Last Words

Contributor: Michael Plesset

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He lay in the hospital bed, not in pain, but knowing that the time he had left was short. “What can we say with our last breath,” he thought, “when we have to say it all, when it really matters what we say. We can let go and drown in sadness and fear and let out a scream of anguish. That would give everybody a scare they’d always remember, but that’s not enough. Or we can say things that we should have said to people before. Or we could talk about the big things that happened over the years.”

Then a nurse came in, the one with the pretty face and great body. He felt his heart beat stronger, he could always see his pulse rate and blood pressure go up on the monitor when she was in the room.

He watched her move around, straightening things and checking the IV bottle with its tube leading into his arm. When she started to leave he made a sound and pointed to the tube that was in his mouth. She asked him “Do you want to say something?” He nodded. She took the tube out, and he had to swallow a couple of times before he could speak, slowly, but with a clear, strong voice, “I’ve been wanting to say, you have the most gorgeous ass in the world,” then, smiling broadly, he died.

A little while later a group of relatives arrived, to take a last look at him. They stood quietly for a few minutes. “Did he just pass away in his sleep?” the older lady asked. “No he was awake and we spoke.” “What did he say?” one of the women asked. “He said `Tell my family I love them all very much.’”

They looked surprised, looking at each other. “Wow,” the older lady said, “that’s the nicest thing he ever said.”

As they were leaving a younger man stayed behind and asked her “Are you sure, he said the whole family?” “Yes, I’m sure.” she said. He nodded slowly, smiled, and looked as though a great weight had been lifted from him, ”Thank you so much” he said.

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Michael Plesset has published poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, and wrote material for a stand-up comedian. He did graduate work in mathematics and philosophy, worked in high technology, and teaches English to Chinese students.
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