Episode Four: A Boss

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If Life is Dope, as the darling new geeky pie barista's t-shirt is suggesting as Brie watches him craft with passion her almond milk cappuccino, then Brie just snorted a monster rail of life. She doesn't even need the coffee, she feels so fucking good. Her dopamine levels must be through the roof on account of her recent carnal donation to the well-being of man via Eddie Orpa's penis, not to mention the bananacado almond smoothie she Vitamixed herself this morning, all ingredients of which, come to think of it, naturally increase dopamine levels. You see, she is intuiting, unconsciously feeding her mind and body the stuff of wellness while simultaneously promoting the wellness of others. It's a yin yang thing. It's all about balance.

Brie struts through the entrance of The Center like Beyoncé on stage and hotfoots it up to her boss's office just in time for the weekly Ambassador's Circle. It's a meeting of the minds, specifically the mind of Marian Belaire, Owner/Creatrix of the vast expanding empire that is The Center. She's a self-made woman, hard as diamonds, and still strikingly beautiful at fifty-four. You'd guess a little over forty, but only because of the confidence with which she comports herself might you venture so high. Her skin is ageless but still carries the Southern California sun. Her cheekbones could thin-slice prosciutto. Her eyelashes are lush black sea urchins reaching out their long spikes and the hair on her head is sleek shiny black. From behind you would swear she was a twenty-year-old Japanese girl who eats only salmon.

"In. Sit," Marian says to Brie from behind the Balinese desk rumored to have cost over twenty thousand dollars. She glances up at the clock, her dark eyes trained on the minute hand as it tocks past the hour. "I've been late only twice in my life, the results of which currently attend Stanford and Berkeley."

Brie smirks. You take this from Marian. You don't hate her for it, you respect it. She expects nothing of you that she doesn't demand tenfold of herself. Brie once witnessed Marian reduce the girl at the Juice Pagoda to tears because she found some ginger fibers in her freshly pressed Off the Beeten Path, but then spent the next three hours behind the counters teaching the girl the art of juicing. And where is that girl now? She's heading up the entire juice program at The Center.

Dita comes bolting in, breathless. "Sorry, sorry, Down Dog was barfing nonstop and I felt like I couldn't leave him."

Down Dog is Dita's elderly cat.

Marian makes a face. "Oh no, I'm so sorry. Did my vet call you? He promised he'd do a house call."

Dita smiles. "Yes, he did. Thank you so much, Marian. That's so nice of yo—"

Benji walks through the door and all ambassadors suppress a gasp. They look to Marian for cues on how to react, but there she sits, beaming at her young husband who has just returned from a three-month stay in rehab for his recurring, persistent cocaine habit.

Marian swivels in her Aeron. "Ladies, Benjamin is back, in case you hadn't noticed."

Benji flashes everyone his gorgeous puppy smile. This is Marian's second husband. The first seemed to get in her way, so as soon as the kids were firmly ensconced in college, she jettisoned him and found one that was nicer to look at and less troublesome. At least, that was the idea.

Vitamix Ryan Gosling, Chris Pine, and Brad Pitt circa Fight Club, and you'll arrive at an approximation of Benji's face. This guy is hot, and everybody knows it. Some say the timing of Benji's arrival in Marian's life coincided so closely with the installation of The Center's full-scale, closed-circuit video security system, that she had it put in so she could monitor his interactions with the many young, beautiful women that Marian employs. It's true, there's a camera in every room. Look up on the ceiling right here in Marian's office and you'll see a little motion-activated eye in the sky.

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