The Water of Wanting (2)
'Now, Jean, just hold on a minute-'
'No, Charles!' Jean shouted. 'Imagine if somebody wanted to use WOW as a weapon - as something to hurt people. Imagine if somebody put it into a city's water supply! People would be just like my mice. They would die from drinking too much water!'
'Well,' Charles replied, more calmly now, 'I see your point now, Jean. We have to be careful with these things'
'At first,' Jean said, 'I was excited by the idea of helping people to eat good food. There are too many fat people these days; I wanted to help with the problems'
'Oh, yes!' Charles said. 'Of course!'
'Yes, well,' Jean replied as he touched the scar on his cheek, 'I realize now that I was playing with fire. It'll be better if the research is put away and forgotten about. It's too dangerous and just too... too wrong. You can see that now, cant you, Charles?'
'Yes, I can see that, Jean,' Charles said quietly. 'Look, leave this with me. I'll speak to our top people and explain. After all, we can't ask our customers to buy something that's dangerous, can we? No, you did the right thing, Jean; you can't be too careful about these things.'
'I'm pleased you understand, Charles,' said Jean. 'I feel a lot better about things now.'
'Quite right, Jean,' said Charles. 'Listen. Why don't you take the next few weeks off? You and your family could have a good long holiday. You need a rest. And you've earned it.'
'Thank you, Charles - I think I will.'
Jean turned to go.
'Oh, and Jean...'
'Could you just leave all your WOW work with me before you go? I'll see that it's all taken care of.'
One year later
Katya was feeling very happy. She and Jean had had two long holidays over the last year - one in Brazil and one in Ireland. Little Alain had really loved them. And Jean was working on some interesting new research into making petrol safer and cleaner. Jean liked doing work that helped people. This new research was his biggest interest at the moment.
Alain was healthier and happier. He was even eating green vegetables! Maybe the fresh air at the Irish beaches had helped. In any case, Katya had discovered some new vegetables in packets which Alain seemed to be very happy with. In fact, he often asked for more.
Katya looked at Alain sleeping happily in the early afternoon. She took out her notebook computer - she was sure she could start work on her book now.
But first she decided she would have some lunch. She had never really liked hamburgers, but she had discovered some recently that were really nice. They were her favourite lunch now. She should watch her weight, really, but... oh, one more burger wouldn't hurt, would it? Just one more.
- THE END -