Author: Jack Bates

Rae smiled as patiently as she could.
The elderly man sitting across from her gave her that look of confusion so many other clients expressed upon hearing their claim had been denied.
“I don’t understand,” the man said. “Back in twenty-twenty, that commercial said Colony Lifetime Renewability guaranteed coverage when I turned eighty. I paid nine-ninety-five a month for sixty years. My policy says if I reached eighty in good health, CLR would treat me.”
Rae’s teeth hurt but not because she clenched her jaw. “Let me explain how pooling works, Mr. Morgan—”
“I know how pooling works, Miss Tucker. You sell large quantities of policies to a paranoid population, banking on the idea the majority of the policy holders won’t be around to file for existence extension. Of course, then your little pyramid scheme needs new rubes so you hire a celebrity the next generation can identify with hoping to lure more people into buying policies.”
Rae closed her lips over her aching gums. She pressed her tongue against her front teeth hoping to alleviate the growing pain. ‘Stress is all it is,’ she told herself.
Morgan continued his attack. “I survived the decade of polar vortexes. I hunkered in place during the Great Sedition. I went back and got the vaccinations my mother refused me. And through it all, I paid Colony nine-ninety-five a month so that when I turned eighty I could come into a facility and receive a life renewed.”
“That’s not exactly how it works. It’s not like you’re given a new body.”
“It did in the commercial.”
Rae typed a message from her keyboard. “Let me have you speak with Mr. Pinn, my supervisor.”
A door opened. A distinguished looking gentleman stepped into the cubicle room.
“Yes, Miss Tucker?”
“This is Mr. Morgan, Mr. Pinn. His request for an existence extension has been denied.”
Pinn acted surprised. “It has?”
Rae nodded and rubbed her lips over her gums. The pain! “I’m afraid so.”
“According to our records, it is due to a procedural anomaly.”
Jefferson Morgan scoffed. “My ass.”
Mr. Pinn covered his grin with his hand. “Were you a smoker, Mr. Morgan?”
“No, sir.”
“Intravenous drug user?”
“Absolutely not.”
“Life style?”
“Spouse or significant other?”
“Let me take a look at your contract.” He leaned over Rae’s keyboard. Tapped a bit. Stared at the screen. “You’ve been a loyal customer since twenty-twenty. Did the two yearly doctor examinations for six decades. Followed our diet of pre-made meals.”
“Exactly. So why am I being denied for renewal?”
Pinn’s fingers tapped away over the keyboard. “You’re not. I am overriding the rejection. You are a perfect candidate. Our screening goes a little deeper to ensure only the healthiest get chosen. Looks like a doctor forgot to input one of your recent examinations. Happens all the time. I apologize for the error. Take this badge and proceed through those doors at the end of the hall. An attendant will escort you to the renewal room.”
Mr. Morgan hurried down the hall anticipating a new lease on life. The clients never fully understood the lifetime renewability wasn’t for them.
It was for the Colony.
Rae couldn’t hold back the pain any longer. She opened her mouth exposing her fangs. Pinn did the same. They followed Mr. Morgan into the renewal room where they fed upon him and waited for the next policyholder to arrive.