Policy #8812ZOZ, Lee Hammerschmidt, [2023:41]

“Let me get this round,” I said to the well dressed, but sloppily drunk man sitting next to me at the bar. “Sounds like you’ve had a rough day.”

“They’re all rough,” he slurred as the bartender slid another double scotch in front of him. “Work is killing me. The pressure of high finance. I don’t know how much more I can take.”

“Quit,” I said. “Find something more rewarding.”

“I can’t! I’ve got bills up the wazoo thanks to the upscale lifestyle I live. But, the worst part, all my friends are retired. But I’m 10 years younger. They’re out having fun while I’m slaving away!”

“Maybe I can help you with that.”

I slid a sheet of paper in front of him.

“I’m in a position to offer you retirement with a very comfortable income, starting immediately,” I said.

“Ha!” he guffawed. “What’s the catch?”

“You, like your retired friends, will be 10 years older. Is that a trade you’re willing to make? No more work. Financial security. For 10 years of your life?”

“What? How is that even possible!”

“I work for a special agency that’s concerned with conserving the resources of the planet. By taking 10 years off peoples’ lives, by their own voluntary choice of course, we will be able to extend the longevity of the planet for millions of years. So, what do you say?”

He downed his drink and signaled the bartender for another.

“What agency has that power?” he said. “The EPA? DEQ? DMV? NASA? Is this Roswell Technology? Are… are you the devil?”

“No,” I laughed, sliding the contract over. “I work for the Fate Department.”

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