Author: Rick Tobin

Baylen continued with standard disease treatment questions for applicants, after verifying Sheila Barston’s financial capabilities. Baylen took on a wizened senior’s appearance for his younger, highly spirited clientele needing a thimble full of respect to buffer their anticipation. His holographic medical attending room was pleasant under a soft, blue simulated light at the same seventy-two degrees found throughout the space station.

“Please, only a few more inquiries before we schedule, Sheila. I realize this may seem an exciting opportunity, but it does require absolute assurance that we can match you with a condition, disorder or disease that truly meets your requirements. I understand this was a gift from friends for your upcoming birthday. Congratulations on reaching middle age, at least as we define it now. With continuing medical breakthroughs, ninety is just the new one-hundred.” Baylen’s added levity escaped his nervous client. Sheila’s fingers raced up and down selections of mortifying illnesses and discomforts from a floating digital display of the ship’s clinic menu.

“We only get to choose once in a lifetime…just one wish. It has to be the right one. Everyone talks about their experiences at our club. I’m the last to visit you. Oh, those long shudders about diphtheria, dysentery, malaria…and of course, the Black Plague. You know I’d pick that one, Dr. Baylen, but it is outside my price range. There is such emptiness in my life, I mean, to be interesting. Everything is so dull without these retro-adventures. And you assure that it is perfectly safe? Really safe?”

Sheila leaned her firm, healthy figure over the doctor’s desk, exposing her perky, bouncing octogenarian breasts through her flimsy silk jumpsuit. Her display distracted Baylen.

“Please, Miss Barston. That’s hardly appropriate. I’m over two hundred but I’m still alive. You needn’t be frisky to make a point. Of course, you will suffer, but only the memory will remain when we remove the disorder.”

“Well I just wondered,” she replied, sitting back in her overstuffed red chair. A brief frown rolled over her face before she returned to her assortment.

“There is a new item we haven’t posted yet that might just be the right fit for you. Only a few have signed up for this experience so I’m sure you would be a centerpiece of interest at whatever soirée you attended afterward.”

“Oh, could you? That sounds simply exciting. Can I afford it?”

“For you, Sheila, I’ll reduce the price for your birthday. How’s that?”

“Wonderful! Wonderful! Oh, I could just kiss you, Doctor.”

“No need, Sheila. Just follow the attendant. It will be a ten-day experience. You’ll be sharing a space with five males and one female through this process so you can agonize together. Of course, your entire exploit will be recorded in living overview so you can recall it in excruciating detail for decades.”

“I’m so excited. I’ll just never forget this.” Sheila danced to the artificial doorway and into an awaiting attendant’s direction.

Dr. Baylen’s nurse appeared in front of him. Her dry voice crackled from her hologram.

“Are you sure of your assessment, Doctor? She didn’t ask about the choice.”

“Yes, Helen, I’m sure it will fit her. I can’t believe five brothers from Ceres all signed at once. We must be overbooking. I think it’s time for retirement. I heard Alice Cringly got into this mix because she sued over her disappointing measles jaunt. She should be a terrific companion for Sheila as those seven go through condensed puberty. ”