Darcy Kindmueller got an eyebrow lift on a whim, and that went so well that she decided to get her nose shaped to go along with it.  After all, it’s not much use having trim brows if they only narrow down into a big parachute of a nose. So she got her rhinoplasty a month later and it turned out terrific.  Now she had a cute little button of a nose.  Which now did not match at all with her plump apple-y cheeks, and so she went back to Dr. Whitcomb and asked him to sculpt her some cheekbones, which he was only too happy to do.   It was a bit expensive, all this plastic surgery, but Darcy Kindmueller was a big believer in self esteem and in people doing whatever they needed to do to feel good about themselves.

Once her cheeks were finished, Darcy realized that her chin was off kilter.  Actually, her chin had always been off kilter, but because her cheeks had previously been off kilter in a similar sort of way, it had sort of all balanced out. And now she’d have to get her chin done, too.

Dr. Whitcomb recommended that Darcy wait a few weeks before she had her chin re-imagined, but Darcy wanted to get it done in enough time to recover for her trip to Brazil.  And so she convinced Dr. Whitcomb to go ahead with it, and it turned out not to be a problem.  She did, in fact, contract a minor chin infection on the plane to Brazil, so she had to go to a doctor in Brazil, who treated it with the extract of miniature plantains, which worked like a charm and you would hardly know that there had been a problem at all.

While in Brazil Darcy was exposed to a different cultural standard of beauty, one that emphasized the large ass and the deep tan and the smaller-type breasts, which technically should have made Darcy feel better about herself, but instead it reinforced her understanding that she was, in fact, an American, and so when she got back from her vacation Darcy got breast implants (size C+) and a butt reduction (gluteoplasty), and she bought some fake tan spray, got her teeth whitened, and started up a 40-month course of Invisalign retainers to make her teeth as perfect as a picket fence.

“Did you do something to your hair?” asked her husband Jerry, one night after he came home from a pool tournament.  “Something seems different, but I can’t tell what it is.”

Well she hadn’t in fact gotten anything done to her hair, but now she thought, well maybe I should, so she put herself on a list for a hair transplant.  So in three months when a donor became available, Darcy said yes to the scalp and then she was suddenly a blonde, like she had always wanted to be.  And instead of having fine, mousy brown-ish hair, now she had golden tresses that cascaded down her back and could be put up in a French braid or a loose bun or secured with chopsticks or simply let to hang loose.

This improved Darcy’s love life to the point where Jerry would wake up a half an hour early just to watch her sleep, or he would ask her out to a war movie once in a while, and during the movie sometimes he even brushed up against her with his forearm.

Then Jerry took his annual fishing trip to Alaska.  He would be gone for weeks, and Darcy thought to herself, well things are going so well, why not keep going down this path?  Why not transform myself in a way that will make me utterly irresistible to my husband?

She did some Internet research and a few days later she was headed to a specialist in Northern Scotland.  Dr. McFraybinch.  She could not understand a word that he said, but she understood from his wild gesticulations and his enthusiastic tone of voice that she would be an excellent candidate for the surgery.  So she signed a series of documents and handed over a heavy satchel of Scottish money, and she laid down and inhaled the general anesthetic.

The surgery took 72 hours and the recovery 4 days but that was still enough time.  Dr. McFraybinch checked on his patient, and when she was ready he packed her in ice and sent her home on a special plane.

Darcy arrived home at the same time Jerry was unloading the car from his fishing trip.  Jerry noticed the box on his front stoop with curiosity.   He was pretty sure he didn’t know anybody in Scotland.  Jerry opened the box and was puzzled to find a single salmon in there, packed expertly in ice.  The fish seemed to look at him with its eye

“Hello,” said Darcy, or tried to say, as her new lips and jaw were proving difficult to operate. “How do I look?” she tried to say.  “Notice anything different?”

Jerry was astonished to see the fish move.  “This must be a fish I forgot to take home with me,” thought Jerry. ” Kent and Barry must be playing a trick with me with this Scotland thing,” he thought. And he noticed how beautiful and shiny its scales were, the lovely line of how its back tapered down into the fin.

The fish jumped.  It was almost like it was trying to leap into his lap.

“I bet it’s fresh,” thought Jerry.  “I’d better get to this one tonight,” he thought, and he packed it back up and brought it inside.  Darcy was not home.  He wasn’t sure where she was, but one thing she would like, thought Jerry, was if, when she came home, there was a nice fish meal waiting for her.  He would serve it simply, with a little lemon and butter.  And if there was asparagus in the fridge like there usually was, he’d cook that up, too.

Jerry went into the house with the box and closed the door.

Two days later the phone rang. It was Darcy’s boss Steve, wondering when she was going to come back to work.