Archived Story

Book ’em, Danno; for a manicure, that is

Published 7:37am Sunday, March 25, 2012

Column: Pass the Hot Dish, by Alexandra Kloster

I have a tip for the police. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of “Columbo” and the old “Hawaii Five-O,” which makes me a bit of an expert in the fields of investigation and interrogation. Sometimes it takes the good detectives an hour or more to ferret out a guilty party. I figure, with the new methods I’ve come up with, I could teach them how to do it in about 10 minutes. That’s not including commercials and dramatic pauses.

In service of efficiency and stretching the taxpayer’s dollar, I’ve developed a technique to obtain confessions that doesn’t require long hours, sweaty undershirts or bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. It’s faster and more pleasant for everyone. My fine friends in blue, take your suspects to the spa.

A few weeks ago I started going to a spa for prenatal massages. As soon as I walked from the lobby to the inner sanctum of muted lighting and soothing voices I felt my muscles loosen and my outer shell dissolve. A lovely woman, I think she was an angel, seated me in the waiting room, which wasn’t so much a waiting room as a sweet smelling chapel where I could sip tea and read Vanity Fair articles about Julia Roberts.

My massage hadn’t even started, but I was already so relaxed I would have said anything to stay in that room with its jungle of ridiculously oversized floral arrangements and legions of discreetly placed votive candles. I was a malleable blob of acquiescence.

That’s when it occurred to me. Catering to the senses instead of depriving them could make even the most dedicated criminal sing like the fake babbling brook that stood in the corner.

At that moment if someone had threatened to remove me from my spot next to the complimentary lotion unless I confessed to jewel thievery, I’d have said the Hope Diamond was in the trunk of my car. Then I would have sighed a contented sigh and started to recount all my transgressions.

I would have said, “Yes, when I was little I walked out of a party store without paying for a piece of Bazooka gum. My conscience got the better of me, and I returned it, but not before unwrapping it and reading the comic. Now please be quiet, I’m trying to figure out if Enya lyrics actually make any sense.”

I’m sure I could have come up with other petty crimes for which I’ve never paid my dues, but before I could incriminate myself too badly my massage therapist, Rachel, called me back to her eucalyptus-scented lair.

Following her down a long dimly lit hall I thought of another innovative change to standard police procedure, perp walks in fuzzy slippers and giant bathrobes. Who’s going to scowl and sneer in a lineup when they’re wearing 10 pounds of Egyptian cotton?

My spa experience hit a snag after Rachel left me alone to climb onto the table in private thereby preserving my modesty. I went to hop up as I normally would, and then I remembered my new girth, which had already become quite expansive. Too late, I got stuck half on and half off. I couldn’t move in either direction.

“All set?” Rachel called.

“No. I think this table is trying to kill me!” I cried.

Rachel charged through the door to the rescue, but stopped cold when she saw me, as if she’d stumbled upon a disturbing outtake from Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom.” There went my modesty and my dignity.

Even with that little, or big, bump in the road I still think my ideas are worth pursuing. I’m even willing to provide a little free copy for the new procedures. Consider this revision of the Miranda rights.

You have the right to remain silent or at least whisper because we don’t want to disturb the people getting seaweed wraps down the hall. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law, but please tell us if you’d like a warm blanket or the new US Weekly.

You have the right to speak to an attorney and an aesthetician. If you cannot afford an attorney or an aesthetician, we have a couple gals who are great at blackhead extractions and are taking law classes at night. Plus, there’s a paralegal due here for a pedicure any minute. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you and would like another glass of cucumber water?

Really, what could go wrong?


Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at, and her blog is Radishes at Dawn at