I wrote this in 1958, before we all became trapped in the Matrix.
I suppose I’m glad you were able to fit me into your tight schedule, doctor.
No, don’t be offended, please. It’s just that I know I should feel grateful, but I seem to be devoid of all emotions.
No, not sad, just blank. I am curious to know what motivated me in coming to see you, though. It was a tossup between you and the pills.
Sleeping pills. Least painful way I could think of. Hate pain. No, not hate—that’s too emotional. Have a tendency to avoid pain is more like it. Sort of a negative tropism.
No, nothing in particular prompted the decision.
No, I have no problems—nothing real, anyway.
Well, if you want something specific, I guess paper could be one of the main reasons.
Yes, paper. My wallet’s full of it. So’s yours. File cabinet over there, the notes you’re taking. We’re all accounted for on paper. There must be a few hundred thousand sheets of paper that represent me. Birth certificate, school records, medical records, military service records, dental records, marriage license, divorce records, driver’s license, insurance papers, credit rating, job record—there most be more somewhere I don’t know about.
I’m all accounted for. I’ve been drained dry. I’m all on paper. If you want to find the real me, just search through a few hundred sheets of paper. But you know all about this. After all, you’re about twice my age.
No, I’m only twenty-five. I do look kind of withered, don’t I?
Sure I’m sure. Here’s my driver’s license. See? I have other proof too, if you want it.
You sure are taking a lot of notes, aren’t you? I have a feeling that you shouldn’t write so much, doctor. Gives me a kind of gnawing sensation. I don’t know how to describe it… Feeling thirsty… Say, doctor, please don’t write so fast… DOCTOR…
“Nurse, Anne, come in here. No, first call Doctor Brady, then come in.
“Look at this man—he’s all shriveled up. He just sat there and shriveled up and dropped dead. Weirdest thing I ever saw.
“Oh, hello Pete. Look at this guy. Weird, huh? Look at these notes I took. See what you think.
“Anne, call the coroner’s office will you?
“Pete, I’m going to write this up and present to the next regional meeting.”