Current Occupation: Writer & Personal Chef
Former Occupation: Jack(ass) of all Trades
Contact Information: Shay Belisle is originally from Maui, Hawaii where she grew up eating mangoes and bathing in an outdoor bathtub in a ginger thicket. She has traveled much of the world and juggled a bazillion jobs. She currently works as a personal chef and is on the brink of obtaining her MFA in Writing from Mills College. Her work has been published in various literary journals including Generations Literary Journal, Forty Ounce Bachelors, The Writing Disorder, Write From Wrong, MOJO & Mikrokosmos.
One morning I showed up to work at the Beverly Hills home where I worked as the personal chef for a woman named Cat Carmichael. I found Cat in bed, drugged out with tissue hanging out of her bloody, newly restructured nose and purple bruises growing under her eyes.
“Sweedie, does my dose look bedder?” Cat asked. She pulled the tissue out of her swollen nose and then dabbed her bloody nostrils with the Kleenex.
“It’s kinda hard to tell right now,” I answered, handing her a glass of water and the bottle of painkillers that she’s pointing at. “Does it hurt?”
“It was worse last time,” she said, popping two big, white pills into her mouth, taking a sip from the glass, mumbling about wanting eggs on toast with lots of butter, and then quickly dozing off into a drug-induced slumber.
I picked up the Chanel print sandals she had flung off and made my way across the room to the walk-in closet. As I opened the double doors and flipped on the light switch, perfectly folded Cashmere sweaters and the colorful symphony of couture gowns hanging from matching wooden hangers greeted me. I searched the rows of clear plastic boxes filled with, what I’d estimated was a total of about a half-million dollars worth of Jimmy Choo stilettos, knee-high Gucci boots, Prada ballet flats, and much much more. Each shoebox was decorated with a Polaroid picture of the shoe it contained as well as a label-maker label stating the brand and style below. I’d spent the majority of the previous week on this “shoe protection/organization project” and couldn’t help feeling a little proud of it. Going into it, I was clueless about shoes (only owning about 5 pairs myself) and had been lightly scolded for labeling Gucci mules “black shoes.” Cat had given me a brief tutorial on how to differentiate sandals from heels and loafers from mules. To me, mules were pack animals; I had no idea they could cost $500 and come in mauve alligator print.
Although I was supposed to be working primarily as Cat’s personal chef, she rarely ate. When she did eat, it was usually eggs cooked in a stick of butter with dry toast and black coffee. This took me about twenty minutes to make so I had to get creative. I needed a job and Cat paid thirty dollars an hour so I tried to make myself useful organizing her shoes, dropping off the dry cleaning, getting her cars washed, or carrying her bags as she shopped around Rodeo Drive. Mostly, I think that Cat kept me around because no one else would listen to her self-inflicted drama bullshit. She had tons of money, a handful of beautiful homes, three horses, a Range Rover, a Porche and a brand new Lexus that parked itself when you pushed a button, at least fifty designer bags and 100 pairs of shoes, a sugar daddy boyfriend in his 60’s, a boy toy in his 20’s and a brand new nose! But, even with all this, she whined constantly in her squeaky baby voice about how her son hated her because she’d slept with his drummer/best friend, that her boyfriend refused to leave his wife because she was anorexic and couldn’t survive on her own, that the $20,000 a month alimony checks Cat was getting from her ex-husband just were covering it (“Fucking cheap bastard”) or that her plastic surgeon had done a botched job on her most recent nose. She woke up every morning and popped an Adderall to get her going, spent most of her day complaining to me about how miserable she was, and, by five pm, she was working on her second glass of Kettle One vodka with coconut water on ice. Then she popped a Xanax and passed out.