"Good morning! I’m with a company that creates health-enhancing pills. I’ve been speaking with your neighbors about our products. Do you have fifteen minutes to promote your health? As a thank you, I’ll give you our latest multivitamin, a fifty-dollar value! Here, don’t take my word for it. Scan this code and you’ll see that I am who I say I am.
"Thank you for having me. What a lovely home! Is this an antique dining room table? Oh, Crate and Barrel from the ‘90’s, very nice. Inherited from your parents? They had excellent taste. No, no coffee for me. Thanks, though.
"Pills have been around since the ancient Egyptians. Now, we have pills to manage cancer, to correct your child’s behavior, to make them love their younger brother, to make them enjoy going to school. You tried that one? Did it work? Two weeks of a teenager enjoying school, that’s pretty good. Repeat the treatment. Studies show you’ll get longer-lasting efficacy with the second dose.
"Fifty years ago my company started with a complete line of multivitamins. That’s where we continue to commit to research and development today, making sure we’re supplying the best ingredients for a healthier body. Our slogan - the body is a temple.
"But our mission is broad. We want to improve our patients’ quality of life. Our team saw that there was one huge obstacle. Something that all people face. Managing the end of life.
"It’s not nice to think about. I can see that in your face. Have you experienced a loss recently? Oh, God, your mother. Oh, I’m so sorry. Take a tissue. How did she go? Oh, heaven help us, a decade of dementia. That must have been such a challenge for you and your family.
"I know it’s hard to think about, but my company offers a pill that could have avoided all those years of hardship. We make a pill that, in simple terms, offers eternity.
"They say there is a moment before death when you get to look back over your life, when you see everything again in slow motion. Your life in a moment – a moment that stretches for eternity.
"Science has proven that time is relative. Many people believe that the soul is eternal. Our company has combined the two. Our pill allows you to stop in time, to live in the moment before death forever. Heaven is the moment before death.
"When our patients take our pill, their brain activity is off the charts. More of their brain is involved in that moment than any other time in their lives. We believe that energy, that momentum, extends with the soul indefinitely.
"Here’s where I have to give the government-mandated disclaimer. This pill is not intended to cure any medical conditions. This pill will cause death. It will stop your heart, you will pass out, and then you will die.
"Okay, end of disclaimer. But in that moment when you pass out, that’s the moment your brain is fully engaged for the first time in its earthly life. That’s your gateway to eternity.
"I know. It’s hard to think about. I know this must be particularly difficult after your mother’s passing. But say she had a choice ten years ago, before things got bad. She could pass into heaven without pain, with everything in order, having said lucid goodbyes. She could have controlled her death. Shouldn’t we all be able to take control over our last moments?
"We believe that you should. We believe that the end of life should be just as joyful and affirming as every day that precedes it. We want to be your partner on that journey.
"Great question. What is to stop you from using this on your boss or your ex or someone you’d rather be dead? Each pill is genetically created to work only for you. If you bought the pill and tried to sneak it to someone else, the pill would pass through them like a placebo.
"How many sold? Close to one hundred thousand.
"They are expensive. I’m afraid there’s no candy-coating for that. I sell them one at a time. One pill, created in our laboratory just for you, for $50,000. We also offer a tiered payment plan: 10% of your annual income for five years. This works well for our patients on a fixed income.
"Insurance – you’re asking all the right questions. Some companies do cover it but with complicated strings attached. A timeline for use, for example, or a requirement to use the pill if you’re diagnosed with certain illnesses.
"Yes, of course, I know you can’t answer now. That’s fine. It’s a big question, one you should ask your preacher, your spouse, one to think about very carefully. Here are your vitamins, a fifty-dollar value!
"You’ll think about it? Great. Scan my card. Let me know when you’re ready. Your eternity is waiting."
Gary Priest writes poetry and short fiction, both of which have been published online and in print. He lives at the end of a dead-end road, which may explain everything. https://garypriestwriter.wordpress.com/