Night Reached Out Her Hand

When night reaches out her hand, how could I not accept it, take it, shake it and close the deal at the end of the day?

I wasn’t a young man anymore.

I wasn’t so old that I could say I barely remembered being young, but I was old enough to be made nervous by the ever shortening distance between now and my permanent end.

The newspaper ad had piqued my interest.

“Volunteers needed for medical experiments,” it read. It explained the experiments on nutrition and sleep and exercise to “increase fertility, longevity and extend youthful vigor.”

All, of course, for a handsome sum of money.

Was I looking for immortality when I dialed the number?

I told myself I only wanted the money. At most I hoped to lose a few lines from my face and possibly stave off impotence for a few more years. The most outrageous of my thoughts might have even included a cure for my receding hairline.


A few non-invasive medical experiments did not make man into a god.

The telephone interview was embarrassingly thorough. Before they gave me an address and a date and time to be there, they knew my entire medical history, the schedule of my bowel movements and all of my sexual encounters of the past six months, including acts of self gratification.

After the phone call I was almost too embarrassed to go where they had told me to go.

Though he had been nothing less than professional I couldn’t imagine meeting this man who knew so much about me and shaking his hand, acting like a polite stranger.

I did go.

It was a newly constructed private medical facility, where the receptionist picked up the phone and announced my arrival even before I introduced myself.

A nurse appeared, led me to a room and instructed me to strip and that the doctors would be with me shortly.

Yes, doctors, plural, not doctor, singular.

There were six of them and by the time they had finished with me I had endured embarrassments which made the telephone interview seem as tame as exchanging hellos with a coworker in the hallway.

I had barely had time to put my pants back on before another man came in.

My mind cried out “no more doctors” and I felt on the verge of tears at the prospect. Somehow I managed to offer the young man a weak smile and ask, “Which part of me are you here to prod?”

He leaned his head back and laughed. I hadn’t been attempting to make a joke and was perplexed by his reaction.

Once done laughing he gave me the bad news.

All of the advertised positions had been filled.

For a week they had been filled.

In two days I had been more completely embarrassed than ever before and he was telling me it had all been for nothing. Maybe a sick joke at my expense that they had let me go though it all?

He must have sensed my imminent volcanic explosion because he started telling me about a private experiment he was conducting.

Perfectly legal, he told me, just not funded by the government or any of the medical colleges.

He believed that if a person entirely avoided the sun that they could double their lifespan.

He said that he was curious exactly how long a life could be extended on someone who had already seen the sun, but he was really hoping for the babies.

He was a rich man, he told me. He was going to serve as caretaker for two generations, maybe three.

I could be a part of it, he said. I was older that what he thought of starting with, but I could be an interesting experiment unto myself.

All I had to do, he told me, was agree to never go out in the daylight, never see the sun again.

I am not a young man.

In fact, I am older than most.

My hair is still thin and I still have lines around my eyes.

I haven’t seen the sun in 50 years. My children never have. Their children never will.

My wife misses it sometimes. She says she can still remember the way it felt to stand on a beach with your face turned toward the warm summer sky.

I have no regrets.

The night reached out her hand and I shook it firmly.


Its not likely, but its not inconceivable.

Not anymore.