A taste of your own medicine
Harvey stood at the window of his penthouse office, looking at the people scurrying around Wall Street like ants below him. Below him in both senses, he thought. Pathetic, little people, with no drive or determination. All trapped in the rat race. Not like him. Harvey knew he had imagination, skill and above all, an astounding intellect. In one month, he could easily clear as much as those non-entities would earn in years, maybe in their entire life.
Especially in good months, months like this one, he thought while sidling back to his desk. It was a month ago today that "Pro-Digitalis" had gone on sale thoughout the United States. In that month, the stock of Houston Biomedica, the company with exclusive production rights on Pro-Digitalis, had gone through the roof, and it just so happened that Harvey was Houston Biomedica's principal shareholder.
Harvey didn't know much about the actual drug, he doubted the geeks at Houston Biomedica knew much more. In the fast-paced, dog eat dog world of 21st century America, dynamic and preemptive action was the only way to win. That's why, when an extract from the foxglove plant was found to regulate the heartbeat of rats in ventricular fibrillation, a speculative medicine was rushed off for trials at the Food and Drug Administration without any prior research at all.
Even under ideal conditions, this would have meant exhaustive and expensive clinical trials for years to come, and to make it worse, early results weren't promising. In fact, Pro-Digitalis appeared to have no beneficial effect whatsoever. However, Harvey had realised that as Pro-Digitalis came directly from a natural source, it was classed as a herbal remedy. Under current legislation, that meant Harvey could market the drug nationwide, so long as laboratory tests were ongoing, and Harvey would see to it that the trials would continue for years to come. Not only that, but as no official research had been done on the drug, wild claims of a wonder-drug, a cardiology panacea could be made without fear of immediate legal retribution. Of course, when this all came out, in years to come, Houston Biomedica would be no more, but Harvey would be long gone by then.
Harvey mentioned none of this, of course, in the advertising literature. He had personally written a lot of the preposterous claims, and was sure that his masterful control of English would convince anyone to buy Pro-Digitalis. He picked up the drug's distinctive yellow pill bottle off the desk and sank into his substantial leather chair. As he allowed the creaking leather to envelope him, Harvey took a gulp of scotch from his glass and cringed. He had no taste for the earthy flavour of whisky - it made him sick. Buying bottles of whisky for exorbitant prices wasn't just some expensive hobby he couldn't shake though, it was much more than that. Unlike his $1000 a day coke habit, it was an expensive hobby that he could quit. The mere fact that Harvey had no qualms about spending a small fortune on a small bottle of piss coloured liquid fire, that he knew nothing about and wouldn't enjoy, made him feel good - it made him feel filthy rich.
His muse was interupted by his receptionist, Karen, entering the room without knocking, the stupid bitch. Plus she was carrying files, which meant she expected him to do something. "Karen, for fuck's sake, the door is made from a one thousand year old oak. Do you know how much that cost? Do me the honour of knocking on it next time. And what are you wearing? Are you trying to look like a whore or does it come naturally to you?".
Karen was out of the door and in tears before the files hit the ground. Splendid. Harvey enjoyed revelling in his own mental superiority.
All this effort had left Harvey hungry: he needed his mid-morning snack. He buzzed Karen on the intercom to tell her to go and get him a sandwich, but there was no answer - the stupid woman was clearly in the bathroom, drying her eyes or something. This meant Harvey would actually have to go to the deli himself. Still, nothing could dent Harvey's good mood this morning, and he headed out the door of his office, absent mindedly slipping the bottle of Pro-Digitalis into the pocket of his silk shirt as he went.
Harvey was surprised to find himself out of breath by the time he got to the deli, 5 minutes away. Still, once these few busy months were over, and the dust had settled, he could afford to take it easy, maybe buy an island or something...
Just as Harvey grinned at the thought of relaxing on his own private beach, there was an ear-splitting crash behind him as a taxi struck another car from behind. Immediately, Harvey knew something was wrong. He felt a crushing pressure on his chest, and there were vicious stabbing pains searing down his left arm. Harvey staggered then fell, face first, onto the unforgiving sidewalk. Straight away, a small crowd gathered round Harvey, "ooohing" and "aaahing" at the sight of his ashen face.
One man knelt down by Harvey and rolled him onto his back. "He's having a heart attack!" shouted the man, "give him some room." As the audience sensed blood, they grew even closer, vying to get a look at death's face.
"Do you take any medicine?" shouted the man, obviously assuming a malfunctioning heart meant malfunctioning ears too. As Harvey stared at him blankly, the man patted down his pockets, and triumphantly brought out the yellow bottle of pills from Harvey's shirt pocket. He quickly popped off the top, shook out two pills and placed them under Harvey's tongue.
As Harvey's heart finally gave up, and he began to fade away, the man read out Harvey's own words from the cover of the pill bottle. The onlookers were suitably impressed by claims of miracle cures for all emergency heart conditions, and there was not a person in the crowd who failed to expect Harvey to jump up, fighting fit, any minute. No one except Harvey that is.