“Did I hear that you have cancer?” A short man with purple lips asked.
“Yes; it’s terminal.”
“I may be able to help you with that. I’m Lafayette, Admiral Lafayette.” He extended a pudgy hand.
“I don’t need any help,” Gregson said. If it gets too bad, I have a revolver.”
“That’s not what I mean. I unlocked a secret greater than the invention of the wheel and I’m willing to share it with you.”
“What’s your secret then?” Gregson asked.
“Everlasting life; I have a Mission up the river.”
“Jesus, or something else?”
“Oh no, nothing like that. If you follow me, I can help you live forever.”
“Life is an adventure; without adventure, there is no life. I’ve made friends with native bandits who can take us to the red flower.”
“How did you know?”
“It’s a gift.”
Gregson followed the portly man with receding orange hair. He wasn’t sure if Lafayette was delusional, lucky, or devious; maybe a combination of all three. His opinion changed when a Rolls arrived on the tarmac.
“All aboard,” Lafayette said. “Stevens, take us to the H.M.S. Marie Delaine, named after my third ex-wife,” Lafayette explained.
Gregson felt his health declining in the car, even with the air conditioning and the wet bar.
Lafayette mixed a drink. It looked like a margarita. “This will chase your troubles away,” he said.
Gregson drank it and instantly felt like he was 21 again. “What was in that drink?” He asked.
“C-2142, better known as the elixir of life. The Portuguese found it and lost it. Strange, how that works…”
“Then how did you come by it?”
“A recent biologist was picked-up down river. In a water-tight bag, there were red petals pressed between the folds of this map.”