"What are you doing?"
She was already buried in a mountain of papers and typing madly onto her computer, eyes feverish from the light of the screen that cast a sickly pallor upon her skin. Her lackluster hair hung limply from where she had tried to pull it back. She waved her husband off, ignoring his question.
He stood there somewhat awkwardly, papers crackling beneath his feet in the tiny, dark, run-down room. His dark eyes flitted from side to side. He removed his cracked spectacles and tried cleaning them with the hem of his dirty shirt then replaced them on his nose, as dirty as ever.
"Obituaries." She finally gasped, wasting precious breath. She ripped open a new packet of paper, ignoring the sheets that spilled out, and stuffed it into the overworked printer which was spouting out page after page. She had run out of black ink and had switched to pink.
" He gnawed on his bottom lip. "Okay. Well, we need to go see the doctor now. We have an appointment. And traffic. So much traffic." His eyes darted back to the printer where another finished document swooped into the air, teetered there for a second, and drifted down to ever-growing pile on the floor. "You sure bought a lot of paper. Must have been expensive. How are we going to pay for heat? It's going to get cold. So cold." He chuckled nervously when she didn't turn.
He stooped down to pick up a sheet and brought it close to his face to discern letters in the poor lighting. "David Matthew Howard." He read aloud. "Died at the age of 67 of a heart attack. Lawyer, father, and son. Loved by everyone." He stopped. "Who is this? Why are you writing this?" He picked up another and muttered the first few lines as well. "David Matthew Howard. Died at the age of 94. A man with a heart-of-gold, loved by everyone. Talented artist
" He trailed off. "We're going to be late. So late. Come on. The doctor."
She shook her head and grunted. "I'm not finished."
The printer spit out several more pages. David Matthew Howard. A mathematician on one, a pilot on another. Writer, teacher, hobo, engineer, professional athlete, actor-all dying at different ages of different causes yet miraculously loved by everyone.
"Honey. The doctor." The husband was getting frantic now. Sweat beaded on his nose and forehead. He fiddled with his dirty glasses. "We're going to be so late. Traffic. C'mon."
Her hands went limp against the keyboard and she turned. "He could have been someone great." Her hand trailed to her stomach, as flat as ever. "In this world the possibilities are endless."
He blinked, taking one last look at the onslaught of paper with sudden disgust. "The fetus can't be anything. Now the doctor. C'mon. So much traffic. And the heating bill. Ugh, so much paper."
The printer gave one last shudder, ejecting its last sheet, and went clumsily to sleep. "Maybe he could. But you won't give him a chance, will you."