A Certain Future by Michael C Keith

Michael C Keith's short dialogue between two friends, one of whom knows exactly what his future holds.

In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away
- W.H. Auden

"Hey, man, I'm a decaying body in a year," snapped Jason, after a friend had asked him for his thoughts on how global warming would change the world.

"I'm sorry, dude," responded Marty. "I forgot. You look so healthy and strong."

"On the outside. Inside the walls are crumbling."

Marty was about to say something but changed his mind.

"Chill, man. I'm good with it. I mean there's not a freaking thing I can do about it. Better off than the rest of humanity though. You guys got to fret about what's ahead for you. No fretting about that for me. I know exactly what the future holds."

"Isn't there some kind of experimental drug or treatment you can get? Some clinical trial going on?"

"Been down that road already. Did more Googling and emailing about it than you could imagine. Call me Mr. Due Diligence. Nothing can stop those hungry little brain eaters from emptying out this cupboard," said Jason, tapping his temple.

"It's a Gloma-something tumor, you said."

"A Glioblastoma Multiforme, to be exact. It usually affects older people. Guess I'm just lucky."

"Some luck," mumbled Marty, shaking his head. "You're sure cool about this. I'd be a real mess."

"Hey, think about it. I've been liberated."

"Huh? What do you mean?"

"What worries you about the future, Marty?"

"Stuff... things."

"Like, will you lose your job? Will your wife cheat on you? Will your kid get run over? Will your parents move in with you? Will you get audited? Will your house catch fire? Will you get robbed?"

"Okay, I get the idea."

"Will an asteroid hit Earth? Will there be another terrorist attack? Will you be paralyzed? Will you get dementia?"

Marty looked at his watch and stood up. "Whoa, got to get back to work."

"Will you get cancer? Yeah, that's a good one to worry about. I don't have to worry about that one."

"Good point, Jason. Look, I'm..."

"How about erectile dysfunction? Now that's a concern to keep you up at night... no pun intended. Hey, maybe a shooter in your workplace? That one could happen anytime, right? Then there's a possible global pandemic and that cliff might break apart in the Azores causing a killer tsunami right here."

"Ah yes, there's that. Well, I'll see you soon, buddy," blurted Marty, turning and hurrying out of the restaurant.

That guy is one lucky bastard, he thought, climbing into his car.


  1. i wish this had been longer, or maybe that´s part of the point, either way it´s a nicely written piece, i liked it.
    what´s the worst thing that can happen? It´s happened. then?
    i hope it´s not in any way autobiographical.

    michael mccarthy

  2. My better half is a seven+ year survivor: stage IV colon cancer. “Give up and you’re a goner,” she says (we’ve seen so many). Jason is one of us, not living in denial, accepting the reality of it all and seeing something positive in that. With his cynical attitude, he might be around longer than his buddy Marty.

    Really enjoyed the piece – excellent prose. Check out rondaparrish.com – a cancer anthology is in the works. This piece, or more like it, might find a home there, as well.

    Good choice, Mr. Fish.

    Orie Hegre

  3. Well written and oddly funny. CW

  4. Everything changes in view of your mortality. It's something to attain before you learn you're dying. *That* is why he is lucky.

  5. I agree. Well written and oddly funny.