the only truth worth trusting. After all this, the photo shoots—the very purpose for this torture in the first place—would start. And then she’d be at the mercy of the photographers, who may keep her for days, possibly weeks, until they got just the right set of shots. After all, as Lisa was often reminded, their employers were paying upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars for these photographs.
It was with this grisly knowledge of just what lay before her for the next few weeks that Lisa drove randomly around the city enjoying the lights and the sounds and most of all, the solitude. It was later than she would’ve liked when she finally returned to her suite, and so, consequently, she was more tired than her agent would’ve liked the next morning when it came time for the fun to be begin. But she was not so exhausted that she didn’t notice the small nearly blank business card that was propped up on the small stand beside her bed. From her vantage point she could see that it was propped upright even though their was nothing behind it propping it up so. Even before she inched over to grab it and read what was on it she was somehow certain she already knew. And, eerily, she was right. The Coach, in thin black lettering was the only thing on the card. “Damn it, Ben, what the hell are you, a magician?” she asked, before sitting herself up on the bed. She knew that the card wasn’t there the previous night and she was wondering how in the hell her agent had snuck into the room to place it where it was now. It never crossed her mind that maybe he didn’t put it there, but there was no time to think about that just now. She had prepping to be prepare for.