Thomas sat up in bed, drooling a bit, a determined expression on his face, and typed with gnarled fingers onto a holographic keyboard in the air into a personal computer he had on his bed table. He carried it in his pocket. It followed him around on little legs and called for him if he left it. It could locate him by GPS tracking.

“Happy Birthday to me. I am a hundred years old today. I had a great great aunt once who lived to be a hundred and three. She said on her death bed to her daughter, ‘You know dear, the first hundred years were very nice. Perhaps I should have stopped there.’ Well, I think about that now, and I don’t want to stop. My life has not been so nice, it has been filled with loneliness and failure, and punctuated by adventure and success. There are still things I would like to do. Many years ago I traveled to India to see if things would be different there. Things were very different in India, by the way. I have done a lot of running in search of ephemeral things like emotions of a certain type in certain quantities. And life has always been different in every country I have been to on this planet, has always been better and worse and different and also the same in many ways. Granted, I can barely move. There is no cake today or people to help me blow out my candles. Happiness is highly over rated, you know. It is a precious commodity, not had by everyone, and not to be held. Happiness is meant to be searched for and discovered and appreciated, and then it will slip away so you can search for it again.”

The annoying young day nurse came in with his breakfast,.

“And how are we today, Mr. Black.”

“Mmmm, bugger you,” he mumbled. She never payed attention or heard him but merely rolled his breakfast tray over the holographic screen and keyboard.

“S…save,” he struggled out.

“It is a beautiful day,” she exploded with sticky sweet enthusiasm.

“My birthday,” he told her.

“Isn’t that nice,” she bubbled vacantly. “Now, eat your Jello like a good boy.”

“Get out, you stupid bitch,” he sputtered against the spoon she was sticking in his face.

She popped up with annoying perk and, beaming from ear to ear, announced, “If you don’t eat I’ll have to get the tube. You don’t want that, do you, Mr. Black?”

“Mmmyself,” he struggled out gripping the spoon in his gnarled claw.

“Ok. I’ll be back in a while to see how you are doing,” she warned him cheerily and left.

After she had gone he threw the spoon on the floor and pushed the tray away. He hated Jello. “Computer,” he announced. “Bring up my bank account and start looking at flights to Asia.” It was time for one last adventure.


by Paul Bourgeois, October 12, 2012, Vantaa


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