Chapter 1: Yoga with Demetrius
“Now hug your legs into your chest,” Adriene instructed, wrapping her arms around her knees. “If your legs are too tired to get all the way up there, that’s okay. Just hug yourself. Find what feels good.”
The yogi turned into the camera, flashing her cheerful smile. The smile that won the hearts of 8 million YouTube subscribers, and at least as many chronic masturbators.
“A lot of people come into Yoga thinking they need to learn how to wrap themselves into pretzels. Me? I just like to eat pretzels!”
She allowed a moment for the viewers to laugh and/or ejaculate, then refocused on her knees.
“Yoga isn’t about perfect poses. It’s about showing up and making time for yourself. Just rolling out the mat is an accomplishment.”
She slowly moved up to a cross-legged sitting position.
“Gently move your body back to Sukhasana,” she continued. “Press your hands together at your core, take a deep breath, and bow to acknowledge all of us across the world who have come along on today’s yoga journey.”
Adriene closed her eyes and bowed.
“CUT!” shouted a voice behind the camera. It belonged to Demetrius, Adriene’s boyfriend, a retired tech tycoon credited as the inventor of cyber sex. He was a chiseled silver fox who looked like a cross Pierce Brosnan and George Clooney, but somehow even hotter.
“Another great video, pumpkin,” Demetrius said, helping Adriene off her mat. His rippling biceps tore the arm of his $2000 Valentino dress shirt, the third one this week. Adriene giggled. Her clothes never ripped because she always wore spandex.
The couple left the studio with the relatable living room set where they shot Adriene’s videos, and occasionally, amateur pornography. Everything was made out of styrofoam, from the plants, to the Mexican blankets, to Adreine’s trusty dog Benjy.
On YouTube, Adrien perpetuated the image of the quirky, upper-middle-class Austin yoga teacher she’d been seven years ago when she first started making videos. But in reality, she was rich, and lived in a Dallas McMansion next to members of the Bush family, who came over on the weekends to barbecue and frack in the backyard.
“Benjy 2!” Adriene shouted as she and Demetrius walked down the hallway to toward the dining room for their usual mid-morning breakfast. Diamond chandeliers swayed slightly above their heads. “Where’s my sweet Benjy 2?”
Benjy 2 swung down from one of the fixtures and leapt into Adriene’s arms. She mussed the hair atop the little spider monkey’s head.
“There’s my little pretzel,” she said in a fawning voice. The spider money responded with a shriek, and promptly filled his diaper.
Demetrius had gifted Adriene with Benjy 2 on her 33rd birthday, a few months after the original Benjy had fallen into one of the fracking holes in the backyard. The spindly little ape suited Adrien perfectly, and Demetrius hadn’t had any trouble smuggling him in from South America. His brother was Uruguay’s number-four drug lord, after all.
“What should we have for breakfast?” Adriene asked Benjy 2, but really Demetrius. “Foie Gras on toast? Caviar and mimosas?”
“Perhaps we should have Strokewell dethaw that water buffalo I shot in Kenya,” Demetrius mused. “It is a Thursday, after all. Almost the weekend.”
“After we eat, can we ravenous love on the dining room table?” Adriene asked. Demetrius tickled her chin.
“Don’t we always, pumpkin?”
“But first I’d like to try some of that Uruguayan espresso my brother sent.”
“Do you really need drugs every time we do it?”
“I don’t need to, pumpkin. I want to.”
Adriene sighed. She loved Demetrius with all her heart, but the drugs did sometimes worry her. Before they met, her only vice was homemade kombucha. Now she was getting high almost every day. Weed, coke, ayahuasca, tranquillisers, brain pills for spider monkeys. She loved being with such a free-thinker. After all, that’s what yoga was all about. But was it possible to be too open-minded?
Adriene shook off the thought. When she was broke, all of her lovers were baristas. But Demetrius was no coffee boy. He was sweet and sexy and worldly and smart. So what if he was a criminal and a drug addict? Apparently that was her type!
But as the couple entered their lavish dining room, which was furnished with even more chandeliers, Adrian’s broke past suddenly came back to haunt her.
A man in a dark suit was seated at the head of table. Though his hair was cut tight and short, and he wore dark sunglasses, Adreine recognized him immediately.
It was Zeke, one of the baristas. A man she’d loved before she knew what love was — namely, spider-monkeys and breakfast sex.
Adriene frowned. Had Zeke been working out? And what was with the buzzcut? Without the stained green apron and frappuccino cologne, he looked a little like an FBI agent. What on Earth was this about?
“Zeke?” Adriene asked cautiously. “What are you doing here?”
“Your butler let me in,” Zeke said, rising from the table.
“Unannounced?” Demetrius frowned, puzzled. “That’s not like Strokewell!”
“Well, I had an FBI warrant,” Zeke said, flashing a piece of paper in their faces. “You guys know anything about an illegal spider monkey and a bunch of cocaine?”
Adrien looked at Benjy 2, still cradled in her arms. A turd slipped out from the leg of his diaper.
“Spider monkey?” Adriene said, dropping the ape to the floor with a loud screech. “I don’t even know what that is!”
“And what’s this cocaine you speak of?” Demetrius stroked his long, sexy beard, his acting skills on par with Godfather-era Marlon Brando, who he was also much hotter than. “I think I’ve heard about it on the news. Some sort of powder or something?”
Zeke picked up a big velvet bag from the dining table. White powder plumed into the air.
“What do you call this?”
Demetrius stroked his beard again, wincing as he tugged out a few hairs. “I call that… chalk. We’re building a climbing wall out in the backyard. Soon."
Zeke frowned. “Have a seat.”
Adriene and Demetrius shared a look, then sat down next to each other at the table. Benjy 2 hopped into Adriene’s lap and started playing with a wooden kumquat from the decorative fruit bowl.
“Adriene, Demetrius — the FBI has been following you two for the past year. Ever since Demetrius was recorded giving the North Korean government a two-billion dollar loan — ”
“Through offshore accounts!” Interrupted Demetrius. He swiftly returned to stroking his beard. “I mean… um… I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yes, well, we’ve caught you both engaging in a variety of illegal activities. Possession of narcotics, wildlife trafficking, non-missionary sexual positions — which are felonies in the state of Texas… The list goes on and on.”
Adriene was about to burst into tears. She’d never been arrested in her life, and now the FBI was going to take her spider monkey away? This was insanity!
She leaned across the table, giving Zeke a serious look.
“Zeke, please. There must be some sort of misunderstanding,” She hesitated. “This isn’t about our breakup, is it? Because I just want you to know that I dated a lot of baristas, and you weren’t special — I cheated on all of you.”
Zeke scowled. “This isn’t personal. You’ve committed federal crimes that could put you away for a long time. Unless…” He paused to stroke his chin, and Adriene felt the tiniest shiver of attraction. With his hair free of coffee grounds, he really seemed a lot less pathetic.
“Unless you agree to do the government a little favor,” Zeke said finally, finishing his thought after a good minute of chin-stroking.
“Does the president want 30 days of private yoga lessons?” Adriene asked.
“What about a howler monkey?” Demetrius tried. “I’m connected with several prominent ape dealers.”
Zeke pounded his fist on the table, sending a small cloud of cocaine into the air. Demetrius inhaled deepy.
“We don’t want you to commit anymore crimes!” he snapped Then he turned to Adriene. The intensity of his mocha-colored eyes started up the percolator in her soul. “But we will need your yoga abilities.”
“I’m listening,” Adriene said.
Zeke suddenly stood up, pacing the room like he had something important to say. Which, it turned out, he did.
“You’ve heard of Bikram Choudery?”
“The inventor of Hot Yoga?” Adriene asked, bristling. “What yogi hasn’t? His name’s on half the studos in America! And also there was that Netflix documentary about him!”
“Yes, well, as you may know from the documentary, Mr. Choudery has been accused of grooming and sexually assualting countless women around the world, yet he continues to go unpunished. Since he feld the United States in 2016, he’s been jetsetting all over the place, opening new studios, hosting training sessions. And there’s nothing the FBI can do to stop him.”
“An international criminal,” Demetrius said, nodding. “Sounds like my kinda guy — OOF!”
Adriene gave him a quick jab in the ribs. She hated Bikram Choudery. Not only because he was a rapist and abuser of women, but because his methods of yoga were against everything she stood for. Bikram tortured and ridiculed his students. He turned up the heat in his gyms to 104 degrees, and pushed his pupuls to their physical limits.
But to Adriene, yoga wasn’t about being the best at exercising. It was about showing up, rolling out the mat, and having an experience. You didn’t have to be a pretzel.
“Not only does Bikram owe his victims millions in outstanding punitive damages,” Zeke continued. “But we have it on good information that he’s up to something even more sinister at a new yoga school he’s starting in the Carribbean.”
“What do you mean more sinister?” Adriene asked.
“I can’t say anymore at this time,” Zeke said. “Not until you agree to help us. The FBI wants Bikram, and the only way to catch that flexible little creep, is with our own flexible little creep!” He caught himself. “And by that I mean flexible lady. Who’s not a creep at all.”
Zeke stopped pacing, and fixed Adriene with his macchiato gaze. “We want you to infiltrate Bikram’s new school, stop his nefarious plans, and bring him to justice — in that order. In return, you’ll be absolved of your crimes… and you get to keep the spider-monkey.”
Adriene looked down in her arms at Benjy 2, who had gnawed the wooden kumquat down to its pit. There was only one answer she could give. She opened her mouth to respond, but Demetrius beat her to it.
“Careful, Adriene. There’s a catch. There’s always a catch.”
Zeke groaned. “I already explained the catch, you idiot! She has to take down a dangerous yoga master-slash-sex offender at a mysterious school in the Carribean. I couldn’t have been any clearer!”
Demetrius stroked his beard, his eyes fixed on Zeke.
Zeke stared at Adriene again, serious. “So, what’s it gonna be, Adriene? Rot in jail alone, or fight crime with a spider monkey?”
Adriene stared back, her mind made up.
“You better get me one of those rasta beanies with fake dreadlocks attached. Because I’m going to the Carribean!”