Everyone was talking about it. Or at least the advertisement said that everyone was talking about it. The greatest Evolution since… Evolution! Admittedly, Kate’s friends, family and casual acquaintances didn’t know what it did exactly but they had all heard from a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend that it was the ‘only thing’.
Kate rolled her eyes at the repeated utterance. Never before had an advertising campaign been so vacuous or so depressingly effective. All the same, Kate did find herself wondering, with jaw-dropping regularity, whether Evol was the answer. She even knew what the question was. The question was ‘what’s the point’?
Kate had said this to her mother after Thom had left. ‘What’s the point?’ It seemed to be both the question and the answer, composited into three eloquently simple words, which provided a whole philosophy for life. Nihilistic though it may seem it was neat and Kate liked neat.
Kate’s mother looked at her in horror every time the phrase left her daughter’s mouth. As a woman of tidy habits herself, the arrival of her 32 year old daughter back at home had been a shock; especially as said daughter insisted on lolling forlornly on the sofa every spare minute and leaving sticky cup rings all over the kitchen worktop. And as she kept telling Kate, there was every point.
Kate disagreed and hugely enjoyed baiting her mother on the subject of what exactly every point was. And, though she secretly knew her mother was right, Kate was increasingly aware of the gaping absence in her life where something should be.
It was with all these notions fermenting in the back of her head that Kate was idling away her morning commute by reading the local paper. Having read about the corner shop stabbing, marvelled at the headline ‘Kitten survives Spin cycle’ (a riveting piece of journalism about a cat shut in a washer-dryer) and dismissed the horoscopes as piffle, Kate found herself eyeing up the ads. Local ads were usually entertaining. Lonely hearts jostled for inches with dentists, while Plumbers were handily next to an add for smear tests. And then there were always the medical trials and requests for blood donors.
And there were the medical trials. One for men between 35 and 70, willing to take a trial of a virility enhancing medicine (‘no angina please’). Another for a new cosmetic surgery procedure all ready proved to be 100% safe in US, legal judgements pending. All equally ridiculous. Until the bottom right hand corner of the page:
“WANTED: wondering ‘what’s the point?’ Then help us to help you! We need healthy adults of all genders to test latest formula miracle drug.’
Under this was a free call number and nothing else. No logos, no names or addresses.
Not really sure why or what she was doing, Kate pulled out her mobile. She inputted the number. She pressed the call button. The phone hesitate then appeared to make the decision to connect her call. The phone rang. And continued ringing.