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A Short Story - Page 2

  • A Matter of Certain Gravity
  • Dalipalooza
  • Internal Uprising
  • Slow Suicide
  • I joined Sage, the oldest of us brothers, at the buffet. He poked at some suspect vegetable dip with a rubbery piece of celery.

    "You'd think for something like this we could at least have some food that was a bit more classy," he said. "You know, like baked salmon or caviar or something."

    I sighed. "I wonder what 'the other half' are having at their assisted-suicide parties." Everyone around looked at me nervously when I said it. It was probably the first time anyone here had ever said the words aloud, we’d all become masters at polite euphemisms months ago. Dad just looked sadly at the ground. I suppose the only thing worse I could've done was yell "Cancer!" at the top of my lungs.

    A black stretch limousine rolled up the gravel road and came to a stop. The driver got out and opened up the back door, and out stepped Dr. Reynolds and his assistant. His assistant was carrying a black bag like the ones that doctors used to carry in the old days, when they still made house calls. Dr. Reynolds was dressed in a black suit and tie, and his gray hair was slicked back perfectly, resembling what I imagined a 19th century undertaker would have looked like. He was smoking a cigarette that I swear was about six inches long, and he smoked it through one of those long cigarette holders that someone like a washed up Hollywood-starlet lush would use. Realizing his faux pas, he handed the cigarette holder to his driver and cleared his throat. His assistant looked like a trophy wife; a beauty pageant winner, albeit dressed in some sort of cross between a naughty nurse’s uniform and what you’d expect a funeral home director’s wife to wear.

    "He's supposed to be one of the best." I heard someone whisper. "Studied under Kevorkian himself." They walked, or rather strolled, over to the party, and the Doctor bowed to all present.

    "Hello everyone," he said, "are we about ready?"

    We all looked at each other stupidly, until finally Dad spoke:

    "I suppose so. Does anyone have anything else to say to Victoria?"

    A murmur of ‘No's’ and shaken heads answered him. I looked over at Mom, who just sat there on the mossy tree stump, watching us and looking sad. She was far enough away that she couldn't understand what we were saying, but she knew that we were talking about her. It reminded me of the group of doctors that came to talk to our family when they found out that mother's cancer was terminal. Four or five of them stood down the hospital hallway out of earshot, and we could tell that something mortally big was up.

    The good doctor began setting up The Device on the picnic table, and everyone sat down at the other tables and on grass around it. A few hushed conversations took place as Dad went over to have a few final words with Mom. They made a decrepit march over to the table, Mom looking like she could crumble to the ground into a pile of dust at any moment. I numbly watched the procession of two along with everybody else; a bunch of gawkers staring like children who didn't know any better.

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