Chapter One

When I was a kid I’d pray for cancer. God answered by giving me mediocrity. Which, after careful thought, I’ve come to realize is far worse. With cancer you get sympathy, you get noticed and you lose a few pounds. Mediocrity gets you shit. No one pays attention to average. Leaders of men aren’t average. Celebrities aren’t your next-door neighbors and CEOs don’t graduate state school with a 3.0 GPA. Mediocrity is life commuting to and from your shitty little house in your shitty little four-door sedan that gets good gas mileage. Mediocrity gets you nothing but a life of unfulfilled daydreams, jobs you hate and passionless relationships.

Which is why right now I’m about to chase 27 OxyCotin with a bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label.

I’m not normally a scotch guy, but I’m also not normally a suicide guy either and this feels like a special event that should be toasted to with something a bit more high class than a bottle of High Life Lite, though it is a delicious beer. There’s no real compelling reason why I chose Blue Label other than it was really expensive and supposedly really good. The two glasses I’ve had lived up to the hype. Very smooth. Opens up wonderfully with a splash of water.

Everything is laid out neatly on the bathroom counter. The pills are on the left, still in the bottle. I decided that downing a mouthful at a time would less intimidating psychologically. Better to think of them as candy. The harsh light of the vanity makes me squint as I look into the mirror. I’m caught off guard by the realization that staring back at me is someone who won’t be here tomorrow. It’s a weird thought. Surreal and way too metaphysical. But for some reason I dwell on it.

Here today. Gone in an hour.

I have no illusions of what will happen to me after it happens. I’ll die, shit myself and that will be that. No trip heaven. No trip to hell – though I always joked that I had a parking space reserved there. I won’t languish in purgatory or see my dead mom. I’ll just be dead. Fade to black.

I’m not scared or nervous, though the realization that this is it isn’t as much of a relief as I thought it’d be. I imagined that I’d be floating, finally unburdened by the weight of failed expectations, but I’m not. Instead I’m overcome with apathy. Like offing myself is no different that running to Walmart to pick up laundry detergent. It’s not something I want to do. Just something I have to do.

I read somewhere that most suicides know they’re going to kill themselves someday, like it’s been programmed into their genetic codes. That’s it not a matter of if, but when. Life could be great at 28, but they know that at some point a switch will flip and it’ll be time. It just might take a while to follow through. The only questions left unanswered are the how and whether or not to tell anyone why.

They say the how depends a lot on how impulsive the act itself is and how committed the person is to ensuring their own death. They also say the suicide’s gender plays a large role. Women, for example, often use razors or pills while men often opt for shotguns or hucking themselves off buildings. I don’t know why that is. Maybe women like the drama of the drawn out nature bleeding to death in the bathtub or painlessly falling asleep and never waking up. I get why men go for the disfiguring, scar-the-witnesses-for-life thing though. We’re more impulsive. And I think we hate ourselves more. I know I do.

Back in high school there was this girl I knew who jumped in front of a freight train during the evening rush hour. Well, she tried to jump in front of it but she tripped before she got there. Instead of getting smoked head on and making a show of it she ended up getting dragged about a quarter mile. Bits and pieces of her got ripped up and scattered along the way. It was a mess. The fire crew found a little piece of skin that had half a butterfly wing tattooed on it. Between that and the dental records they were able to identify the body. Her name was Kate Middleton. She was a popular senior who thought breaking up with her boyfriend of eight months and only scoring a 31 on the ACT were justification enough to end it all right there. She said as much in the note she left for her parents.

A witness said that he saw Kate scream and try to crawl back from the tracks. He said it looked like the first wheel caught her right along the side of her head and upper arm. But he couldn’t be too sure because he looked away at the last instant. Then he threw up.

No one was that surprised. Kate always was a drama queen. If she had to do it over again she’d have probably opted for the pills, like me.

I’m a pussy, I know. But you know what? Pills don’t hurt. Nor do they preclude an open casket or freak out the girlfriend. Well, at least not as much as swallowing a mouthful of buck shot and sending chunks of brain all over the room. That and I got a hair cut yesterday.

But I digress.

The pills are ready. The scotch is ready. I’m ready. Like Kate, I’ve decided to leave a note. Unlike Kate, I’ve decided that it should be a total crock of shit. The only shreds of truth in the thing are my name and the parts where I tell my family I love them. Everything else is complete bullshit. It has to be. They wouldn’t believe me if I told the truth. Instead they’d look at it as proof that I was insane or delusional. Fucked up at the very least. They’d tell themselves that I’d still be here if they’d only “seen the signs” or “gotten me help.” And that’s not fair. Not to me and not to them. Because I’m not fucked up and I’m not insane or crazy or delusional.

I just know it has to be done.

I pick up the bottle and dump half of the pills into my mouth. I pick up the glass of scotch. Closing my eyes I feel a single tear fall down my cheek. I open them, toast my reflection and down the glass of scotch. Then I do it again. Then I wait.

For a quick second I have second thoughts and feel myself on the verge of panic. But then I remember why I’m doing this.

Then everything goes black.

Just like I thought it would.

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