"Aunt Lena, may I not die?" There's no tiny little single hair on the head of the boy lying on the bed. His skin is greenish. He looks like Fantomas from the old French comedy, though there's nothing to laugh about. No-thing.
An aged, in her sixties, nurse shakes with all her body. It is impossible to get accustomed to such things. A human being is unable to get accustomed to such things. That's why this being is called human.
"What d'ya say, dear! You aren't going to die, sure..." Tears water her eyes.
"Aunt Lena, you know, my Mom's birthday is on Saturday. I've made a gift, here it is... made it myself... but how can I give it to her if I die? May I not die till Saturday? May I?
Oncology. The room for those who have already crossed the thin line between life and death. These children are all already dead, even though they might still look alive and even talking... Just a few days are left to each of them. Perhaps, weeks or sometimes months. The doomed children — if you say you have seen something more terrible, I gonna hit you.
He does not need anything. Nothing can save him. He just wants to live up to his Mom's birthday and give her his lurid gift made from cheap cardboard and coloured paper. The most precious gift of all his — and her — life. Lord, I do not believe in Thou, but please do help this mother to go through it. Do not let her go crazy, please...
And we — we've got iPhones. Which one is there in the row, the fifth or already the sixth one? We've got toilets of gold. We've got an MP3-player built in in the fridge just for fun. Scientists do not fly into space anymore, yet tourists do. All the science waits in a queue to joyfully meet the needs of walking stomachs and bottomless vaginas. Beauty institutes, academies for pads and tampons, labs for wrinkles fighting creams. The fucking 21st century is there, and we have not enough power to win cancer, AIDS, and a whole bunch of other deadly diseases. And it is not that we are unable — we do not want.
An issue of the Science and Life* from 1959... A set of dreams of our ancestors about future. I'll burn it. Because... hey, mankind, just fuck you instead of a time machine, eternal youth, medicines against all diseases and a photon spaceship in the 21st century. Here's an iPhone for you. And a massager for fat asses. And premium condoms. And drugs allowing to eat without gaining weight. Fress and be healthy. Put all these pads in you know where. Drink Activia. Smear your snout with all these creams. And I gonna…
... Well, the boy did it to survive Saturday. He died a week later.
* The Science and Life — once one of the most popular magazines in the USSR; established in 1890 in Imperial Russia, was published till 1900, then restored in 1934 in the USSR, and is still published.