Life Signs

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Why do I live?

After my failures in the UK and Japan, I’m back in the U.S. and more alive than ever.

I’m swamped with attention on social media. CNN wants an interview. FOX wants an interview.

When I don’t agree to any interviews they compile specials about me.

“Who is this man, who survived two suicide attempts in two of the deadliest sites on Earth? Next, on Doctor Oz.”

I shut it all out, turn it all off and hunker down at home.

This isn’t a public event. I only want some quiet dignity and the Big Sleep.

I purposely bump a hot toaster into my bath. The power company experiences electrical outage in our area at that very moment. All I get is enough of a jolt to be stunned.

More hospital, more internet, more attention.

I steer off the cliff on Mulholland Drive. My car bounces off one of Charlie Sheen’s cars and makes a solid landing.

More hospital, more internet, more attention.

I pull a fake gun on the Los Angeles police. One hundred and three shots are fired at me by 11 LAPD officers. Nothing hits me, but three pedestrians and a dog are killed.

When I get out of jail I jump in front of the Red Line Metro train at rush hour. I leap too high too late. The train hits the bottoms of my feet first. My knees buckle, I fold smack against the train, face to the wind. When it slows down enough I slip off between the rails and it gently stops above me.

Long hospital, crazy trending internet, more attention than the President.

Now the bids for interviews include big money. Oprah wants my story. Publishers beg me for it. Producers plead for rights. Finally an offer becomes ludicrously irresistible.

I only wanted to kill myself and now I’m fucking rich.

Part of the deal, says my agent, is this interview.

“And in each case you have walked away unscathed,” says the interviewer.

“Well, I want to call it semi-scathed. Travel expenses to the UK and Japan, rescue reimbursements, car loss, jail time, back pain…yes, somewhat scathed I think.”

The interviewer chuckles amiably. “Did you black out after each one of these experiences?”

“Yes, except when the cops couldn’t shoot at me any more they threw me to the pavement and knocked me out. I guess everyone’s seen the video a hundred times by now.”

“Do you still want to die?”

“I never wanted to die so much as I just wanted the world to be a nicer place to live. You know, I mean… now I have all this money. And I’ve been thinking about things I could do, like support after school programs, feed school kids, help the old folks… And after all that thinking I’m feeling somewhat optimistic again, Bijak.”

“Ohhh. My, my, you are kind of a weenie, aren’t you?”

“I…what?”

“Here…let’s get this over with.”

“I’m sorry… What organization are you with, again?”

“The News of the World. By contract you’ve agreed to allow the NW an opportunity to end life for you. In fact, we are obligated to make that attempt. And we offer you one of three choices on how you’ll say goodbye…”

“What? My agent didn’t say anything about th- Oh! I get it. Very funny.”

“Number one: The Virtual Reality Gas Chamber. As you are painlessly asphyxiated you will be involved in a simulated trip through the cosmos, exploring planets, stars and vast nebula to classical music until you sleep.”

“Number two: The Surprise From Nowhere When You Least Expect It. Instantaneous. Over. That’s all I can say about it.”

“Or number three: You may step up onto the platform and, when ready, pull the string that will send you plummeting to a certain death below. I can tell you it will be somewhat painful for several moments, but you will control when it happens.”

The board behind us lights up with votes from around the world. Millions of votes. Perhaps two billion people are waiting to find out how I’m finally going to die.

“And if I choose none of the above?”

Bijak pulls back his jacket to reveal a tucked pistol.

“I still have to try,” he smiles, a most congenial host.

I stand and walk away.

Bijak draws the gun and fires three shots at my back.

I cringe. But nothing happens. I run.

“Blanks, ladies and gentlemen,” the charmer explains to viewers everywhere. “We owe more dignity than a shot in the back to a man who has defied death in so many ways thus far. But he is ours now. So ladies and gentlemen…

“Let the hunt begin.”

 

 

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