“Are you ready?” The voice from behind the curtain had a lilt to it, as if the question were a walk and the speaker were taking a step backward. An Asian accent with a touch of Queens.

“Um, sure.” Tim O’Connell nodded, though alone in the small room. He lay prone on the table, covered by only a thin towel, his clothes folded and piled neatly in the corner like a ream of paper. Going to a masseuse had been his girlfriend’s idea, after the second flare-up of what was turning into a back problem. A graphic designer, Monica Stevens went to yoga classes and understood the need for physical manipulation.