I have to admit, I was down on my luck.  My then-girlfriend (who will remain nameless) had just dumped me, the family’s swimming pool was closed for repairs, Caprice the cat had developed a plague of dental problems, and I was feuding with my philosopher friend Morris, who had called me slow witted.  The nerve.

You might wonder how I, in such a state, happened to bump into someone as incredibly radiant as Angelina Jolie.  This is a fair question.  Angelina – or Angie, as I prefer to call her – is undoubtedly the most radiant of all humans alive.  Her busy schedule is jam packed, so chances for encounters with her are limited, unless you are an African child who has benefited from her selfless acts of charitable giving.  But back when I met Angelina, she had only made the TV movie Gia, so she wasn’t as in demand as she is nowadays.

I was in New York on holiday.  My parents had taken pity on my plight.  My mother had said to me, “Leonard, it’s time for some stress relief.”  I agreed.  So it was decided that I spend five days simply cleansing myself of all my worries with the help of shopping, spa treatment, and Broadway shows.

A rather amazing thing happened to me in New York on the first night.  I was sitting in the lounge of the hotel, sipping a dry martini, when a beautiful African-American lady sat down with me.  All memories of my nameless ex-girlfriend were banished the second this new beauty flashed me her smile.

“All along in the Big Apple?” she said.

Being fairly educated about New York, I knew the “Big Apple” was a reference to the city itself, and so I effortlessly nodded and said, “You bet I am.”

You have a poignant smile,” she continued, “As if you’re remembering something that you’re trying to forget.”

Just then, the waiter came to our table.

“For madame?” he said.

I’ll have a long island iced tea,” replied the lady, who then introduced herself to me as Charmaine.

Well, let me tell you, that night with Charmaine was one I’ll never forget.  It turned out that the poor thing had just been robbed at gunpoint in Central Park, which was bad luck in itself, but to make matters worse, she was supposed to be in Key West to visit her father who was dying of bowel cancer, but her plane ticket had been stolen along with everything else.  Crime is a scourge, I tell you.  So needless to say, I gave the girl a thousand dollars so that she could get to Key West.  Oh, we were so happy for our fleeting moment together.  She had one drink after another.  Her nerves were still shaken up from the robbery, she said.  Then – wouldn’t you know it – she said she found me irresistible.  We went up to my room and the things we did – well, I’m not going to print them in a respectable memoir such as this – but suffice to say, they were things that would have blown the mind off of a lesser mortal than me.

Not long afterwards, she said she had to get on her way to Key West.  Her father had “only hours left.”  We exchanged phone numbers and promised to stay in touch. Unfortunately, she got her number wrong, probably on account of all the drinks I’d bought for her, because when I tried calling a few days later, I was connected to the Bronx Zoo.  Weird.

Anyway, after another night at the Manhattan hotel, which will remain nameless, I started to get a nasty rash.  Clearly, the linen was unclean.  I realized then that you should never spend under three hundred dollars a night for a room.  Foolish, foolish, foolish.  I moved to the Hilton, which, to its credit, offered silk sheets.  The feel of silk against my skin is as welcome to me as the feel of a lady’s soft fingers on my thighs.

The next day, I went to a pharmacy in central Manhattan – not far from SoHo, or maybe actually in SoHo, I don’t know.  It was a huge pharmacy, and you could get anything there, from batteries to lip balm to toilet paper to Preparation H to some of the most high-end cosmetics products you can imagine, like mascara for eighty dollars. 

At this point, my rash was tormenting me like you wouldn’t believe.  I’ve had some nasty rashes in my time, especially when my legs are chafed from all the jogging I do to stay in shape, but of all the rashes I’ve ever had, this one was truly the worst.  I wouldn’t wish such a rash on a dog.  I was pacing up and down the aisles of that pharmacy, desperate to find some kind of relief.  Just then, like the music from a violin, I heard the voice of a beautiful woman.  I turned to look and it was Angelina Jolie.  I’m not kidding!

I had watched Gia and so was intimately acquainted with the beauty of Angelina Jolie, not to mention her divine physique.  I know that everyone says this sort of thing but you have to believe me when I say that Angelina in the flesh was ten times more beautiful than Angelina on the screen.  When I saw her, I felt weak in the knees.  I thought I was going to pass out and hit my head on the shelf of haemorrhoid ointments.  That’s how seriously stunned I was.

Accompanying Angelina was a woman who would have seemed very pretty in most situations, but not in this situation.  Because, of course, next to the divine Angelina, she looked as plain as a dandelion, or even a thistle. 

It became clear, in that moment, that my life was running exactly parallel to that of Angelina’s!  Her friend, just like me, was complaining about a rash!

“I thought it might be my bed,” said the friend.  “You know, like bed bugs?  My place in Greenwich Village is kinda of a dive.  But even after I got rid of the bed and everything, I still got this horrible rash, and it’s spreading.”

Angelina held up her divine finger, which seemed almost to shine, like the finger of an angel. 

“Hold on,” she said.  “Does it feel like something is crawling under your skin?”

“Yeah!” said the itchy woman.  “Jeez, it feels like that right now.”

“Is it worse at night than in the day?” Angelina asked.

“It sure is.  I’m awake most nights scratching.”

“I had another friend who had symptoms like that.  You know what it turned out to be?  Scabies.”

 “Scabies?” exclaimed the itchy woman.

“I bet you got it from that greaser you slept with a month ago,” said Angelina.

“Scabies?  Ooooh, gross!” shrieked the woman.

“What you need,” said Angelina, “Is some permethrin cream.”

And suddenly, Angelina and her friend vanished around the corner.  I thought of following them, but decided against it, because this was a medical emergency and people need privacy in a time like that.  But you know what’s amazing?  Angelina’s medical advice was completely correct.  Scabies was a condition I had suffered from many years ago as a child during a long tour of India, which, to be frank, is a country that is not all it’s cracked up to be.  Angelina’s advice to her friend in the pharmacy had jolted my memory.  Scabies – that was it!  That’s what afflicted me! 

That very same day – in the very same pharmacy as Angelina Jolie – I also purchased some permethrin cream, and wouldn’t you know it, my nasty rash went away.

So to conclude my tale, let me just say for the record, thank you, Angelina Jolie.  Thank you.