Medical Manslaughter

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A short story following the Machine of Death premise

Instructions for tomb raiding, number 1: Act first, think later.

My first dig was for Mom. Hopefully she was glad to be receiving visits still, in her bungalow underground. Even if the dearly departed would have preferred privacy, I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice. I just dug and dug, and I didn’t dare stop, because when my hands stopped, my mind might start working. I worried what an angel on my shoulder would say. I was a little disappointed in myself for not being overcome with remorse. At the same time, I was a little proud that I wasn’t on the couch like an average guy, watching celebrities bare their teeth for reality TV. I focused on mustering up some sadness, to convince myself that I was still a good person.

Mom had been the strongest link between me and the rest of civilization. When I was an infant and my brother was two, my father ran off. Mom used to say that he returned to the zoo. I knew no other relatives. We had started fresh in Los Angeles after the divorce.

The glow from my phone showed me where to pry up the coffin’s lid. The corners of my smile involuntarily twisted upwards towards my ears. Even before this plan had stained my imagination, I had luckily ordered a “green” coffin, not a regular locked-down vault that looked like it was fortified against a zombie invasion. Did I have a devil on one shoulder protecting me but nothing on the other side? Lightheartedness is not an attractive quality in anybody who is kneeling at an open grave, opening a pocket knife. I was greeted by Mom’s ample balding forehead. Hi, Momma. I’m going to help you lose a tiny bit of weight. The next task probably would have been easier with a steak knife. Continue reading

Forgotten

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A short story following the Machine of Death premise

“Power corrupts, to a point. Somebody said that absolute power corrupts absolutely. But he didn’t have any idea what he was talking about.” Mr. Seher watched his own hands gesticulating. “It’s the desire for more power that corrupts. So once you hold complete, absolute power in your hands, you don’t feel driven by your old appetites for fame or money. Every temptation is beneath you except the need to prepare the world for when you’re gone.” Continue reading

Slow and Steady

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A widespread investing myth is the time diversification fallacy–the belief that young people should hold riskier assets than old people. People imagine a young person’s portfolio to be safer than an old person’s because it is somehow protected by time. This idea is a dangerous weed that cannot be easily uprooted. Here are my own arguments against it. Continue reading