That was the sound the pill had made as it bounced onto the table. Just “pop”. Anselme looked disappointed.
“What’s the matter?” asked Julienne.
“I’ve spent ten years working on this pill, the remedy for every illness. And the thing just makes a silly ‘pop’ noise when it falls.”
“What noise should it make?”
“I don’t know! A miracle medicine should do something more than just go ‘pop’ when it falls onto a table, shouldn’t it? ‘Tadaaa!’ or ‘Babababoom!’. Something appropriate, strong, beautiful, moving! Not ‘pop’, for God’s sake!”
Julienne was puzzled. Nevertheless she deemed it a good idea to show some empathy.
“Yes, that’s true,” she agreed.
“Ughhhh! ‘Pop!’ I’ll have to start all over again!”
“Tell me... What exactly does your pill do?”
“It goes ‘pop’, that’s what it does, it goes ‘pop’!”
“No, I mean, what are its effects?”
“Oh... It strengthens natural immunity so that all known and unknown illnesses can be easily overcome, it promotes the growth and healing of tissue, and increases synaptic plasticity. Among other things. With no side effects, of course. Oh yes, there is one side effect which I decided to keep: the subject smiles for several hours after taking it. I thought this minor issue was rather fortuitous.
Julienne watched Anselme glow with pride as he explained the benefits of his latest creation.
“Don’t you think it’s enough to invent something wonderful?”
“How can you say such a thing?!”
Now he was no longer glowing at all.
“What an amateur attitude! When you invent a magic bullet, you should at least make sure that it falls gracefully! You shouldn’t just be content with a ‘pop’, no way!”
Anselme grabbed the pill angrily and threw it into the garbage can, where it made a muffled ‘pop’. He rushed out of the room, pulling the door behind him. It slammed sharply. Julienne remained dumbfounded for a moment, then shrugged her shoulders and went back to making her anti-aging marble cake flavoured with the elixir of youth.
Translated by Wendy Cross