I’ve never been a mega beauty, a size 2 or bombshell by any means; but I’m pretty for a woman my size and age.
The morning of August 9, started like any other day. I was at the spa, my best friend, Marti, and I frequented once a month for a massage a haircut, mani-pedi.
“Ladies, you look gorgeous,” said Deshaun, our stylist. “But have you heard about our latest product? It’s called ‘4EVR YOUNG’ and was just shipped in this morning. If you’d like, you can be my little guinea pigs!”
“Oh, Deshaun I wake up like this with the perfection of a goddess,” Marti said half-joking.
I looked at the red bottle and then back at Marti. She took it out of Deshaun’s hand and looked at it. There was nothing strange about it, but the directions were simple.
One drop on your tongue once a week and begin seeing, and feeling the results immediately.
Marti looked at me, and then at Deshaun shrugged her shoulders “How much?”
“For you guys 20 for two bottles,” he smiled.
That was all it took we walked out of the posh salon downtown Cleveland and went into a restaurant where we had a sitting invitation for the second Friday of every month.
“Did Emily text you back about the party?” Marti asked me.
“No, but I’m sure she will eventually, you know how she is about being timely,” I said, rolling my eyes.
The waitress came over, and a piece of hair fell into her face. I smiled politely, but my snob of a best friend wrinkled her nose. “God I hope all that hair doesn’t end up in my champagne.”
“Oh sorry,” said the waitress whose name tag said ‘Tiffany,’ “It’s just been one of those days!” She attempted to tuck her piece of bushy dark hair behind her ear unsuccessfully.
“That’s okay. We all have those days.” I said to her sympathetically.
Marti looked at me and rolled her eyes “We are ready to order. One small cheese plate with strawberries, no crackers, no cheddar, no Brie, no dipping sauce because it’s not on my diet; and two glasses of Prosecco.”
“Okay,” smiled the waitress, and looked at me. “And for you?”
Marti stopped her. “That is for both of us! It’s on my tab! You complete idiot did you really think someone like me would want all that just for me?”
“Well, you did say one small cheese plate.” She said nervously.
Marti rolled her eyes, dismissing her away with a flick of her wrist.
The young girl walked away with a defeated look upon her round cheeks.
“Why do you have to be so bitchy to servants?”
“Kayla, not everyone shares your love for those that are beneath those of us that enjoy the finer things in life. She was an idiot. So what do you think about this solution Deshaun gave us?”
“Not sure.” I looked down, almost embarrassed at being at the same table as Marti.
I looked at my friend of 20 years trying to understand how we had been friends for so long. I wanted to leave right then, and maybe I should have. Marti had a way about her.
Marti made a silly face tossing her long dark hair over her shoulder. Her plump lips and high cheekbones only enhanced her gorgeous looks. I smiled, wishing for five damn minutes to be as beautiful as she was. I know what you are thinking. I must be that girl who hangs out with women to feel better about themselves. Like her perfect looks will rub off on me? Far from it.
I had been best friends with Marti when she was overweight, a pack of Oreos a day gal, and the lousy skin to boot. We were both unattractive nerds in high school.
Fast forward to ten years later, Botox, a nip, tuck, diet living off starvation- and here was Marti even if her attitude sucked. She was always kind to me. When she got married to her wealthy husband, Eric, she paid for me and my then-boyfriend to go to Hawaii just for being in her wedding.
So yeah, Marti has her faults, but I loved her anyway.
The waitress came back with a gorgeous food tray and our champagne.
Marti picked up both glasses handing me one of them. “Cheers, bitch! Happy Second Friday!”
“Happy second Friday.” I laughed.
“So should we try this new formula now? Like, do you think it’s okay to take it with alcohol?” She asked, dropping three large droplets on her tongue.
“Well, I don’t think it matters anymore.” I laughed dropping only one drop on my tongue and laughed as I watched her down her entire glass of champagne immediately following the three drops of 4EVER YOUNG.
We spent the next hour drinking, talking about old times, and then we hugged both taking our Ubers home. We agreed to meet the following month again as we always did.
The following morning I woke with a strange tingling in my left cheek. My eyes felt dry, and when I rubbed them, they both immediately started to bleed from my tear ducts.
To say I freaked out was quite the understatement of the year. I ran into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My eyes were blood red. I grabbed my eye drops from the bathroom cupboard spraying so much Visine into my eyes that it ran down my cheeks.
The visine seemed to do the trick, but after my eye issue, I began to realize numbness on one side of my cheeks. Was I having a stroke? An allergic reaction? In god’s name, was it the plague?
I wanted to go to the doctor, but I was too frightened. I looked around and decided (stupidly). The best thing I could do for myself was to jump in a hot shower.
I turned the warm water on and stepped inside, instantly feeling a burning sensation flow up and down my body as though it were burning alive. My skin felt so thin, dry, and loose like it may fall off my body. I screamed, turning on the ice-cold water instead. I expected it to cause my body to twitch from the sudden burst of cold; instead, it calmed me. The cold felt so good it could’ve been more chilled, and I would have been just fine with it. I sighed, feeling almost better.
Just as I was trying to feel better again, my phone buzzed. I looked at my phone it was Marti. I wasn’t expecting to hear from her so soon. I picked up the phone.
“Hi, Marti now isn’t really a good time.”
But before I could even get the words out of my mouth, I heard a scream into the other end of my phone.
“I NEED YOU TO COME OVER NOW!” I barely recognized the voice on the other end of the phone. It was Marti, however, by the colorful language that was now coming out of her mouth. Marti even sounded muffled and illegible. Some F that and Mothers were being tossed out of her that much I KNEW! If I had to bed money on it, she was drunk. It wasn’t unusual to find her still drunk the next morning from the night before. That’s if she even went to bed!
I didn’t even hesitate I got dressed as quickly as I could, managing to pull myself together long enough to drive to Marti’s house.
When I pulled in, I noticed her husband’s car was gone. I got out of my car and knocked. There was no answer at all. After a few moments, I just let myself in.
“Marti? Are you in here?”
I walked around her living room half expecting to find her passed out on the couch from drinking too much. I had spent many the college days helping her to the toilet after a nasty hangover.
I heard a growl coming from her bathroom.
“Marti are you okay?”
A deep raspy voice met me again. “Kayla, please, I’m very sick.
I sighed, forgetting my issues for the time being, and when I opened the bathroom door.
If I could do it all over again, I don’t think I would have done it with so much quickness. I’d have taken my time, the way they do in horror movies.
What met me on the other side of the door was the thing that all children and some adults nightmares were made.
Marti was up against the shower wall in a white negligee. Her perfect figure was covered in scratches up and down her body that looked like she had taken a razor to every inch of it.
That wasn’t the worst part. Her neck was one giant open wound, and you could make out pieces of bone and jaw. Her eyes were red and her teeth, my god her teeth were nearly falling out.
I backed away in shock, terror, and concern, as tears welled up in my eyes.
“Who did this to you? Was it Eric? Oh my god okay, kill the bastard!”
“No,” she responded with a deep chuckle that caught me off guard.
“I have no idea.” She said, beginning to move towards me. I backed into the door of the bathroom, causing it to slam shut which startled me.
“Help me in the kitchen I need a drink.”
I walked her to the kitchen and watched my friend pour a glass of white wine as she began to vape. The smoke came out of the hole in her neck. I managed not to puke at the sight of her.
“Doesn’t it hurt?” I asked her.
“You know,” she puffed on her vaping pipe some more as more cappuccino scent filled the air. “That’s the thing.
It did at first, there was this tingling all over my body. My skin felt inflamed, and it was so itchy! Hence the scratches all over me.”
I winced thinking how it must have felt.
“Then,” she continued “It all stopped. I hid from Eric before he left on his business trip. He didn’t even notice his wife was suffering. Instead, he crawled in bed with me, just before it got this bad. He gave me that stupid look he gets when he wants to get laid. All I could think of was eating him. Him and his stupid face. Those googlie eyes. When he’s drunk, it gets really annoying. There’s one that goes one way and the other just ever so slightly the other way.” She began to cry and laugh.
Bloody tears fell from here bloody eyes, and I struggled with finding a way to comfort my friend.
“Yes! I just wanted to bash his stupid face in and eat his brains. I just kept thinking about how good his flesh would taste!” She sucked in more of her vaping pipe.
I began to think about what had happened to me earlier that morning. Marti was still talking, vaping, and struggling to drink her wine. It would have been funny if it wasn’t so tragic.
“I had blood coming from my eyes when I woke up this morning.”
Marti was crying still and then she looked up at me. “4EVER YOUNG!”
Her red bloodshot eyes lit up as she squeezed her wine glass, causing it to shatter into tiny shards of pieces.
“I’m going to kill Deshaun!” She screamed.
“We need to find out what’s in those bottles of 4EVER YOUNG!” I said panicking.
“I’ll kill him and then eat him!” Marti was still full of rage.
“NO ONE IS EATING ANYONE! WE AREN’T ZOMBIES!” I yelled at her.
“That’s exactly what we are!”
“Look I’ll go see Deshaun and find out what’s in that potion. I’ll let you know what I find out.”
“No way are you going alone!”
“Well, how are you going to go? You’re falling apart- literally!”
“Well, you will have to help me get dressed, obviously!”
We stood in Marti’s dressing room, trying to find something to cover her body. I managed to wrap her chest and neck in ace bandages. It didn’t cover much up, so I put her in a long jacket and a sun hat. I placed her hair over the side of her face where her jawline was exposed. For the final touches, I put black sunglasses on her over her hair to keep her hair in place.
She made for quite the strange-looking character.
“I look like a complete freak!”
“Bitching and moaning isn’t helping.”
Marti smacked me on the shoulder instantly causing two of her fingers to fall onto her white carpet.
I started to laugh as I couldn’t help it. Delirium was setting it.
“This isn’t funny! Now, what am I supposed to do?” Marti wailed.
“Don’t have any duct tape do you?”
Marti rolled her eyes, picking up her fingers off the floor and putting them in the pocket of her leather jacket.
We got to Deshaun’s studio, and when we got inside the salon, it was full of beautiful women all getting their hair styled, or makeovers.
Marti stood there eyeing the women, and I could see the longing in her face as one red tear fell onto her pale face.
A woman came over to us.
“Good morning, do you ladies have an appointment?”
“No, but we wanted to talk to Deshaun about a product he sold the both of us yesterday when we were in.”
“Oh, well I hate to break it to you, but Deshaun is on a cruise. He left last night, and he won’t be back for at least two weeks.”
I took one look around the room. There were women all over the large salon, all who were being gifted sample bags of “4EVER YOUNG.”
To be continued