An essay by James Mosley, as provided by James M. Hines
Art by Scarlett O’Hairdye
“Halleluiah!” the charlatan shouted as he smacked me on the forehead, knocking me to the floor. The crowd erupted in applause when my backside hit the stage, and I was quickly lifted to my feet and led away to make room for the next sucker. Unfortunately, my head still ached, my lungs still burned, and the dizziness was so bad that I nearly fell down the stairs on my way out of the building. Ten minutes later, I was standing alone in the parking garage, about to light a cigarette, when I heard a voice penetrate the cool night air.
“There was a time when faith healers didn’t charge for their services, at least not directly anyway, but it’s my understanding that the results were about the same then as they are now,” the voice said softly. “Anyway, I’ll bet you’re wishing you had your eighty credits back.”
I turned to see a young man in a trench coat. The overhead lamps highlighted his blond hair, giving him an angelic appearance that made me wonder for a moment if I was hallucinating. It was only after he walked up to me and lit my cigarette that I decided he was real.
“What’s it to you?” I replied.
“Nothing,” he said, “I just thought you should know that it’s free, that’s all.”
“What’s free?” I asked.
“The cure for what ails you,” he said. “Well, it’s free in terms of money anyway.”
“There’s no cure for what ails me,” I replied.
“It’s Makin’s Syndrome isn’t it?” said the man, as he leaned in to get a closer look at my face. “The bulging yellow eyes give it away. You’re looking pretty rough, my friend.”
“I’m not your friend,” I replied, “and don’t worry about me. I’ll live.”
“Sure you’ll live,” he said, “for as long as you can afford the medication, but your life won’t be very enjoyable. You know, most people with your affliction end up with permanent brain damage in the end. They say that the constant high fevers that accompany Makin’s Syndrome can damage the brain in such a way as to make most people homicidal. Fortunately, I’m in a position to help you avoid such unpleasantness. What if I told you that I know someone who can solve your problem, someone who has a cure?”
“There is no cure!” I shouted.
“I assure you there is a cure, and I can take you to the man who can administer it. Come with me. Unless you enjoy your current state of health, I don’t see how you have much to lose.”
I looked down at my trembling hands and back up at the blond stranger. He retrieved a cigarette from his breast pocket, lit it up, and looked down at his wrist watch. He appeared to be becoming impatient, and I got the feeling that he wasn’t going to wait around forever.
“After you,” I said.
“Wise choice,” he replied.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2014 collection.
James Mosley was born and raised on the planet Avarice. He received his bachelor’s in English from Avarice Public University in 2516, and shortly there after, began writing fiction. His career was just beginning to take off when he became seriously ill at the age of 25.
James Michael Hines was born in 1975. He grew up in Kentucky where he lived until moving to Oklahoma in 2001. James thoroughly enjoys writing science fiction, and his work has been featured in a number of science fiction publications over the last few years.
Scarlett O’Hairdye is a burlesque performer, producer and artist. To learn more, visit her site at www.scarlettohairdye.com.Follow us online: