Our business was booming; we were forging new partnerships and making acquisitions all around the world. Clinching our success was the most famous product of all, the mother lode of pharmaceuticals: the birth-control pill. The Pill was made from lynestrenol, the most important steroid our firm ever developed. Some other, more tentative brands of the Pill had already come on the market in Belgium and America, but we were the first to mass-produce it on a larger scale. It wasn’t until many months after we’d begun manufacturing it, however, that we discovered how strong its effects could be—that even just handling the stuff was enough to cause distinct physical changes. Slowly, in dribs and drabs, we started hearing from stammering male employees, blushing furiously and hanging their heads, that they seemed to be growing female breasts, and as if that weren’t bad enough, their male parts weren’t working properly either. Shame had kept many of them from coming forward for far too long, aggravating the problem considerably.
Ah yes, the Pill—the hostility it aroused was not just because our men were suddenly turning into ladies. It was the clergy, those pricks, the pastors and priests in this backward and God-fearing region, who were stirring up the workers against a drug that freed women from the fear of pregnancy. But did I ever have the last laugh! We wound up sending the euphemistic “menstruation-regulating drug” to a number of the convents in the area. There the pills were packaged and readied for shipment by the industrious Catholic nuns, in blissful ignorance of the blasphemous nature of the product they were so efficiently handling.