“How do you want to die?“

“Is that a threat?”

“I mean, like. . . If you could choose, which way would you prefer to die?”

“Thank God. I was worried for a second.”

“And you can’t say in your sleep. That’s a copout. And a cliché.”

“Aren’t conversations about death a cliché?”

“Just answer the question.“

“Hmm. . . Skydiving.”

“Skydiving?”

“Think about it. You get that insane adrenaline rush as you’re jumping out of the plane, and if something happens to go wrong, you’ll hit the ground so fast that you probably won’t even feel it.“

“That sounds awful.“

“You asked, and I answered. What would you pick?”

“I’d like to die up in space. It’d be so quiet and peaceful. Just floating out there surrounded by stars that have already experienced the same fate. . . Gazing at a magnificent view of the moon. . . It’d be the perfect way to go.”

“That actually does sound pretty good.”

“I have something to tell you.”

“Should I be sitting down?”

“You are sitting down.”

“Is it something that will freak me out?”

“I have terminal cancer.”

“What?”

“It’s on my spine. I just found out last week.”

“Fuck. Can’t the doctors do anything?”

“Nope. It wouldn’t do any good.”

“This only means one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“It means we have to start figuring out how to get up to space.”

Zach Murphy is a Hawaii-born writer with a background in cinema. His stories appear in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Mystery Tribune, Ghost City Review, Spelk Fiction, Door = Jar, Levitate, Yellow Medicine Review, Ellipsis Zine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Drunk Monkeys, and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine. He lives with his wonderful wife Kelly in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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