Hello Readers, Writers, and Friends,
Summer has arrived here in Arizona. This usually means obscenely high temperatures and a large portion of the migratory wildlife going north. But oddly enough we’ve barely crested the hundreds, and I saw a pair of Canadian geese parents with their darling trio of goslings wandering around my mother’s neighborhood the other day. While I understand climate change means scary things in some places, if it means lower temps and more happy critter families in AZ, I’ll take it.
This is going up a little later than usual because I decided to take the percentage of my kids that are home with me to a movie. Sometimes the kids have to come first. So improv-ing a little fiction had to wait, but here it is.
Today’s flash fiction prompts are pulled from The Storymatic, a delightful game for authors and others and they are: “do-it-yourselfer” and “bid for immortality.” Should be fun.
When Maddock started his n=1 biohacking business his wife had concerns. Sure she thought it was great that she had a husband who was conscientious about his health. It was fun seeing what all the new trends were, and trying the latest biotech. And it was mostly free since the companies wanted someone like Maddock hawking their products.
But there was always the possibility that something new to the market was untried and tested. That it could do some kind of damage. So she read everything she could. All the tables, all the ingredients, all the reviews she could get her hands on. She became a kind of safety officer of their company as Maddock’s blog took off and then his socials blew up.
He was obsessed with bringing the most living to life for all of his fans and followers. And she was there to make sure he didn’t land himself in the hospital by over stimulating some organ with light therapy or seriously screw up his hormones in a bid to build more muscle in his late thirties than ever before.
And she was good at it. She had a gorgeous husband and a beautiful home and a purpose of helping him help others. The messages of thanks from people who had completely turned their health, their lives around felt just much her doing as his. He couldn’t do it without her. He told her that nearly every day.
So it came as quite a shock one day when she realized that what she should have been protecting Maddock from along was himself.
He was always tinkering with something around the house, and he was always finding ways to improve whatever gadget or new regimen he was on. He’d been working on that sauna forever. He’d mentioned little things about how there had to be a way to crack the aging problem. That’s what he always called it, The Aging Problem.
He started filming himself sitting in the sauna. But he was always filming something.
He starting doing more blood work than usual. Which is saying something.
And he stopped being as obsessed with his online community.
He missed consultations with clients.
She got worried.
When she asked him about it all he said he was sorry but that he was working on something really transformative. And she trusted him. He would chill out soon once he’d cracked this bone he was gnawing away on.
When she found him passed out on the floor of the sauna she pulled him out and called 911. They said it was just heat exhaustion from being in there too long, but that he should be more careful.
She knew better. She knew Maddock understood the dangers of being in there too long. She knew it wasn’t a mistake.
Once he came around he seemed fine. Better than fine. He was excited, running tests, saying things like, “So close. I’m so close.”
It was only when she opened the video files while he was out on a run one day that she figured out what he was up to.
“Ok, this is my first session in my immortality box. We’ll come up with a better name later.”
“Not seeing the markers changing that I want so I’m going to extend the time to twenty minutes. Probably go up to three times a week.”
“My telomeres are looking great. I feel really awesome, like late twenties awesome. I’m going to up it to thirty minutes.”
The entry of him sitting in his jacked up sauna the day they had to pull him out was over an hour and a half. He could have died. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe he had done it, whatever it was, put a pin in the aging process. But she didn’t care. She wasn’t about to let him risk himself and her and their careers on this nutty pursuit.
She wanted to grow old him. Just like they’d promised on their wedding.
That is why my client moved the sauna out of the garage and set it on fire, your honor.
As always feel free to post your own riff on today’s prompts in the comments below, or link to where we can find you. Enjoy your weekend.