For their third wedding anniversary, Cory and Summer agreed to purchase cosmetic surgery for one another. Cory elected for the vocal cord tightening—to reinvigorate his tired, thirty-five year old voice with a new youthful energy and a more pleasant inflection—he also went with the buttock and pec implants, the scalp seeding and the electroshock abdominal stimulus package. Almost as an afterthought, he also took the cheekbone regrinding and the cornea bleaching—the latter to reduce the appearance of the pink wires of blood vessels that crisscrossed the whites of his eyes.
Summer, for her part, went with the Kylie Minogue Package, which included the slendering of her thighs, the regrinding of what she called her ’heifer ankles’, the toning of her stomach, the plumping of her lackluster lips, the elongation of her eyes, the reshaping of her belly button, the redistribution of her hips mass—to more accurately reflect Kylie’s hour glass shape—the enlargement of her breasts, the reshaping of her nipples and the complete rebuilding of her sagging, twenty-six year old buttocks.
As part of their anniversary agreement, the happily married couple agreed to spend the four month recovery period apart, as to not burden one another with the added emotional strain of seeing their partner in a disheveled state.
Lying in bed together the night before their surgeries were to take place, wrapped in their delectable 700 thread count off-white Egyptian cotton sheets, Cory ran his palm along Summer’s naked buttocks. "Larry from the International Division was telling me today that for his best anniversary he only got a new Lexus."
"Was that an anniversary with Sarah or with Genelle?" Summer Asked.
"With Genelle, of course. Remember Sarah wouldn’t buy anything that wasn’t gas-electric."
"Oh, yeah. Well, she was from California. I mean, I love it here, the beach and the fresh crab, but everybody from here is . . . well, you know what I mean."
"Sure I do."
"Oh hey," Summer rolled toward her husband, "I was thinking of having a tattoo added onto my surgical package."
"What kind of tattoo?"
"I don’t know, something right at the small of my back. One of the girls at the gym has it—a lotus blossom, I think—I just thought that it would look good with my new ass."
Cory thought deeply for a few moments—pinching his lower lip between his thumb and index fingers—a gesture that he had been thinking of adoption—and finally said, "Well, do whatever you want Huny, I’ll still love you either way."
Cory’s surgeries were late starting because while signing the final paperwork, he quietly asked about the penile extension and widening. Doctor Jim, an old college friend of Cory’s smiled and said he could even knock a little off of the price.
"I appreciate that." Cory said. "I really do."
"No problem." Doctor Jim said. "Oh, but we don’t call it a widening we call it a plumping."
While sitting the executive waiting room of Doctor Bill’s clinic, Summer struck up a conversation with Lila, a somewhat slutty acquaintance whose second husband had worked with Cory. Lila had also chosen the Kylie Minogue package, but she was far shorter than Kylie and therefore had elected the leg extensions which would require Doctor Bill to cut through her bones with a buzz saw and add artificial extenders.
"Well," Summer said, "I’ve always been tall."
That Summer’s comment had little to do with Lila’s situation should not reflect badly on Summer herself. The postmodern art of conversation involves each person relating any subject back to themselves, both Summer and Lila are masters of this paradigm. Here is a brief excerpt of their conversation:
LILA: I’m getting the Kylie Minogue Package.
SUMMER: I’m also going with The Kylie. I just love her.
LILA: I don’t like her older stuff.
SUMMER: Oh no, I didn’t mean her older stuff. No I only meant the newer stuff. That Can’t Get You Out of My Head song, I just couldn’t get it out of my head.
LILA: I know what you mean. When I saw that video, I thought that it looked like an Eighties take on the Seventies idea of the future. I like to figure out things like that.
SUMMER: I like to do that too. When I first saw Reservoir Dogs, I totally saw the Kansas City Confidential connection.
LILA: Oh, Tarentio! I met him at a cocktail party once. I think that he’s just a genius.
SUMMER: I said the same thing to Vin Diesel when I met him at one of Cory’s fund raisers for the poor.
LILA: I love the poor. They’re so salt of the earth. You know? My father was raised poor.
SUMMER: Oh, Both my parents were.
Summer’s surgeries were also late starting because Doctor Bill—a former boyfriend of Summer—mentioned that, if she was interested, the clinic was currently running a special on sphincter bleaching.
"How does that work?" Summer asked.
"Well, it works just the way that it sounds. And the difference is incredible! It totally erases any discoloration or any signs of aging. People have just been loving it lately. I just did Lara Flynn Boyle the other day."
"Yes. Here, let’s take a look at these." And then Doctor Bill pulled out a binder filled with before and after photos of celebrity sphincter bleachings.
While recovering at one of the Southern California franchises of the Mayo Clinic, Cory signed up for a class teaching WASP men how to speak with what was advertised as a ’quiver inducing’ French accent. Cory’s days were already full of other lecture classes but he was able to squeeze the French accent class in between A Brief History of Hip Hop and Rap: Appreciating the Music of the Streets and Off the Chain: An Education in the New Slang.
The French Accent coach was a tall and slender man with a goatee who had himself once possessed the regular WASP manner of speech. Cory enjoyed the class greatly, but was anxious to get through it each day because he was developing a crush of sorts on Salina, the teaching aid in his Slang course.
One day, while settling into his seat that the front of class and eyeing Salina as she set up that day’s Power Point presentation, Cory turned to Rupert—who owned three of the remaining seven independent media conglomerates—and said, "That Salina, I do have to say that she has a sick body."
"True ’dat." Responded Rupert, who was forty-six and from Whales by way of East Hampton.
At one point during class that day, Salina—who looked something like a Salma Hayek but more white—glanced directly at Cory and flipped her hair in a way that Cory interpreted to mean: go ahead and feel free to hit on me any time that you want. After all, you are rich and white and American and there by entitled to whatever you want.
Later, smoking cigars in the Clinic’s Starbucks Lounge, Cory asked Rupert what his feelings were on the issue of adultery.
"I’m quite a fan." Rupert answered. "In my opinion, a little adultery is the best way to keep one’s marriage—what’s the word—slamming."
"I see. Explain it to me."
"Well, you see, I’ve gotten very good at marriage, I’ve done it four times, and what I have learned is that once a wife thinks that you’re having an affair, she goes into a subconscious mode of trying to win you back. So then you’re getting the sex on the side and then sex at home. The key is to break off the affair when it gets hot back at home. Then when it flames out with the wife, go find a new girl on the side. It’s cyclic and simple, which is how i know that I’m right."
For her part, Summer enjoyed the recovery process, she was able to catch up on her reading from the Oprah Book Club. She quite liked One Hundred Years of Solitude and was pleased that the writer—whose name was something Mexican—was receiving some attention.
Summer also attended several daily classes, were favorite was her afternoon course You Go Girl !!!: An Evaluation of Modern Feminism.
Summer’s other favorite class was her last of the day, From the Outside In: Solving the Mystery of Female Self-Esteem, but she thought that the instructor could use some bridge work and a chin lift.
Once a week Cory and Summer spoke on the phone. These conversations generally always covered the same talking-points, which include the state of their respective recoveries, their recent activities and how much they loved an missed one another. The third such call, however, did possess an odd interlude which went something like this:
CORY: I do miss you, but I am having a very good time here. (By which he meant that he had initiated an affair with Salina.)
SUMMER: Well just don’t have too good of a time there, or you might never come home. (By which she meant to say that she suspected he was having an illicit affair.)
CORY: Oh I don’t think that you have to worry to much about that. (By which he meant to explain that he didn’t love Salina or anything.)
SUMMER: Yeah? Is that because you’re excited about getting to fuck somebody who looks like a pop star? (By which she meant to explain that if he was having an affair she would win him back.)
CORY: You can bet that I’m excited! (By which he meant, You can bet that I’m excited!)
A few days before Cory and Summer were to return home from their respective clinics, foreign terrorists blew up a building in San Francisco. At each clinic the patients and staff alike gathered around televisions to watch the hastily written Presidential Press Conference. The President sauntered to the podium and declared with all of the righteous indignation that he could muster, that he would react swiftly to definitively against whom ever it was exactly that was responsible for the attack. The President stated: We will have our vengeance, which was later clarified by his Press Secretary to mean, We will have our justice.
The President went on to assure that even if the attackers were not found, America would at least bomb the hell out of somebody.
Summer turned to those other women around her—all of whom were recovering from cosmetic surgery—and said, " I wonder why they hate us so much." Then she sipped on her dry martini, looked away from the Korean made television, glanced at her diamond encrusted wrist watch and noticed that a plastic button was missing from her red, white and blue blouse—which had been sewn by a six year old Vietnamese girl named Yong Phen who earned one dollar and thirty-eight cents for an eighty hour week and slept on a bed made of cardboard boxes.
Cory and Summer made arrangements to meet each other—for the first time since the surgeries—in a dimly lit martini bar near their home. They agreed that it would be fun and erotic if they role played that they were strangers and Cory pretended to make a pass at her. They both thought that this idea was just great.
Summer packed her things and slithered her sexy new body into a short, tight black dress and high heels and dove her mini SUV to the bar.
Cory gave Salina one last kiss and then headed out as well. In the rearview mirror he accessed his new head of thick black hair. When he arrived at the bar, he quickly spotted the lean Kylie Minogue shape by the bar. He examined her body for a long time and then went up next to her. He offered to buy her a drink and she accepted and then, with his new French accent he said, "I’ve always wanted to fuck a girl who looks like a pop star."
To which she responded, "Why do you think that I paid so much for this ass?"
She led him into the back of the bar and they had sex in a bathroom stall.
Summer, sipped her martini in a dim booth and watched as Lila led a dark haired Frenchman into the back. She tapped her nails impatiently on the table and thought about what a very brand new person she was now and how much more the world was going to love her.