watching them talk, completing each otherâs sentences, each knowing exactly when to break in on the other. And they make these rehearsed yoga jokes that arenât really jokes and draw on the most obvious clichÃ©s, but which they seem to find consistently amusing.
Sinew: We all know whatâs been going on in the country for the last few years in terms of yoga, right?
Fireplug: Up, up, up, dog.
Sinew: Yeah, exactly, Chuck. Good one.
Fireplug: And the thing is, the demand is getting so big, the smaller studios . . .
Sinew: . . . which have always been the core ( patting taut abs ) of the industry . . .
Industry? Lee thinks . Really?
Fireplug: . . . canât handle the volume.
Sinew: Not to mention the expectations, especially in a place like L.A.
Fireplug: People want more than a class. What they want now is ...
Sinew: . . . a complete experience.
He says this last word in a fake reverential whisper, as if heâs just revealed the secret of life, and that makes Lee wish sheâd never let them in the front door. Theyâre probably reasonable guys, and theyâre just doing their jobs, but thereâs something about their smarmy and rehearsed presentation that reminds Lee of a Mary Kay demonstration a friend invited her to years ago. They go on for a few more minutes, making a case for themselves and the beauty of what amounts to one more corporate takeover. There are multiple references to Zhannette (they spell it!) and Frank, apparently the owners. She reminds herself that being a purist isnât going to help get the twins into a decent school, and it isnât going to make Alan feel any more appreciated or less overloaded.
Alan seems to have run out of the ability to listen to these guys any longer, and for the first time in weeks, she feels as if the two of them are truly in sync. Maybe it was a good thing to invite these two in.
âSo how much are you offering for the studio?â Alan asks.
Sinew and Fireplug grind to a sudden halt and look at each other. This, apparently, was not on their script.
âWeâre not interested in the studio,â Fireplug says. âNot one of the YogaHappens Experience Centers is under eight thousand square feet.â
âIâm not so sure, Chuck. I think the studio in Santa Monica is only six thousand.â
âCould be right. What do I know? Iâm just the finance guy.â
âWhat Zhannette and Frank are interested in,â Sinew says, âis you, Lee. And you , Alan. What we want . . .â
â. . . is to offer you an exclusive contract.â
Sinew: And you might have heard . . .
Fireplug: . . . that Zhannette and Frank insist that everyone at YogaHappens is very well paid.
Sinew: Itâs not about their own profits.
Without turning or moving, without even seeing him, Lee can feel Alan stiffening on the sofa beside him.
âBut before we get into the details,â Fireplug says, âwe want to discuss some of the information you gave us. Youâve got some mighty eccentric bookkeeping there, Lee.â
K atherine first came to Leeâs studio two years ago and started renting her massage room a year after that. While she loves the feeling of the place and the way she feels when she walks in the doorâa little protected from the harsher realities of the worldâsheâs lost her ability to actually see it. Which is one of the bonuses of bringing Conor in; seeing it through his eyes, itâs almost as if sheâs looking at it for the first time.
In its previous incarnation, the building was the showroom of a rug dealer. There was lots of open floor space when Lee and Alan bought the storefrontâback in the days when Silver Lake was affordable and Alan had sold a song to a movieâand most of it was carpeted. Lee and Alan took it all up (Katherineâs seen the before and after photos), revealing hardwood, which Alan refinished. Why he doesnât settle into