James is stopped at a light on his prized “hawg” and sees a robust white woman at the bus stop that looked a little more than winded. She was an older woman and he could see the pain in her eyes as they steadily got bigger. She dramatically clutched at her chest. Her mouth widening into a miserable looking grimace as her heavy uncomfortable frame toppled onto the concrete, below the large map of the bus routes on the shelter wall. A couple of do-gooder patrons tried to help her but he could see by the panic in their eyes that she most likely wasn’t going to make it.
Man, thought James. That poor woman didn’t have a chance. He would be willing to bet that now she wished she could go back and do it again. Maybe the second time around she would choose to be a little healthier. The light turned green and he drove off, already starting to think about this new rejuvenating potion they were trying to concoct. If it worked, it would stop things like that from happening. If James had believed in superstition he might have crossed his fingers, or knocked on wood at that moment.
Having the formula finished was going to be unbelievable. With all the good it could do for the planet, it could change everybody’s mind about sickness. Hell, nobody would ever have to be sick again. If Rick could get this formula working by getting these nanobots to be able to access the memory cortex, then the body theoretically should heal from all sorts of things. Even things it had developed later on in that beings life should be able to be set right, from things such as diseases to even viruses. Other mutations from their sick bodies should theoretically be able to be reversed so that there were only healthy normal cells. That kind of thing would be a complete game changer!
As he rides and thinks about the possibilities, the wind was blowing against his face as his motor purred beneath him. His short thick hair blowing back reminding him he was trying to grow his hair out a bit. As he rides, he sees people around who could definitely use some help with themselves. He saw a couple of older homeless men smoking and chatting, one of whom laughed a lot like his grandfather, in that raspy smokers way. Just in the seconds as he was driving by, the guy would take a drag off of a cigarette; then he would get about three chuckles in before clutching his chest. Then he coughed harder, the whole thing looking like it made him awfully lightheaded.
There were older folks who looked like every move they made sent red hot rockets coursing through their bones, hitting every cell in their bodies along the way. There were the sickly and extremely weak looking types of people, who made it seem as if death might actually be a relief for them. If this formula could be worked out and come through like they were hoping, it would certainly change all of that!
It was beginning to baffle him how many different types of people seemed to need this than he ever thought there was before. He saw obese people that were so big, they couldn’t even walk anymore. They would be riding around in a chair that James had a hard time figuring out whether it wouldn’t have hurt just as bad trying to squeeze into than just to walk where they were going. Then there were their counterparts, the super gaunt. More than likely, neither one of these types of people felt healthy as they were. Today seems very introspective for him, this new idea had so many facets to it there was a lot of difficulty making complete sense of what really might happen if it is successful. James pondered about this all the way home.
“Tommy! Get down here and eat breakfast.” His mother Lauren yelled upstairs to him. He was certainly taking his time getting ready for school this morning. Just yelling like that threw a sharp pain into her chest that made her want to fall to her knees, begging for a quick ending. She handled it just like any other morning, since it had been a problem for a few years now she was pretty much used to it. It didn’t help that Tommy was irrationally hyper, like any six year old may be. Thank God he had grown out of his run away from her in the store phase. He popped into that one day out of nowhere.
“I’m coming!” He yelled back with a look of impatience only a six year old could muster for their mothers.
She could hear him stomping around and could easily picture what was going on. He was probably sitting there with one sock fully on, one sock bunched up and almost wrinkled to his toes, and only one boot on because he was never the best at taking his boots off in the same spot let alone remembering where he had taken them off last.
“It’s under your bed” she yelled up.
“What?” He yelled back. “Oh, got it… thanks mom!”
She smiled amusedly, she knew she was right.
Tommy came down the stairs and she almost had to stop herself from laughing.
“Oh my, look at my big man, all grown up.”
He smiled and said “Mom I’m already grown up, I got dressed didn’t I?”
She looked at his ruffled shirt that he had actually put on inside out with the tag poking out the front and his mismatched dirty pants from his school art class the other day.
“Honey”, she said. “I need you to come upstairs with me and let’s pick out another pair of pants, and while we’re at it, I’ll help you fix your shirt.”
He rolled his eyes and sighed with an added throat sound similar to clearing phlegm.
“Mom,” he said with a rolling of his eyes. “I thought you were telling me to hurry so I rushed for you and now you’re making me late! Come on.”
“No arguments!” She said. “March, back up those steps!”
She smiled and gently pushed on his back to set him in motion. He lugged what had now become his severely tired body with tremendous reluctant effort and the posture of a 97 year old man back upstairs.
She had a doctor’s appointment after she dropped him off at school and was worried that the doctor didn’t have good news for her. She had become increasingly weak and the pain in her chest had become increasingly more agonizing lately. She couldn’t count the times she had woken up clutching her chest from a horrible nightmare of being squeezed to death by what must have been an enormous snake.
No sooner than she had woken up each time than she could feel the gripping pain as if she had brought the dream into reality like some Nightmare on Elm Street movie. She hoped for better from the doctor, but she feared the worst.
She got Tommy ready and got him out the door for school. She couldn’t help but wonder if she would be here for him next year. All of a sudden she leaned over and gave him a hug, which to him was uncomfortably long.
“Okay mom, I love you too but I don’t want to smell like a girl when I’m at school… Pauly Perfume got that name from his mom hugging him and making him smell like a girl.”
She laughed. “I just wanted to hug you because I love you.”
“I love you too.” He said noticeably turning redder by the second.
She watched him walk inside the front doors of the school before she put the car in drive and left for her appointment.
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Mark Lopez (Creator)
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