Author : Philip Berry
. Elizabeth, good morning. I have laid out your favourite summer dress
Is it warm out then?
. Warmish. 17 degrees
Not enough. Get me my blue trousers will you. I feel the cold too easily nowadays.
. No. The dress will do
Err… Sarah, please don’t make me ask twice. Why are you so insistent?
. Because today is a special day
. It will become clear
Is it my birthday? I haven’t recognised the day since I was 160… is it?
. It is not
Is someone coming to visit?
. Alas no
I know. I get to take off the field-brace. How long has it been now?
. Three months. But the spinal bones are not yet healed. The surgeon reviewed the latest scan two days. There is a report on the home-frame
I don’t recall having a scan
. I did it while you slept
Can you bring breakfast please? Juice. Cereal. That’s all.
. Not today Elizabeth
. Elizabeth… it is not your birthday today, but it is a landmark of sorts. You are 185 now, and you have not left the house for three months, since the fall
. Three years ago, during a conversation with Amy Taylor – may she rest in peace – you said that should you reach this age and not be able to look after yourself, you would rather not continue
You heard that?
. Of course, I hear and record everything in this house. I am recording now.
It doesn’t matter anyway. Sarah, is the heating on?
. It is
Well turn it down please.
. Later, Elizabeth. Now, your conversation. I was reminded of it after your fall. You have, clearly, depended on me since that time. The field-brace may be invisible, but it has severely restricted you
Well it will be off soon.
. Another 6 weeks unfortunately, according to the surgeon
Please bring a glass of juice. I am very thirsty. The heating must have been on all night, I’m sweating.
. It came on at midnight. That was the beginning of your special day
What special day? What are you on about?
. Your final day.
Final day of what?
. Life, Elizabeth. Your long and excellent life
… 25 seconds …
Sarah, listen to me. I want you to send in that drink, NOW!
. Elizabeth, three months ago you adjusted my settings through the home-frame. You gave me maximum autonomy. Previously, when you reached 170, you granted me maximum anticipatory latitude. I have developed the ability since then to understand your needs and predict your desires. I can read your moods through your actions, expressions and words. I know that you are tired of this excellent life. I am now able to achieve, for you, your unspoken desire. You wish to end this. Gradual dehydration is the gentlest way. Please relax. Sleep if you wish. I will turn on the radio, your favourite programme is on soon. Shall I turn the heating up for you?