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Less Than Three

Scalzi Story

Wherein I take a band name from Scalzi’s Next Band Name list, and spend no more than 20 minutes writing the story with the band name as a title. Current one is Less Than Three.


"What else do you want to do?"

I looked up to see Marty standing at the door, hand on the door frame, not quite coming into the room. I understood his look of concern, but couldn't do much more than a small smile.

"Not sure," I answered. "What else is on the list?"

"Let me go get it." he turned around and left the room.

I turned to look back out the window, the bright late summer day beckoned us to head out into it, to enjoy the day, the hour, the moment. We'd head out shortly, I wanted to rest for a moment more. Marty returned.

"Okay, it looks like we have another two hikes, a couple sprint workouts, three massages of different styles, all foot massages, of course, and a rock climbing lesson." He looked up, worry clear in his face. "You sure you want to do all of this?"

"Oh, absolutely."

"In less than three days?"


Marty smiled. "Okay, in fewer than three days." He didn't continue. He just looked at me.

I smiled back at him. "Yes, let's go. Which one first?"

"Which one? You pick."

"Let me make the massage appointment for my feet, then let's go on the hike through the canyon. We can finish it in three hours, have the massages, and go out dancing tonight."

His eyebrows went up. "Dancing?"

"Seems reasonable to me."

"On some level, yes." He started to turn, but stopped, turned back around and just watched me. I let him, I knew what he was thinking about.

"I still have three days."

"Less than three."

I smiled. "Less than three."

He waited a little longer, then took a deep breath. "You know..." He paused. I knew what he was going to say. This wasn't the end of the world. I would still be able to walk after the surgery. I would have the prosthesis fitted well. They were removing only the foot, I would still have the rest of my leg. I could learn to jump, even. We could still hike, nothing really bad was going to happen to me, just a small bad.

And yet... And yet...

I stood and walked over to him, put my arms around him and let him put his arms around me, hold me close. I started crying, and he held me.

When I stopped, he held me longer. He held me until I spoke.

"Yes, I know. I know it all. It'll all be okay, but I worry that more balls will just form. That I'll find more spots of cancer balls, and they'll take another part of me, and that some day it won't be okay."

"You know what to look for now," he responded. "We know what to look for," he emphasized the "we."

"I know," I interrupted him. "But for the next three days, I want to dance. I want to use my foot. It'll be gone in three days. I don't want to stop until it's taken away. I don't."

"Okay." He gave me one quick squeeze. "You make the appointment, I'll go pack the day pack. Meet at the front porch in five."

I smiled at him.


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