A blog dedicated to the creative output of R.P. Brown ryebreadcreative@gmail.com

Life After Life

It’s not the why, that was decided years ago. It’s the how, the how is it actually achievable? How does one commit suicide in a future where nobody dies?

That my friends is the big question. A person from the past was fortunate, they may have lacked the technology or a certain sophistication that exists today but the options to end oneself were almost infinite. Their lives were miserable but they didn’t have to live them and that in my book makes them the luckiest sons of bitches to ever walk the earth.

How would you like to die today sir?
Well I fancy a hanging or maybe I’ll just go for a jolly good jump off the tallest building on the menu. You know what waiter, forget that, I’ll just take some water and go for a drowning.
Have you considered the slow death sir?
The slow death, waiter?
Yes sir, its todays special, you can smoke yourself to death or stuff your face with our delicious fatty acids or why not a combination of the two? In thirty years I promise you’ll be nothing but a massive cancerous blob.
Well that sounds a treat, I’ll go for that. You only live once you know.
Quite right sir.

Life has never really agreed with me, not really. I would have committed suicide years ago but I just had this vague hope that perhaps things would get better. It was pretty easy to think like that, back then. Things were progressing rapidly and I was forty, I thought ‘not long left to go’. I figured the way I was living I’d have half again, tops. Little did I know it was all a lie! Eat like shit and you’ll die young, probably with a nice quick heart attack, that’s what they said. All complete and absolute bollocks.

I’m seven hundred and fifty six, next Tuesday. This is a fact that I would love to forget, not because I feel old, more because I’m furious at the sheer number of those years I’ve been forced to live against my will. Let me assure you that they have been miserable. My daily medical exam, informs me of my exact age to the millisecond, how many cancers it’s killed, how many times its prevented dementia, how many colds I’ve been saved the privilege of getting, I’ve even had the plague twice apparently. It also informs me that I need to get out more, for the sake of my mental health.

Easier said, than done my robotic amigo. Okay I’m no longer fat but I’m still horribly socially awkward and I still work in a finance department surrounded by men just as boring as I am. I still have very little talent and because of the years, the talented just become more talented. Nobody moves jobs much, there is no such thing as retirement and because of forced sterilisation there no young ones to stir us all up. Basically the result of our everlasting existence is that everyone just takes their sweet time and achieves nothing. You live long enough you see it all. Change is extinct. Sex is boring, people are boring and I’m boring.

As I said the why is irrelevant. It’s the how I do it that matters.

Can’t slit my throat or my wrists, can’t drown myself and can’t hang myself, the doc bot will save my life long before that. If I jump off a bridge or building, the safety features will catch me and prevent my satisfying splat. If I managed to get my hands on a gun, it will register me as a human and just click, click, click, without a single bullet in my brain. If I starve myself, I’ll be force fed. Can’t even drink bleach, the bottle wouldn’t let it pore.

Oh to live in the past, I could have died by accident, I wouldn’t even have to plan it. Car crashes, fires, gas leaks and murders! Who would have thought they’d be missed? Murdering someone could get you murdered. The electric chair, the lethal injection, beheading! Absolute bliss.

I’m now an expert in suicide. I should be a professor. The most important lesson I’ve learned is you never get a second chance.

I’ve been researching, slowly because I’ve got the time and more importantly so that I don’t get caught. Ironically it’s my one pleasure in life now. It’s a puzzle and I think I may have actually solved it this time.

It’s one of those nights where the rain falls down so heavily, it dribbles down your forehead onto your eyelashes, sticking them together and blinding you. I’m in the dodgy end of town or as dodgy as it gets in this day and age. There’s very little crime because it doesn’t achieve much, just a spell in the rehabilitation clinic and for most people that’s enough of a deterrent but the drugs still move faster than the law. The old tolerate it because when you live long enough you’ll try anything and let’s face it, everything is just a phase. Some companies even offer drug leave.

It’s not a temporary distraction I seek, however, it’s the eternal solution. I was starting to think that death was a myth, the Holy Grail, some have forgotten or weren’t around when death was part of life.  To them it’s just some ridiculous fable about a monster in a long black coat, carrying a scythe and accompanying you to the next plain. I’ve found it though, in these darker streets, where rules bend ever so slightly.

Turn left, then right, right again, avoid the drug addict asleep on the ground, straight on, now where is number four?

Knock knock, anyone one in? No answer so I batter the door, like a maniac, I’m desperate.

“Hold your horses young lad” calls a voice from within but it does little to relieve the tension. Tonight after all, could be my last night in this dreary existence.

“What can I do for you?” asks a man with a well chiselled chin and psychological twitch in his right eye. “I’m a very busy man and it’s late.”

“I was recommended to you by a friend” I say. “He told me that you could help me, I’m searching for a bit of finality.”

“You better come in out of the rain then” He shows me in and ushers me into a chair, takes the brown package that contains his payment. “This is for you own good, I hope you know.”

I nod I’m so eager, ready for peace. He takes out a badge, Suicide Prevention Department, I leap to feet ready to run because I feel fear not peace but he’s too quick for me, well trained with years upon years of service and I’m Tasered, everything goes black but I know that I’ll awaken again, and then again and again, there’s no hope, the days will never end.

From blackness, to white, I awaken to the life I have not chosen. Everything is so bright, for a moment I think this may be heaven and then I laugh, superstitious nonsense, the place I’m in could not be further away, within this clinic exists no miracle.

“You’ve had quite the night, Mr Blair.”

My head is absolutely busting, have I been drugged? I need to be on my guard, step lightly, things could go very badly for me, that is, unless it’s already too late. Feign ignorance, it’s the only way. I wish everything wasn’t circulating and my eyes could adjust to the light. It’s searing. I couldn’t be more alive, chuckling at my own thoughts and trying to focus on the eternally young doctor sitting before me. There’s absolutely nothing worse than a man with a god-complex.

“I’m not sure what you mean.” Feel him out. Feel him out.

“I was informed that you were picked up in a neighbourhood, that to the best of our knowledge, you would not often frequent. Would you say that’s a fair assumption?”

“I was looking to score.”

“Drugs or women, Mr Blair? Your medical records show that you have not ingested drugs since you were a youngster and I see no evidence of sexual intercourse for quite some time. I’m here to help, please work with me, not against me.”

I should have started a routine, been more patient. I was far too eager. I need to take evasive action.

“Have I been drugged doctor?”

“A sedative, some of those on suicide watch can show violent tendencies.”

“I’ve no prior history of violence.”

“One can never be too careful. It’s with vigilance that we prevent loss of life, our people have been following you, an outstanding working career, very rarely late and good productive output but your social skills are lacking and you’re medical bot reports unhealthy brain activity as well as a lack of communication. People who live on their own often find that using the robot’s psychological facilities very therapeutic.”

“I’ll be sure to take full advantage when I return home. Thank you doctor.”

“I’m not sure your case is as simple as that. I feel that corrective brain surgery would be more appropriate.”

“Is that really necessary? I’ve never been administered any medication, could we try that first?”

“It is perfectly natural for all of us to have periods of unhappiness or self-doubt, especially when we can identify a causal effect such as the break-down of a relationship or trouble in the family home, in these cases medication can be very effective. I’m sorry to say that your problem is quite severe, you show a lack of motivation, an almost blatant disregard for your well-being and a sinister obsession with ending your life. You’ve used your intelligence to try and hide yourself away, continuing a pretence of co-operation. Your self-destructive and a danger to yourself but I assure you Mr Blair it’s a very simple procedure and nothing to worry about. Our statistics show that it’s a very common affliction in our society’s eldest and medical researchers believe that most of us will go through it in our lifetime.”

There it goes, the last light gone, extinguished. Soon I’ll be myself no longer, nothing more than a machine, diligently performing the tasks I’ve been assigned. How foolish of me to dare to hope for the end. Hope is nothing but disappointment in a predictable disguise.

In attempting to leap to my feet, the weight of my head causes me to fall sideways, crashing out of my chair. The doctor stands up and urges me to take my seat and I crawl away from him, towards the padded door, putting what’s left of my strength into uselessly thrashing my limps against it. Forever puts a fear in you that death has never been able to compete with. He’s a soft touch, ending troubles and whispering comforting thoughts to ease the passage. Pain is not his. It belongs in the hands of the living. The door clatters open and I fall backward. Two burly nurses take me by the arms, forcing up the sleeve of my medical gown, I’m still flailing but the fight has gone out from me. The doctor offers words of reassurance before injecting me but no matter how long he lives I feel that he will never have the same soothing voice of the retired reaper.

The syringe is empty. These are my last individual thoughts and I can’t think of anything that hasn’t been said before. For the second time in what feels like mere moments, everything fades.

I open my eyes to my home. I stretch myself, enjoying the luxury of my warm bed before glancing at the clock. Plenty of time, I smile and get out of bed on the right side. The place is an absolute mess, dingy and small, no pictures. Maybe I should get a new place, a change of scenery would do the world of good. I check my messages, just the one from the doctor letting me know I’ve been assigned a rehabilitation partner. I’m looking forward to meeting her, it will be nice to have some company. My daily medical exam declares that my surgery has been a great success and I think it’s no small wonder what they can do these days. Wiping the dust off my mirror, I see myself properly for the first time in a long time. They’ve shaved my head but there’s no scar, I look good actually, the bald look suits me. I have a rummage for some clothes to go with my new look, I really need to go shopping, especially before I meet the partner they’ve chosen for me. I find something that will do for now but this weekend I’m going to have to do a proper tidy up before maybe going out for some well-deserved drinks. It’s a pleasant thought but it’s time to get on to work.

I open the door, have one last look behind me and set out into the world, savouring a breath of the fresh morning air.

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This entry was posted on November 13, 2014 by and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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