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  1. Erfunkle was a miserable old man. His back ached, his skin throbbed, and worst of all his nose was doing that infernal dripping again. In a flash of annoyance, Erfunkle grabbed yet another box of tissues. Damn colds. He couldn’t afford to be getting sick at this time in his life. Every moment mattered, every second of life was precious to a man promised only a month to live, and he wanted to enjoy it. Erfunkle grumped rudely to himself, hellfire, not like the fates were giving him much of an opportunity. Fluids were sluggishly oozing down his throat in a trail of choking viscous mucous. Creaking, Erfunkle lifted himself up to dislodge the disgusting slop. He winced, as the movement overextended his leather tendons; the action creating another wracking pain to compete with the weather for sheer misery. Erfunkle watched in revulsion the drip dropping drizzle, disgusting. And his nose was doing it again, in mounting fury Erfunkle grasped another Kleenex and sneezed. It sounded as if an air horn had gone off. He smiled to himself, a crooked grin that showcased the splendid gaps of where his teeth used to be. Smacking his lips, he carelessly dropped the used tissue into the already overflowing trashcan. Still had some life in him, he mumbled moving the great distance from the window to the television with a turn of his head. Moving his crinkled fingers he absently he pressed the on button. Hmm…what was on? Idly, Erfunkle flipped through the channels for entertainment, but only despair was to be found. They didn’t show the Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows, Gilligan’s Island, Doctor Who or any of the good oldies anymore. No… they were too old, they hadn’t lasted. A smug smile briefly lit his face; he’d outlasted all of them. Then the smile died. All the friends, all the loved ones, all of them dead before him, they were all gone like the shows on the tele. Erfunkle shook his head ruefully, he’d be gone like that soon, and there was no victory in outlasting them by a few breaths. He wheezed as his lungs suddenly gasped for air, but his body wasn’t working properly. Bewildered, he pressed his hand to his chest, he couldn’t breath. Choking, Erfunkle crumpled into a ball. Futilely, he sought to expel the poisonous slime, but it was futile. The mucus was too thick and even his stubborn efforts eventually failed. His body stilled, but he had just enough energy for a flash of annoyance. Damn nose was dripping again.