Chess Master has been right about everything. She told me there’s nothing she can’t do, there’s no move she can’t make and there is no game she can’t win. I can’t disagree with her. After all, I’m sitting pretty in Paradise Acres. You’d think I’d be happy. Instead, I am crying in my comfy recliner, trying to get my courage up to do the do. I’ve got the knife right here. I’m getting comfortably numb enough to go through with it. I should just do it, already: right here and now. Get it over and done with, once and for all. My name is Orlyn Farr and the guilt pounding inside is just straight fucking killing me.
There is no one nearby. I am all alone as the distant cold sun shines on me. It cannot distinguish between the sinner and the saint. This is good. I turn my face up to feel its chilly kiss. I am above ground and beneath the solar-farmed, GRID powered, force field. We are protected plenty here at Paradise Acres. Trees and shrubs, flowering plants and grass flourish here. The GRID keeps the Little Ice Age conditions on the outside, where it belongs.
My flat looks out onto an Eden-like stretch of park land. The expertly designed and rigorously maintained park is exclusive to the rich seniors that live here. I am one of them. I can see my contemporaries as they troll and stroll about the grounds, with varying degrees of difficulty. These ancient shells represent the very top of the social and economic food-chain. Paradise Acres houses only those of us connected enough or rich enough, to buy back our geriatric years. A much smaller, but significant number of residents were lucky enough to win their spot by playing tournament BINGO.
Here I sit, still contemplating. All the residents here at Paradise Acres are continually monitored for our vital signs. The Medical care here is top-drawer. I am being monitored, too. No exceptions, so I will have to time this deal just so. If I’m going to go through with this, I’ve got to yank out all the indwelling sensors with quickness. The Medico machines are so fast. They will be here in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. It will make an interesting race: to see if the machines can get here before I expire. They probably will, but I have a very sharp knife and the proper amount of guilt required to see this sad business through, down to the bitter end. They won’t be able to re-animate me. Two big slices in the proper locations and I am done for, no matter how quickly help arrives.
The knife is on the table, right beside my right hand. It is all ready to rock and roll. I pour myself out another double-shot (why not?) of single malt and slug it back. I can feel the Demerol injection I gave myself earlier. It’s reeling in me, reeling me in. The Demerol sends out marching army ants of foggy bliss. They are taking no prisoners. I’m smoking the very best cloned bud-smoke that can be had. The smoke is priced per gram like posh cocaine. Here I’m a chimney stack. I’m treating this huge spliff of shiny-haired purple shit like it is only low-grade brick-packed dirt weed. I indulge in this manner, pert near every day. I will continue to be coddled in this amazingly civilized manner until the day my old ass kicks. This could be next week, or two decades from now. In a lot of very real ways, the timing is up to me.
The tears that fall free from my sobbing eyes would make my recent laser corrections sting something terrible, if it wasn’t for the Demerol. My sad display counters my opulent surroundings. This is the sort of despair poor people have, or sick people. I am neither. According to my last full-body scan, I am completely disease-free. I am comfortable inside and out. I will never, ever have to see a dark, dank underground tunnel again. I will never have to breathe in everyone else’s stinking re-cycled breath. I will never have to watch my own breath plume out cold and rancid before me; always shivering, never getting all the way warm. Here in Paradise, I can stroll about the park, the entire length and width, in super short sporty-shorts, if I choose. I can go to the Recreation Center and dance with the blue-hairs, or visit the brothel if I crave something I’d want to look at naked. I can get prescriptions for any flavor of narcotic I desire. Any and all of it at any time I desire. I am this rich. Yet I have a knife nearby. I am so very sad.
I think of Chess Master and then the little girl. She didn’t deserve what she got. Not by a long shot. I should have opted-out.
Determined, I reach for the blade.
“There are two classes of men; those who are content to yield to circumstances and who play whist; those who aim to control circumstances, and play chess.”