Happy New Year!
I logged onto my computer this morning and a listing under local news caught my eye. It was titled, Botox: guilty of crimes against beauty? As I read the article, I experienced a strange feeling that I had read it before. I have to admit that I have had many of these types of encounters and have even gone so far as to consider myself borderline psychic. Of course, that was before I read the date of the article, Thursday, 23 September 2004, and realized that I really had read it before.
Are we running out of news? Why would this article be posted under current events? Are they trying to make me think I am crazy? Hah! No challenge there. I was prompted to scan my ancient document files and found a very short story I wrote in 2004, I’m assuming this was the article that inspired, Botox and the Three Dares. Hope you like it.
Liz peeled the paper backing from her name tag and stifled a sigh. "Marla’s such a twit," she whispered to Ruth while pressing the tag over her right breast. “I can’t believe she’s doing this.”
Ruth looked around the room anxiously. "Well, why did you agree to come if you are so dead set against the idea?"
The corner of Liz’s mouth tipped up. "You wouldn't want to go anywhere without your voice of reason would you?"
"Oh stop it. You're just mad because she thought of it first."
"You've gotta be kidding, I'm not going to let some quack shoot me up with Botulism." Liz nodded in the doctor’s direction.
"Well, personally I don't think that getting rid of a few laugh lines is all that bad."
Liz huffed out a breath."Laugh lines? How would Marla get laugh lines? She's been married to Barry for fifteen years."
“She was just released from rehab you know”, Ruth whispered. She got hooked on pain meds after her breast augmentation. Barry said it got really bad, she was flirting with death.”
Liz smirked. “I heard it was more of a lap dance. See where all this vanity takes you?”
"Look, just talk to him, he's coming this way,” Ruth said. "Hello Dr. Barton." She smiled sweetly and shook his hand.
"Ladies. Enjoying the party?" His glance drifted down to their feet and back again. "Any questions I might answer?"
Liz reached for a glass of wine from the table. "How many forehead furrows have you conquered today?"
Dr. Barton looked at her solemnly. "Not everyone is a good candidate for treatment."
Ruth leaned close to Dr. Barton as she pointed to an infinitesimal discoloration on the bridge of her nose.
"Do you know what this might be?"
He examined the area briefly and smiled. "My dear, it is nothing more than a small footprint left by time, of course the foot size will grow and won’t be satisfied until it has trampled away all evidence of your youth.” He slipped an arm around her shoulder.
“Come to my office.”
"Where is that? In the bedroom?" Liz said thrusting her face close to his.
"Liz! Dr. Barton is trying to save us from premature ageing.”
Liz rolled her eyes. "Oh good then, pass the hors d'oeuvres and consent forms."
"Tell me Dr. B, how exactly does the Botox work?" Ruth asked.
Dr. Barton pushed back his lab coat and drew a gold watch from his vest. He pressed his thumb on the catch and snapped the cover open to stare blindly at its face.
"When Botox is injected into the muscles surrounding the eyes, for instance, those muscles can't scrunch up for about six months. If an area of the body can't move, it can't wrinkle." He returned the watch to his pocket.
"Sounds great if you're playing poker, it's so hard to maintain that numb look with a winning hand."
Ruth looked concerned. "So is there a chance that something could go wrong?"
"Well of course it could!" Liz chimed in. "Your muscles will be paralyzed! I mean doesn't Brad complain enough about you being non-responsive in bed? How do you think he will like you staring back at him with a blank expression? Permanently!"
Now, Liz," Dr. Barton put his hand lightly on her shoulder. "May I call you Liz?"
Liz winged an eyebrow up.
"The injectable form of botulinumtoxin is perfectly safe.” He smiled broadly and
held up a swearing palm. ”There is absolutely nothing to worry about. Now, may I take your picture with my UV camera?"
Liz brushed past Dr. Barton. "You want another drink?" She glanced back at Ruth.
"Don't mind her Dr. B, you can take my picture." Ruth grinned.
"Just fill out the form and wait for me in the next room I'll be right with you."
Dr. Barton strolled over to Liz. "Sure you don't want to join your friend?"
"Am I the only one concerned here?" She waved her hand indicating the eagerness in the room.
Dr. Barton raked a hand through his thinning hair. "Nonsense, nothing to be concerned about, everyone is doing it."
"Excuse me for being skeptical doctor but I believe anything that has the ability to attack my muscles poses as a severe threat." Liz downed her wine and reached for another glass. "I mean if it were injected in my chest, it would have a profound impact on my breathing wouldn't it?"
He lightly touched her cheekbone with his pinky finger. "Yes, but it isn't your chest…it's those pesky little lines around your eyes."
"Dr. B, will you be injecting me soon?" Ruth rudely rattled the form next to his ear.
Marla sauntered over with a rather annoyed looking chap in tow.
"Liz…Ruth, so glad you could come to my Bo party." She had a fierce grip on the gentleman's arm. "I'd like you to meet Hunter."
"Well hello, Hunter." Liz smiled and extended her hand, but Marla jerked him aside before he could reach it.
"Hunter is an actor between pants, ah parts." Marla said. "He came to offer me emotional support. I despise needles…don't I Hunter?" She threw him a pout.
Hunter smiled wryly. "In spite of appearances," he reached out and took Liz’s hand. "Marla is not a ventriloquist and I am no dummy." Liz caught the defiant tone in his voice as he pressed his lips to the back of her hand. “As a matter of fact, I just landed a part in one of the daytime operas. I’ll be playing the part of a transient who blows into a small town and falls in love with a co-dependent debutant obsessed with giving him a make over.”
“Oh? Which soap would that be?” Dr. Barton asked.
Hunter looked at Dr. Barton and gave Liz’s hand a squeeze before releasing it. “Women Betrayed.”
Dr. Barton nodded knowingly. “Yes, I inject the whole cast of that one.”
"Hunter dear, would you mind refilling my glass?" Marla shoved her empty goblet at him.
"Happy to." He took the glass, made a slight bow and gave Liz a spectacular smile.
Dr. Barton nodded politely and then drifted away to begin treatments.
Marla sneered. "So Liz, are you still in retail?"
"Yes, Marla, I still work at the boutique in the mall."
"I just love that red dress you're wearing, in fact I love it more each time I see it." Marla's collagen filled lips quivered before forming a smile.
Marla turned to Ruth. "Tell me Ruthie, is Brad still looking for work?"
"I'm afraid so, I really shouldn't spend the money for the injections but,” her voice trailed off as she twirled a lock of her hair and stared at the tops of her shoes.
"Well, he must be coming up to the last of the unemployment checks," Marla winked. "Then again, you must be ever so tired of staring at those unsightly lines in the mirror. Thank God for Dr. Barton, huh?"
Marla clasped Liz's forearm and spoke softly. "You know Liz, I have the name of another dermatologist. He works wonders with enlarged pores, I'll give you his number before you leave."
"You're too thoughtful Marla.”
"Oh, excuse me will you? Hunter is trying to get my attention." Marla scurried off toward the dining room.
Liz’s eyes followed Marla and she slowly shook her head. "Should I have offered her a toothpick?"
"She did kind of make a meal of us didn't she?"
"Picked our bones clean." Liz said through gritted teeth. She switched her attention to her new acquaintance and smiled. "What do you think of Hunter?"
"God, he's really cute and he keeps looking over at you,” Ruth said with a giggle.
"Yeah, I wouldn't mind running my fingers through that thick dark hair of his."
"Liz! What would Marla say?"
"Who cares? She's married and I'm single…all is fair in love and pores.”
"Whatever Liz, I'm going to get my injections now. Are you sure you won't join me?" Ruth gave her an encouraging nod.
"How old do you think Hunter is?" Liz asked.
Ruth leaned forward and squinted to see his features. "I would guess he's a good ten years younger than us."
Liz turned and snagged one of the consent forms from the table and regarded it carefully. She held it up and as she tore it neatly in half when her gaze met Hunter’s.
“You know Ruth, I have a hunch that not too long from now, I’m going to be feeling about ten years younger.”