The light over the operating table was blinding, but it comforted Rita. She could see the fat oozing from her thighs, down a transparent tube and into a glass bottle; it reminded her of her favourite cocktail… its crushed ice strawberry perfume… the revitalising tang of lime—the last thing she should be thinking about! It was also a beautiful reminder that her figure would soon be restored.
Things had changed since her first liposuction. General anaesthetic was a thing of the past and Rita liked being able to chat with her doctor over the comforting slurps and smacks of her suctioned fat. This time he worked on her thighs—for the umpteenth time—and for the third time, her upper arms.
Rita admired her doctor. She also liked saying his name to herself (or even out loud, when he wasn’t around)… Doctor Henry Larsberg… Doctor Henry Larsberg… Rita looked up at Doctor Henry Larsberg’s white surgical mask, his tanned face and handsome blue eyes.
“You’re doing very well, Rita,” he smiled.
He is heaven on a stick!
Truth be told, Rita liked Doctor Henry Larsberg a lot; in fact, she was secretly in love with him. You’ll make a fool of yourself! Rita smiled back, pretending to ooze confidence instead of her usual glass bottles of reds and pinks. It was true; she loved him. And she would do anything for him—literally anything—for he was not only the secret to her shapely figure, he was the key to her happiness.
A few days at home and stripped of her surgical stocking, Rita stood expectantly before her full-length bedroom mirror; she looked like a beaten housewife. Her upper arms and entire legs were black and blue. Her motley covering was dotted with tiny, seeping nicks where exotic cocktails had secretly been siphoned. But Rita was ecstatic. Apart from the bruising, and a thin, trickling red down her legs, she looked better than ever. In a few weeks, she would be back online and dating again.
“How ‘bout a drink for the lovely lady here,” commanded a newcomer at the bar, interrupting Rita’s reverie with his crooked wink. “What’s your name, doll? What’s your poison?”
“Rita—Margarita,” replied a new-and-improved Rita, resuscitating a smile. She sure could use a drink. “I mean, my name’s Rita—and I’d love a margarita, thanks.”
“Rita Margarita, eh?” winked the Crooked Winker. “Definitely tickles my tastebuds.”
And it was on that very evening that Rita got her new name, a disappointing encounter with the unquestionably plump Crooked Winker, and her signature cocktail, the ‘Rita Margarita’. But it wasn’t all bad. From that day on, whenever Rita arrived at the bar, she found the barman hard at work in her honour. As soon as she sashayed through the door!
“One Rita Margarita coming up!” he’d announce from behind a deafening, dizzying churn of red.
It made Rita feel special. And important.
But not special and important enough, unfortunately. It was only days after the Crooked Winker had been and gone that Rita found herself alone with yet another fleshy middle-aged man in her apartment. He had spent the evening ogling her soft, but substantial cleavage and making lewd suggestions at Rita while she, as one would expect, sat demurely at the bar with a Rita Margarita. Of course, after seducing Rita (and himself) with several of the same, Rita did the inevitable and took him home.
By the time the two made it to Rita’s slippery satin sheets, Rita’s new beau was so drunk that he foolishly fell asleep on her bed—wearing only her red underpants, his brown socks, and a striped tie (probably his).
Exasperated, a rather ticked off Rita slipped soundlessly from the boudoir, tiptoed to the kitchen and proceeded to make herself a fierce cup of tea—a stiff drink was definitely in order—until it dawned on her…
“Another Rita Margarita coming up!” Rita announced, giggling girlishly to herself.
Moments later, strawberries whirled at high speed around Rita’s stupendously quiet blender and Grand Marnier hinted the air. Coconut cream dripped, crushed ice cracked and the honey-vanilla spice of tequila splashed into Rita’s signature mix (all of which was quietly complemented by subtle swigs from the bottle and intermittent, thrilling sucks of fresh lime).
Finally Rita reclined on her chaise lounge, a sugar-coated margarita glass poised at her lips, to observe more closely her brown-socked guest. But there was no sugar-coating the sight before her. Upon further inspection, Rita was disappointed to note that Mister Brown Sock’s belly was undesirably large (worse than she had thought) and his unusually chubby thighs showed pinkish evidence of chafing. On top of that, lying flat on his back with a cheap tie around his neck did nothing for his double-chin, which sagged unattractively to one side.
Rita sipped her Rita Margarita thoughtfully, enjoying the icy trickle down her throat. That was the stupid thing about men, she ruminated. They wanted a natural beauty, someone with a great bum and a beautiful smile—someone who needed no makeup and looked gorgeous on waking! (Little did they know the effort it took to get her there.)
“What a nice little behind you’ve got, Rita!” said one bloke after another.
“You’ve got the perfect figure,” said a more refined version of manhood.
But they were all the same. Why couldn’t they be more like Doctor Larsberg?
Yes, Rita had certainly had enough of men: their bloated bellies, their man-boobs, and their interminably sagging bottoms! Hypocrites, they were, demanding tight-yet-curvaceous, big-busted-yet-slim-waisted, tanned-yet-soft-skinned, youthful, energetic women—even if they themselves were well into their twilight years! Enough was enough.
It seemed like only moments later that a fresh Rita Margarita coursed through a strawberry tube and into a glass bottle—as it had done so many times before—only this time it wasn’t Rita, but a tipsy, brown-socked individual who lay on the operating table.
“Thank you, Rita,” Doctor Larsberg whispered tenderly, as he deftly removed a surgical glove to take Rita’s hand in his.
And Rita’s world stood still.
When Mister Brown Socks awoke in the recovery room, he moaned pathetically with the swelling, black-bruise pain. Rita, who took her new role quite seriously, approached him in a nurse’s uniform. I’ll teach him, she thought. She leaned over to wipe his beaded brow, almost smothering him with her ample bosom, and knowing full-well that the man could barely walk—let alone respond. Another agonising moan. Maybe next time, you’ll choose your words more carefully at the bar!
Early next morning, Rita escorted an incoherent Mister Brown Socks back to his apartment. After slumping him onto his couch, beside a note of matter-of-fact medical instructions and a plastic bag full of painkillers (there was no need to be nasty), she set off on her way. As she hailed herself a taxi, she could think of nothing but Doctor Larsberg… Call me Henry, he had said.
Rita resumed her internet dating with increased motivation. Her new online profile name, Rita Margarita, and her latest photo (posed half-naked with her red signature tipple) brought a notable rise in attention. Rita had always been in great shape for her age and her photogenic age was enviable, to say the least, but the men seemed even more eager to meet her. As always, being childless and way past her childbearing years implied fewer complications for them—yes, she was a real catch!
Rita became an expert at getting them drunk and home—the drunker, the better; she certainly didn’t want them visiting her again. And the drunker they were, the more of them she could deliver to Doctor Larsberg—Henry; and the more deliveries, the more her Henry could practise and experiment. And the more he could practise and experiment, the more she could see him and, inevitably, the better she could look.
As far as Rita was concerned, the men themselves—her patients—could only benefit. They would not only gain from their complimentary newly-sculpted abs and buns, but they would more than likely come to a new understanding of the women they dated, and the hard work and suffering they endured to please them. And, at the same time, they would be giving back, enriching Rita’s budding relationship with Henry.
Over many nights, Rita donned her tight white nurse’s uniform, her ultra-supportive white stockings and her flat-heeled ortho-soft white shoes. She felt like a real nurse! She worked tirelessly into the morning hours to assist with the pieces of manhood she brought to Henry’s table. She watched with pride as he sliced and diced their extraneous bumps and bulges. She took great pleasure in donating their various ‘cold cuts’ to the stray cats outside the surgery. For a time, all was well in the cycle of life.
But a time came when Rita no longer wanted to drag men home from bars and clubs; she simply wanted to be alone with Henry. And although he had taken to sleeping with her rather frequently, his desire for liquefied fat in jars, slices of sagging skin, and tight surgical stitching seemed to interest him more. Rita realised it was his passion, but she couldn’t help it; she was completely jealous. She felt second best to those men and their bulging bellies. Something had to be done.
One night, after scheming—and sliding repeatedly across her satin sheets with Doctor Henry Larsberg—Rita came upon a plan. “I really need some more work done, Doctor Love,” she pouted, pinching the tiniest squeeze of skin under her otherwise taut chin.
“My darling Rita, you don’t need a scrap of work. You’re perfect!” Henry replied, slapping Rita firmly on her perky left buttock.
He was such a fibber!
“Another Rita Margarita coming up!” Rita announced with a flourish as she slid from the bed, wrapping herself seductively in her red satin sheet.
“My darling Rita, you know I don’t drink…” countered Doctor Larsberg, but the curvaceous sheen of red rendered him helpless. Darling Rita, the beauty of his own creation; he could do nothing but follow her.
Moments later, strawberries whirled at high speed around Rita’s stupendously quiet blender and Grand Marnier hinted the air. Coconut cream dripped, crushed ice cracked and the honey-vanilla spice of tequila splashed into Rita’s signature mix (all of which was quietly complemented by shared swigs from the bottle, and intermittent, thrilling sucks of lime).
Rita stroked Henry’s cheek and looked adoringly into his eyes which were, as she had calculated, now full of lust, love—and drunken compliance. Rita Margarita had worked her magic once again! Rita glanced back at the faint blush handprint on her left buttock and squeezed it as hard as she could, gathering the teensiest sliver of skin. She jiggled its slimness for what it was worth and pleaded. He had to give in!
The very next night, Rita was back on Doctor Love’s cosy operating table and alone with him once again. Just as she had hoped. Rita looked up adoringly at his white surgical mask, his tanned face and his handsome blue eyes.
“You’re doing very well, my darling Rita,” he smiled.
As the last tiny cocktail was siphoned away from her indecipherable chin, Rita gazed into the irresistible baby blues looming over her… Doctor Henry Larsberg… My very own Doctor Henry Larsberg… She whispered to herself and smiled at his name.
Rita thought back to the thrill of loving Henry, without him even knowing. She remembered their courtship and the bloodied, secret nights they had spent together—her in a tight white uniform, him in his element, and between them a beached whale of manhood on their wooing table. Half-naked and partly covered in a white sheet, her hand squeezed in his, Rita reflected on the many beautiful memories they had created in this very room, and she felt lifted with the lightness of their love.
She smiled gently and felt herself softly floating; it was as if she were a delicate cloud suspended in the air. Yes… a cloud in the air… Everything felt so quiet… and peaceful. And as Rita drifted into the blissful fluffiness of the unconscious, the happy smack and slurp of her procedure faded… into a wistful swirl of red and the countless sugary Rita Margaritas that had brought her to her Henry’s arms… until… the faint sound of him calling her name brought her back… Rita… Rita!
Rita looked down upon herself. There she lay with a thin strawberry-filled tube sticking out of her chin and a stupid grin on her face. She watched as Henry yanked the tube out from under her skin, slid the hair cap from her head, and slapped her face hard. SLAP. SLAP.
“Rita!” he pleaded. “Rita!”
Doctor Henry Larsberg stiffened. He sniffed back tears and slumped miserably over Rita’s chest. He wept noisily and stroked her hair, his tanned face now pale and drawn.
Don’t cry, my Henry… My dear, sweet Henry… But Rita’s deliberations dissipated into the thick, silent world of the operating space… Hovering silently above him, a huge wet tear gathered and trickled down her face, splattering its warmth hard onto the back of Henry’s head.
Henry looked up with sorrow at the strange emptiness above him. And as Rita looked into her Henry’s eyes for the very last time, and at the pathetic shell of her own body on the table beside him, she finally realised there was something she had known, but overlooked all along… Her Henry had truly loved her, the real Rita… not the silly Rita Margarita she had become. Doctor Henry Larsberg was not only the secret to her shapely figure, he was the only man to love her for herself. He was something special, and in her next life she would find him again…
Rita drifted… slowly… further and further away… and it suddenly occurred to her that being Rita Margarita was not such a bad thing. After all, she had a drink named in her honour, her own personal barman at the local bar… numerous admirers, all of whom had supped from her glass—so to speak—and all of whom had brought her closer to… her Henry…
Rita sighed as she observed below, for the very last time, her Henry, sobbing violently upon her substantial, yet remarkably flattened breasts… and as she floated away into the sweet hereafter, all she could fathom was… the soft thuditty-thud of her Henry’s broken heart… two beautiful watery pools of blue… a trickle of strawberry red… and, of course, one final, very important conclusion…
In her next life, she would definitely get her breasts lifted…
Lisa Reily is a former literacy consultant, dance director and teacher from Australia. Her poetry and stories have been published in several journals, such as Amaryllis, London Grip, Panoplyzine, Magma (online), Riggwelter, Wanderlust and River Teeth Journal’s Beautiful Things. You can find out more at lisareily.wordpress.com Image: Jeanne Martin in Pink Dress, Edouard Manet, 1881