Carl stands in a ruined temple and talks about Man's tenacity searching for eternal youth.
A middle-aged woman wearing in a white Grecian robe enters a temple and prays to the goddess Hecate.
Later that night, William Cubby is out jogging on Lakeshore Drive. The woman is standing nearby, and Cubby ages as he runs, becoming an old man in seconds. Cubby soon collapses, a ring falling off of his finger, as the woman smiles and nods in satisfaction as she grows younger.
The next day, Cubby's body is found and the EMTs take it away. The ring is left in the grass, unseen.
At the INS, Emily reads an article about Cubby's death. Carl points out that Cubby--unidentified due to a lack of ID--was jogging when he was died. Tony comes in, surprisingly chipper, and asks if they notice anything different about him. He says that he lost five pounds and everyone is stricken silent. Irritated, Tony tells them to get to work and asks Carl what he's come up for his article about the swinging singles scene. He tells Carl to have the article on his desk by Friday, and Carl tries to distract him by offering his doughnut.
Tony takes Carl's "rough draft" to his office to read and takes some vitamin pills. Carl pints out that there was something unusual about the jogger, but Tony tells him that nobody cares about 90-year-old people. Emily, walking by, glares at Tony in disgust. Tony tells Carl that it's a youth-oriented culture, but Carl points out that the body had no ID on it. He insists that the jogger had to run for four miles to get where he died, and anyone who could have dropped him off has claimed the body. Tony says that New York wants the swinging singles article by Friday, and Carl leaves... leaving his doughnut behind.
Carl goes to Bella Sarkov's dating service, and she explains that she finds him the girl of his dream and love--and maybe friendship--follows. The girl and her relatives come in and they have an informal get-together. Carl explains that he's looking for an angle for his story on swinging singles. Bella complains that her biggest competitor is computer matching. The biggest is Max Match, and its customers are only concerned with youth and beauty. As they talk, Bella questions Carl about his interests until he realizes that she's trying to set him up. Carl quickly leaves and Bella assures him that she'll be in touch.
That night, the woman prays to Hecate again. She then goes to the singles apartment of Cynthia Tibbs, who is exercising on her balcony. As she exercises, Cynthia ages decades in seconds. When she turns and sees her elderly reflection, Cynthia stumbles backward and falls over the balcony to her death. On the lawn below, the now-younger woman watches and smiles.
The next morning, Carl arrives at the gated singles apartment researching his story. When he can't get in, Carl starts to go but sees two police cars and an ambulance pull up. The apartment manager lets Sgt. Orkin and his squad of men in, and Carl slips in with them. The manager takes them to Cynthia's body and Carl pushes Orkin out of the way to take his photos. A ring similar to Cubby's falls off her finger as they take her away and Carl picks it up. Orkin notices and takes it away, and asks who Carl is. When he hears Carl's name, Orkin says that Carl is the one the precinct captains all call the reporter a pinwheel. However, Orkin says that he makes his own evaluations and says that he believes the police and press should work together... and that he's been out in the boonies until recently. Carl wonders why the dead woman would wear a ring so loose it falls off her finger, but Orkin dismisses it as senility.
Orkin begins a door-to-door check to find out what apartment the dead woman fell out of. The manager lets them into Cynthia's apartment last and the balcony door is open and music is playing. However, there's no sign of the occupant. There are no suitcases or signs of an older woman's clothing, and Orkin is sure the unidentified old woman didn't fall off of any of the balconies.
Carl goes to the city morgue and Gordy confirms that no one has identified either elderly body. The morgue attendant says that no one comes in to identify 100-year-old people, and Carl notices a ring-like mark on Cubby's finger. Gordy says that it might be in the personal belongings box, but refuses to let Carl look through it unless he provides a portable color TV. As they talk, Carl notices a glass eye in Cubby's box. Gordy explains what it comes from and admits that the pathologists don't bother doing workups on really old corpses. They negotiate for a used black-and-white TV and Carl goes through the box but finds nothing else of interest except for a key. There's no ring, and Gordy says that it isn't his fault that the ring wasn't in the box.
After he goes to the park, Carl checks the scene of Cubby's death and finds the ring in the grass. When a police officer comes over to complain that Carl has parked illegally, the reporter puts on the ring and claims that he was looking for four-leaf clovers.
At Max Match, the woman--Helen Certes—is wearing modern clothing and checks her youthful looks in a mirror. The receptionist sends in the dating services' newest client, Lance, and tells him that he's been appointed for an elite group at Max Match: The Olympians. There's no extra charge, and it guarantees that he'll be matched with the most beautiful people in Chicago. Helen asks if everything on Lance's application was truthful, and he assures her that he has no physical imperfections. She gives him a ring to wear and assures him that now all the gods and goddesses will know who he is, and the action starts that night.
Later at home, Lance is preparing for his big night with a tennis date. Lance's mother insists on calling him by his real name, Mervin. Lance insists that he wants to change his image, and assures her that he asked for a girl just like her.
Carl finally identifies the apartment that the key belongs to and confirms that there's no one home. There's an Olympian scroll on the desk, from Max Match to Cubby, and Carl finds Cubby's driver's license confirming that he only has one eye. A spare glass eye is in one dresser.
Lance goes to a park bench and sits down, suddenly exhausted. Helen looks on from the shadows as Lance ages decades in seconds and dies of a heart attack.
The next day, Carl goes to police headquarters and tells Orkin what he's found. He wants Orkin to provide him with the proof he needs, and Orkin hastily shuts his door and wonders why he should provide Carl with proof. Carl says that Orkin can get excitement and advancement if he breaks the case, and Orkin says that Carl is a pinwheel. He explains that the captain busted a gust when he told him that Carl might be a serious reporter, and the other lieutenants put a pinwheel on his desk. Carl tries to blow it off and shows Orkin the spare glass eye and the key to Cubby's apartment. He figures that Orkin can learn if Cubby ever had his fingerprints taken and if so, compare them to Cubby's corpse in the morgue. Orkin is more interested in how Carl got hold of personal belongings from the morgue. He orders Carl out and isn't interested in hearing the reporter tell him about Cynthia.
Carl goes back to Cynthia's apartment and gets the manager to let him in. There's still been no sign of Cynthia, and Carl finds a Max Match Olympian scroll in Cynthia's belongings. Carl goes to Max Match and the receptionist ignores him. As the reporter tries to talk his way in, Helen sees him and, intrigued, invites him into her office and explains that they only take clients under 30. Carl mentions the Olympians and flashes the ring on his finger, and Helen lays on the flattery while saying that Carl doesn't need a dating service. The reporter claims that he's a writer and tries to get into the back room, and Helen says that their computers are there and nothing to look at. She notices his camera and wonders if he uses it as a writer, and Carl snaps a quick photo of her. When Helen asks what he writes, Carl claims that he wrote a story about young people dying of old age in a minute. He asks her about her background and Helen quickly dismisses him.
That night, Carl breaks into Max Match after determining that it has no paper trail with the government. In the back room he finds a full-sized Greek temple and Helen chanting in Greek to the goddess Hecate. Carl secretly records the chanting until Helen is done. She hears him hit the stop button and goes out to investigate, but Carl has already hidden behind a desk.
At home, 23-year-old schoolteacher Renee Michelle takes a nap before an evening arranged for her by Max Match. However, she never wakes up as she ages to death.
The next day, Carl meets with former Greek college professor turned cab driver, Kaz Kazantarkis. The reporter plays the recording and Kaz says that it's ancient Greek. It's a prayer for a sacrifice to Hecate, the goddess of youth. According to legend, the sacrifice has to be physically perfect because the Greek gods were easily offended. Carl shows Kaz the photo he took of Helen, and Kaz according to all the sculptures that he's seen, it's Helen of Troy. He explains that Helen was half mortal and she made a deal with Hecate for eternal youth. A drunken conventioneer tries to hail Kaz's taxi and asks for Helen's number, and Carl claims that she's his sister. Kaz explains that when a shepherd once sacrificed a sick lamb for sacrifice to Diana, the goddess turned the shepherd into stone. Each sacrifice was marked with some kind of ornamentation, and Carl realizes that the ring is the mark.
Carl takes Kaz to the INS and the taxi driver tries to use mayonnaise to remove the ring. Bella calls Carl to tell him that she has a match for him: a dental assistant. Carl insists that he doesn't need a girl, and Emily at her desk gets the wrong idea. As Kaz tries to pull off the ring without success, Carl tells Bella that Orkin is looking for a girl. Everyone else leaves and Tony yells for Carl to come into his office… and says "please". Curious, Carl goes in and finds Tony locked in a beginner's yoga position. After Carl helps him up, Tony wonders why he has mayonnaise on his hand and asks about the swinging singles article. Kaz returns to his explanation and says that the priests' enemies had to destroy the temple to make them powerless. However, he warns that he didn't say destroying the temple would work. Tony wonders what's going on and figures that Carl is off to destroy a temple, but Carl has already left.
After driving to Max Match, Carl breaks in, goes to the back, and starts destroying Helen's temple to Hecate. Helen comes in and tells Carl that Hecate will be mad at him, not her. She describes how it will feel for Carl to age to death in a matter of seconds, and is unimpressed when he points out that he's hardly a perfect sacrifice. A wind starts up out of nowhere, blasting through the temple, and Carl announces that Cubby had a glass eye and lied on his application... and Helen sacrificed him to Hecate. As it begins to rain inside, Carl runs to the door as Helen screams in terror. The ring drops off of Carl's finger as he goes out the door, and he turns to take pictures of Helen.
Once the rain and wind die down, Carl figures that the temple's destruction would be dismissed as vandalism or a faulty sprinkler system As for Helen, she's now a stone statue in the center of the temple. Carl takes out the ring and advises his listeners to never put on strange rings... and gets it' stuck on his finger again.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 7, 2017