Word Count 500
By Mike Cecconi
When Social Wellness Solutions introduced Give-Life to the world, it sounded miraculous. The
idea you could transfer a piece of your lifespan to someone else was revolutionary and, just like
any other revolution, it took years to settle in as status quo. That was decades ago, though, and
Suzanne’s eyes glazed over the promotional video playing in the clinic lobby. She’d learned all
this in elementary, Social Wellness paid every school district in the country to put a chapter on
its origins into their history text-pads.
Give-Life’s first stunt was “Donate A Week To Deke”, some kid in Wichita named Deacon was
dying from a disease with a name the length of an arm, they had ads all over asking folks to give
just one week off the end of their lives to help him live a little longer.
Millions volunteered, just what Social Wellness needed to get their meat-hooks into the world’s
consciousness. It was astronomically expensive, and it was never one-to-one, the recipient didn’t
get the full time you gave them, it depended on your health and their lack own thereof, a bit like
converting Euros to Yuan. Social Wellness offered it to Deacon for free, to get publicity, and the
accumulated weeks of millions eventually let Deke live to thirty-five instead of just seventeen. A
miracle indeed but now just ancient history.
Social Wellness didn’t Give-Life for free anymore, that’s why Suzanne was there. Four hundred
thousand Euros for a master’s degree didn’t grow on trees. Ten years off the back-end of her life,
when she’d be decrepit anyway, could net her a bit more than that.
By now, Give-Life was mostly just for rich people to crowd-source longer life-spans from the
desperate. The High Hubbard of the Dianetic Church was seventy-four years old but didn’t look
a day over thirty and was said to have three centuries banked. If you were a vid-star or owned a
corp, you could literally buy time and if you could, of course you did. If you couldn’t, you were
folk like Suzanne, in her twenties leveraging off her eighties to discharge her debts.
Rumors were the life-spans collected at her local clinic all went to Baron Trump, emperor of the
Confederate Syndicate out east, but who could say? She didn’t see a point in knowing to whom
she was selling her life away. She remembered her grandpa telling her once how his dad worked
thirty years in a terrible factory to put him through college. The people who bought the things he
built didn’t ask who gave up their decades to make them, after all.
And so, Suzanne signed the paper, stepped into the machine and gave away ten years of her life
so some rich person somewhere else could enjoy wealth even longer. As far as she could see, it
wasn’t any different than selling decades to the factory and this way, no back-breaking labor to
remember. Just a shorter life-span. That was the deal. That’s always the deal.