Mr. Lash and I escaped from Beijing without getting lung cancer. I miss my servants, obvsies, but not the smog, crackdown against foreigners, and new restrictions on buying drugs over the counter. I couldn’t get my usual stash of Zopis to bring home in the diplomatic bag, so now I’m on the jetlag express and sleepless in London.
Staying up late watching old movies isn’t sending me to slumber. The dead glam heroines from the upper and downer years of Hollywood keep me awake analyzing them. Clever casting uses an actor’s biography. Men go to bed with Gilda and wake up with self-destructive Rita Hayworth. That’s good casting. Bad casting has Gwyneth Paltrow as Sylvia Plath when nobody believes Gwynnie would gas herself over a man. She’d be more likely to bake a cupcake.
You’re supposed to drink camomile tea for insomnia, but the last time I drank camomile it made me dress like a plant. I even considered eating a tofu burger. I don’t want to be lobotomized, just catch up on my beauty sleep. There’s only so much Touch Eclat can do for dark circles.
I had no choice but to visit a witch (like the other Vivien Lash in my evil twin’s new book, Spying on Strange Men). She had a bad-tempered cat and nostrils big enough to move in a family of five. She was formerly a groupie to Nick Cave, though I’m not sure if he knows that. She studied witch therapy with the person who taught the person who taught someone I’ve never heard of—not Harry Potter.
The witch was all for blaming Mr. Lash for my sleep problems. And to be fair, it was he who took me to China. But no, he doesn’t accidentally punch me when he’s asleep. That might knock me out at least. “This guy here,” she said, banging the table until I checked to see if Mr. Lash was hiding under it, “has work to do on himself.” Certainly he has work to do. Not on himself, on account of him being practically perfect. But I kept my mouth shut. Never disagree with a woman who keeps a broomstick handy.
A banishment ritual was in order so I lay on the floor and was covered in stones. The witch rang bells while the cat strolled in to scratch me. “Your cat needs a manicure,” I suggested. When my session with the anti-Satan was finally up, she gave me a potion. It didn’t work, probably because I was told to dance naked on the full moon with my cat. I’m shallow not stupid. I know that tickets to the moon haven’t been sold yet.
Next stop, hypnotist-to-the-stars Serena not van der Woodson. It’s not clear if the stars are Venus and Mercury, or Kate Moss and Johnny Depp. Serena told me to imagine I’m on a fluffy pink cloud with loved ones waving at me. I was dying to laugh. Instead I faked a big snoozy trance.
Shelley Von Strunckel, the famous astrologer who teaches meditation in her home, was my next stop. A man in a mask had already made himself comfortable on the sofa when I arrived. Shelley looks like she means business. She told the mad genie in my head to go. And the mad genie clearly didn’t want to mess with Von Strunckel.
It worked. I’m fixed and sleeping. Anyone want some witch’s brew?
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