The List by Robert Kasch
Gene Sellers confined to a hospital bed, knew he was very near death. He could still see, hear and even sit upright with a little help but he could feel the death hand on his chest and hear the whispers of the doctors and nurses.
Thirsty. I'm so damned thirsty all of a sudden, Gene thought as he reached for the call button.
A nurse Gene had not seen before entered, her uniform, crisp and white. " Already here Mr. Sellers. Pain meds and some last bit of paperwork." The nurse was pretty and had a natural smile that probably put the non terminal patients at ease. What last bit of paperwork. Damned cold if you ask me thought Gene.
" Alright let's give you a morphine push and then I'll help you with the list." The syringe went into the I.V. and the warm drug hit almost immediately.
" What list?" Gene barely croaked out the words before sinking into the bed, pain free.
" It's hot in here, Mr. Sellers. Mind if I unbutton my top?"
It's the drug of course. A nurse would never say that. But the nurse did say it and began to unbutton her top as she positioned the list on her knee.
" Normally I would never do that but it's on the list and we thought it's the least I could do."
Gene stared in awe at the nurses semi nude form still thinking it was a reaction to the morphine.
" Let's start with the things you did but should not have, followed by the things you did not do but should have. Then we can go on to unfulfilled fantasies of which staring at an almost nude and sexy nurse was one. So see, that's one we can scratch out. Off to a good start."
" What is this list all about? Seems a bit of invasion of privacy. And how in hell did you get this information? This is unacceptable. My God, I'm a dying man."
The nurse smiled and answered " Yes, at eleven tonight I'm afraid. We always have this information on all of our patients Mr. Sellers. It's important to know if everything in your life balanced or did not."
" And did mine balance out?" Gene said this with no effort to hide a growing anger.
" We both know it did not, sir. In fact you led a most unrewarding life and were not a very nice man while doing so. We can skip the list if you like and you can just relax and sleep until eleven. I'll even get you something to help put you under."
" Is there a benifit to me hearing this list?"
The nurse stood and threw the list into the waste can and then buttoned her top. Her smile faded. " In your case I think not. It was your last chance to consider things and even make them right in your own mind. Help determine where you will go at eleven."
" I'll listen to the list, please."
" No, your attitude is wrong. It won't help you. I'm sending in another nurse. The one that should have come in to begin with." The nurse left the room without looking back. Gene stared at the ceiling until hearing footsteps at the door.
A nurse, in an all black uniform, and appearing a bit translucent, sat next to Gene. She did not smile but only looked into the waste basket at the crumpled list.
Something dark, a wisp of polluted fog, swirled around her and as Gene started to drift off. Before he was under, he noticed her nails. Long, yellow, slashing tools.
When Gene was almost asleep the nurse whispered in his ear, " I knew I would get you."