Bound (Flash Fiction)

“Good morning, Dr. Harken.”

“Good morning, Bob,” he said, clicking the door closed behind him. “How are you feeling this morning?”

Bob smiled. It was awfully sincere. “I’m feeling captive to my own inclinations.”

Dr. Harken nodded. He searched his lab coat for a pen. “Bob, we’re concerned for you. You understand that, don’t you?” He grabbed the clipboard hanging from the wall and flipped through its pages.

“I understand your attempt of being concerned.” Bob said. He narrowed his eyes in an attempt to read the medication section of the charts. “I don’t understand the fallacy that you’ve created for yourself by placing me in this ridiculous position.”

Dr. Harken pulled a stainless steel stool and sat. “What fallacy is that?”

Bob’s smile vanished. “You say that you restrain me and watch over me so that I will do myself no harm. You insist that I’m not well and that I need adequate protection.” He paused as the good doctor read the most recent section of notes. “You say that my life is precious, and to prove it to me you take my life away.”

“We don’t want you to hurt yourself, Bob.” Dr. Harken circled a section of the page and made new notes. “We want you to be a healthy, happy member of society.”

Bob shook his head. “I don’t want your society, you cunt.”

The doctor set the clipboard aside. “What do you want, Bob?”

Bob coughed out half a laugh. “I want to leave this place, all of it. I want this planet to erode into the primordial cesspool that it evolved from. I want mountains to spew their molten blood over every inch of green that pumps oxygen into the air. I want your children, and their children, to suffer from incurable infertility. I want the whole living charade to come right on down, swallowed whole by a burning sun, torn into darkness by the Big Rip, sundered into pieces as if the whole had never been. I want the freedom to make the one decision that truly matters in life.”

“And what decision is that?” asked the doctor.

“Suicide, you stupid man.”

Dr. Harken sighed. “Why is suicide the only decision that matters in life?”

Bob smiled again. It was a broader, happier smile. “Because you’re either in or out. Should you decide that life is simply not worth living, then no other question applies. Should you decide that the struggle is worth carrying on, then the struggle has become irrelevant.”

Dr. Harken reached over and tightened a metal clasp. “And what’s your choice, Bob? What do you decide?”

Bob looked at the long white sleeves restraining his arms. “That doesn’t quite seem to matter at this point, does it?”

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