Foot Spa Anyone?
Updated: Nov 21
They were sitting at their usual table, the one right on the beach, and had been chatting to Moe about business. Oliver took a swig of beer to wash down his last slice of pizza and cleared his throat.
‘Nessie, of the events you put on, which ones get the most interest?’
‘God, the tackier they are the more people love them. The foam party is always a winner.’
‘Could we make some foam?’ Scott asked Oliver.
‘We could have a go. An old washing machine and a load of washing-up liquid might work,’ said Oliver, reaching across and collecting the pizza crusts from Scott’s plate.
Vanessa pushed her plate in his direction so that he could pick off the last remnants.
‘The key feature of said foam party is that you get to roll around all soapy on a slippery surface. Don’t think it would work quite as well on a beach.’ Said Vanessa.
‘Could sell it as a full-body exfoliation session,’ said Scott.
‘You could try. Spa treatments are actually quite popular. We have a chap who comes once a week with toe-nibbling fish, and that’s always packed.’
‘Fish foot spa pedicure is what we advertise it as.’
‘How does that work?’
Vanessa shrugged. ‘Goodness knows.’
There proceeded a burst of unintelligible noises from Oliver, accompanied by pizza crumbs. The both raised their eyebrows and waited for him to swallow the remains of their respective meals.
‘Garra rufa fish,’ he finally said, which did not make a lot more sense than the sounds he’d made with his mouth full of dry pizza.
‘Get a what a fish?’ asked Scott.
‘Garra rufa fish – it’s a toothless Turkish carp. You get your garra rufa fish, put your feet in a pool of them and they eat all the dead skin tissue off your feet.’
‘How do you even know stuff like that?’ asked Vanessa.
Oliver shrugged and grinned. ‘Read about them somewhere.’
‘My dad’s got some carp in his garden. They’re bloody huge – they could take your leg off,’ said Scott.
‘These are little lads, about an inch long if that.’
‘Would your average punter know what a garra rufa fish looked like?’
‘Probably not,’ said Vanessa.
First thing the next day saw Scott and Oliver out with their fishing nets in the shallows, scooping up as many small fish as they could find. After they had filled a couple of buckets, Oliver knocked up a sign offering: ‘Drink & Foot Spa. One thousand drachmas.’
A wise man once said you never get poor by underestimating the intelligence of the general public, and the first idiot arrived about half an hour after the sign went up. It was actually a couple of idiots, and they were deciding what to go for.
‘What d’you reckon?’
‘I think you should. We’re on holiday, love – if you fancy it, have a go.’
‘I think I will.’
‘Go on then.’
The male half of the conversation turned to Scott and said,
‘We’ll have one beer, a Diet Coke, and we’d like a foot spa please.’
‘Certainly, sir. Here you are, if you’d like to take a seat we’ll be right over.’
They took their drinks and had just sat down when Oliver appeared with a bucket in each hand. They had toyed with the idea of a getting a kids’ paddling pool, but, on the grounds that you have to walk before you can run, elected to start with a bucket for each foot.
‘Morning. Who’s for the foot spa?’ Oliver said.
‘That’s me,’ said the female half of the equation, looking uneasily at the buckets. ‘I thought you’d have some kind of tank. When I saw it on the telly, they had a tank.’
‘Ah, very unhygienic, your tank,’ said Oliver. ‘Get a load of different feet in and it becomes a breeding ground for infections. Latest research suggests you should have an individual approach and change the water each time.’
‘That makes sense, Maureen, he knows what he’s talking about, him.’
Maureen did not take a lot of convincing, and she settled a foot into each bucket.
‘Ooh, Brian, they tickle!’ she said as numerous small fish brushed against her bare feet.
‘That’s what you want. That’ll be them at work, cleaning up your skin. Right you are, I’ll just leave you there. Ten minutes should be about right,’ said Oliver. He headed back to the bar, leaving her contentedly sipping a Diet Coke with each foot in a bucket.
After ten minutes he returned.
‘You should be done now – how was that for you?’
‘Lovely,’ said Maureen. ‘Very relaxing, thank you.’
She took her feet out of the bucket and examined them with some satisfaction. In fact the only difference was that her feet felt a bit cooler, but she was happy to convince herself that her money had been well spent.
‘Look at that, Brian, my feet feel ten years younger! Hey, you don’t want to put your head in it, do you love?’
‘I could put something else in it that could do with feeling a bit younger!’
‘Ooh, Brian, you’ll make me blush,’ said Maureen, cackling. When she had finished, she turned to Oliver.
‘Thank you very much, young man, we’ll be sure to recommend you.’ And with that they headed off back to their sunbed, leaving Oliver and Scott rubbing their hands.
‘This is great!’ said Scott. ‘one thousand drachmas a pop for ten minutes, this could really change our fortunes.’
Extract from Love's Labours