When I’m depressed, I get as low down as I can. If the couch doesn’t cut it, I go on the floor. Then I’ll try the bed in the basement or the basement floor.
I was beating myself in the head, one day. I was beating my head on the basement floor. I couldn’t think of anything. When your head’s an empty ballroom with a dead balloon on the floor…
I touched my head. I couldn’t feel it. It wasn’t there.
I crawled upstairs and out the door.
I crawled across the backyard. A rusty nail went through my hand.
I crawled over some roses.
I grabbed a pickaxe and a shovel from the tool shed.
In the basement…
I swung the pickaxe at the wall. Digging down on a slant. Shoveling the junk behind me.
My neighbour showed up.
“Maybe you’re not depressed,” she said. “Maybe you’re just a writer.”
I kept swinging. A rock chip hit me in the eye.
My folks showed up. It sounded like them.
“I’m worried you’re reducing your property value.”
I stopped for a second.
Then I felt my head. I could feel it a little. I thought.
I kept shovelling. I cut a salamander in half.
It was getting dark down there. Deep down. I felt depressed. I hadn’t felt that good in a long time.
I kept digging. I dug up … it looked like the skeleton of a little animal. Maybe a cat. It was too dark to tell.
I had a cat once.
“You’ve gotta stop sometime,” said someone.
That terrified me. There’s an elevator in my throat. It went all the way up.
I kept swinging.
The tunnel was twelve feet deep, now.
I felt my head. I could definitely feel it. It was there. But…
“You’ve gotta stop sometime.”
Fuck it, don’t think about it.
I looked back at the mouth of the tunnel. For just a second. The faces…
They looked just like teeth. Like white teeth.
I kept swinging. I kept shovelling.
I had a headache.
I hadn’t felt that good in a long time.
Rolli’s latest story collection, I Am Currently Working on a Novel, was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and shortlisted for the High Plains Book Award.