Eamonn Fay just wanted to leave his house as he was overcome again
by one of these terrible cough attacks and stumbled over to the
cabinet with the medicine, rattling and panting. With shaky hands
he guided the bottle to his mouth and took a big gulp of the cough
syrup that shimmered red-brown and smelled like something indeterminable.
Immediately his condition improved. He sat down and wiped the
cold sweat from his forehead. Now it was definitely time to see
the doctor. He went on his way; wrapped in a thick scarf in spite
of the mild temperature. Mr. Fay suffered for some time from an
ever worsening cough. He was a heavy smoker and drinker but never
thought that it would do any damage. A week ago he went to the
doctor for the first time and the doctor gave him some medicine
of whose success he now wanted to convince himself...
...but the result was negative. The syrup managed to relieve the
attacks but after a short time they returned ever stronger. As
the doctor had then examined him thoroughly he took a thoughtful
look at his files. The he said with a tensioned face: "Mr.
Fay, you know that I favor honesty and directness and you are
a man who, I believe, can face the truth. Judging by the condition
of your organs, specifically the lungs and liver, I have to tell
you, with great regret nonetheless, that you only have about two
months to live."
He looked the patient in the confused face, waiting and earnestly.
"Doctor, what you are saying here is very shocking. Are you
sure there is no error?"
"According to the results of the examination: No."
"Well, and what am I to do now? That's all so sudden and
"You know, I'm really sorry and embarrassed. If I was in
your shoes I would enjoy life to the fullest as long as I could.
After all, you've got nothing to lose."
"But, I have to digest all of this first. You throw at me
that I am as good as dead and yet you speak of 'enjoying'."
"I'm sorry, that was clumsy. Should I call a taxi?"
Totally down Mr. Fay sat in a chair at home and thought that nothing
mattered anymore; that he couldn't outrun fate and that maybe
it all was nothing but a bad dream. For several days he hid in
his apartment until he became aware that he was just wasting away
his remaining days that way.
He recalled the advice of the doctor and came to the same conclusion:
He would live life to the fullest and take advantage of all the
possibilities! Yes, that was the only thing to do! He had enough
money in the bank to live like a king for roughly two months.
He would allow himself everything.
The next morning he rushed to the bank and withdrew all of his
money. The people there were rather impressed and Mr. Fay even
got a briefcase for free to carry the money. Next he went to a
tailor and had a customized, first-class suit made. Then he went
to a car rental agency and rented an expensive car. Finally he
bought some expensive liquors and supplies for half a week in
a delicatessen store. Content he drove home, mixed a drink and
prepared lunch. He thought of hiring a servant but he preferred
to be undisturbed and by himself.
In the afternoon he looked at the town. He had done that before,
quite frequently actually, but now he saw it with different eyes.
He drove past the casinos, bars and night clubs and wrote than
some of the names. He didn't want to go overboard to start with.
He wanted to take his pleasures one at a time. So he drove home
and finally was able to sleep deep and with sweet dreams again.
He slept until noon and started the day with a big meal. In the
late afternoon he drove to town. He went to the casino and started
gambling right away. He tested his luck with roulette first, then
playing dice, and after he had participated in a card game, he
had won a nice amount of money. He went on immediately and enjoyed
the night life of which he didn't think much so far. He enjoyed
the fun until the early morning hours and slept for half of the
After he had maintained such a standard of living for about a
month, he examined his state of affairs: He had about a month
to live and most of his money was gone. What should he do now?
He didn't want to exit this life as a poor and broken man. He
had put on quite some weight and didn't want to get rid of it
again. He didn't want to make the grave diggers' job too easy.
He decided to sell of the furniture that he didn't need anymore.
He did as planned and the money carried him over another week
without having to sacrifice the standard he had gotten used to.
But that money too run out before the two months were up or before
he had died. He now was truly worried about his future and someone
to solve the problem couldn't be bought. He sent the two girls
home that sat on his lap, opened a new bottle of champagne, sat
in his big easy-chair that he didn't want to sell and started
to think the situation over.
He came to the conclusion that even by committing a robbery he
wouldn't have anything to lose. By the time they had found and
convicted him, he would be long dead. The risk seemed minimal.
He bought a gun with the last bundle of cash and planned his first
robbery. He didn't have the experience to rob a bank but the little
vegetable dealer at the corner seemed appropriate. The dealer
didn't cause any trouble and Mr. Fay was a few dollars richer.
But it still was not enough. He drove up to an expensive fur store.
They would have more cash on hand. He threatened the sales person
with the gun but the sales person had one too. Mr. Fay fired first
and hit him in the head. He took the many from the cash register
and hurried home. He didn't worry much about the killing. He would
be dead himself in two weeks anyway. He could outsmart the ones
that wanted him executed on the electric chair and he thought
that was a funny situation. Basically, he could kill as many people
as he wanted to and couldn't be punished for it anymore.
During the last two weeks he had almost forgotten that he was
supposed to die. He was cheerful and enjoyed the pleasures that
the money allowed him. But now the deadline had come; faster than
he imagined. He was depressed and waited to die at home in bed.
He waited and waited and hardly dared to sleep because he was
afraid not to wake up again. Just the thought that it could happen
any moment almost made his heart stop.
Four days later he was still alive or was that death somehow?
"And did the doctor declare him dead by now? Would people
break in here soon to pick me up?" he wondered.
Then the phone rang. He jumped because he hadn't heard a sound
for days. The doctor was on the line and told him to come to the
office as soon as possible. There had been some sort of mistake.
Mr. Fay was suddenly bright and fully awake. He was mad and went
over to the doctor's office.
Once there he didn't have to wait long. The doctor appeared with
an earnest expression on his face. He apologized in a thousand
different ways and explained that Mr. Fay had become the victim
of a mix-up. He wasn't yet due to die because of his illness.
He'd rather have a long time to live unless he got run over by
a truck or got shot somewhere.
Immediately he was aware that he now was a common criminal that
would have a hard time to escape the police. Mr. Fay only saw
one solution; it was an ingenious plan.
The doctor told Mr. Fay that certainly there would not be any
charges for the consultations and that his doctor's visits would
be free from now on. But that he would understand too if he chose
to go to a different doctor. He was totally embarrassed. But he
had made a grave mistake with consequences for both of them. The
doctor had to be killed. It went silently and without traces of
force. Now Mr. Fay dressed the doctor in his own clothes and put
his identifications and licenses in it. The two looked much alike.
Everybody would think that Mr. Fay's death deadline had expired
here in the office and they would bury the body without questions
After he had explained to the police that Eamonn Fay had suffered
from a terminal illness and unfortunately succumbed to it right
here in the office, he soon retired from his occupation as a doctor
and started a new and long existence in a different town.
Copyright © April 1983, Wasty, You'll Die
German title: Nicht mehr lange
Reading time: approx. 9 1/2 minutes
Last updated February 12, 2001 by Martin Mathis, e-mail lastbandit.com