My feet are so cold.

I am stuck in this hospital bed, enduring the dull interval between what they call “lunch” and what they call “dinner.” Around here, meals are more of a way to keep time than a culinary experience—especially when your diet is so limited. I’d say it’s about four in the afternoon.

Through the fifth-floor window, I’ve been watching heavy equipment operators working the cranes swinging around 20-foot lengths of steel I-beam, building the skeleton of the new wing of the hospital. The sun is low in the sky. Almost quitting time.

They can’t fool me. I’ve stood outside that door, out in that same hallway countless times, my hand on the shoulder of a loved one while I softly recount the details of the patient’s last moments, suppressing rage against failure, mine and that of my science, to keep some promise of immortality. But today I am the patient, not the doctor. I now see the flaw in my own reasoning, based as it was on the idea that we should live on the earth forever, that it is some kind of injustice to be forced to leave.

The attentive staff thinks I will die here.   […]


The story appeared in Switchback, Volume 11, Issue 21, Spring 2015; it was presented at the 2014 New Short Fiction Series in Los Angeles, where the author was selected as an Emerging Voice. ◾ Request full textSee all stories