I answered the ringing telephone.
“Marcus Checkley? Death here. Your time is up. Be ready in three minutes.”
“But you told me I had at least another month!”
“Sorry, change of plan. A bit behind with the quotas actually. Can’t be helped I’m afraid.”
The voice -- soft, mellifluous and very British -- didn’t sound sorry in the least.
“It’s grossly unfair. I won’t do it!”
“Ahem, you don’t have a choice in the matter. However as it’s such short notice you can choose painless or painful.”
“Gee, thanks. I guess I had better go for painless. When will it happ…”