Djonni was regaining consciousness inside a dim apartment. The last thing he remembered was being surrounded by 5 thugs on an empty night time street in Miami. The throbbing in his head said they had hit him there and that’s why he remembered nothing until now.
“He’s awake!” said one of them. “You’ve got to be worth more than the $25 we found on you.”
“Not really,” said Djonni.
“You must have parents that would pay handsomely for your safe return?”
Djonni laughed at that. “Both my parents have been gone for 15 years,” he said.
“Is a sibling, a cousin, or a friend well off, then?”
“Everyone I know is in the small town of Cruxix. No one really is richer than anyone else in my town.”
“You really do want to die then, don’t you. If we can’t get more money out of you, that’s gonna be your fate.”
“Sorry. It’s just that Cruxix is really bland and quite unremarkable. So no one there is particularly wealthy to be able to drop a large sum on a troubled wanderer such as myself.”
“There’s nothing special about this town? Every town is different as far as I can tell. There must be something. Think. It’s your life that is on the line.”
“Well there is something. A town feature in front of the townhall. I don’t think it’s that special. It’s a fountain.”
“A fountain? You’re hopeless. Help me help you!”
“Well in English it is known as the Fountain of Youth-”
“Woohoo! Tell Paunchy Leon we might have a little expedition to make.”
Paunchy Leon was the leader of the criminal band. He was about 60 years old, was bald and had the advertised paunch.
“Tell me more about this Fountain of Youth,” said Paunchy Leon. They were driving in a three row car with Paunchy Leon’s minions driving.
Knowing that his life might depend on it, Djonni said, “Well the fountain itself is rather boring but all the people in the town look to all be 40 years old or younger.”
“Does it work as described in our legends?” asked Paunchy Leon.
“What legends are those?” asked Djonni, fully unaware.
“Do people just jump in and splash themselves with the liquid to be more youthful?”
“Only the old do it. After all, what is the point for the young to jump into the fountain?”
“I like you so much, I’m going to untie you. That way everyone in the town will see us as friends and allow me to jump in the fountain.”
They got to the town and even got a parking spot that was close to the fountain. Djonni and Paunchy Leon walked through the square.
“You’re right,” whispered Paunchy Leon, “Everyone here is so young.”
They arrived at the fountain. Paunchy Leon said, “I thought you were trying to trick me with an ordinary fountain. But there are no coins in it to give wishes to the tossers. “
Without warning, Paunchy Leon jumped in and Djonni jumped back. Immediately Paunchy Leon let out a blood curdling scream and the clear liquid seemed to come alive and bubble and steam.
Paunchy Leon’s cry died after only a few seconds and his whole body dropped into the fountain. Nobody nearby batted an eye. Djonni was shocked that a drop almost landed on him, but he had jumped back just in time to avoid the acid.
Paunchy Leon’s minions had not let Djonni finish. This was not the Fountain of Youth but rather the Fountain of Euthanasia. In twenty years, Djonni might do the same as Paunchy Leon. But for the time being, himself and the rest of Cruxix would live in their youth filled town. The car loaded with Paunchy Leon’s minions left. They knew they could not take on a whole town.