A Chapter by Tom Cook



                The party downstairs kicked and beat against the hotel ballroom's walls like a kick drum, banging out melodies and chatter by mouthfuls. My sister called my name, my cousins were drunk and shouting over baseball. My palm flat against the wallpaper soaking in the shades of claret as I peered down to the darkness of my shoes. The suit and slacks were a new skin to me and I kept thinking of when was the last time I wore a tie. A special occasion, I'm sure, that's what it always was. Special occasions. A tux for prom, suits for weddings and funerals and formal parties, and sometimes a sports jacket for a job interview mixed with a collared shirt. A tie for every occasion, slacks and dress shoes the same. Yet this gathering of people was for neither.

                "You still want to go through with this, Clarence?" Mara said from the foot of my bed. She wore a dress with a cardigan pullover. Her breasts are ample and plump, her lips ruby colored and cherry flavored I'm sure. She folded her long wire fingers above her nose as if to hide her sea-foam green eyes from crying.

                I remain silent as if ignoring her. The doctors had arrived earlier and tested my vitals, even taking a quick blood test on the spot. My lawyer and two officers arrived where I signed and dated a waiver. I wrote a last will and testament, and ordered my body to be donated to science. I did so much in the past two hours that I stalled on attending my own party, and that the only person I would miss after it is over is the only person who didn't want me to go.

                "Are we the only ones not celebrating this?" she says.

                "I'm happy, if that's what you're thinking." Mara shakes her head. How the times have changed, is what she would have told me months ago. Times change due to people, money, and climate, and I figured I file under the people category.

                "Yeah, signing your life away to that Jack Kevorkian creep," she pauses, I'm sure to think about how the times have changed, "and your lawyer, why did he have cops?"

                "I'm not sure."

                "Not like it matters anymore."

                "You're being childish about this, Mara."

                "Yeah, I'm the one being childish. Says the guy who signed a death warrant and has his parents throw a big goddamn party to celebrate it."

                "That's not fair," but it was, she had every right to hate me. "It's legal now. Has been for a long time. It's actually an accepted tradition now."

                She scoffs at me.

                "Then why don't you leave?" I ask her.

                "I don't know."

                "I'm sure you do," I turn around. The dimmed lights blurring Mara's slender figure, her dark hair blending in with the evening in the window. "There's always a reason for why people do things."

                "Then why are you doing this?"

                "Because I want to be happy."

                "That's it? You want to be happy? There's no dreams or aspirations. Just the end of them, the end of growing old and having a family. Just like that. The end."

                "That's about it."

                "No books to write or read anymore, no woman to keep you company at night. Just nothing. Am I right."

                "You're close."

                I lean against the wall beside a mini-bar and place my hands in my pocket. Something about them. My hands, I just can't have them out. I wish I was a tortoise so I can rescind back into my shell like a recluse. No more questions, no more barrages of other peoples' opinions, just myself.

                "You're selfish you know that."

                "It's my life," I say, "I do with it as I please."

                "Yeah you're life and everyone is just cool with it. Your mother is probably showing baby pictures to everyone right now, your father in the can or passed out at the bar. God knows what your sister is doing. Am I the only person here who gives a s**t?"

                I pause.

                "Well you are the only person still in this room."

                Mara laughs and traces those long fingers up the side of her face to the back of her ear. She nibbles on a thought or a word, I'm sure, and laughs again as if embarrassed to say.

                "Why don't  you go down? Why stay up here?"

                "I'm not sure."

                "We all have a reason," she repeats me, "so what is yours?"

                "I like the view."

                "Bullshit," she says, "You haven't looked at the window since the sheep and wolf left, you've been staring at that wall."

                I smile and peer away from her to the window. The long cascade of window lights trickling down the black silhouettes of office buildings and tenements. The distant sparkle of stadium lights and a baseball game, the occasional flicker of a jet plane careening across the sky. After the jet and the buildings there was not a star in the sky, or the moon for that matter. Emptiness. Silence. A dark and endless void. A canvas censored in black.

© 2012 Tom Cook

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Added on July 16, 2012
Last Updated on July 16, 2012
Tags: suicide, room, fate, death, jack, kevorkian, violence, dystopia


Tom Cook
Tom Cook

Cape Girardeau, MO

My fiction has been published in the World of Myth, my body in Play-girl. I'm an editor for Wednesday Night Writes, please send me your stories, flash fiction, and poetry, I want you to know the wa.. more..

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