Yesterday morning I woke up, and had only one thing in mind — my acupuncture/massage combo. After a long week, I was ready and eager for some TLC from Dr. Tsu. I walked over to my acupuncturist’s office by St. Mark’s Place. I had been seeing Dr. Lap Tsu now for about four years; just seeing her face made me more calm. I was the first appointment of the day. I laid down as Dr. Tsu asked me how I was doing, while she gently inserted needles into my head, chest and limbs.
“Ok,” I started. “You sleep better?” she was always concerned. “Sometimes, but the Bowery is so loud on the weekends.” “Hmmm,” she said with a pensive look.
She turned the lights down and closed my curtain as I laid in silence for half an hour and relaxed.
Afterward, the massage therapist, a pleasant young woman, Cindy (her American name), came in. “Hello, how you today?” She asked in a thick Chinese accent. “Great, thank you,” I offered and she began kneading me immediately. I laid there quietly face down on the table. I was in Heaven.
Suddenly, the front door opened and the dangling bells jingled as another client came in. He had made an appointment for a massage and specifically wanted a woman. So Cindy stopped working on me as I lay there wondering what was going on and next thing I know, Owen steps in to take over.
“Hello, how you?” “Fine, thanks.” I laid my head back down in the face cradle.
A few minutes go by, “Hi how you today?” I hear Cindy ask the gentleman. “Good, I’m real good today, I haven’t seen you in a while,” he said in a loud, thick Brooklyn accent. “I know, what you name again?” “Bob, I’m Bob, remember?” “Yes, yes,” she replied. She started massaging him and I heard a loud moan.
“Ahhhhh, you have amazing hands,” Bob from Brooklyn started in. “Ooooh sank you,” Cindy giggled.
There went my relaxing massage as Bob from Brooklyn began the Spanish Inquisition asking Cindy where she was from, how old she was, and if she had a boyfriend. “I have one hundred boyfriend,” she offered politely as a joke. He then continued, talking about how he was separated, had two kids and his own pest control company.” “Ah, nice for you,” Cindy replied.
“You like Korean food?” Ah, Ok here he goes, into predatory mode, I thought. “Me, I love Korean food, it’s nice and spicy,” Bob kept going; he was on a role. “You like Italian?” he continued on. Cindy kept answering “yes” politely, as she continued massaging him. “I only like Chinese women, no American women, they unfriendly,” Bob was now speaking Chinese broken English as well.
Oh God, will this never end? There went my relaxing massage as I was forced to listen to Bob from Brooklyn prey on poor innocent Cindy. This was so unfair.
“I take you to Italian dinner in Brooklyn? I know good place, very cheap, very good,” Bob from Brooklyn had finally gone in for the kill. Poor innocent Cindy just giggled. “I give you my number, you call me, we go to dinner,” Bob was unstoppable.
The timer went off on my hour-long massage as Owen karate-chopped the backs of my legs. “Ok, you done now,” Owen announced. I couldn’t put my clothes on fast enough to escape predatory Bob from Brooklyn as he just went on and on and on. He was now offering Cindy English lessons, as he kept speaking Chinese broken English himself.
Did this guy not realize I could hear everything? This ain’t no massage parlor, Bob!
I left Dr. Tsu’s office and let out a deep breath as I descended the stairs back onto 8th Street.
Bob from Brooklyn had stolen not only my masseuse but my hour-long relaxing massage. Bob, good buddy? You owe me one.