Short Story
                           The Solution
                                          
By Alison Wencek


  “Come quickly!  It’s on TV now.”

  Stefania Laslo, a young attractive brunette, speaking with the hint of an
accent, waved her hands wildly and motioned the other guests to come into
the mahogany-paneled salon.  

  “Here it is!  Here it is!” she shouted.  

  The well-known face of broadcast journalist Julia Crowell, anchor of the
nightly WNN news, was announcing the segment everyone had been waiting
for.  The broadcast cut to a local newsperson, Latisha Jamison, standing in a
room of stark white.  In the background several people in white lab coats were
scurrying around like mice in a maze.  

  “Pond Pharmaceuticals announced today that they have perfected a new
youth serum that will be placed on the market in the next six months, pending
FDA approval.  The serum, known as U-Th, when injected can cause gradual
changes in body chemistry thereby turning back the clock and making a
person younger not only in body, but in mind.  Pond scientists claim that this
drug can regenerate certain body parts that have either been damaged or
removed due to old age or disease.  It remains to be seen whether there will
be any side effects.  Testing is still in progress, but a spokesperson for Pond
states that it will be available to the public in six months.  The cost for each
injection is yet to be determined, Back to you, Julia!”

  The cheers from the salon were deafening, as all eyes turned toward the
grinning gentleman sitting quietly in the large russet leather chair in the back
of the room.  A husky, yet perfectly proportioned man, Junius Pond, CEO and
owner of Pond Pharmaceuticals, cut quite a handsome figure.  As he stood
up, an illegal Cuban stogie between two huge fingers, all the women heaved
a sigh.  Although they and their husbands had known Junius for many years,
he still was able to make women swoon.  Men were not immune to his charms
either, as he had a gift for persuasion that few people could turn down.  In
essence, what Junius wanted, Junius got.

  As he stood up to acknowledge the crowd, he glanced with disdain at his
wife of 30 years, Eugenie Griswold Pond.

  Eugenie looked vacantly at her husband, wondering why he even took the
time to glance at her.  In the last 15 years his days and nights were spent
either at one of his pharmaceutical
plants or bedding some buxom beauty.  She was his wife in name only, and
the years of neglect had taken a toll on her body and mind.

  As she watched her husband work the crowd like a carnival barker, she felt
lonelier than ever.  But being the dutiful wife, she began to mingle with the
worshippers, eventually taking her place by his side.

  “A toast to Junius and Genie!” cried the company’s CFO, Jonathan
Harwood.  “May this new discovery benefit the world…and make us all a hell
of a lot of money!”

  “Here, here!” shouted the crowd, as glasses of Dom Perignon were lifted.

  “I thank you all for the many hours of blood, sweat and tears that have
brought us to this day,” said Junius.  “But most of all I wish to thank my
assistant, Stefania Laslo, for her many long hours.”

  The men began to snicker quietly, knowing that the long hours were spent
in Junius’ private suite at the Hartford working on “special projects.”  It was
common knowledge that Stefania had not been hired for her scientific
knowledge, of which she had little, but for her indulgence in the pleasures of
the flesh.  And no one knew it more than Genie.

  Genie started to take Junius’ arm, but he brushed her away like a pesky fly,
and walked over to his assistant.  Giving her a hug and whispering into her
ear, he escorted Stefania into the dining room, leaving Genie to walk alone.  
The guests followed, a few chattering quietly about the types of special
projects that might be worked on later that evening at the Hartford.

  Genie’s embarrassment was too much to bear.  She left the salon for the
sanctuary of her bedroom.  After closing the gilded door behind her, Genie
fell to the floor in hysteria, wondering why she continued to take such abuse
from her husband.  As her tears dampened the carpet, she pounded the floor
vehemently yelling, “How can he do this to me!”

  Suddenly, she rose to her knees, eyes wide with expectation.

  “Maybe if I use the new drug, I will become young and beautiful and he will
love me again!” she exclaimed.

  Genie quickly dressed in jeans, blouse and ballet slippers and quietly
slipped out the back of the mansion.  She drove her silver Audi to the plant in
Daysville parking close to the service entrance.  As she slipped her key into
the lock, her heart was racing, thinking of Junius making love to her again.

  The staff had been given the night off due to the broadcast, and the rooms
were eerily silent.  She ran to the laboratory and searched the glass-fronted
cabinets for the serum, finding a vial labeled “U-Th” in the last cabinet near
the window.  Opening the door, she grabbed the vial, ducking under the
window in case a security guard was walking outside.  As she turned to leave,
she felt an emotion almost forgotten to her…hope.

  Upon returning, Genie ran up the stairs to her bedroom breathless with
anticipation.  Taking a syringe from the nightstand that held her diabetic
supplies, she drew a small amount of serum into it, injecting it into her arm.  
Dizziness overcame her; she lay on her bed, her mind reeling with faraway
memories of happiness.  Sleep came quickly.                        

  Genie awoke the next day feeling like a new woman.  Had the serum
worked, she thought?  Arising from her bed, she stood before the floor-length
mirror at its foot.  Her visage shocked her, as she began to caress her newly
supple body.  She carefully dressed and made sure her makeup was perfect.  
When Junius came home, she would be ready.

  Around four p.m., Junius blasted through the front door in haste.  Genie
was there to meet him.

  “Darling,” she cooed, “How do I look?”

  Junius was taken aback.  “What did you do?”

  “I used some of your serum, dear.  Now we can be husband and wife like we
used to.  You won’t need to have all those other women in your life.”

  “It’s much too late for that, Eugenie,” he said coldly.  “I haven’t loved you or
wanted you for many years.  You are a pathetic and disgusting old woman.  I’
m leaving you and flying to Europe with Stefania tonight.

  Horrified, she ran to him, beating her fists upon his chest.

  “You can’t leave me!”

  “You think you are going to stop me, he said condescendingly, as he
rushed up the main staircase, two steps at a time.  “I’m packing a bag and my
attorney will contact you in the
morning.”                                                                                        
  Genie felt her life draining from her body.  As Junius went to his room to
shower and pack, she ran to her bedroom.  With trembling hands, she filled a
syringe with the remainder of the serum.  Her mind was consumed with
vengeance as she stormed into Junius’ room, grabbing him before he
entered the shower.

  “You bastard!” she screamed.  “I used only a little of your precious serum.  
Let’s see what a lot will do!

  She charged at her husband, stabbed the needle completely into his
forearm, and released the serum into his body.

  “Oh, my God!  Genie!  What have you done?”

  She stood awestruck, watching as the love of her life grew younger and
younger as he frantically ran back into the bedroom.  She again saw the man
she had loved in his 40s…30s…20s.  How handsome he was, she thought.

  But wait.  It wasn’t stopping!

  Her eyes widened in disbelief as Junius became a teenager, then a child.  It
was then that Genie’s mind snapped.  She fell to the floor, mouth agape in a
silent scream.  Death came quickly.  

  The scene found by the police was unspeakable.  The lifeless body of
Eugenie Griswold Pond lay upon the floor with her lips pulled back in a
sardonic grin and her eyes bulging like overripe grapes about the pop.  Next
to her was a bulbous, throbbing mass of flesh and placenta.  The coroner
ruled that she had aborted a son, but no one could explain the Cuban stogie
floating in the surrounding pool of blood.        
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About Alison Wencek

I began writing in the
poetry genre about 20
years ago and have
had several
published, one of
which was selected as
an Editor's Selection
in an anthology with
the International
Library of Poetry.
About ten years ago, I
began writing short
stories and have a
few chapters
completed for an
upcoming novel.