Short Story


An unpublished writer discovers his purpose in life through a suicide note.


TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Sounds like a good opening for my suicide note. Direct, inclusive, not too personal or formal. Will stick the note on my body so whomever (or is it whoever? Hell this is a suicide not, don’t need to be grammatically correct) will be sure to read it. Finally something I’ve written will be. Can’t even get published in Timbuktu’s pay by copies literary magazine. I’m a complete failure. Totally. Ultimately. Wonder if Hemingway or Toole jotted farewell notes before going?

Not sure how long my note should be. Fifty words or less? War and Peace length? That would take years. Wanted finished by midnight. Maybe do a video? Naw, no camcorder. Technology today is astonishing. Even suicide can be upgraded. Guess I’ll stick to the old-fashioned way. If good enough for Uncle Raymond, but that’s another story. Besides he didn’t leave a note. This is me. Need to stay focused. Is there a ‘How-to’ on suicide? You would think somebody would have scribbled something by now. Like what instruments to use. Pen, pencil, crayon? Medium or fine point? I chose ‘BIC Round Stic Med/Moy’. Wonder if that’s medium in another tongue? Will probably never know. Ink color was a natural. Black felt right. But red was second.

Paper choice was difficult though. Notebook with lines across and holes down the side shouted immaturity. Colored stick-up notes too cute. Wonder it that’s what high school cheerleaders choose? Sending an e-mail, another high-tech innovation, didn’t seem right. “Tasteful and tactful” as Mother always said. Decided to use the good stuff like the dishes she set for Sunday dinners. After all, one doesn’t commit suicide every day. White, bond, watermarked, 100 percent cotton fiber, 24-pound weight. Sorry if Whomever is offended the paper wasn’t recycled. But hey, I’m not the first to go down with a tree. Not sure I believe in reincarnation. Once through life is enough. Especially when you’re a loser. I’m a disappointment to myself. Sisyphus’s stone. Maybe if I came back as a bunny? Naw, probably wind up road kill or gobbled up by the food chain. Like I wasn’t this time. Metaphorically.

Also haven’t decided what to or not to wear. After all this classifies as a statement. Maybe a Fashion Emergency? Does the newspaper print attire? Needs to concur with what side of five. T-shirt and shorts are comfortable but look sloppy. Designer labels shout identity crisis. Don’t own a tux. If go naked will tape the note to my chest. Covering my genitals will imply a hang-up like not properly potty-trained or an unnatural relationship with my mother.

Then there’s the biggie—how exactly to extinguish my life. Get off Earth. (Why are there so many euphemisms for cutting out? Why are we afraid of death? It’s frightful to live. Switch long distance telephone companies.) Probably go with a combination. A lethal alliance. Pills, hanging, drowning, gunshot, car wreck, slit wrists, jumping from somewhere high. Naw, scratch that. Got vertigo. Is that why I never climbed the Ladder of Success? Fell off the first rung. I’m a never been. An absolute waste. Also rule out car wreck. My wreck is in the shop, probably cost a fortune to bail out. Twelve-years-old, nearly 200,000 miles. Shakes like an earthquake. Rattles like a train. Smokes like a…dammit all I can think of is chimney, even my suicide note is cliché. Probably blew a gasket. Forget about eating for a while. Oh yeah, forgot I’ll be dead. No worries.

(for the rest of the story click here)


About John Northcutt Young

I write. Remember making-up stories from spelling words in the fifth grade. A journalism degree followed. Thanks for looking.
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