It was Keegan Jenkin’s 70th birthday when the phone rang at exactly eight in the morning. It was UCSD again and this time they wanted him to come in to participate in a pharmaceutical research project, if he qualified.
In the waiting room of the Geriatrics Center, a woman announced that the project at hand involved giving participants doses of synthetic testosterone for a period of six months. Progress or not and results or not, would be monitored she said.
“My name is Mrs. Gruber. If selected you will have your blood drawn monthly, and because the study involves assessing libido, participants must agree to have intercourse at least twice each month. Would that be a problem Mr. Jenkins?”
“Need to call my wife. Hold on.”
“And you might want ask her if the videotaping will be a problem. It’s been a non-starter in the past.”
“With an infrared camera that you set up. It’s all very private.”
Keegan rolled his eyes and flipped open his cell.
“This project is about taking aphrodisiacs or something.”
“Actually,” Mrs. Gruber interrupted loudly. “It involves hormone therapy.”
“She says it involves hormone therapy. She wants to know if we can still have sex twice a month.”
“That’s only a minimum,” Mrs. Gruber interrupted again, grinning slightly.
“She says that’s a minimum. No dear, that’s none of her business. And by the way, she wants to know if we’d have a problem with the videotaping.”
Mrs. Gruber leaned forward. “Tell her we use night-vision camcorders — works in the dark — you do the setup. She won’t even know it’s there.”
“She says we can do it in the dark.”
The reply causes Keegan to hold the phone away from his ear for a second.
“My wife is curious to know what they’ll be looking at us for?”
As Mrs. Gruber scans her paper work while Keegan holds the phone out toward her.
“It would involve, let’s see – ‘timing of foreplay, if any – endurance – pre-post coital conversation – if any – and of course tumescence.”
Keegan brings phone back to his ear and listens.
“Did you get that? Yeah. ‘TUM-ESC-ENCE’. I have no idea – it’s science stuff – they’re scientists!”
Mrs. Gruber whispers, “Remind her that if the hormone therapy works your sex life will be more rewarding too.”
“She says our sex life will be more rewarding too … hormones dear. The hormones do it. And no – it does not involve a younger man! Or a younger women either – if you want to go there…”
Keegan holds the phone away from his ear again for some time, then flips the lid down.
“What did she say – although I believe I can guess?”
“She said …’What the hell can you people possibly be thinking?’”
“Okay then,” Mrs. Gruber continued. “As long as you’re here – let’s see what else we have coming up. There’s a trial starting next week that involves prostate health. Pays quite well too. Have you by any chance been having urination problems Mr. Jenkins – weak stream – up to go all hours of the night – that sort of thing?”
“As a matter of fact.”
“Then you qualify. This one involves the daily application of an experimental cream to your prostate gland – a topical application.”
“Well the first thing that leaps to mind Mrs. Gruber, is – how does one apply this experimental cream – exactly?”
“Let’s see… says here ‘…examination gloves are provided for index finger facilitated application’. But if you think that’s a gymnastical non-starter Mr. Jenkins, maybe you could ask your wife to help – although unless I miss my guess, she doesn’t seem to be the cooperative type.”
* * *
On the way out to his car, Keegan Jenkins resolved that at his age, he was never again going to answer the phone at 8 AM, unless he knew exactly who was calling.
And exactly what they wanted to talk to him about too.