There wasn't much talking between them. The papers were signed quickly, in a sort of tense resignation. They had chosen the 'Four o' Clock' Option, death together in the harmonious surroundings of a family room done up tastefully in pastels, the deadly herbs baked in the chocolate cake, the sleeping pills dissolved already in the teacups. As a final precaution, the windowless room would have the air suctioned from it when the five of them were unconscious - we pride ourselves on our thoroughness.

 They slipped through the door, one behind the other, the blond ten year old leading the way defiantly. The others meekly followed. They decided to watch the Flatscreen while they ate, nibbling on the cake. The girl swallowed huge chunks of her heavily iced slice, then almost scalded her mouth with the hot tea. I saw her wince through the two way mirror. I was glad she would die first. I too would not want to see my loved ones die around me.

 As the various couples and families entered and departed our offices during the rest of the morning, my mind kept wandering back to the 8:15am session, that unremarkable family with the feisty kid. In fact, I was so introspective that I almost missed the desperate warning plea in the shadowed eyes of the plainish nineteen year old, after my midday detoxifying hour. She wanted to live.