Every woman deserved to feel beautiful, that was Henry’s strong belief.  For too long, the world of plastic surgery and artificial enhancements had only been the realm of the wealthy and elite.  Why should they be the only ones to be ageless and stunning?  All of those trophy wives and  socialites, with their huge baubles gracing their gnarled fingers and droopy necks, desperate to look 25 again.  What about the rest of the population?  The working-class women.  Women who were customer service reps and secretaries and retail managers and harried stay-at-home moms?  He saw these women all the time in his old life.  Women who were self-conscious about the fact that their looks (and certain body parts) had gone south, deluding themselves into thinking drugstore creams and elixirs would do anything to change it.  He was always noticed them, but back then they would have never been able to afford him.  Now they could.

These women crowded the dilapidated waiting room of his new office on the wrong side of town, where he worked nearly around the clock.  These women didn’t balk when his assistant told them that all payments had to made upfront and in cash.  They didn’t ask questions.  They didn’t dig.  If they had they would have learned that he left Miami in disgrace after losing his medical license, barely escaping prosecution, broke from paying restitution and legal fees.  They would have learned that there were women in southern Florida, hiding behind walls and dark curtains, whose faces would never quite look human again.  And that they blamed him.  All because he’d decided to switch out the usual brand of Botox he kept stocked in his office for what a salesman claimed was a much cheaper, and very effective, substitute.  He’d planned to hike up his prices and buy a beachfront property he’d been eyeing on Star Island.  How was he to know about the side effects?

None of that mattered anymore.  He stared out at the dark waiting room, all of those desperate women looking back at him, praying that they would be called next.  Some had been there for hours, waiting for him to make them beautiful.  He was their savior.


For the Story A Day prompt – Inspired By Real Events.

This news story was one of my inspirations, but there are many others.


7 thoughts on “Elixir

  1. I couldn’t get to the ‘real story’ you referred to in your link it didn’t work. But what you write is terribly scary. If you’ve seen the Catwoman movie with Hally Berry in it, it has a storyline very similar. Cat women’s nemesis invents a facial cream that literally gives women flawless skin, like marble. But they have to keep using this expensive cream or there are dire consequences.

    Your story makes me afraid there are people actually do this to women desperate to be young again, infecting them with poison really, and leaving the, more miserable than before.

    Great piece!

    1. Sorry about the link. I haven’t seem Catwoman but it’s sad to think that something like this could actually happen, playing on people’s insecurities. Thanks!

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