Author : John Logan
At 34 years old, I was in bad shape. Sixty pounds over weight and wheezing like a dying man every time I trudged up a flight of stairs. The cigarettes didn’t help. My wife, Claire, constantly nagged at me to stop. She hated the smell. I also drank heavily. I’d abused my body. I was a wreck, a biological time bomb just waiting to explode. The day of reckoning finally arrived when I dropped off Claire at her office and moments later was clutching my chest while trying to breath through the intense pain.
Somehow I survived the ordeal. Angina they told me. After recovering, my physician insisted I visit one of the New Life clinics. I took his advice and ignored the financial grumblings of my wife. That’s when my life changed drastically.
I’d always been skeptical of their ads. “Take back your life, you deserve it!” said their slogan. They promised a total body transformation. And what did I have to do? Nothing. The tech at the clinic went through the details with me, I signed the papers and the next day lumbered into their lab room where a slab of metal awaited. Next to it, a man laid completely naked and deep in slumber.
“That him?” I asked.
“Yup, your trainer, Mike, he’s the best,” said the tech. “He’ll take over your body and get you into top shape. You’ll feel like a new man, mark my words.”
He was a fine specimen, rippling torso and bulging biceps.
I mimicked Mike’s posture and lay down on my own slab while feeling self-conscious of the rolls of fat that wobbled over my unseemly gait.
“See you in six months,” said the tech and smiled.
Syringes filled with colored liquid descended and the world turned dark.
A voice beckoned me to sit up. I hunched my shoulders, expecting old pains to return. None came. My abdomen felt taut and strong as I sat up effortlessly. The room was a touch cold and for the first time I looked down at the gooseflesh skin covering my biceps. They were thick, powerful and vascular, like they’d been when I was an athlete in my teens. My breathing was steady, my mood pleasantly euphoric.
“Bad news I’m afraid,” said the tech who appraised me with a furrowed brow.
I shifted from the slab, marveling at how fluid my body moved, how light I felt with each step. “Bad news?” I laughed. “But I feel fantastic!”
The grave expression the tech returned cut short my pleasant mood. “What happened?” I asked. A feeling of apprehension began to worm its way under my skin.
“It concerns your wife.”
“Is she ok?”
The tech paused. “I’m afraid she committed suicide last night.”
“What?” I shouted and swayed slightly as though slapped in the face. “How?”
“Mike, your trainer, evaluated your lifestyle and determined that your wife was the main factor in your poor health. Five months ago, he divorced her.”
“What the hell?” I shouted louder. I heard my knuckles crack. “You can’t do that.”
The tech looked apologetic. “It’s in the contract,” he said then sighed. “Look, for what it’s worth I’m sorry for your loss but just look at you now. Mike made you his masterpiece.”
He gestured to a mirror. I turned and stared in amazement. Mike really had turned me around. “I suppose it is time to move on,” I said and my thoughts drifted to a cute twenty-something I’d had my eye on at work but never had the confidence to approach, until now.