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© Copyright 2013 Bobby Hutchinson



“Okay, Charles, let’s take these dressings off and you’ll feel a whole lot better.”

 Reconstructive surgeon Ben Halsey gently began to unwind the yards of gauze he’d used to protect his handiwork. Two days before, he’d performed aesthetic surgery on sixty-two-year-old Charles Bedford, both blepharoplasty to remove the pouches under his eyes, and rhytidectomy, a full face-lift to eliminate the wrinkles and sagging skin on his face and neck. The procedures had taken just over five hours in the OR, and Ben knew the results would be all that Charles had hoped for, but at the moment his patient’s bruised and swollen face looked anything but handsome.

 The last piece of gauze fell away, and Charles’s flattened and blood-matted cap of silver hair appeared. Ben liked his patient’s attitude. When he’d asked Charles during the preliminary visits why he wanted the surgery, the man had grinned wryly and said that obviously it wasn’t just because he wanted to look younger; if that was the case, he’d have dyed his hair long ago.  No, he wanted to feel more youthful, he’d explained; there was a difference. But appearance was important, too. He was a businessman, an executive at a large insurance company. Looking his best might help him make vice president before he retired.

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