Body Modifications, Inc.
by Michael A. Kechula
“I wanna see a manager,” Brown yelled, pounding the receptionist’s desk.
The receptionist pressed a panic button. Moments later, someone approached.
“I’m Roger Friendly, Bod-Mod Incorporated’s Business Manager. Is there a problem?”
“This man came for his wife,” the receptionist said. “But the nurse’s station said she’s not here. The computer confirms it. In fact it says she’s never been one of our clients.”
“And you’re Mister...”
“Brown. I checked my wife in for a face-lift five days ago. She’s supposed to be released in 20 minutes. But everybody’s saying she ain’t here.”
“Are you sure you have the right place? This is Bod-Mod Incorporated. Several other body modification companies are nearby. People get us mixed up all the time.”
“This is where I dropped her off,” Brown said. “Here’s my Bod-Mod Incorporated claim check and copy of the contract.”
Friendly examined both.
“You’re stalling,” Brown said. “I bet you messed up her face real bad, and you’re hiding her somewhere. If you don’t release her immediately, I’m gonna call the cops.”
“Hold on, Mr. Brown. Can you prove she ever walked through these doors? How do we know this clam check and contract isn’t forged, and that you aren’t a con artist? Go ahead and call the police. Know what they’ll say? ‘Without proper evidence there’s no proof she was ever here.’ We have lawyers right in this building. Should I get one to explain how we can bury you in court?”
Just then, Friendly’s cell phone rang. Turning away, he said, “I don’t sign shipping documents. Your manager handles that. Did you say this is a special case? How special? Oh, I see. Good thing you called me. Listen, call Legal. Tell them to send somebody to the loading dock immediately. And tell your manager too. Don’t let anybody touch anything. I’ll be there in five minutes.”
Smiling, Friendly said, “Mr. Brown. Would you mind going for a short stroll?”
“We found your wife.”
When they arrived at the loading dock, several people were standing around a large crate.
“I’m afraid there’s been a terrible mistake. Your wife’s in this crate.”
“Don’t worry. She’s perfectly fine. It’ll only take twelve hours to defrost her. Meanwhile, you can wait in the Executive Lounge, and join us for lunch.”
“Forget it! I wanna know what’s going on. Why do you hafta defrost my wife in the middle of summer?”
“It seems,” Friendly said, “that someone outsourced your wife’s face-lift.”
“Outsourced? Whadda you mean?”
“One of our newer employees---a Mr. Zack---sent the work off premises. I’m sure you’re aware how foreigners will work for a fraction of the wages we pay in this country.”
“Where’d he send her? Mexico?”
“You gotta be kidding!”
“I assure you, we’re as distressed as you are. It’s not our policy to outsource work. If it makes you feel any better, we just fired Zack. Without severance pay.”
“Where’s that bastard’s office?” Brown hollered. “I’m gonna break him in half!”
“He left rather quickly. He sends you his deepest apologies. He assured the Martians do high quality work.”
“Open that crate. I wanna see my wife.”
At the lawyer’s nod, they pried open the top panel. Pushing away piles of foam peanuts, they found a block of ice. Inside laid Brown’s nude wife.
“Oh Lord!” Brown yelled. “Look at her chest! They’re gone!”
“Turn the block over,” the lawyer ordered.
When they did, everyone saw two breasts jutting from her back.
“What’ve they done to my wife?” Brown yelled.
Glancing at the work order, Friendly said, “It seems the body modifier on Mars decided to bring your wife up to Martian beauty standards. Don’t worry. We’ll switch them back at no charge. Tell you what. We’ll give her new ones. Any size and color you want. And we’ll throw in a dozen coupons for free dinners at Chang’s Chinese buffet.”
“Show me her face. I wanna see how the face-lift turned out.”
They tilted the block of ice upward for easier viewing.
Brown threw up.
“We’ll fix everything,” Friendly said. “In six months, she’ll be almost as good as new. And you’ll probably be able to recognize her. On the other hand, we’d make it worth your while to consider other options.”
“What options?” Brown asked.
“Have you seen the latest Mercedes convertibles?” the lawyer asked. “I hear they handle fabulously. Especially on winding roads along the posh French Riviera, where an all expense-paid resort vacation can be arranged.”
“Plus a huge wardrobe of tailor made clothes and generous cash allowance for trinkets and souvenirs. Not to mention being pampered 24/7 by bevies of geisha-trained French beauties.”
“There’s also a cash option.”
“She was a good cook,” Brown said. “Kept the house spotless.”
“Two million,” the lawyer said. “Nobody, except us, the Martian shipping company, and the Martian body modifier company will ever know about this. We’ll incinerate the crate and its contents immediately. Then we’ll alter shipping records and grease Martian palms. What do you think?”
“She brought home a decent pay check. Mowed the lawn. Didn’t smoke or drink. Did you say two million five?”
“That can be arranged,” said the lawyer.
“It’s not that I don’t love her.”
“We understand,” Friendly said, sounding like a funeral director. “We’re sensitive to adjustment problems associated with the untimely loss of a dearly beloved spouse. Sign here.”
Brown left a rich man. He immediately boarded a flight for Brazil, which has vaguely-defined extradition treaties with the United States.
This is the best scam you ever conceived,” Brown told Zack who greeted him at Rio’s airport. “Your getting a job at Bod-Mod Incorporated was truly inspired. We’ll never miss the five hundred we paid that washed-out boozer to pose as my wife. Nice how you hacked Bod-Mod Incorporated’s computer to delete her records. Outsourcing her was absolutely brilliant. How much did you pay the Martian to botch everything up?”
“Ten bucks.” Zack said. “Ain’t outsourcing wonderful?”
Copyright © 2005 by Michael A. Kechula