Read: "3 Steps to a Better You"

3 Steps to a Better YouBy Robert Gannon

The woman behind the counter of the department store insisted she could help me out.

“Sir, may I have a moment of your time?” I nodded, hoping to rush her through her pitch. “If I may say so, sir, your skin is looking a bit… dry. Lifeless. Almost like you don’t care for it anymore.”

“You don’t say,” I replied. I raised my open hand to my face and did feel a few dry patches.

“Oh yes, sir. And I have just the thing for you. We just got it into the department this morning. It’s a new three-step system that has been used for generations in Eastern Europe. Just apply every night before you go to bed and you’ll instantly feel like a new person.”

I couldn't help but laugh. How could some lotion make me a new person? Eastern European secret, indeed.

“The best part, sir, is we are offering the introductory kit for only $4.95. If you’re not completely satisfied within one use, we’ll refund your money and exchange the kit for any item in the department. What do you say, sir? Care to give it a try?”

How could I say no to getting free cologne the very next day? Or, by a strange miracle, perfectly conditioned skin for under five bucks. I handed her my credit card and headed home for the night.

After a relaxing dinner, I was ready to go to bed. I almost forgot about the lotion kit from the department store. I lifted the small box out of the printed plastic bag and began to read the instructions.

“Step One: in a darkened room with a sink, apply a dime-sized amount of the blue disinfectant, labeled 1, to your face and neck.” I took off my glasses and walked into the bathroom with the bottles. The blue goop tingled against my skin as I massaged the product into my face.

I left the bathroom to read the rest of the instructions. The disinfectant warmed up my face as I continued the treatment.

“Step Two: spray exactly one and one half pumps of the toning foam, labeled 2, into the palm of your left hand and rub into your face.” I couldn't read the label without my glasses, but I found the pump bottle and gave myself two good squirts. The green foam seemed to freeze the outer surface of my face. Refreshing.

“Step Three: before turning the light back on, spritz the top of your head, ears, and back of your neck with the revitalizing spray, labeled 3.” I walked back into the darkened bathroom and sprayed the red liquid all over my head. After rinsing off my hands, I massaged the product thoroughly into my scalp.

The freezing sensation was gone, but the spray seemed to tingle under the surface of my skin. I scratched at my scalp, digging deep into the soft flesh, clawing for relief from the unending vibrations. My fingers started to pulsate like an electric razor. I knew I had had enough.

I struggled to find the light switch in the darkened room. The sudden burst of light seemed to blind me. No. The light alone couldn't have blurred my vision that much. I pressed my face against the door length mirror, but could only see dark shadows across the surface.

I rushed to the other room to find my glasses, but could no longer see anything but the blurred color of the walls. Even that seemed doubtful. My white shirt and pale skin seemed dark, almost alive with a fury of rushing water. It was then that I felt something plop against my exposed hand. I reached up with my other hand to feel the dripping wet surface of my face, as crimson tides overtook my vision.

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