“Honey, I’m home!” Fred Bakelite was in his late forties, tennis fit and looked young for his age. His polyester leopard-skin suit was still immaculate, even after a hard day at DuBridge Industries. “Where aaaarrree yoooouu, sweety?”
“Right here, light of my life, floater of my boat, churner of my butter.” Margeret Bakelite kissed her husband tenderly on the lips. They wrapped their arms around each other, stood cheek-to-cheek awhile, sighed, then split apart, she to the kitchen and he to the drinks cabinet.
“How was your day?” she called from the kitchen.
“Not Bad,” he replied. “That Barney Nylon dropped the ball on the PolySyne contract. I’ll probably get the promotion when old Yurethane kicks the bucket. It’ll mean a big increase.”
“Wonderful. Did you have your medical?”
“Oh yes, I forgot to mention. I’ve got the body of a twenty year old except for bowel cancer. Doc Multistix says I must have an immediate operation or it’ll spread and kill me. Well, you know what a sceptic I am, I did my own research and you know what? I can easily be cured! Without an operation!”
Margeret came rushing through from the kitchen. “What are you talking about? Good grief Fred, this is the time to take expert opinion and to hell with these weird ideas of yours!” Her gorgeous green eyes were humid with concern.
“Ha ha,” Fred laughed. “I understand you’re worried about me, you silly thing, but just look at this.” He whipped open his briefcase and extracted a thick folder. “Look, I printed this out to show you and that old fool Multistix. There’s this woman from Germany, her name’s Johanna Budwig. She’s been nominated for the Nobel Prize six times! Actually some of the sites I got from Google show she’s been nominated nine times. She has this treatment for cancer that is just cottage cheese and flax seed oil. It has a 100% success rate!”
Margeret looked doubtful. She took the folder from Fred and perused it, biting her lips.
“I thought nominations for the Nobel Prize were secret. How does anyone know who was nominated, or how many times?”
“Well, I don’t know. The people who put these sites up are probably on the committee. They’d know, obviously. Why don’t they come up with the same answer? I don’t know, how could I? This is just typical of you—tryng to shoot down my every idea. You really aren’t being very supportive at a hard time for me.”
“Oh, Fred, you know perfectly well I’m not trying to be nasty. It’s just that if this was really a cure for cancer, wouldn’t everyone have heard of it? Wouldn’t she actually have been awarded the Nobel Prize instead of just being nominated for it?”
Fred sighed. “Well, that’s what people would say. As you can see from this document here, the reason she hasn’t had the recognition she deserves is that the big pharmaceutical companies are making too much money selling standard chemotherapy drugs to allow this simple cure to become known. The ingredients are not patentable, therefore no one can make money from them.”
“What’s flax seed oil?”
Fred grinned. “I thought you might ask that, so I got some.” He reached into a pocket in his brief case and produced a small blue bottle with what appeared to be a ghost depicted thereon. He unscrewed the cap and wafted it under Margeret’s nose. “Ring any bells?” Fred asked, his head bobbing idiotically in anticipation.
“Oh. My. God. You’re mad. Now I know it. I haven’t smelt that since our schooldays. How many years ago? Yes, that day you shagged me in the pavilion. I was only fifteen you bastard. What’s that thing?” She indicated a thin folder in Fred’s open briefcase.
“Oh. That’s a life insurance policy I took out months ago. I’ve been meaning to give it to you for filing. You’re the beneficiary, obviously, it’s for two million bucks. Thanks to Johanna you won’t be collecting. ”
“I’ll take it in any case and put it away. I’ll be off to bed. Enjoy your cottage cheese and cricket bat oil. See you later.”
There was a small smile on her face and a wicked gleam in her eye as she left the room.
Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.