Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fiction: Suicidal Tendencies


Picture this.

You're standing in front of the mirror in your otherwise overcrowded bathroom. There's six inches of water in the bathtub. The tiles are all grimy. The cockroaches are having a party in the toilet bowl. The towels are hanging out of the laundry hamper like demented tongues. The faucets spray cold water all over your hands, refusing to raise the temperature unless you do the favor of prostrating yourself before the pipes. It's that sort of day.

It is a good day to die.

Oh, you've been thinking about this for a while now. No one's going to miss you, you figure. After all, you're just another straight joe in the middle of a mashed-up world that can't even spell your name right on the death certificate. So... goodbye, life. Goodbye, dreams. Goodbye, cruel world, and don't let the door catch you on the way out.

You smile. Sometimes it's funny that way.

You stick one finger in your teeth, rub the enamel a few times before you decide that you need a good brushing. You haven't even so much as squeezed the toothpaste tube for a few days, seeing that you've been spending all that time pouring various brands of rotgut down your throat, smoking every single Cuban you can afford, and bedding every vaguely-interesting young woman who even so much as looked at you sideways. Now your bloodshot eyes are telling you that you've had enough, your teeth are telling you that your time is up, and you can't help but agree.

Your toothbrush sticks out of the little shaving mug at the corner of the sink. You pick it up.

It's not a toothbrush now. It's a long, thin rod of blue plastic and pig bristles. It's four years old and partially bald. If anything, it's a little piece of trash that's just as likely to give you more tooth decay than it would prevent it. Throwing away your little blue friend over here would make your living facilities a whole lot cleaner on average.

You bend it between your hands, ignoring its faint squeals of indignation. It snaps almost too easily, and you chuck the pieces into the sink.

Now there's the question of whether or not you need to shave.

You stare into the mirror again, paying close attention to the five o'clock shadow that forms beside your sallow cheeks and under the cracked surface of your lips. It's almost like you were cursed -- why is it that you need to suffer the ability to cut yourself each day with a tiny piece of sharp metal? Shaving cuts are the worst things known to man. They never bleed enough to kill you right where you stand, which is a whole damn shame.


You can do whatever you want, you know. You can choose not to care about what the rest of the world thinks. Heck, you can give the whole sluttyshimmygoforbangbang world the finger, and it probably wouldn't even notice. You go, world. You rock. You do your thing, and I'll do mine.

Well, that decision was easy. Everything's suddenly really easy. It's like the little hooded skeleton is smiling at you, the way he smiles whenever he points at the clock.

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

You realize that you're late, and at the same time, you wonder why you bother having a schedule to keep.

There's a little plastic container inside the medicine cabinet. It's a stupid orange color, which means that you can't miss it no matter how much of an imbecile you are, which is convenient for the world at large. There's an utterly, utterly useless warning pasted on the side of the container, which makes you laugh because in about two minutes, you're about to make sure that its contents are most definitely not used for medical purposes.

Ha, ha. That's right. You eat the world now, why don't you. Swallow the world whole, like about thirty drunken pills from a little orange container.

You almost choke on the first one, and you spend the next five solid minutes a slave to your own reflex action. It's stuck near the top of your throat, which means that your eyes are watering and you're gasping for air and you're making huge chicken noises trying to get it out, get it out, get it out right now.

Finally you Heimlich it out, and it flies through the air and lands right in the middle of the toilet bowl. The cockroaches won't like you for the next few days.

You find this extremely funny. Who'd have thought that you needed just one, just one! capsule to put you out of your misery. And you know what's funnier? You were actually trying to save your own stupid life for the last few minutes, right down to the realization that you could have just fallen to the floor and let your throat do its ugly, visceral, feral dance all the way down to your lungs.

You stare into the toilet bowl. You could pick that capsule up and do the whole lambada thing all over again, you know.

You glance at the orange container in your hand, maybe read the warning on its side about once or twice. Heck with it; you scatter its contents into the toilet, watching them float around and around the bowl like little itty-bitty pieces of somebody's Monday vomit.

You flush. Down, down, down they go.

Suddenly you feel real tired, like the whole effort of thinking just sapped the life out of you. You stretch in the middle of your tiny bathroom, feeling the rotted wooden ceiling just dangle out of your hairy arms' reach, feeling every single crack and crevice of the tiles underneath your feet. You feel like going to bed, but for a good long while you think it's going to look like somebody sent you up to your room without supper. You didn't even get to see your life flash before your eyes.

Heh. You've still got that wallet right next to your bed, though. And you've still got that roll of bills that you weren't able to use up last night, not even when you paid your way into that bar, beat up that Guido in the middle of the dance floor, and paid the bouncers a little consolation fee so that they wouldn't throw you out on your face. That was a dream of a drink, it was... or maybe seventeen.

You feel like having another Cuban. There's a little fine goods store a few yards down the street, on the corner of the next block. There's a pretty girl who smiles at you from behind the counter, and you can spend whole days wondering what she thinks at night.

You stare into the mirror again, and grind your teeth about once or twice. They're being yellow today, and even though no one will probably notice even from five feet away in good light, you figure that maybe you should do a bit of cleaning before you go.

You can smell that cigar now. It wouldn't hurt to have another smoke, you think. It wouldn't hurt to have another drink. It wouldn't hurt to have another warm body in the same bed, on the same white sheets, under the same blanket as you.

You draw a little water out of the faucets, and use it to slick back your hair. Suddenly you look good again, and you smile.

Life, after all, is for those who live.

The next time the world eats you, you can just eat it right back.

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