The alarm went off at 5:30am and Mary jumped out of bed, eager to start her day. She had completed her morning stretches, washed her face, brushed her teeth, and gotten dressed (in her new snazzy Lululemon yoga gear) by 5:45am. Of course, it hadn’t always been like this. She could still remember her old routine: drinking all night, sleeping in past noon, and relying on medication (whether it was her sleeping pills, antidepressants, or Tylenol) to make it through the day. She had been living her life in a daze, and one morning, after a particularly bad night out clubbing with friends, she woke up determined to make a lifestyle change. Mary made the choice (as was the popular trend amongst her generation) to rid her body and mind of the toxins she had been relying on so heavily -- and she never looked back. After scrolling through her Instagram feed, she saw that many of her friends and popular celebrities were taking a yoga, class which happened to be around the corner from her building. This sparked an idea in Mary’s head. She needed a lifestyle change, and this class seemed like her best bet.
. . .
Mary left her house promptly at 5:50am to have enough time to get a green juice from her new favorite health cleanse cafe, which was filled with nutrition bars, vegetable drinks, and vegan snacks. She walked the three blocks to the cafe and while opening the door, she spotted her old, close friend from high school, Jane, whom she hadn’t seen since their high school reunion a few months back. She examined Jane up and down, judging her sweaty post-gym look in light grey sweatpants and a black hoodie. She finally waved to Jane and signaled her to come inside the cafe to catch up. “Hey Jane, how’ve you been?” asked Mary.
“Oh you know, same old, same old. How about you? Wow, I love your outfit! Is that Lululemon you’re wearing?” Jane questioned.
“Yeah! It’s new. I bought it on my way back from my yoga class yesterday morning. I’m actually headed there right after I get my green juice. You should look into this class, it’s honestly life changing. Sometimes I feel a little tired and sluggish after class, but I think it's because I've reached a new level of relaxation and inner peace,” Mary exclaimed as she skimmed her eyes over the green juice section of the cafe’s menu.
“Is this that yoga class with the famous teacher… what’s her name? Rain Meadows?” Jane inquired.
“Yes! So you’ve heard of her! How come I never see you in class?” Mary responded, then turned to the barista to add “I’ll have a large Clean Green juice, with extra pulp, and a shot of apple cider vinegar -- sprinkle some flax seed in there too.” The barista typed away at her register looked up and noted “That will be $21.50.” She couldn’t help but notice Jane’s eyes widen at the mention of the exorbitant price.
“Well, Mary, the class is honestly too expensive for me. Also I heard you have to book months in advance!”
“True, it’s out of my price range as well - I’ve actually had to pick up some part time work to help pay for classes, not to mention my new vegan lifestyle! But I pay for the VIP Membership Program, which automatically reserves me a spot in class whenever I like. It also knocks 3% of the price - so it’s only $150 a class. You also get discounts on all of Rain Meadow’s healthcare products, which are to die for! I’ve bought the most interesting things like rose water face mist, stem cell eye cream, and even sheep placenta pills! Rain says sheep placenta is great for “smooth skin, hydration and increased elasticity” as she puts it. Sometimes I even have celebrities in my class! I’ve stood next to Gwyneth Paltrow a couple of times, and when she does something, you know it works. Anyways, I should really get going - it was great catching up, hope to see you at a class soon!”
. . .
There was a line to get through the door of the yoga studio, but once Mary was in the room, she could feel the excitement and good vibrations buzzing all around her. There were some new faces, but also a lot of familiar ones, members known as “Meadowers.” Everyone sat on their yoga mats and waited in anticipation for Rain’s arrival. She finally walked in and Mary could not help but notice how ethereal she looked. Rain’s long blonde hair was perfectly styled and she was wearing Lululemon top to bottom, just like she had put on. She was so grateful for finding an instructor with such an immense talent for calming the body and mind. Rain began the class as usual, with a short introductory speech about herself. She explained she had once been an anesthesiologist but left the medical world years ago to search for a less taxing and stressful life. Yoga was her “calling” and she quickly became an instructor. Rain told the class she was blessed to have such a big following.
The yoga instruction itself was pretty standard: downward dog, warrior II, bridge, plank, upward facing dog, etc. The real magic, many felt, was when Rain started the meditation period. Rain would walk around the class with a small vial of essential oils and ask each student to breathe in the intoxicating fragrances for several seconds and recline on their mats. After Rain recited a few calming and inspirational mantras, many could feel their minds slipping into a new and relaxed realm where there was no stress or worries. Meditation had always been difficult for Mary in the past and so she was amazed when Rain’s class worked week after week.
After awakening from her dreamy meditation, Mary felt groggy, a feeling she had gotten used to during each class. Rain Meadow wished everyone to have a great rest of their day and sent her students off. She got up and headed home to shower and get ready for work. Once she got to the elevator of her building, she received an alarming text from Jane. The text read: “Mary you are not going to believe this! Turn on NBC News right now!!!” Mary was confused and intrigued by the text, and despite her new clean, anti TV lifestyle, she switched on the news immediately after walking through her front door.
“This is Kathy Adler reporting from Park Slope, Brooklyn for NBC with breaking news. Yoga mogul, Rain Meadows - whose real name has been identified as Karen Dobbs - has just been caught for allegedly drugging her clients during her well-known and attended “Meditation for Relaxing the Mind, Body and Soul” Yoga class. Dobbs, who had previously been employed as an anesthesiologist, has been smuggling chemicals into her studio under the guise of exotic essential oils, asking her clients to inhale the substances before engaging in the meditation portion of the class. The effect of the drugs, while not harmful, induced a short coma-like state leading its consumers to feel they were in a deep meditative trance. The New York Police Department sent two undercover agents to the Yoga class early this morning to investigate,” Those agents must have been the new people I saw in the studio, Mary thought, “The motive appears to be entirely monetary, as it has been discovered that Dobbs has accumulated over 2.5 million dollars through sales of her coveted classes and popular healthcare line. Dobbs has been taken into custody and is expected to be held without bail until trial. More information after this break.”
Mary stared at her TV screen in disbelief of what she just heard. She turned off the TV and could not help but laugh. She had spent thousands of dollars trying to maintain her clean and healthy lifestyle, but has in reality had been paying a mad woman to drug her every week. She silently criticized herself: how could she have been so gullible to blindly follow this maniac and spend her money on, what was obviously, a bunch of overpriced nonsense?
“Well, fuck this!” Mary exclaimed while slipping her shoes back on to head to McDonalds to get a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese and fries.