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Disaster Revisited   By:

Disaster Revisited by Darius John Granger

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[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Amazing Stories March 1957. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Illustration: A time can come when jumping is all that's left.]

[Sidenote: It annoyed Jason Wall that everybody talked about death but nobody did anything about it. So he decided to eliminate the pesky nuisance. But in the end he longed for a chance to say, "Fellas I was only kidding!" ]

"Tell me the truth, doctor," Jason Wall said. "We've known each other too long for lies."

The doctor nodded slowly, lit a cigarette and offered Jason Wall one. "Yes, we've known each other a long time long enough so I know the truth, or anything you want, can't be kept from you."

Jason Wall smiled. He was a small, sparse man, very hard of eye and gaunt of face. He was about forty five years old.

"Then here it is," the doctor said uneasily. "You're going to die, Jason. Eighteen months, maybe two years at the outside. There is absolutely no chance for a cure."

Jason Wall turned to the window and finished smoking his cigarette. Outside, children were playing, the sun was shining, and a postman came by humming a gay tune. Jason Wall turned back to face the room and his own grim reality. "Shall I consult specialists? I can buy "

The doctor shrugged. "You can, if you wish. I already have, on the biopsy."

"Pain?" Jason Wall asked.

The doctor nodded, yes. "Progressively worse. We'll be giving you narcotics the last six months or so."

Jason Wall pursed his thin lips. His gaunt face seemed, if anything, gaunter. That was the only sign that he had just been given his death sentence. He said: "Blast it, doctor, it isn't fair! It isn't fair, I tell you. I'm a rich man. Maybe the richest man in the world. I can buy anything anything, you hear me?" His voice went low suddenly, so low that the doctor could hardly hear it. "Anything but my health. Because don't let them tell you a man can't buy happiness. That's for sale too, doctor. Anything is except a man's health. Blast it, it isn't fair. I've everything to live for."

The doctor said: "At least you're fortunate in one way. There'll be no widow, no orphaned children, no "

"Family!" scoffed the doomed Jason Wall. "You think that's happiness? You think it matters?" He laughed, and there was nothing hysterical about the laughter. "You don't know what happiness is. None of you do. Happiness and selfishness, they're the same thing. The most successful men realize that, doctor. I realize I'm not exactly the world's best loved man. It doesn't matter, I tell you. It doesn't matter at all." He went to the window again, watched the children at play. "But that isn't fair. That's the hardest thing to take."

"Yes? What is?"

"Those children. The rest of the world. Out there. Playing. They don't know I'm going to die. If they knew, they wouldn't care. That hurts more than anything. Doctor, I tell you the world ought to weep when Jason Wall dies. It ought to wear black."

"Mr. Wall, I know you won't mind my saying you're the most egotistical man I've ever met."

"Mind? I'm delighted. A man ought to be self centered. Shall we say, ten thousand dollars?"

"Ten thousand "

"Your fee, for telling me the truth. For telling me I'm going to die. For not keeping it back."

"My fee is fifty dollars, Mr. Wall."

"You'll take ten thousand. I give what I want, doctor, so I feel free to take what I want. Ten thousand dollars. You'll have your check in the morning. Thank you."

"I'm sorry, Mr. Wall," the doctor said.

Jason Wall left the office grumbling.

Eve came to him that night wearing the stone marten cape he'd given her for Christmas. She was a tall, regal blonde, long legged and gorgeous. She was half a head taller than Jason Wall, was from Iowa, and had won the Miss Universe contest two years before... Continue reading book >>

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