Part IV

The second day I was scheduled for a twenty-five minute sauna, followed by Thai massage and acupuncture. In short, this implied being cooked, beaten and stabbed. The sauna is pretty straight forward: cedar box at 130 degrees Fahrenheit just to soften you up before the massage. Fantat didn’t tell me that I wasn’t alone in the sauna. They stuck me with the Tea Bagger from Kansas. True to form, he didn’t think it was necessary to cover his man parts while he was in the sauna. For him, the Caribbean meant going au natural. Worse yet, while he was rearranging and scratching his package, he insisted on babbling about the oil spill in the Gulf being a hoax put on by the Hollywood-Leftist controlled media.

After twenty-five minutes in the convection oven, Fantat handed me over to the physical therapist. He reminded me a few times that it was not a “massage parlor,” but I didn’t grasp the meaning until the lady started working me over. She was this little, tiny Asian woman who suggested that I strip down and get on the table. I bowed a couple of times, but I told her that there was no way I was going to take off the Wal-Mart skivvies. She could do whatever she wanted, but the grandpa whites were staying on.

Now, for those who have never had Thai massage before, let me say that it involves yoga-like stretching and deep massage. This means that this little tiny woman is going to grind her elbows, knees and feet into your spinal column until you squeal like a pig. After about ten or fifteen minutes, she kneeled down on my butt and pulled me by my hair, arching my back into the cobra position. As I gasped for air, she snarled, “Is my plessure too much?” I freaked out. Pleasure? What was next? Whips, chains, dog collars, battery-operated toys? I said, “Your pleasure?” “No—she responded—my plessure, the plessure of my force?” “Oh—I breathed a sigh of relief and said—your pressure. I think you can let up a bit.” Soon after, I drifted off into deep relaxation until she said that she was going to apply the acupuncture: fifteen to twenty needles in my lower back, shoulders, wrists, and scalp. It was definitely trippy, the closest thing I had to a buzz since I left Miami. The needles release endorphins, a kind of natural morphine, leaving me feeling a little stoned. Afterward, she asked how I was. A voice came out of me and said, “ginger tea, please?”

The only down side was that my visit to the spa included a meeting with my dietitian, a demented old women, intent on breaking my ham, bacon, and salami habit. After reading my list of favorite foods, she concluded that it was imperative that I begin a major detox by eating the specially prepared menu of uncooked vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. She was clearly obsessed with the “undigested animal flesh in my bowels.” She also recommended a host of cleansing drinks; there different ones for the liver, kidneys and lungs. I told her that I cleansing and flushing under control. In fact, I invented a recipe for low-fat bran muffins that I call “Colon Blow.” I discovered the concoction accidentally when I ran out of ingredients. Instead of using any kind of vegetable oil, I threw in some ground up prunes, and in place of milk, I use butter-milk powder and prune juice. You’d better not be caught in traffic when these babies take effect. You can only have two muffins per day, though. Otherwise you’re looking at major abdominal cramping.

The dietitian was not impressed.

On the way back the villa, I told Fantat about the muffins. I said, “With the right marketing I could knock Metamucil and Ducolax right off the top of the heap!” His eyes boggled, and he told me that the singer Elton John, was on the island with his entire entourage. Elton had even brought his little dogs with him. The previous Sunday, Elton threw a complete tizzy fit when he found out that the kitchen didn’t have prune juice. He spent about forty-five minutes excoriating the manager who had ten cases shipped in on the next boat. It was widely known around the resort that Elton was suffering from acute constipation derived from years of piano playing. The condition had gotten so bad that he was given to performing standing up with one leg up on the piano.

Always looking for an angle, Fantat said that if my bran muffins were as good as I claimed we could make a fortune. After curing Elton, he would naturally feel obliged to endorse the product and we would make millions. It was then and there that we hatched the plan to break into the kitchen, bake up the muffins, and send him a half-dozen.

That evening, Fantat showed up at the villa dressed like a ninja. We were going to need it to sneak into the kitchen. They guard the place at times because the guests have been known to raid it in the middle of the night when they go cold turkey from French fries. I taught him the recipe while he watched the door. It’s a delicate process. Within the hour we had a dozen muffins ready to go. I arranged six on a large tray and wrote on a small card that this was a three-day supply with our compliments. I signed the card and handed it over to Fantat who drove me back to the villa before making the drop. I didn’t think much more about it until we went to brunch a day later. We walked passed a large table with five or six people that looked like they were waiting for someone to arrive.  When I saw the little dogs, I figured it that the whole entourage was waiting for Elton. But for some reason, he didn’t appear, and they were starting to look worried.

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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