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High Livers

by Julie Eberhart Painter

These people never cease to amaze me. The last time I was here they dragged out the champagne and caviar and insisted on celebrating the death of five of our closest friends. As if a diet of champagne and caviar wouldn't send our souls scurrying off to join them in the great beyond, leaving others — vegetarians mostly — to mourn our loss with carrot juice and raw nuts.

Speaking of nuts. We were in the company of some serious nuts. The more champagne they poured, the more obvious that was. By the time my rubber plant had withered, they were headed out to sea, three sheets to the wind.

I expected to see their names in the obits the next day, and several places would move up on the liver transplant list. Pickled ones, of course.

“So how long has it been since we saw Terry, anyway?” the guy in the extra, extra large red T-shirt asked.

“Who can remember?”

“Yeah, who gives a damn.”

“No worries, mate.”

During the conversation that evening, we learned more startling facts. These people were all on public assistance, working the system... or systems. If there was a handout, they had a way to get it. Hence they could afford the best in “snacks.”

Now they were planning a trip to the island of Tasmania to harvest the legal poppies. I hope the customs people search their pockets and weigh those light fingers. In the meantime, I'll stay home and watch developments via satellite on Google Earth. You see I'm taking care of my health and don't want to get involved with any high livers ever again. I'm number six from the top of the list. It won't be long now.

Copyright © 2009 by Julie Eberhart Painter

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