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Wednesday, October 13, 2010


By Sheldon Compton

It's dead relatives people get hung up on when they start thinking about dying, particularly when they start thinking about dying in the self-inflicted sort of way.

No need to analyze this as the connection is obvious, and I mention it only because this evening I will kill myself. No worries. It's not a big deal, really. The thing is, now that I'm going to do it I realize I'd not thought much about Virginia in the days leading up.

But I'm thinking about her now. This moment, duct-taping the garden hose to the muffler of my car, trying to figure out the best way to tape off the two inches or so left open from running it through the driver's side window. By the time she went, I could have carried her under my arm.

And it also occurs to me that there is nothing original about my actions in the least. Typical. Boring, even. I suppose I could skip the letter and that might show a flash of creativity, encourage at least a month of curious speculation. Add to my mystique.

When I settle in behind the steering wheel, the first thing I do is grab the pen and paper from the dash. And then I can't imagine why I care at all, so much of a big deal it's not.

I write things.

There are certain things I can know about how I'm going to die. In this order, I will get a headache, then vomit, then fall into an alternate state of awareness, lose awareness and then death. The trajectory seems boring as I go over it again, and fleeting regret of chosen method skirts through before I remember the best detail.

They say after this sort of death there is often a cherry-red color to the skin, much like the meat at the grocery store which is treated with carbon monoxide for preservation. A pound of hamburger meat. Ribs. Pork chops. I like this idea. It's seems, healthy.

I spend a long time deciding exactly where to place the letter.

Sheldon Lee Compton survives in Kentucky. His work can be found most recently at The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Necessary Fiction and BLIP Magazine. He can often be found pecking around in a Bent Country.