I need more time. Damn the children, I’m not ready to go yet. Soon I’ll be the oldest on the counter. After that just one birth will kill me.
When you’re young you just accept the counter. A hundred thousand people seems enough. You’re never going to know them all. You make friends of your own age and get used to life. It’s a tradition to kiss the counter when there’s a spare. It means someone died in an accident or just freaked out before their name made it to the top of the list. It gives us all another chance.
I was born ready to die. Engineered for heart failure which only a given beating clock would save me from. That scar is the uniform we all wear. From then on you work your way up the list, each birth pushing you towards the cut. They can always find us, we cant move far in the city for one and the heart has a tracker. We’re on loan with no promise of life. Without contraception the perceived old keep getting younger.
Years ago when this began I would not have been considered old. Now I’ve made the top ten I’ve seen so many young friends die. They’re taken to be burnt which sterilises the morphic heart ready for reuse. My heart has seen more years than I ever will and will see many, many more. I’ve been nearing the top ten for days. I spent the time cursing every pregnant woman I saw and kissing any who weren’t. I’m not sure if I’ll have a child. There’s a rule called overflow where a mother can live using her unborn child as a counter when they’re overdue to die. As soon as the child is born the mother at the top of the counter is eliminated to make way for her child.
I’ve probably made a few children recently. I hope their births don’t count out any of my friends. Then again I wont be there to care.
Shit. I’m second now. Where’s a spare when you need it? Come on number one, number three, do yourself in. For me.
This will be my last drink and hopefully the girl across the bar giving me pity eyes will be my last kiss. First place, time for that kiss. Child that will kill me: I hope I had the pleasure of creating you. Goodbye.
He crossed the room, leaving his last testament in marker on the bar. Nothing mattered to him but one last pleasure. The girl knew his plight, watched him draw nearer. She saw him not as old, only that fraction older. She would give him the kiss he desired. She would give as she would want to take. He was still so young and fearful. She would want a kiss in her last moments.
Some chose to die alone but they were ineffectual to the cruelty of that life. When they died as he would the imprint of the loss would resonate from her. It might amount to change. At least she might have her kiss as one name replaced hers at the top of the list. When he died and fell beneath her she cried, not for him but that she would share his fate.