Saturday, November 7, 2015

Generation One —Chapter Seven ReBoot: For The Good of the Family

Erik could feel himself getting older. He was slowing down and that frightened him. He began to have aches he never had before, even on his hardest nights of rocking out, followed by dancing at the clubs well into the wee hours, which he pretty much did after every gig, back in the day. He determined to see a doctor for a check-up. He certainly hadn’t had one of those in decades. Oh, his younger brother, Joseph, Jr., a World Renown Surgeon, would give him a quickie, surreptitious exam in his childish, playful manner, and then glibly give him some medical advice, but that was just Joey, always looking after everybody. They hadn’t lived under the same roof in years.
“Now, Erik,” the doctor said, bringing him out of his thoughts. “This isn’t the Fountain of Youth. It’s not going to make you young again — and most certainly, you can only take it once in your lifetime. But, it will restore to you some energy and you may even get a few more days as a side-benefit.” The doctor scribbled a note on an official pad. Tearing the top sheet off of it, he handed it to Erik. “Other than that you’re as fit as any Sim could be at your age of 104 days. Given the life you’ve led, overall.” The doctor gave him a look over Erik’s medical files, in which he was busily jotting notes. 
Of course the Sim knew who he was. He’d been the family physician for years. He’d even asked for Erik’s autograph at one time — for his daughter, or so he said. Dubiously, Erik looked the prescription over. The doctor had the stereotypical bad hand-writing, almost as bad as Joey’s. In fact, it was the worst handwriting Erik had ever seen. He couldn’t make out a single word. He did pray the pharmacist could read it and not give Erik something else, by mistake. He dutifully got the prescription filled and brought it home.
Still a bit unnerved at the prospect of using this concoction, he followed the directions carefully. Wondering all the while if the pharmacist had properly interpreted the gibberish written on the little page. Hefting the crock in his hands, he gave it a swirl to activate the ingredients and then watched with a bit of trepidation as a white steam arose from the glass in his hands. Two separate puffs of steam curled upward, crossed over the other and wrapped together before his face. What the… Erik closed his eyes and quickly knocked back the medicine. Perhaps, it wouldn’t be any worse than some of those herbs he used to partake of. He did remember some of those would make him rather ill. At last he swallowed it, shuddering. 
The taste wasn’t too bad. A little bitter, perhaps, but he got it all down. At first he felt a little wobbly, but nothing really seemed to change. He glanced at himself in the mirror. “Still old,” he said to his image. Then, a remarkable thing happened. Gone was that nagging ache in his lower back. He stood up straighter, a little taller, and there was a bit more energy in his gait. “Huh,” he thought, setting the container aside. Perhaps, there was something to this medical profession, after all. Joey loved it. For a fleeting few seconds Erik considered changing careers. “You’re 104 days old. Despite how this medicine makes you feel, you’re 104 days old.” Besides, who knew how long the effects of the medicine would last? 
Certainly, it gave him the ‘steam’ he needed to make another round of harvesting. Both he and Zoe were between paychecks and, once again as Murphy would have it, the bills were a tad overdue. He surely didn’t wish to leave his family with nothing more to inherit than a partially built house and bills to pay.
Erik continued on day after day after day.  He harvested the plants around his home, and then went to a park to gather more. If all else failed, he would play his guitar for tips. Before he knew it, he had the money for those bills, at last — and before anything got shut off. To his great relief, he took care of the bills immediately, lest some other disaster happen.
He also wrote a jingle and got it licensed immediately, wondering if he should pass, would his family still be able to collect the royalties? He just didn’t wish to leave them without financial support. There was still so much he needed to take care of, it weighed heavily on his shoulders. 
No wonder he was out of energy. So little time, or so his body was warning him, and so much to complete. Had he made the right decision giving up that lucrative job? In the longer run, he had to say yes. He had a wife whom he loved, who loved him for him, and not the famous somebody he once was. And he had three great kids. Despite how difficult he was finding it, raising them right, he had to say they were great kids all the same. The fruit of his and Zoe’s love for each other. 
He finally got the kitchen wall papered and the flooring in. He and Zoe made the design decisions. Blue striped walls and the flooring was of rock. Something that should last for a good long while.  

He spent time getting to know his boys, too. He continued to work with Patrice, hoping to steer her onto a better path. As it now stood, she seemed well on the way to a too early motherhood. She was definitely his wild child. He did hope her interest in playing the guitar would help her focus. 
Ayden was a nice young man. A bit of a slob, but they got on well. He was okay when it came to his schooling. B wasn’t a bad grade, after all. Erik, despite everything had pulled out A’s in university. He earned that Fine Arts Degree. He owned it. Ayden was also quick to help out, fixing the broken plumbing. Ayden was going to be okay, he felt that deep in his gut. Braylon, his youngest, on the other hand, was just flat out mean. So far, despite his efforts, they still weren’t friends, but Erik was determined to crack the shell on this very hard nut. Somehow, he hoped to reach him before it was too late. Suddenly, he realized how his own father must have felt. Time after time, Joseph, Sr., would spend time just talking to Erik. After a while, sadly, the two drifted apart. Erik always respected the Sim, something Erik was sure Braylon didn’t feel for him, but that’s only part of a relationship. By itself, it wasn’t enough, clearly.  

     Joseph was long gone, however. Too late for Erik to even apologize for being such a pain in Joseph’s side. Where had the time gone? Not just the time, but where did the effects of that medicine go? His back was again giving him fits. A hitch here, an outright pain there. Getting up and getting moving was harder, too. He ended up late for work because he overslept. Winding down like an old clock.
Like the herbs he was ever so found of using in University, the temptation was to try that Youth potion again. However, the doctor had been so firm in his admonition, Erik restrained himself. He would just have to face the end of his life like any other Sim. Finish what he could around the place, earn as many royalties as he could, bring home his salary, store up his collectibles for his legacy and pray it was enough. 

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