“I need some peace and quiet,” my friend said. He had just come in from a long day of job hunting.
“Interviewers holding you down and asking too many questions,” I asked. He looked at me while grabbing a water out of the fridge, nodding and mouthing yeah.
“Are you aware,” he asked stately, “that it’s perfectly legal for an employer to inspect you while you’re taking a drug test. Y’know how hard it is to take a leak when someone’s offering your junk a staring contest?”
“That really happened,” I asked, trying not to laugh.
“Twice,” he said, holding up a backwards peace sign.
“Well, I think I might have something that’ll help,” I said. I took him back up to the attic where he had shown me his grandfather’s box.
The difference in the place was day and night. Once an empty and dusty attic, now a clean and warm lit environment. Candles lined the walls, ambient music chorused, and the room smelled of incense. Four massage therapists were waiting patiently in the corner; four massage tables took up the center of the room.
“You just cranked up the gay to a whole new level,” he said.
“There’s nothing gay about making money,” I said. “According to state law you can run a massage parlor out of your home, bearing that you provide a suitable dwelling for such clientele and pay your masseuses reasonable rates. I’ve got a waiting list a mile long already.”
“Actually,” he said, “That’s not a bad idea.”
“If I did my math right, neither of us have to work full-time jobs with this going on either. We just make the place more inviting and we’re on easy street. So go on, take a load off.”
Half an hour in, my friend turned to me, “Y’know, this is definitely worth the investment.”
“Yeah, just whatever you do, don’t drink the jasmine tea they offer,” I said.
“Wh—why,” he asked.
“They put some freaky herbs in that stuff man.”
Not a moment later one of the masseuses were walking away with a tray. One that was all too familiar..
“Well that’s not good,” I said, turning over to see what was going on.
My friend was sitting upright, drooling onto the sheet. His eyes were fixed on an interesting part of the wall, his cheek and hand twitching.
“Hey buddy,” I said calmly, as if talking to a child. “How we doing over there.”
He turned his head so exact that the sound of a door with squeaky hinges went off in my head.
“You. Poisoned me,” he said in a dark voice, head shaking and arms twitching now.
He bolted of the table and began wind milling his arms while running throughout the house yelling like a maniac.
I looked at one of the other masseuses in the corner, “How much did you give him?”
She craned her neck and shrugged her shoulders, as if to say ‘I’dunno.’
“Great,” I said, rolling up a newspaper and tapping it on my hand. “Guess I gotta bring the space oddity back down to earth.”
That afternoon my friend and I were sitting on the couch.
“What the hell were you hitting me with, a crochet mallet,” he asked.
“Nope,” I said. “Just a newspaper. They chased me with that tray when I went manic. Hurt like hell, too.”
“Although in the moment it felt like someone beating me to death, now, I actually do feel a bit more relaxed,” he said.
“See, I told yo—”
“But were not keeping that place open in my attic. Grab some of that jasmine voodoo and tell’em to hit the road.”
“Fine,” I said.