- A true story though many names have been changed to protect the innocent.
“So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.”
Franz Kafka“Every man and every womanhas a course, depending partly onthe self, and partly on theenvironment, which is naturaland necessary for each. Anyonewho is forced from his owncourse, either through notunderstanding himself, orthrough external opposition,comes into conﬂict with the orderof the universe, and suffersaccordingly.”Aleister Crowley⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️⚡️I ponder this excerpt frequentlyin quiet desperation while lookingout the window of myMalibu beachfront property. It is an excerpt by Aleister Crowley’s ‘Magic; in theory and practice.’ I believe in magic. Or rather I should say, I believe that you canget anything you want. You begin with intention, and then ride that horse all the way to the Kentucky Derby. Things come together,people appear, andsynchronicities collide,combustible energies form that reduce alchemical base metals into gold, water into wine.And so it was, on that fateful day, way back in the late 70’s, where anything went. My claim to fame was as a dancer on the Vegasstrip. A rocketeer, and my legs did the talking. But where had it led me? I was living in a small 3 bedroom house, Beverly Hillsadjacent, a single mother, with 3 daughters to support. And I was pushing 40.! I’m sure I could have snagged some poor schmuck that would foot the bill for my current socio-economic status. But why? Why not think big?!As I breezed through TheBeverly Hills Courier- a ﬂimsylittle magazine delivered to our door, graciously elevating us to the 90210 stratosphere, my eyes began to ﬁxate on a black and white blurb, a small photo of a man playing tennis at the very exclusive hillcrest country club.Hmmmm…this might be thathorse…I was momentarilyinterrupted by a knock on thedoor, and hurtled back intoreality with my landlord’s request for the rent. He was a sleazy slick haired Italian and seemed to insinuate there were other methods of payment. And he always showed up when the kidswere at school. I led him on, just enough to stall a week. I shut the door and picked up the phone.“Hillcrest country club? Yes, I’d like to sign up for tennislessons.” !My gorgeous rocketeer legs were just hitting their ﬁnal stridebefore their long descent andthey went out with a bang, inthose tiny tennis skirts Ipurchased at Fila. It worked like a charm. I had Frank Nicklepants in the palm of my hand.After a few weeks of dating Ipinpointed his weakness. Aweakness I would exploit until that rock was on my ﬁnger. Sex? No. He was past that stage and Viagra hadn’t been invented yet.No, it was very simple. Caveman simple. It was food. Food, a direct link to a man’s heart and stomach. And I knew just the little lady who would provide the service. Her name was Patrice andshe owned a catering company in the valley called Food for thought. Patrice was no ordinary chef. She was an artist of the highest echelon. Her brownies alone could make a grown manwhimper if denied, and she had a thirst for Hermes, an insatiable appetite for Georgio’s and Theodore’s. I knew she would chomp at the bit…and chomp hard she did.
It started with cookies. She charged $80 a batch, equivalent to $200 in today’s market. It was a small price to pay, and besides, now I had my own charge accounts, and cash, courtesy of Frank. Soon it escalated to breads-$90 for a loaf, Bastia, Tortes, mind blowing pies and cakes~ $1000 a pop. Frank would ask me to entertain small dinner parties and I willingly obliged, with the help of my very own Cyrano de Bergerac. The cash and jewels started rolling in~ a Cartier necklace for this party, a diamond bracelet for that party. We hosted a dinner party one night for Ted Kennedy and Frank introduced me as not just the chef but a true artist. Patrice had delivered the goods early that morning and no one was the wiser.
But as the romance came to a boiling point, with marriage now looming on the hot plate, woven tightly in a thick web of lies, my mind began to unravel. It started with a close call. Patrice’s husband Henry, delivering food early one morning, tripped up the sprinkler system and broke the clicker for the garage. I had given explicit directions for Henry to stash the food in our 2nd freezer, knowing Frank could not possibly hear the garage door open from our upstairs bedroom. Frank ran outside and demanded to know what was going on, thinking Henry was a thief. Henry stood there in soaking wet clothes with sprinklers splashing his face, and piles of Tupperware at his feet. He explained that I had been “nice enough” to let his wife use the freezer in the garage because theirs had broken down in the middle of the night. That was a close call. Then I found out that a housekeeper had been stealing from me. I threatened to call the police and she said that if I called the police she would tell Mr. Nickelpants exactly who did the cooking in the house. So I let her stay, and continue to steal. The food kept coming, each dish more exciting and exotic than the last. Frank bought my daughter a house, and soon I was hearing those wedding bells.Things were ﬁnally coming tofruition. Everything I had set my mind on achieving. But there was a problem. I was slowly beginning to experience multiple personality disorder. My lieswere catching up with me.Someone at a dinner party would ask me the recipe for something. I would become paralyzed, frozen, scared stiff. I would stutter that I didn’t recall and would send it to them the next day. And so began the memorization of every speck used in the cookies, cakes, the bread. I was an actress playingthe role of a lifetime and these were my lines. If I could just keep it together until we were married, then I’d simply say “I don’t feel like cooking, let’s go out.” One day Frank came home and wondered why there weren’t any smells in the kitchen if I hadbeen cooking all day. So Iarranged for aromas to bedelivered, and brought home all the cooking utensils I would need. Then he wondered why there wasnt any trash. So I began tohave trash delivered, thewrappers from ingredients Patrice had used. I was living a double life and started to believe it myself. I would tell Patrice how exhausted I was from cooking all day. And I believed it. The day ﬁnally came when Frankand I tied the knot, and I could stop the shenanigans. But at what cost? I would have to lie to Frankfor the rest of my life, and now I had grown to love this man. I wanted our marriage to be pure and honest, but that was impossible now. It would be based on lies, and those lies have kept me fragmented, all thesyears, split from myself, from my center.