Mary sat at the lab bench, her feet wrapped around her stool, surrounded by her brothers and her husband, all three leaning over her. They were afraid to speak to her. They were afraid to interrupt her. Mary peered in the microscope and at long last she finally said, “Uh huh.”
“The right balance?” asked her husband Tom.
“As near as I can tell,” she answered. “The viscosity is nearly perfect, the color looks right. And the source was extremely productive.”
“Extremely,” agreed her brother Graham.
“Double that,” added her brother Alfred.
“So with that, amino acid content is down, and the caloric expectation is just about twice what we might have hoped for. I think if the seasonal temperature stays about the same ... our efficiency should prove spectacular.”
“We’ll be rich,” said Tom.
“Fifteen years,” said Alfred. “I can’t believe this took twenty-two years.”
“It was a genetic problem from the start,” said Mary. “It doesn’t happen over night. And the first five years were wasted from not understanding enough about the subject. We learned from that, however.” She ran her eyes over the glass apparatus, the books of notes, the burn marks on the wooden table ... signs of years and years of effort and research and disappointment. Step by step and year by year they had built the source, and sometimes at great cost. Three times they’d come close to losing everything.
But here it was now. Mary reached out and picked the full cubical bottle from the table. The tea-brown liquid flowed and rolled within, catching the light, glistening in it as no comparable formula had. It was the light and the way it shone through the bottle that was sure to make them millions.
She handed the bottle to Tom. He brought it close to his eyes and stared. “Amazing.”
Tom handed it to Graham, who handed it to Alfred. “Cost?” asked Alfred.
A hundred and fifty a bottle here in North America. Possibly twice that in Europe or Japan. We’ll have to contact our overseas distributor once he sees the result. He might suggest a higher sum, depending on market analysis.
“More than three hundred?”
“Boys, we have something that can’t be equalled – unless someone else is working on this right now, and I think we’re all sure they’re not. This is ground breaking. It’ll be at least a decade before someone copies it, and by they we’ll have sewn the market.” Mary grinned. “Just selling the process alone would be enough – they’ll scream blue murder in America once the supply starts.”
“We could cut in some of the interest groups,” said Tom. “We have pretty hefty debts we could stand to take care of right now. Maybe Vermont would pay.”
Mary stood up, and took the bottle from Alfred. “To hell with Vermont.” She held the bottle up to the light, again enjoying the way it changed the liquid’s color.
“Let Vermont dare make maple syrup as good as this!”