I’ve Been Contemplating Suicide (but it really doesn’t suit my style)

Post title misappropriated from Australian icon Rowland S Howard

I’ve been digging further into the vault. Suicide features quite strongly in the discarded ideas section. That and my obsession with the utter pointlessness of everything.

As I mentioned a few days ago The NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Competition kicks off again this weekend and it occurs to me, after uncovering this cheerful little piece, that I might have the basic framework for a story as long as the prompts are Romantic Comedy/Suicide/Sexual Poverty. As far as I know they have never used that exact combination of prompts before. So here’s hoping.

“I’ve been thinking about suicide,” I said to her.
She looked briefly up from her phone and brushed a few crumbs of toast off the edge of the table. A waitress walked by and I noticed a run in her stockings. A bus pulled up outside and I heard the sound of air gushing into a vacuum as it’s doors opened.
“Did you hear what I just said?”
“No. What did you just say?”
“I said that I’d been thinking about suicide.”
“Oh. Yeah. Actually, I did hear that.”
“Well?”
She looked up at me now with a smile that said – I hope this isn’t going to take too long, “Are you asking me to talk you down from the ledge?”
“Maybe.”
She looked at her phone again. A new message had arrived. “Can it wait?” she asked me, “I need to respond to Katie. She’s worried about her cat.”


The café had floor to ceiling windows and I saw a couple walking past outside. They were both wearing identical orange tee shirts. I think they were a part of some sort of protest group. They looked ridiculous.
Alison was typing away on her phone, but I continued anyway. “My main concern is fucking it up. Not taking enough pills or not picking a tall enough cliff to jump off, and ending up as some sort of pathetic living vegetable. And then, even if I get it right, there’s the issue of not being around to gauge the level of other people’s subsequent grief.”
She put her phone down to await further reports on the cat. “Which word troubles you most?” she asked, “pathetic or vegetable?”
“Both.”
“Then you’re halfway there already.”


The orange tee shirts seemed to be multiplying outside. Apparently it had something to do with a famine, somewhere.
“Will you sleep with me?” I asked.
“What? Here?”
“No. Of course not. My place. No, hang on. Your place. My place is a mess.”
“Will it prevent you from killing yourself?”
“Temporarily, at least.”
People outside were beginning to form a long orange line and were holding up banners and chanting something inaudible. Alison checked her phone again before raising her head and staring at me with a look of mock sincerity. “Listen,” she said, “I hate to sound old fashioned, but I really would like some sort of commitment about this. One way or the other.”


One of the banners outside read ‘I Was Told There Would Be Cake’, another said ‘Make Lunch not War’. It didn’t strike me as a very well thought out campaign.
“Have you tried anybody else?” Alison asked me.
“Don’t flatter yourself. Of course I have.”

It was a Saturday afternoon at the beginning of winter. Nothing much was happening. It would probably rain within the next hour or two. The prospect of being dead really did seem reasonably attractive.

“Another coffee?”

“Whatever.”

*

Another From the Archives

I’ve been rummaging through old stuff and aborted plans and discovering that most things find their way into the junk pile for a reason. I am headed there soon enough myself, of course, so I may as well get used to the decor.

Increasingly I find that, all too often, my thoughts get overtaken by nostalgic melancholy or unconvincing optimism.

This looks like some sort of love letter I might have written in my teens to somebody more beautiful than myself (so it could have been to just about anybody) trying to convey a feeling of symbiosis. back then I was willing to try almost anything.

But Im sure it doesn’t go back that far.

*

I am rough
She is my smooth
When I am flat
She is my groove
From the valley
She’s my hill
i am weak
She is my will
If I’m black
She is my white
She is my day
She is my night
I hold her hand
She holds my heart
God let us never
Be apart.

*

P.S. Always be suspicious when an atheist mentions God. There must be an ulterior motive.

Further Discoveries

I mentioned a few days ago that I stumbled upon a message from the past and was quite moved by it. I have subsequently made contact with the original creator (which turned out to be disappointingly simple – I was hoping for some sort of Gulliver’s Travels experience to unravel the mystery) and can report that she is healthy and happy. And charming.

The discovery of treasure prompted me to look for further hidden gems, so I began delving through my collection of discontinued writing projects. It’s more than just a deep hole down there. It’s a veritable labyrinth of wasted thoughts. There is no treasure to be found. Just dark mounds of nouns, verbs, adjectives and nervous punctuation marks looking for somewhere to belong. Trip hazards, essentially.

But I did come across something that may well have been about her, albeit subconsciously. It’s very brief and unfinished. It has no date. I don’t know just when I might have crumpled it up and discarded it.

It might be about somebody else, of course. It may have been about quite a few people, now that I think about it.

*

She came like a fugitive into my life late on a Tuesday afternoon one winter, as though being pursued by the night. She peered opportunistically through my window before pounding upon the door with her fist.
“Let me in,” she demanded.
Who could say no?
It was only after she had removed her coat and shoes and was warming her toes by the fire that I ventured to ask, “where did you come from?”. She chose not to answer directly but instead turned and pointed back out through the same window where all was now bleak and dark. Further enquires seemed pointless.

By Friday afternoon she was rearranging the furniture and instituting compulsory alterations to the dietary traditions of the household. She refused to eat any meat other than fish yet smoked 20 cigarettes a day. She repainted the bathroom. Every night when I went to bed she was sitting in the same chair smoking and reading books that had been peacefully gathering dust on my shelves for decades. Every morning when I arose she was sipping on black tea and chanting mystic poetry. I don’t think she ever slept.

Somewhere during all this she must have changed clothes because she looked just a little bit different every day, though I don’t remember her arriving with luggage. Her hair was long, dark and disheveled when she arrived but short and blonde three days later. After a few weeks I began to wonder if there might be more than one of her.

As soon as the weather lifted she was gone. There was a note left on the kitchen bench.

“Always leave the door unlocked,” the note said.

*

P.S. the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Competition starts this weekend. Anybody else joining in?

For the Love of Soup

Not soup, exactly. But not poetry, either.

Further to an earlier post (here) in which I reported having deleted my contribution to the ever expanding genre of erotic soup poetry (here) I now discover that Chel did not. So here it is …

Soup fetishists, as you probably know, in order to combat the gallons of liquid calories that they consume during gastronomic orgies, prefer poetry that makes them physically ill. I might include this work in my yet to be published anthology ‘Songs of Love and Bulimia (vol III)’.

*

Soup

that I scoop out of the entrails of our love

the little bits of pre-digested passion
that fall like manna from above

and into the tureen. obscene in a fashion
our love that travelled the universe like a comet

with all the colours of a parrot

oh, wait. that’s vomit

and I think I see a bit of carrot

floating around in there

somewhere

with the noodles and oodles of emotion

providing the notion

to express

like milk from the breast

all the best,
to us

with love

Brutus

*