Copyright 2001-2008, James J. Belcher.  All rights reserved.

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Copyright 2005 James J. Belcher.  All Rights Reserved. 

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     Laughing Last


      Chapter 2


His first appointment of the morning’s consultations was a surprise to his eyes.  In fact, he was almost fixated.  She wasn’t a bubbly, silly little girl; she was much more.  She was intelligent-looking young woman who could be very attractive underneath that unneeded flab.  Cammie, Millie, the doctor and his nurse Dorothy were the four initially present.  After minimal pleasantries, Allan advised Cammie and her mother that all surgical procedures would have to be pre-approved by both parents, in writing.  It was a legal requirement.  He would also require Cammie to consent to cosmetic surgery in writing, because individual tastes differed and no guarantee of results could be provided.  The two women listened and ignored this litany of legalisms much as consumers everywhere disregard the sonorous warnings, labels, drills and pamphlets. 

That done, Allan tactfully explained that he was going to ask Cammie to totally (yes, totally!) disrobe and be subject to a visual examination and photographic session.  Before he did so, he took a single photograph of a fully clad Cammie standing in front of a plain white wall.  She wore a huge pair of dungarees, and a man’s T-shirt.  Allan had her change into another XXXL man’s T-shirt, one that prophetically said it: “I’m pretty inside.”   

Allan explained.  No, the photographs wouldn’t be allowed out of the office, wouldn’t be shown to anyone without her permission, would remain her property (and be destroyed if requested in writing and the office officially exonerated of any legal liability).  Allan himself took the photographs, using a digital camera; he made sure that Millie and the nurse were there.  Afterwards, he asked Dorothy to print the pictures; after review by him, Cammie and Millie, these would go into a sealed envelope marked “BEFORE” inside her patient file. 

While Dorothy was engaged in this task, Camilla dressed and the doctor explained the purpose of the photos to her and her mother. 

“It’s customary to take before and after pictures.  We align these with computerised grid measurement patterns to determine the nature of recommended procedures.” 

He turned to Cammie, who had finished dressing.  “I’ll need to determine your height and weight.”  Cammie shuddered – she avoided standing on a scale like the plague. 

The doctor found great difficulty in adjusting the metal measuring rod to accommodate Camilla’s height.  She was, by more than ten centimetres, the tallest woman he’d ever measured.  The scale groaned. 

“190.5cm, 108.0kg.” 

He consulted some tables. 

“Your body mass index is 29.8, so you’re technically borderline obese.” 

“However, that’s not the way I look at it.  You’re seventeen, without physical deformities, no stretch marks yet, but headed for cellulite city and irreversible tissue damage insofar as your physical beauty.  You’ve let yourself go, almost deliberately, and the sad thing is – you’re a naturally beautiful gal, just very tall.” 

The doctor’s candour and sudden lack of coolheaded professional demeanour startled both Cammie and her mother. 

Millie spoke up.  “We’ve always told her she was pretty, but she doesn’t see herself that way.” 

Allan was blunt.  “Cammie, you’re no clueless pre-teen.  Mum, listen to me – I said naturally beautiful, not pretty.  There’s a difference.” 

“Besides an absence of cellulite and stretch marks (and surgery can’t fix those), Cammie has no tattoos, no piercings, no birthmarks, no scars, no unsightly moles or other blemishes that can’t be removed.  That much just gets her to the starting line insofar as physical beauty.” 

The two women perked up their ears and looked at him. 

“She’s well proportioned as far as her bones go.  Tall and long-legged, a plus factor.”  He paused. 

“Her eyes, nose and mouth configuration are the key elements.  I spend half my time fixing noses and she doesn’t need anything in that department.  Her eyes and eyebrows are fine; enhancement would only require cosmetics, not surgery.  He lips are wide but that’s the current fashion; her mouth is appropriately sized.  There’ll be some minor things I should do regarding her cheeks, but I can’t tell until she drops a lot of weight.” 

“Her skin is probably OK, but the excess fat makes it hard to judge that also.  There may be some minor peels needed.” 

“I’m going to have Dorothy collect blood and urine samples, but I feel confident nothing of consequence will show up.  Once Cammie’s weight is lowered to 65 kilos, her blood pressure will be normal, her cholesterol normal, and her appearance decidedly better.  Her BMI will be in the model range, slightly underweight.” 

Cammie spoke up.  “Sixty five kilos!  That’s 43 kilos to lose and I can’t do that.  I can’t even lose five without killing myself.” Her mother was defensive.  “Doctor, that’s impossible.  You can’t expect Cammie to do that.” 

Allan looked stern.  “Mrs. Johnson, please wait outside.  I need to talk to Cammie alone.” 

A worried Mum hesitantly obeyed.   

After the door shut, Allan smiled and looked Cammie in the eyes. 

“I’m speaking as a doctor and a friend who once saw a pretty seven-year-old.  Did you hear me say the term ‘model range’?    

“What did you mean?” 

“I meant just that.  Going Hollywood means doing Hollywood, the diet, the exercise, the cosmetic surgery, a life built around your being a knockout.  You’ve got the looks and I’ve got the team and the professional talent.” 

“That said, there are limitations.  You are over 190 now and I reckon there could be another two or three centimetres of growth left.  You’d tower over male counterparts in Hollywood; you’re even too tall for runway work.  After all, you’ll be wearing custom-sized outfits when I get through with you.” 

He paused, and said it somewhat cautiously.  “Then there’s the matter of your bust line.” 

“Breast reduction?” 

“No, not that easy.  Your aureoles are almost five centimetres in diameter.  They wouldn’t look right on a C-cup, much less smaller.  You’re going to have to stay a D-cup and that’s not easy, because the first weight to go is the fat right there.  Breasts that size on an underweight woman will cause men to stare, and after a few years, they’d sag.” 

“What do I do?” 

He smiled.  “It’s we, my dear.  What do we do?  Your part is to follow the recommendations of the people I have as advisors, to lose the weight, do the muscle toning and see me regularly.” 

“Your mother sees that as impossible, but my job is pioneering.  I’m going to continually inject some of your own fat cells into your breasts so they remain large even as you become thinner and more muscular.  When you’re down to your final weight, I’ve a special procedure in mind.  Bear in mind that your final desired weight is something under 65 kilos, but I’ll be in close touch with other professionals on the team to arrive at the final figure.” 

“Doctor, what are you talking about?” 

“Cammie, you’re seeing me in the nick of time.  Another year or two and your body would be hopelessly deformed by the weight of your excess fat.  If you’re willing to drop out of school and live like an Olympic athlete in training, I can turn you into drop dead gorgeous.  The special procedure I have in mind is a new form of internal breast support, sort of a bra on the inside of your body.” 

“Drop out of school?  Live in a dormitory and be away from my family?  Bra inside my body?  Are you crazy?” 

“I’ve never been more serious in my life.  Your father saved me millions and my wife and I stand to live in a nicer home than any other doctor in Melbourne because of what he did for me.  I owe him.  Big time.” 

“I’m looking at a woman who has psychological issues with her body as real and as frightening as any anorexic and she needs to go on a special regimen of diet and exercise in a totally controlled environment, one without the possibility of binging and undoing months of work in a single night.  You’re going to have to learn to appreciate your body, know what’s best for it and do whatever it takes to make it perfect.  You can communicate with your family, see your boyfriend (but no sex, no pregnancy), and go out on escorted visits.  By the way, we’re talking a million-dollar St. Kilda Road apartment, not a dormitory.” 

“Once you’re at your final weight, I’ll do the final nip and tuck.  You’re a special patient, so I won’t do the nips and tucks at once, but as a series of smaller procedures, over time, so the body accommodates without trauma.  At least I can do some.  Facial work is different, since it’s generally a one-off, less complicated, too many muscles to reposition often.  To be honest, you’re going to face some period of sagging skin that will cause you to want to hide, pending further surgery.  You are just the opposite now, but you will become extremely body conscious.  Your young skin is very elastic, but there are limits, so you’ll face tummy tucks, navel relocation and more.  Altogether, you may undergo dozens of procedures and it’ll take over a year.  This isn’t a TV show, and I won’t cut corners to fit into some producer’s schedule.” 

“John and I planned on a January wedding.” 

“Next year?  Put it off six months or so and I promise you that you’ll be thankful.  Incidentally, you’re in for a new career.” 

“What’s that?” 

“Being one of the most exciting and beautiful women on the planet.  You’d better keep that secret, between us for now.  No one will believe it just yet.  Once you’ve lost a good bit of the weight, and with your permission, I’ll have some photographers and modelling agency scouts consult.” 

It was more than she dreamed.  Millie was called in and everything explained, except the special bust line procedure at the end of the year-long-plus course of treatment.   

Dorothy returned with “BEFORE”.  Pictures say a thousand words and Allan had added all the others needed.  He explained to Madam and Mademoiselle Johnson that he would utilise certain special computer programmes and the digital photographs to create an “AFTER” scenario that would be produced as a set of simulated photos.  No, Cammie wouldn’t look exactly like the AFTER photos, but they would explain the effect of the recommended course of treatment.  A booking was made for 6pm two days hence, less than 60 hours later.  Greg was to come along, John if agreeable to the others. 

At Allan’s recommendation, John was told little and Greg not much more.  Instead, they were to come to the “unveiling” the next afternoon. 

They arrived in three stages.  First came John, to the same beautiful Toorak offices that Greg had seen two nights previously.  He was impressed, but apprehensive.  Millie and Cammie soon followed, quickly vanishing up the lift into the consulting suites.  Last came Greg, still talking on his mobile to yet another anxious seller seeking a competent agent.  Greg tried to seem distracted and aloof, but he’d been the driving force, so now he was just as intrigued as anyone. 

          Allan came in, a huge smile, offering them coffee, tea and snacks, all of which were politely declined.  He walked over to a reception room computer monitor, turned it around so it was facing them.  “Surprise”. 

          It wasn’t an image on a 21” screen.  The monitor only said “Not here.” 

            A full size movie screen was rolling down, from the ceiling to the floor.  It dropped to the carpet.  An image flashed, then stayed there.  It was Cammie, not now, a future woman, still recognisable, thinner, toner, tanner, maybe a larger bust (if that was possible).  The image was barely clothed. 

          Her hair was long and golden, braided and styled so it was a crown.  Her eyes were open wide, blue and piercing.  Her eyebrows were thick.  Her eyelashes were longer, each one curling skyward in a languorous seductive fashion.  Her nose, her mouth, her lips – coloured and polished to a sheen of a luxuriant quality.  Most of all it was a much thinner, richer face coloured by a natural tan that reeked of hedonistic attention.  The teeth shone like pearls, straight and glistening.  She wore ruby earrings, several large stones dangling from each ear.  Her neck was lean and muscular and her shoulders soft and supple.  Her arms were devoid of even the slightest trace of fat and there was a hint of muscle underneath their well-tanned skin.  Her wrist sported a diamond bracelet and her manicured fingers had shapely nails painted with gold itself, not its unworthy coloured paint counterpart.  There was a large square-cut emerald ring on one finger. 

          The gown she wore had a plunging neckline, separated in a deep vee by huge darkly tanned mounds, firm but definitely natural.  Her nipples proudly thrust forward and the soft pink edges of her aureoles lured the eye to peek beneath the sheer fabric that somehow covered almost all of them.  Her breasts projected outward in an unearthly fashion, as if magically suspended by an underwired brassiere, but such an artifice was nowhere to be seen.   

          Her stomach was flat and her body flared outward from an almost unnaturally narrow waist.  Her hips were those of a professional belly dancer. 

            Her long and sensuous legs seemed to stretch the entire length of a normal woman’s stature, and they had the earthy quality that suggested tremendous gripping strength when linked around a man’s torso.  Even her ankles and feet were smaller than they presently were, and her toenails were painted with the same gold that graced her fingernails.   

This Cammie wore high-heeled shoes, laced with thin straps well past her calves.  This Cammie was a proud and strutting woman, her left arm at her waist, elbow cocked, posture so erect it seemed like that of a manikin.  Her right arm was outstretched, palm up, a finger signalling the viewer to come towards her. 

This Cammie was self-assured, gorgeous both in an earthly and a regal sense, a huge female who indeed was larger than life in several ways.  This Cammie had a 62cm waist and a 102cm bust.  This Cammie was not seventeen or any age, for she would always be young and mature, never childish or old.  This was a picture to grace locker rooms and dormitories, battleships and lounge rooms.  Copies would be used to create the paintings that would adorn more than a few walls of noted galleries.  This was a one-name siren, like Marilyn, Sophia, Cindy, Elle, Christy, Brooke, Claudia, Heidi and all the other movie sex symbols and fashion supermodels.   

There is a scary side of such beauty, a “don’t touch” quality.  John thought about it, the others didn’t (certainly not Cammie, who couldn’t believe the figure was a rendering of a future her).   

As they stood with their mouths open, Allan said it.  “There’s just one question that needs to be answered.”  They all looked at him while he clicked a final keystroke.  He, then they, looked at a new picture. 

It was that same new Cammie, but in different attire.  There was a fabulous diamond tiara on her head.  She wore a gown of the finest purple silk taffeta and her high heels were likewise silk and purple.  She wore a diamond necklace with a huge diamond pendant and her right arm was now to her side.  It held the jewelled mace denoting the authority of the kingdom. 

They heard the question that could only elicit one answer: “Camilla Johnson, will you agree to be our queen?” 

Greg, Millie and Cammie signed the necessary forms, from photography of Cammie when unclothed, to Cammie’s dropping out of school, for a dozen separate cosmetic surgery procedures, and so forth.  Allan introduced Roger Whittom, assistant coach of the 1996 Australian gymnastics team, a recognised expert in diet, exercise and fitness, together with his wife Anne, herself a member of that successful team.  They were co-authors of a best seller, The New You That’s Waiting.  Together, they drove in Allan’s Mercedes limousine to The Royal George Apartments; together they entered Suite 2302, a three-bedroom unit overlooking Albert Park and the port.  It was a multi-million-dollar view.  Roger and Anne occupied one bedroom, Cammie another, Cammie’s exercise room the third.  This, together with the downstairs gym and pool, would be her home and sometimes-prison for an estimated sixteen months.  All phone calls would be monitored, all visitors checked to ensure they brought no food; she could write and receive letters and E-mail but she couldn’t leave except for her weekly consultation with Dr. Makeover or when accompanied by Roger or Anne.  She would be recorded on the medical records as “Susan Stunner”, never by her real name.  She would only exercise downstairs when her privacy could be assured.  She entered as 190.5/108; she would emerge as 192.5/63, or so the plan required.   

John worried he might lose her.  Greg and Millie were worried they already had. 

Cammie was now an official school dropout, but she could return.  Her marks were good and the administration understood she was intrastate or overseas, at some kind of a special “fat farm”, they weren’t really sure.  They perfunctorily wished her well in a form letter sent to her home and forwarded to The Prince George.