256 Words

Living Will

M. Stanley Bubien

"Since she lacks a living will," the lawyer told me. "As executor of your mother's estate, the decision falls to you."

As he spoke, the air conditioner shut off. Arms crossed to stave off the lingering chill, I gazed upon the pen he had previously offered, but gave no response.

Presently, he said, "Let me ask you a question."

I nodded.

He lifted a sheet from his desk. "It seems the Alzheimer's is so bad, it's left your mother bedridden and unable to communicate."

"That's why I'm here."

"Of course," he replied. "Given this, are you sure that you have the resources to care for her?"


"As executor, the burden of your mother's care is also your responsibility."

A vision of my one-bedroom apartment flashed unbidden to mind, and I shivered.

"Factor in, as well, the absence of quality-of-life." He dropped the paper, causing it to drift forward, coming to rest directly before me. "Consent to Euthanize" stood out in boldfaced type atop the page.

Sighing, I leaned upon the desk and lifted the pen.

"Sometimes," he intoned. "This is the most compassionate solution."

I eyed the lawyer under my brow. The air started again, and in my position, it blew down my neck. Without signing, I replaced the pen and stood to suppress another shiver. "I need a break. I'll be back to..." I indicated the papers, "finish up in ten minutes or so."

He tapped his chin with his fingers.

"But before I return," I said. "Can you please turn on the heat?"

Copyright ©1999 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

Please contact the editor for free text versions of this very short story formatted for e-mail, usenet news, or ftp.

Story Bytes


January, 1999
Issue #33

256 Words