As promised, I set out to research the best way to make the miracle fruit available to the masses. I knew that something with healing properties such as these would be needed by many people and we would need a way to publicize the plant’s existence.
Soon my research brought me to a local company that had experience in both publicity and research. Collier Enterprises was known as the name behind some of the biggest medical developments in the country for many years and I knew that they would be able to bring my discovery to as many people as possible.
I have talked to them on the phone and Lionel Collier agreed to meet with me and discuss the possibility of working together. From what I gathered, he was a well-respected businessman who preferred to do business personally and always met with the people he made any agreements with.
On the day of our meeting, both Lionel Collier and his wife Selma were meeting with me.
“Mr. Meadows, correct?” Lionel Collier greeted me, warmly but professionally. “I’m glad we have finally met. As I understood over the phone, you have discovered a plant that has miracle healing properties. How certain is that?”
“It is nice to meet you as well, Mr. Collier. And it is pretty certain that the plant has healing properties. It cured cancer. Of course, so far it has only been tried on one person, but that is why I contacted you. I’ve done my research also—its cells seem to have retroactive properties on ill cells, causing most pathogens to either disappear completely or significantly diminish.” I showed Lionel Collier my typed up preliminary findings on the plant. He looked it over, with increasing interest. “My wife and I have thought it over and we believe that there are plenty out there who need this fruit to beat their own diseases. So we want to make the discovery known to more people. And I can’t do that alone from my house,” I explained.
“That sounds like a wonderful idea,” chimed in Selma Collier with a friendly smile.
“It does indeed, dear. And that is what our company is all about. We have been leaders in medical and scientific developments for many years and if there is a plant that can cure cancer– that is a goldmine. Of course, Mr. Meadows, we have yet to discuss the monetary aspect of the issue. Once we have fully researched the plant’s properties, we can determine how to market it to bring in proper revenue, of course,” Lionel continued.
“But the plant will be available to people, mostly, right? That is what I intended by making knowledge of it public,” I clarified.
“Mr. Meadows, just from hearing your description of the plant and seeing your preliminary studies, it is obvious to me that what you have on your hands, is a plant that can turn the medical world around its axis. Do you know how long scientists have been trying to find something like this? For ages!” Lionel Collier’s face became more animated than I believed to be possible. His wife just smiled, like it wasn’t her first time seeing her husband like this.
“He is right, Mr. Meadows,” she explained. “Such a plant is worth a lot to the medical community. It would be a travesty to believe that any treatment containing it would be cheap to buy. And why should it be? If it can save lives, like you say, it is quite a pricy plant.”
I felt a headache start somewhere behind my eyes. This wasn’t something either Celeste or I planned. I knew for a fact Celeste wanted the miracle plant to be easily available to people who needed it. So did I. What the Colliers were proposing would make this life plant just another unattainable dream for most people who couldn’t afford it.
“So, what do you say?” urged Lionel Collier. “When do we begin working together?”
“Well, it is a big decision, what you’re proposing. I need some time to think things through, if you don’t mind. May I call you later in the week?” I was really buying time. I knew Celeste wouldn’t agree to this and I knew now that working with a big medical research company would not accomplish the fair distribution of the cure to people who needed it.
“Of course, Mr. Meadows. Just call me back within a week and we can finish our conversation.” Neither of the Colliers seemed perturbed by my behavior.
At home, I told Celeste how the meeting went. As I expected, she did not like what the Colliers had in mind at all.
“So they just want to make an extremely expensive medicament of the plant. Barely anyone would be able to get their hands on it then!”
“I told them I would give them my decision about working with them within a week,” I informed her.
Celeste shook her head “I don’t know. I don’t think that’s a good idea. I’m sure we can find a more honest way to make the plant available to people. One that doesn’t involve ripping sick people off of their money. I’m sure we can distribute the fruit and research about it through a smaller channel but with better results than the one the Colliers are proposing.”
I agreed with her. Honestly, the couple’s attitude towards medicine and monetary gain seemed quite off-putting and I was glad Celeste didn’t want to work with them.
I rang them the very next day to let them know I would not be partnering with them.
Lionel Collier sounded quite disappointed. “Are you sure about your decision, Mr. Meadows? Just think about it, we could really shake up the medical world with your findings,” he tried to convince me.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Collier. But both my wife and I are of the opinion that making a miracle cure too expensive would pretty much defeat the purpose of its existence in the first place. I couldn’t in good faith agree to this. I’m sorry if I’ve wasted your time.”
“Well, I see how it is. I guess we didn’t really see eye to eye on the issue. Goodbye, Mr. Meadows.”
He hung up and I let out a breath that I didn’t realize I was holding. For some reason, communicating with these people really tired me out. I chalked it up to their greedy personalities.
A few weeks later, Celeste and I were woken in the night by the dogs’ excessive barking. This confused us since neither Ursa nor Hawk were belligerent and were more likely to play quietly than to bark the night away. Venturing into the living room, we found both animals alert and wary, still barking at the door, as if there was an intruder. However, a full search of the yard failed to reveal anyone who wasn’t supposed to be present.
“Maybe it’s the full moon, again,” suggested Celeste. It was true that most things terrified these dogs, especially things like loud weather and the full moon. They usually weren’t that loud about it, though.
Eventually we’ve gone back to sleep and the matter slipped our minds. With Celeste’s health being almost back to normal, our lives went on in their normal peaceful way. The kids were both doing well in school and their relationships seemed to be going steadily well. I still worked in my garden and Celeste went out to fish when the weather was good.
Towards the end of the kids’ school year, we’ve all gone to the restaurant as a family. Mine and Celeste’s birthdays were coming up and we both wanted to spend some quality time with the kids without having to worry about cleaning and making food at home. Our evening went great; we even got complimentary dessert from the restaurant because of how many times I provided fresh produce for them. We stayed at the restaurant for hours, laughing and having fun. We didn’t realize how much the fear for Celeste life has had us all on edge until the danger passed.
On the way home, I couldn’t shake a feeling that something was off, that I was forgetting something very important at this moment. But what?
I knew something was wrong when, upon arriving home, we were not greeted with the dogs’ barking. They always got really excited when any of us came home and it would take several minutes to calm them down from the tail-wagging and the happy panting. It’s a dog thing. But today, the house was totally quite.
Hurrying inside, we discovered the reason for the silence: both animals were heavily asleep. Of course, that in itself was not suspicious. But both animals tended to sleep pretty lightly, waking up terrified of the simplest things. And now, not even our loud banging woke them up.
Hurrying to check up on the pooches, I leaned down to check if they were alright. They were breathing steadily, but something was obviously keeping them out cold. It was clear that the dogs were purposefully sedated. At least, they were alive and not hurt.
“Dad?” Irene called me away from the dogs “We’ve been robbed.”
“What?” even as I expressed incredulousness, I knew it was true. My attention was drawn to my research area. My table and information board were both missing. “Damn it! Someone must have been watching the house to see when we’re out!”
“They took the laptop,” Gerald informed us, coming in from the kids’ room.
“But the money and valuables are in the same place as they were. They weren’t interested in the material stuff,” noted Celeste with a grim look on her face.
“Oh no,” a sudden realization dawned on me, “That wasn’t what they were after at all.”
I sprinted into the garden, hoping that the intruders have only gone into the house.
What greeted me was shocking: my entire garden was nearly empty, all the plants were ripped out and the two trees that remained were withered, as if someone purposely killed them. It was obvious what happened here. The intruders were looking for the wonder plant and, not knowing what it looks like, they simply took every plant in the garden. But why do it so crudely?
This must have taken some time, I realized. Digging up an entire garden, even if one didn’t bother being too careful with the plants, would take over an hour. Someone must have been keeping an eye on us at the restaurant, making sure we weren’t coming home immediately, informing the guys back here. I shook my head. It was a good thing that we had plenty of money saved up, since the garden would have to be started from scratch.
“Simon?” Celeste’s concerned voice brought me out of my thoughts “Is everything alright? Oh…”
“Yeah…” was all I could say. She looked over the empty garden and shook her head.
“I’m sorry. If I didn’t suggest sharing the discovery with others, this wouldn’t have happened.”
“Sharing the discovery was a great idea. I shouldn’t have played my cards so openly. And I shouldn’t have talked to the Colliers at all.” I laughed at the ridiculousness of it all “I even showed them my preliminary research!”
“So, it must have been them? The Colliers?”
“Who else? Who else knew about the plant? I didn’t talk to anyone but them about the plant.”
“Well, that just sucks,” Celeste frowned. “If they have your research and the plant, well, they can do whatever they want now.”
“It does sound like it, now, doesn’t it?” I was just now realizing that I should have taken precautions. I should have gotten a burglar alarm or hid my research. But I really didn’t imagine that someone will come and rob us!
“Come here, hon,” Celeste pulled me into a comforting embrace. “You had no way of knowing this would happen. And hey, you found a plant that saved my life, which sounds like something in the realm of the impossible. We have plenty of money saved up. We’ll get through this, don’t you worry! And hey, I will help you with the garden. As for the laptop, the only person who really used it much was Gerald and I know he has a back of everything he needs for school and newspaper club. So, don’t worry about it.”
“What would I ever do without you?” I sighed.
“Oh, you would’ve been fine,” she laughed “You’re a stubborn one.”
“I would’ve been pretty lonely though. And definitely feeling like something was missing.”
We called the cops to report the break in, of course. They were pretty dumbfounded when we told them only the laptop and the research corner were taken, while the money was untouched. Of course, they promised, they would look into the issue, but since we lived far away and there were no witnesses or security cameras here, it would be pretty hard to track the burglars down fast. They said that in such cases, the purpose was monetary gain, but since they only took the laptop and not the money, they would be unlikely to try and sell it. The cops did think that vandalizing the garden was pretty bizarre—the goal in the robbery was to be fast and whoever did this must have spent some time on it.
“They were after my gardening research,” I explained.
The police shook their heads sadly and explained that in such case, if the thieves did take all evidence of the research, it would be pretty hard to prove in court that it was here in the first place. If we discovered the perpetrators in the first place, that was.
I understood the situation. If the Colliers were the ones who took the information and the plant, they would be pretty unlikely to make a move quickly—that would point the finger at them. They would wait.
So that was what we had to do as well—wait. We continued our lives, now somewhat more vigilant of what was going around our residence and making sure to keep everyone safe. And then there was the issue of our birthdays nearing and while neither of us wanted to go into retirement, we knew that once old age set in, we wouldn’t have as much energy for our work-related activities.
But at least, we would still have each other and our children.