“Can you imagine someone who knows that he may be living his last year?”
The enquirer was sitting in a wheelchair opposite me – a man in his late forties to early fifties, broad-shouldered, dressed informally, black hair with streaks of silver grey, intense brown eyes, clean shaven.
“How old might he be,” he went on, “and what might be the reason for his imminent departure?”
He eyed me questioningly, an enigmatic smile on his pale, handsome face.
“I believe you’re not referring to yourself,” I smiled back.
He grinned broadly and chortled, “Well, a bit of sarcasm won’t spoil the pleasure of our interaction.” He pressed one of the buttons on the arm of his wheelchair and moved closer. “Are you really sure you want this?
Now, he was staring at me intently, unblinkingly. “Let’s put it this way: Are you adamant in your decision?”
“Listen,” I said, “as long as what the ad said is correct, I am happy to go ahead.”
“Well, if you insist, I must warn you. Once the price has been named, there’s no way of repaying – you’ll have to honor the outcome no matter what. Wait a second!” He gestured at me to keep silent.
“There is one final thing that you should bear in mind. The expiration date of the… shall we say… product, depends upon the duration of your life as it has been planned for you.”
He paused, then added, “Although no one knows the EXACT time, with you, it’s going to be somewhat short – fifty four is quite an age…”
There followed a few seconds of dead silence.
“Well,” he sighed at last, “that seems to be all. So…”
I clenched my fists, breathed deeply and replied, “Name your damned price!”
“It is…” he made a brief pause, “… one year of the product in exchange for every planned five years.”
“Yes,” I shouted, “ just get on with it and be quick!”
Within moments I started to feel it working – my body no longer ached, my vision was perfect, I felt a tingling in my scalp as the hair began to re-grow. I felt younger, fit and agile again…
Watching me, a complacent look on his face, he then asked in a soft voice, “Any questions?”
I remembered what had struck me on taking a first look at him and asked, “Why the wheelchair? You are no cripple.”
The question seemed to have amused him. He stood up to his full height of nearly seven feet and, chuckling, answered, “Well, it adds empathy, doesn’t it? Anything else?”
“Yes, one last question. How many of those planned years do I have?”
This brought a sad, apologetic smile to his face as he answered, “Sorry. Only God knows.”