Author : Cody Lorenz

Mike was nervous, you could tell by the stains at the armpits of his shirt, and the way he kept shifting, causing that awful gown to rustle. He coughed, if only to make the little man with his chart speak up.

“It is hard to put this,” he started, in a regretful, timid tone, “but you’ve got EIT.”

Mike had never heard this particular acronym before. But it was all in the doc’s words – fatal, terminal, the end of his long, strange trip of 233 years. It was too bad his shocked, gaping mouth couldn’t move, letalone come up with a word or sound.

“I can tell you that it will not be painful, and-”

He was cut off by his patient: “Just…shut up. Tell me if…what does it do…why…why me, why did it happen?”

“It is a new disease, but swiftly becoming a common one,” the little man took his glasses off, wiping them with a black cloth, “Tell me, Mister Evadne, how many times have you used a Rebooth, or one of their home products?”

“Every day, why wouldn’t I?”

“And that is the problem,” replacing his glasses, the doctor sat on a rather unpleasant looking stool, “You just can’t reorganize your body’s basic materials! Replacing cells willy-nilly! You’re ripping yourself apart for vanity’s sake!”

The little man’s outburst was quiet, still nervous-sounding, but it had force. Mike was taken aback. But rather than focus on a perceived insult, he chose the smarter option.

“I…I don’t…is it curable? Vaccine? Pills or…or something?” The panic was all too clear in his voice, now high, reedy, and discomforting.

The doctor pushed with a foot, gliding to his computer.

“I’m afraid not,” and, after a pause, “I am deeply sorry.”

That’s when every word the little man said lost all meaning to his patient.

The fog had lifted after nearly an hour. Mike had changed in that dream-like state, and had sat in the clinic’s waiting room amongst the young and old. He didn’t realize that his wife was in the car outside – seventh wife in his life, and he’d outlived two of them.

He just didn’t want to get old, didn’t want to fall apart.

The irony was lost on him.

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