Please Come Soon
A Short Story
17 April 2041
My dearest Katharine,
Do forgive my handwriting as my palsy has become nearly intolerable since I lost my meds last year after the 2040 Lottery. I’m writing to let you know I’m still surviving. The hope that I might see you one more time has kept me above the sod.
I’ve no idea whether you’ll even receive this letter since my access to the grid has been restricted due to my crimes.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 16 years since the Feds legalized assisted death. My arguments against this were considered inconceivable at the time. It was only when the Population Bomb Movement re-ignited two years later that my fears were confirmed.
“Assisted Dying” sounded so much gentler than suicide, and just as employers in previous decades offered awards for early retirement, in 2027 that national campaign goading people to embrace an early death kicked into high gear. We geezers were old and in the way, they said. Our selfishness was sucking up resources that could help others whose lives were ahead of them, they said.
This campaign lasted only three years but it sent a message. The debate about making it mandatory to die — they called it “transitioning”— dragged on six years in congress. In 2036 youth prevailed and the country elected its youngest president ever who promptly set in motion the Lottery as a solution to our crowded cities and depleted food resources.
The Lottery was an insidious concept from the start. The rules were simple. Each year on the Fourth of July we tuned in on the telly to watch them spin the wheel: 12 numbers, one for each month of the year. One spin.
Your mother and I got lucky that first year. If you were born in February you were not so lucky. They didn’t kill anyone outright, but from the day of the Spin you could no longer purchase pharmaceuticals or get medical treatment if you were over 70. Somehow it hardly made a ripple in the news. People just went about their business as if this were all normal.
The following year was when your mother’s number came up. She held on for a while, but as you know your mother’s pain quickly became intolerable. That’s when I learned about the Underground.
When I was young there had been such an outcry because of the poor quality of end of life care. The hospice movement helped many of our parents die with dignity. How I wish we had this kind of care today. They can’t wait to shove us out into the cold now.
The Underground smuggled meds in from across the border and for three years I escaped notice, but with drones everywhere it was only a matter of time.
My attorney says they can’t kill me without due process, but the death pill is served alongside every meal. Please come soon. I sense my days are numbered.