I asked the man for a rifle and he handed me this huge thing, like a hunter would use, or a farmer. I actually laughed. I was severely depressed. Eventually he brought me what I’d pictured, a pistol. I argued with him, but he said no, the price is not negotiable. I handed over the $200. “Oh, there’s a waiting period,” he said. I became enraged. It was a two hour period. That’s too long when you’re suffering.
There was an Ismael’s Coffee across the street. I drank probably five or six coffees as I stared out the window. One guy in there was wearing a winter coat with no shirt underneath. He had a burned face but his chest was like pale winter. He’d take a drink of coffee, then jot something down in his white notebook, sweating and sweating in his winter coat.
I got a headache pretty soon. I hate waiting. I thought I should’ve just bought a rope. No, I could never suffer like that. When you’ve suffered a long time you can’t stand anything. Even a hangnail makes you crazy. The headache was making me crazy.
At 11:00, I went back and got my gun. I was so jittery, the man stared at me. “Everything okay, chief?”
I went straight to my apartment. I hate my place, my old place. It was just one room, just barely big enough for my emotion. I suffered so much there. Fuck it, don’t think about it.
I went to the closet and got ammo. In the department store, ammo is as close to the stuffed bears as it can get.
I didn’t actually know how to load the pistol, I’d thought it would be self-explanatory. I got frustrated and cried. It was embarrassing how easy I’d cry then.
There was a knock on the door.
Again. A man said, “Police.”
I was figuring out the bullets. A little paper came with them.
“Police.” Knock, knock, knock.
I just shoved some bullets into the one hole.
“Are you alright in there, Mr. ——?”
I fired a test shot out the window. The glass vanished in silence, in the eruption. A vanishing ray.
At the exact moment, the police kicked down the door and I shot myself in the mouth.
My book sales really took off. I’d written – well, a dozen, but I’d only published one book. Writing is hard but selling is so hard. Publishers don’t really read books, my agent told me. Then she fired me. I thought she was working for me.
My book was good because I worked so hard to make it good. I really put the sweat of my life into it. If you wring it, that’s what should come back out. But nobody even read it or heard of it. Or they must have read it, the reviewers, and determined it was shit not worth it and threw it away. If I wasn’t passionate, I could’ve found something, but this was the only thing to me. I was dead for a long time, really.
I’m torn because … it wasn’t really me. My suicide was on the news and the book kept selling. One place reviewed it, another place, another. It won all the prizes. It sold and sold, and still sells, I’m guessing. My old agent manages my estate.
But it wasn’t me, it wasn’t my writing. They say it’s this brilliant gift but no one was saying that. It was my dying. Everyone is dead and crazy. I may not even be good, though I think I’m good, or am I? I needed to know that, and now I can never know.
I’m famous. I’m dead. The Dead Kid. It’s what they call me. I may be a part of history. I’ll just have to wait and see.
First published in Transition