In 1989, at the age of twenty-two, Deb was in a life or death situation. As the engines started, accompanied by the fasten seat belt sign, Deb felt her skin crawl with immobilizing fear. She had two choices, either get off the plane or die in her brand-new Gucci stilettos. Deb couldn’t get on a plane for love that day, but she could do it twenty years later for money. Money was worth dying for.
I dragged a down pillow from the penthouse’s luxe, fluffy king-size bed over my face to muffle the sound of my sister’s cries for help, but she was relentless. “Yoohoo, Becky Boo! Are you out there? I need you!” My sister’s desperate pleas carried across the hardwood floors from the steaming bathroom.
I moaned and threw the pillow covering my face to the floor. I must have dozed off. What time was it? “Yoohoo, Becky Boo!” I heard Deb call. Nope. No luck that she’d give up. I rolled off the bed and padded across the plush rugs to the bathroom. The shower was still running, and I figured Deb needed me for something desperately pressing, like getting a bottle of shampoo out of her overnight bag. I walked into the open bathroom. Why doesn’t Deb shut the door, I wondered for the thousandth time.
“Deb, you need something?” I asked, leaning against the granite counter.
With a level of relief usually reserved for firefighters who just rescued lost or stranded children, Deb cried, “Oh, Becky, there you are! Yes! I need help.”
I rubbed my tired eyes, drowsy and confused. “Okay, do you need shampoo?”
“No, Becky, I need you to come here.”
I blinked. “Like to the shower?” I could see Deb’s outline on the other side of the white shower curtain, her tan body in perfect silhouette. What does my sister want now? I wondered. I checked the rings of the shower curtain to see if they were loose. Nope. Not the shower rings.
Deb stuck her head out from around the shower curtain, her wet hair plastered to her shoulders. “Yes, come here! But don’t look at me. I’m naked.” She disappeared again into the shower.
I shook my head in bewilderment. “Okay, Deb! Here I am, right outside the shower,” I said, skittish. What now?
The curtain moved again, and this time a long, tan leg emerged. A stiletto was strapped to her foot.
I stared at the dangling foot in front of me, trying to make sense of what I was seeing. “I don’t understand, Deb.” I inched a little closer, eyeing the stiletto like a snake about to strike. “Did you forget you were wearing shoes when you got in the shower?”
“Oh God, no!” Deb exclaimed as if I were the one being ridiculous. “You can’t go barefoot in public showers, Becky. You’ll get warts. I never shower in hotels without wearing my shoes. I don’t want to catch athlete’s foot!”
Rather than point out that this was not a public shower, but actually the most expensive hotel room I’d ever been in, I sighed. “Why didn’t you just borrow my flip-flops?” I asked. I weighed leaving and going downstairs, but curiosity got the best of me. I had to see how this one played out.
“Gross,” she scoffed. “You know I don’t do flip-flops. Flip-flops are for prisoners and college freshmen. Becky, listen. I need you to hold out your arm.”
I took a step back, breaking my stare on her soaking wet stiletto. “For what?” I asked cautiously.
“I can’t shave my legs while standing on one foot in these heels,” she huffed. “I’ll fall over and break my neck! Please, just stick out your arm so I can grab onto it. Pretty please? I’ll be super-fast.”
I stayed perfectly still, like an animal hoping to escape detection. My eyes were once again locked on the wet stiletto. Maybe if I don’t move she will forget I’m here.
“Becky! Please! This is an emergency!” She jiggled her soaking high heel in emphasis. “I’m going to injure myself if you don’t help me. It will only take a minute, I promise.”
Resigned and reluctant, I slowly reached my arm inside the shower curtain.
“Becky, make sure you don’t look, okay?”
I sighed and rolled my eyes so hard I saw the back of my brain.
“Remember, I’m naked,” Deb reminded me through the curtain.
“Okay,” I mumbled instead of pointing out that she was not naked, she was in fact wearing shoes that cost more than a month of groceries. In the shower.
So there I stood, a silent human handrail while Deb shaved her legs in six-inch designer shoes. I briefly wondered who served as Mariah Carey’s hotel shower handrail, and if she was less trouble to travel with than Deb. Who knew a business trip to Louisiana would require so much diva maintenance?
Louisiana Latte was not quite what I expected. The synopsis leads one to think that there might be a little bit of mystery or suspense in this story. What you get instead is a great start to a story about Deb, a trained commercial pilot, who suddenly finds herself screaming to be let off the plane as it taxis down the runway in preparation for takeoff. We immediately fast forward 20 years where Deb and her sister are traveling to a business convention in Louisiana, during which they reminisce about their past.
Despite the book not turning out to be what I had expected, it was a good read. The author does a wonderful job of describing the characters and giving them a life of their own. A book full of humorous situations makes this a fun read.
Rebecca Henry is an American author living in the UK. Her books range from vegan cookbooks to fantasy to sci-fi to Rebecca's latest release with Urban Edge Publishing, Louisiana Latte: A Chick Lit Comedy About Sisters, Stilletos, Coffee, and One Fabulous Diva! You can find all Rebecca's books on Amazon.