My friends call me Jim, but my full name is James Schneider with no middle name. Some people, mainly women, think I'm a woman hater because I enslave women. That is not exactly true. They don't know why my women submitted themselves to me.
I am 24 years of age, and my weight has varied between 180 and 190 lbs since I graduated from high school. At 5' 9" tall and with a slight build, that places me on the chubby side of athletic. My short black hair, brown eyes, acne, and personality don't add much to me being attractive to women. In fact, most people consider me an unappealing nerd. I can thank my best friend Frank Toliver for the women in my life. He was the one who introduced me to Chocolateen.
Doctor William E. Smith, a Doctor of Organic Chemistry, created Chocolateen in his home's basement laboratory. Doctor Smith (Doc to his associates and friends) worked as a research chemist for Gilmore's Specialty Chocolates. Gilmore's specializes in developing unique chocolate products.
The chocolate industry wanted to create an affordable, low-calorie chocolate that had the taste, consistency, and after-taste of regular chocolate. Five years before I learned of Chocolateen, Gilmore's started their research program to create that product. Two years later, they had made no significant progress on reaching their goal. Doc suggested a different approach to the problem. Gilmore's did not believe Doc's approach to be a viable means of attaining the goal. Their refusal to follow that line of research allowed Doc to pursue his idea as a privately funded research program.
Two years of research in his basement during evenings and weekends resulted in a product that inhibited the uptake of digested sugars in lab animals. Adding the product to an animal's food resulted in the animal only absorbing about 35% of the digested sugars. Doc named the product Chocolateen, because he planned to license its use to Gilmore's. The small animal testing that Doc conducted in his basement indicated that Chocolateen was harmless, even in high concentrations over a long period.
Doc and his lawyer, Kirk Jonas, approached Gilmore's and worked out a contractual agreement. The company would finance and support the testing necessary for obtaining FDA approval for Chocolateen. When Doc received FDA approval, he would grant Gilmore's an exclusive 20-year license to use the product in the manufacture of chocolate candies. Gilmore's would pay Doc a license fee of one million dollars per year. During the lease period, Doc would sell Chocolateen to Gilmore's. The agreement did not prohibit Doc from using Chocolateen for other purposes.
Gilmore's could conceivably gross an additional $30 million per year, or more, by using Chocolateen in their chocolate products. One might wonder about Doc's willingness to settle for just $1 million per year. The answer is that Doc was a smart businessman who needed assistance in obtaining FDA approval for Chocolateen. Doc believed that after gaining FDA approval, he could market Chocolateen in other commercial fields and make close to $1 billion a year.
Gilmore's had employed Doc for 18 years, and his coworkers considered him a crotchety old man who had peculiar habits. One of his peculiarities was to keep all of his research notes in an engineering notebook. He carried it with him all the time while at work, and he took it home with him at night.
Doc's poor personality and people skills made it difficult for him to keep lab assistants. However, my friend Frank Toliver had worked as his assistant for over a year. Frank is pursuing his Master's Degree in Organic Chemistry, so this job gave him some practical experience in addition to a paycheck. I suspect Doc's personality and background were similar to Frank's, and Doc viewed himself as Frank's mentor.
Frank and I met in college three months after his parents died in a car crash. We became best friends and roommates. We continued our relationship as roommates after I graduated. Other than Doc, I was Frank's only close friend. When I met him, he was 6'1", skinny, and clumsy. While not handsome, he had that aura that many women find appealing. Unfortunately, his personality was a turn-off for most women. Most people considered me a nerd and Frank a science geek. Furthermore, each of us only had a few casual friends.
Frank's friendship with Doc began shortly after he went to work for Gilmore's as Doc's lab assistant. Doc and Frank both loved video games and would compete against each other at Doc's house. Frank introduced me to Doc once, when he dropped something off at Doc's house. Judging from his reaction, I don't think Doc liked me, but Frank said Doc was like that all the time when meeting new people.
Frank and I often talked about our day after work, and he occasionally mentioned the work he was doing on Chocolateen. One day, Frank told me he and Doc reached a major milestone in their research project. They successfully completed Chocolateen's small animal stage of FDA testing. Doc reported the results to his management, and they would soon start the human testing phase of the FDA approval process.
During the first round of human tests, three side effects showed up: Chocolateen had a bitter after taste, it stimulated a person's libido, and it was addictive with nasty withdrawal symptoms. Doc solved the after taste problem. Gilmore's marketing group believed the stimulated libido was a positive trait, and upper management believed it would be would be acceptable to the FDA. The only problem left to resolve was the addictive characteristic of Chocolateen. That was the state of Doc's research when he died.
I lost my job two weeks before Doc died. It was late Sunday afternoon and I was involved in my job search activities, when Frank arrived at our apartment.
He started the story of his day with, "Jim, Doc is dead."
I was dumbfounded, and the only thing I could mumble was, "Dead. What happened?" I sensed that my roommate needed to say more, so I listened to his story while we drank several beers.
Frank told me about Doc's death, "I was over at Doc's place playing Call of Duty. Doc was sitting in his recliner talking with me when I saw his face contort with pain, and his hands dropped into his lap. I took the controller out of his hands and asked him what was wrong."
Doc gasped, "Heart attack."
This was the first time Doc had an attack when I was with him, "Relax Doc. I'll call 9-1-1, and they'll take care of you."
"No, not this time," Doc said. "This is a major attack. Doctor said my heart was almost gone. Doubted I'd survive a severe attack. I'm not going to make it this time Frank."
"I didn't pay any attention to him", Frank explained, "and called 9-1-1."
Frank paused and then continued, "While waiting for the paramedics to arrive, Doc wouldn't stop talking with me."
I could see tears on Frank's cheeks as he talked, "I felt useless Jim. Doc was dying. I wanted to help him, but there was nothing I could do."
Frank told me that Doc needed to say something. However, his mind was wandering, and his comments were incomplete and fragmented so badly it was difficult to understand his meaning. In addition, the longer he talked the weaker his voice became.
"Frank, you're the son I never had. Relatives dead. Don't know where they are. Don't care. Wealthy man. To hell with state. Talk to Kirk. Kirk Jonas has key for you. Journals yours. Read 'em. Explain research."
"Relax Doc. Just hold on, the paramedics are coming."
Frank looked at me and said, "Doc's voice was just a gasping whisper, but he wouldn't stop talking."
"No. Not last. Must understand. Chocolateen valuable. Talk with Kirk. Read journals. Chocolateen in journals. On basement computer. Don't talk Chocolateen to anyone. Read journal."
I could see the tears running down Frank's cheeks as he said, "Doc couldn't get his breath ... I held his hand, and told him I understood and how much he meant to me. His hand went limp, and he stopped breathing. I knew he had died as I talked to him. There was nothing I could do, and I couldn't stop myself. I just kept talking to him."
By early evening, Frank and I were three sheets to the wind. Since neither of us was fit to drive, we ordered in some pizza. As we ate our pizza, Frank finished telling me about his day.
Frank sat in the chair holding his Doc's hand, while he waited for the paramedics. A paramedic unit arrived followed closely by a police cruiser. Frank took the paramedics to the living room where Doc sat in his recliner.
They confirmed that Doc was dead. The first group of police officers entered the house while the paramedics were checking Doc. The officers asked Frank to wait on the front porch, while the police and paramedics did their thing. While sitting on a porch chair, Frank saw the paramedics leave and a second group of officers arrive.
Twenty minutes later, the coroner's vehicle arrived. The police ushered the coroner into the house. While the coroner was processing Doc's body, two officers joined Frank on the porch to question him. The other officers remained in the house doing their thing.
Frank described the morning's events up until he had been asked to wait on the porch. After Frank answered a few questions, the police went back inside. Five minutes later a different officer asked him to go over his statement again, so he did. A short while later, the coroner left with Doc's body.
.... There is more of this story ...