New fiction from Julia Elliott: "The Restorative Unit," in The Masters Review.
The actress inspects the long veranda, counting patients: seven this morning—three men, four women, including herself, each one in a wheelchair equipped with a side car containing what the doctor and staff refer to as the “restorative unit,” a two-foot-long contraption connected to each patient by a thick, supple black tube. The unit, sheathed in a ribbed aluminum shell, half robotic, half bioengineered, filters the blood and slowly restores youth, taking five-to-seven years off per session, or so they claim. Each session lasts a month, so the actress has time for just one, and then she must begin her stint as a matriarch on a second-rate history mini-series. Or perhaps she’ll be fired for looking too young? Perhaps they’ll recast her, not as an ingénue, but as a ripe sexy woman with power and pawns, a queenly sort with a harem of young studs.
The actress is skeptical—she’s always skeptical—but that didn’t stop her from taking a pamphlet from her cosmetic dermatologist after yet another round of injectable dermal fillers.