The Button

“That’s all I gotta do?”
“That’s all.”
“Just push the button?”
“Just push the button.”
“Okay, tell me again,” Ted Lambeth said.

He was sitting in the chair across from Doctor Piccoli’s desk, his leg crossed, foot twitching.
Neil Piccoli gave a sigh and started again.
“It’s all biometrics, Mr. Lambeth. When you grasp the handle to enter the chamber, it will take your palm print. Once the door closes and is hermetically sealed, a sensor will perform a retinal scan. Finally, when you push the button, it will take your fingerprint. This will be the final verification of your identity and act as your signature that you initiated the process. It will also commence the transfer of funds for payment.”
“Will it hurt?”
Neil looked at his patient for a few seconds before responding.
“Medical science has made quite a few advancements in the last half of the twenty-second century. Until recently, with a process of this magnitude there would be discomfort. Using this method however, a small electrode is implanted in the thalamus portion of your brain. This will eliminate all pain until normal healing can occur.”
“How long will it take?”
“The operation? About an hour. You, however, will not notice the passage of time during the process.
Ted sat there a few more minutes. “Okay,” he said, standing up, “Let’s do it.”
Doctor Piccoli showed him into the inner sanctum. It was decorated like a small sitting room, except for the titanium chamber in the corner.
“Take as much time as you need. You can get undressed in here and enter the chamber at your leisure. When you are finished, there is a robe you can put on to be more comfortable. Feel free to wear it home. I’ll be waiting outside.” With that, Doctor Piccoli turned and left the room, leaving Ted Lambeth alone with his decision.
The doctor returned to his desk and began working on routine files with his Tele-Sponder. He knew from experience that it would probably be at least two hours before the patient was finished and ready to face the world. He smiled to himself as, forty-two minutes later, he heard the distinct hum from the chamber inside.
Almost exactly two hours after being shown into the chamber, the patient returned to the chair, now wearing a loose housecoat, buttoned at the front. “Well, Miss Lambeth, how do you feel?”

The Button

dbvirago

Dunwoody, United States

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