By Charles Salmon
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George, gaunt and pale, weak from the disease that ravaged his body and tormented his soul, meditated on the last few months of his life as he waited patiently for them to come for him. Soon the Medtechs in their spotless white medical garb would wheel in the wonderfully comfortable recliner in which he would be taken on his final journey. He envisioned gliding down quiet halls, surrounded by beautiful soft music toward the luxurious sitting room where his loved ones waited for him. The room where his life would end. He was ecstatic!
At sixty years of age, his life was ending prematurely. The Law required a person to live seventy-five years before receiving Odyssey, but that rule only applied if you were healthy. He wasn’t. Were George to continue living, he would be a burden on society. Society was already overburdened with impossible medical costs, overcrowding, and population growth barely kept under control through compulsory abortion, sterilization, and euthanasia.
George had petitioned The Lawyers for an early end to his existence and his request was granted quickly. Due to his grievous medical condition, George was obviously no longer fit to live. His demise would be on his next birthday, June 14th, 2040. He received confirmation of his reservation about the fifteenth of March. He received the news with unbridled joy and immediately began putting his affairs in order.
His thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of the Medtechs wheeling his recliner. George settled comfortably into the accommodating softness of plush leather and began the glide down that long hall.
Euthanasia had been hard to sell to the general public, he recalled. Very hard for even George to accept at first. However, during the first decade of the new millennium, several factors combined to make euthanasia quite popular. Explosive population growth, skyrocketing medical costs, and the end of population-decimating wars made euthanasia almost mandatory. The decline of religious sentiment and the increasing ability of The Advertisers to manipulate the populace rendered it acceptable.
The deciding factor was Odyssey, the injection used universally in euthanasia, the pharmaceutical industry’s contribution to the cause. A trillion dollars was spent developing and marketing Odyssey.. The Advertisers employed every skill to convince the public Odyssey’s toxins were completely painless and its hallucinogenic qualities made death “the experience of a lifetime.” Odyssey promised the virtual realization of every cherished fantasy at the moment of death. It made dying the ultimate ecstacy and replaced all the ancient legends about Heaven.
Even the skeptical George was convinced and became an Odyssey Activist. “Now,” he mused, “I’m about to enjoy the fruit of my efforts in behalf of humanity.”
Now a nurse approaches George, hypodermic in hand, and smiles, “Are you ready?” George nods in the affirmative and the needle is plunged into his arm, the syringe is depressed.
And, just before death, a fleeting horror. No one has ever come back to tell us if Odysseys’ claims are true!
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