Elderly for Eternity – Flash Fiction Story #13

Elderly for Eternity

by Mary Wright (me)

“And how would you like to rate your treatment? At Immortal Advantage, Inc., we take your comments seriously,” said an echoing voice that seemed to fill the room.

Ms. Sidney Wellington, now 112, pulled the hospital bed blanket over her face, willing herself to be convincing enough to fool the tech that she was in fact, still asleep. She felt absolutely claustrophobic, but to have to answer the question seemed to be more of a grueling venture.

“We detect that your heartbeat is speeding up, Ms. Wellington. Would you like us to do some tests? Can never be too careful.”

If the voice lost its echo, maybe it’d feel less threatening. Too bad that’ll never happen. 

“We detect that your hearing -“

“I hate it!” Sidney exclaimed.

“It is uncertain to what you are referring to -“

“Oh really?” Sidney asked, looking around the virtual setting that was supposed to make her feel “right at home” and was in fact doing the exact opposite, “Do you lack the intelligence that they claimed on the brochure?”

“Here at Immortal Advantage, Inc, we assure you that you will have a restful and enjoyable time while treatments are being done. If you have any questions -“

“Hey, now don’t do that!” Sidney complained, as an actual doctor came into the virtual setting, disrupting the illusion for a second before reforming.

“Ms. Wellington, I have heard you were having some trouble?”

“Don’t patronize me.”

“What seems to be the problem?”

“It wants me to rate it.”

“You mean the EternityTech?”

“Yes, that.”

“Well the tech can only improve once you’ve told it how well it’s doing.”

“I hate it,” Sidney said, “I hate all of this.”

“Are you regretting your treatment?” asked Dr. F.

 “I might be,” Sidney replied, “I just wish it were available when I was younger. The treatment. Before I turned old. Such a late time to be wanting to live forever. What age was I when I came in here, Doctor?”

“Oh, two or three decades ago, I think,” Dr. F. said, consulting his hologram hand screen, “Oh, yes, here it is. You were admitted at age 85.”

“Eighty five,” she said with a sigh. “Such a long time ago. A lifetime ago.”

“Less than half of a normal lifetime, actually,” Dr. F chimed in.

Thanks for that helpful commentary, Dr. F. That really helped me out. Maybe I should be able to rate your treatment of me as well. 

“Anyway,” Dr. F. continued, “Is there anything else I can do to make you more comfortable?”

“How long does this latest treatment extend me for?”

Dr. F. consulted his hologram hand screen again. “Oh. You’ll be happy to know that this one extends for 25 years! We are very proud of that achievement.”

If Sidney could have, she would’ve clenched her fists. “I am sick of it all!” She exclaimed. “I hate the treatment. I hate the tech. I hate having to rate it.”

She gulped. “Go on, Ms. Wellington.”

“I, I hate living.” she finished. “And living in a virtual room doesn’t help that.”

“So you want to die, then?” asked Dr. F., quickly typing a code onto his hand.

“Not by your hand,” said Sidney. “By the way, I know all about testing this new treatment on elderly people like me. Thinking you can make another quick buck by convincing children of aging parents that they have a happy solution!”

“But that wasn’t your case,” Dr. F. said.

“No. It was my brother. But the sentiment stays the same. And now he’s dead because he couldn’t afford to have the treatment,” Sidney continued, “You must be so delighted.”

“Not all of us can have good fortune,” Dr. F. told her.

“Yeah,” Sidney snapped, “Only the ones who take other’s fortune can have the good fortune to spend it themselves.”

And then, to Dr. F’s amazement, Sidney stopped breathing, right then and there. She had said what she needed to.

Well, he wasn’t amazed. He was getting annoyed with her, actually.

He looked down at the cup with her treatment in it, lots of nutrients and vitamins and poison all mixed into one.

Maybe she was onto something about the good fortune thing.

But then he realized that she had only had to replace four organs in her time at Immortal Advantage, Inc., and looked up what she had paid over the years, and well, maybe it was better she was dead. He wouldn’t have been getting rich just having her as a patient.

 FIN

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