Author : Steven Holland

“What’s this?” asked Hoyt Pendergrass, glancing at the envelope that was just handed to him.

“The U.S. Government has need of one of your organs. This is the necessary paperwork. Your operation is set to take place tomorrow.” These words came from one of the two suited men standing in front of him.

Hoyt quickly glanced through the papers, trying to focus his bleary eyes. I was 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday after all.

“What! My heart? You can’t take my heart!” he exclaimed when his eyes finally found the relevant information buried amongst all the legal babble.

“Actually, we can. By right of Eminent Domain, the U.S. Government is purchasing your heart for the immediate transplantation into the body of Senator Gershwin Wilkins.” The agent wore a bland, serene smile as he spoke these words.

Hoyt could only gape speechlessly as he listened.

“The government will of course reimburse you for your loss with a cash settlement and a TransverTech Vikus Mark III™ replacement heart. You must report to St. John’s Hospital by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning or be found in contempt of the law.”

“Why me? Get somebody else’s! I don’t want a tin can ticker!”

“Your heart has been deemed vital to the continued well being of the United States of America.” the agent said in well rehearsed words. “DNA Database of America and Citizen Tracker® found you to be the most suitable match for Senator Wilkins based on DNA similarity and lifestyle choice.”

“You’re not a fat, drunken druggie.” added the second agent – speaking for the first time.

“Do not run. You are being watched.” said the first agent. He then blinked twice, all the while, keeping the blank smile plastered on his face. The two men left, leaving Hoyt in his bathrobe and an expression of shock on his face.

Three days later Hoyt awoke, groggy and disoriented. The same two men were standing over his bed. The one still wore that insufferable, blank smile.

“Glad to see that you are awake Mr. Pendergrass. There were complications during your procedure. You died for five minutes during the operation, but the doctors don’t anticipate any significant loss of brain function.”

Hoyt blinked. “What?”

“Here is your compensation check.” Said the other man in the black suit, tossing an envelope on the bandages of Hoyt’s sawn through chest. “It’s more than you make in a year.”

“But I’m a janitor!” Hoyt protested, then seeing the futility, sighed. “Does senator what’s-his-face enjoy my heart?”

The smiling man shifted uncomfortably. “Actually, he never received the heart. Your heart was accidently shipped to Zimbabwe where apparently, a local tribe stole it and ate it during on of their annual rituals.”

Hoyt stared at the man, his expression shifting from shock to contempt to amusement.

“Anyway, enjoy your check from the government. Oh, and don’t do anything too strenuous – your pacemaker only has a five year warranty.” Turning to the other agent, smiley asked as they walked out the door, “So who’s second on the heart transplant list?”

The door closed with and click and silence flooded the room. Hoyt began thinking, thinking of new hobbies he should take up like smoking and drinking… or cocaine. After all, the good senator might be having another organ fail any day.

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