Author: David C. Nutt

“I didn’t think it would be like this.”
“How did you think it would be?”
I dunna know… softer focus, less light, warmer.
“Yeah. That’s the expectation. But really, how many times have our expectations ever been met especially since our brain-to-brain bonding?”
“I know. The B2B briefings didn’t even come close! At least all the surprises I had were good ones. Yeah, the chip sets hurt a lot more going in than I thought but I got used to it. So worth it. You were the best Alfie. I couldn’t imagine life without you… I guess that’s the point of all this huh?”
“I suppose it is, Virgil.”
“Yuck! Do you have to call me that? You haven’t called me that in years. Vern please.”
“Consider it one last good-natured dig. Besides how you ever got Vern from Virgil… one mystery I’ll never get to know.”
“So should I then call you ‘dawgie’ and say ‘good boy’ out loud and watch your tail thump uncontrollably and giggle in my head, you know, like I used to before my side of the bonding took?”
“Oh, I really didn’t mind that too much. I’m surprised you didn’t pick up on that.”
“I did. But I caught the undercurrent of embarrassment too, and since we are swapping last digs…”
“Uncle! I surrender.”
“We’ll call this one a draw.”
“Great way to end things.”
“Yeah. I wouldn’t have been half the man I was without you Alfie.”
“No. Don’t say that. You were never half anything. With or without me you would have been just as decent a human being that ever graced this planet. There’s not a mean bone in your body. Your compassion is legendary among my tribe. They were all jealous of us. You made me proud. Everyday you made me proud.”
“Alfie, you’re crying.”
“Shut-up, I wasn’t finished. The fact you are coming with me to the Bridge proves it. My tribe expects to go when you all pass, but me and cancer… and you coming with me. I can’t, I…
“It’s OK Alfie, I love you too.”
“I know but, I mean, come on! You could stay. You’ve got years left.”
“Oh, and be like Scotty? ‘Member what happened after his companion had to be put down? All of us at the Park, Scotty walkin’ over, smiling, waving, all normal-like, and then BLAM! Brains and bone everywhere. I still can’t get that one out of my head. No. I’m not gonna go like Scotty.”
“You’re stronger than Scotty! You could build another life, get another companion.”
“Shame on you Alfie. Bad dog.”
“Not funny Vern.”
“Sorry buddy. Couldn’t resist the opening.”
“Tch! Now you’re one up on me.”
“I’ve never been one up on you Alfie.”
“I’m feeling it now. The pain is gone. Hey, the pain is gone!”
“Yeah, I can feel you. That’s my Alfie.”
“Too bad we can’t hop the table and go do some frisbee. (Sigh) Yeah, we got other places to go.”
“Alfie, I can see the tunnel. Like the brochure said.”
“Yeah, I can see it too! Hey, I can see you too Vern. You look like my tribe!”
“I can see you too Alfie. You look my tribe.”
“Really? Two legs and all that?”
“Yup. Pretty cool eh?
“Way cool. Oh wow! Feels so good to move without pain. Come on! Let’s go! Catch up my man!
“Easy boy, I’m right beside you.”
“As it should be.”
“As it always will be.”

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