256 Words

The Euthanasia Machine

M. Stanley Bubien

She rolled me in front of the computer and hooked up my IV. Standing over me, our gazes met. The question was there, in her eyes. I needed to hear it, even if it was illegal for her to ask.

She turned away. The question went unspoken.

So did the answer.

She left, and I was alone with the machine that would determine if today was my day to die.

No, that's harsh. I had, after all, been fighting three years for this. Three long years of hospitals, chemotherapy, nausea, lost weight, drugs, familial pity... Nothing helped, and the pain kept coming. I was tired of it all.

Yes! Tired! So the nurse couldn't ask a feeble little question. The computer would make up for it. It had questions. Questions that mattered!

I punched in the answers.

Now, one more button. Press that, and the computer churns away. If it finds my suffering fits the Law, it starts the IV dripping. Quick. Painless. I'd be dead. I'd be free.

Still, that question. I just figured someone would ask. If not the doctor, then the nurse. If not the nurse, then the computer. If not the computer, then... someone.

I held my finger over the button.

Death seemed so cold. Freedom so warm...

"Are you sure?" That's all I wanted to hear. I wouldn't lie. I'd reply honestly.

No, I wasn't sure.

But the pain! I couldn't stand it any longer!

Could I?

I held my finger over the button.

Death seemed so cold. Freedom so warm...

Copyright ©1996 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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May, 1996
Issue #2

256 Words