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I started committing suicides.  They were small at first, but more grandiose as the months passed.

At first, I came up with basics: wrist slashing, hanging, overdose, jumping off a building, and stepping off in front of bus.  They were all very mundane, really, and if not done properly you just end up living very, very painfully.  It was after those routine ways to snuff oneself that I began to get creative.

There was going into a biker bar nude and starting fights with drunk bikers.  And when I say "fights", I mean with a knife in my hand.  That was a fun night.  Everyone was freaked out and angry at the same time.  They all wanted to kill me, but they didn't want to touch me either.  Eventually, though, they did.

Oh, another good one was sneaking into one of those giant dump trucks at a quarry and letting them dump tons of excavated rocks on me.  The driver of the loader always sees you just as it's too late and tries to stop the load.  His expression is priceless, and the pain lasts only seconds.  

Most spectacular was riding a motorcycle full speed up Pennsylvania Avenue, dodging the cement stanchions in the ground that stop car traffic on the 1600 block and riding helmet-less right into the fence around the White House.  That was damn spectacular.  The President wasn't home that day, but I got a few of those Secret Service jockeys to wet their britches.

Those were some good times.

But the truth of it all was that no matter how many ways of shuffling off the mortal coil I committed myself to, none of them made me feel any better.  In the end of each of those fantasies, I felt slightly sickened that this was what I fantasized about without any idea of why I did it.

So, much to my chagrin, my answer came to me in a cliché place: sitting, talking to a friend at coffee place.  At least this place had outdoor seating on the sidewalk.  If I'd been surrounded by baristas, earth-tone artwork and light jazz I think I would have died just on the inside.

We sat, Lenny and I, sipping hot cafe creations whose frou-frou names always slipped my mind, outside on a cold day and talked.

"Why do you want to be dead?" He always took me at the face value at which I presented myself to him.  He never lost his cool or told me I was crazy- even when he would have been perfectly right to do so.

"I don't want to be dead."

"Okay, so this whole thing with the suicides..." he motioned for me to continue his sentence.

"...is wanting to die, but not to be dead."

He looked at me for a me for a minute, taking two sips of his ultrafrappachinomochalattewhatever, and then he spoke. "So, you want the experience of dying, but you don't want to be dead.  Is that what you're saying?"

"Yeah, pretty much.  That sums it up."

He put down his drink, folded his arms and rested them on the table, "Okay.  I'll bite. Why?"

"Well, I figure that unless you've died, you can't really appreciate the value of life."

"Yeah, I guess that could be true.  But isn't there some other way since, technically, your method is pretty much impossible?"

"Not entirely impossible.  I could experience some kind of trauma, die on the operating table and be resuscitated."  I took a sip of my drink since I was starting to feel cold.

"Yeah, but what a risk.  Why not climb Everest or volunteer as Big Brother for an underprivileged youth?"

"It's not about achievement, Lenny.  It's not about helping others.  It's about me valuing my own existence and making the best of it for myself."

Lenny picked up his drink again, "Whatever you decide, you know?  It's your life.  I just think I'd rather not waste any time I have left in life trying to die.  It's a sin in some religions."

"I'm not trying to die, Lenny, I'm trying to live."

It shouldn't have been a surprise to me, then, that I died later that day.  

I had caught the subway out to where I lived and was walking up the sidewalk on 256th Street when I saw a guy on a bicycle heading towards me.  He saw me and I saw him.  I moved the right on sidewalk and he moved to his right. As he neared me, a sedan backed down a driveway seemingly out of nowhere.  His bike impacted the sedan, and he came flying upside down and ass-first over the car's trunk at me.  He was a big guy, and he came at me doing ten miles an hour or so.  When my head hit sidewalk, it was a quick, hard fall.

When I woke up in the hospital, which is where it appeared to me that I was at that moment, Lenny was reading a paper in a chair near my bed.  My head was fire, and I was bandaged and gowned.

He did not look up from the paper.  "Three minutes, twenty two seconds of you being dead and they were ready to call it.  Your head injury caused some sort of shock through your central nervous system and you eventually stopped breathing."

"So, I died?"

Lenny motioned around, "They tried one more time."

"I guess, wow," the pain in my head made me woozy for a moment, "I guess they were successful."

"So, how'd you do it this time?  No one could figure it out."

Pain was still radiating out of the back of my skull.  "Do what?"

"Try to kill yourself.  The police, your parents, me: none of us can figure it out."

"My parents are here?"

"They were here for two weeks, but between the store and the ranch they couldn't stay more than that.  I'm sure your mother will come back once she hears you've regained consciousness.  The doctors told them it could be a week or it could be a month until you woke up.  Guess they were right."

"How long?"

"Since they left?  Eh, about eight or nine days."

"This still hurts."

"Well, you did fracture your skull.  Nurse will be in soon.  Once they notice that your vitals have changed at the nurses' station, they will come.  So, before they do, tell me the truth."

"What?"

"No one knows how you did this to yourself." Lenny put down his paper and leaned forward in the vinyl guest chair, "You can tell me, no judgment.  Did you just decide to fall over and land on your own head?"

"What?  No, no, there was.. There was a guy on a bike on the sidewalk, and he was coming at me when a car backed out of a driveway and he hit it.  He flew over the handle bars, over the trunk and into me.  He took me down."

Lenny shifted back in his chair a bit, nodding his head slightly.  "Okay, okay.  Problem there is, Kyle, someone just found you there sprawled out on the sidewalk, bleeding.  There was no cyclist, no bike and no car.  And with the way you've been talkin', they wanted to see if this was some sort of attempt."

"You told them about what we talked about?"

Lenny leaned in again and whispered, "Kyle, this is me, I wouldn't do that.  You must have said something to someone else.  Maybe on Facebook or something?"

"No, no way."  My head felt better when I held it, "At least, I don't think so.  It hurts too much to think."

That's when the nurse and a doctor came in and my life became a series of tests, questions and few answers.  Lenny slipped out when the medical exams began and returned with coffee later.  The police came by later, and Lenny stayed while I gave my account of what happened.  They showed me pictures of where I was found, taken by the crime scene photographer.  I pointed excitedly at two of the pictures.

"That's the car that backed out! And in that picture, I think that's the cyclist!"

The two police officers told me that the worn out Dodge Dynasty that I pointed at had two flat tires and hadn't moved from that spot in years.  The gentleman I had pointed out was actually one of the EMTs who had responded to the call when a passerby had seen me.  

I had no other explanation to offer them, and the doctor who joined the conversation stated that it could very well be my subconscious mind incorporating items from the scene of the incident that I didn't consciously remember.  Maybe another car had pulled in the driveway and that's what the cyclist had hit, but when I was lying on the ground I saw the old Dodge and got it in my head that it was the car.  The doctor offered that the EMT's face was the first one I saw after the accident, so he put his face in place of a cyclist I never really saw all that well.

In the end, there was no evidence that I had tried to commit suicide, and nothing I could remember that would point the finger at the owner of the car or the real cyclist.  The police were left with nothing, and so they left.

I was released two days later with a prescription for anti-inflammatories and pain-killers.  I would keep going back for CT scans over the next few months and was instructed to call if I experienced dizziness or blackouts.

My mother did not fly out when I woke up. My parents called, but both their businesses were struggling and the two weeks that they had spent here already had been covered by friends and employees who couldn't spare any more time unless I was in a desperate situation.

I went back to work, but life as an insurance adjuster had become duller than before.  I thought I would appreciate life more after what I experienced, but it seemed just the opposite.  I felt like something had been stolen from me: my dreams of appreciating being alive, and several weeks of my time locked up in a hospital.  When I was dealing with people who were trying to pad insurance claims, it just made me angry that people wasted energy and effort on deceiving others and trying to get ahead on false pretenses.

I drove by the accident scene.  Sure enough, the Dodge Dynasty was in the driveway that I had sworn a car had pulled out of in front of me.  The twenty year old sedan had two flats on the right side, and the dust and dirt on it showed no sign of having been disturbed in months.  Knowing cars as well as an insurance adjuster should, I knew it was most likely a candidate for the junkyard since it probably suffered from a bad transmission.  There were no dents in the rear fenders, and no other car could have pulled into the driveway with the Dynasty parked where it was.  

I went over the firehouse to see if the EMT was there.  I talked to him under the guise of wanting to thank him for helping save me, but the truth was I wanted a good look.  His face was as I remembered it, but he obviously was the EMT on the scene. He recounted everything for me, and there was no way he hit me, biked over to the firehouse, changed clothes and responded to the alarm.  He was too sincere, I could just tell.

Time was flat, and Lenny kept coming around to check on me.  He kept reminding me I'd been given a great gift and that I should enjoy life again.  We still met for coffee sometimes, but after a while I just wasn't into it.

I'd been proven wrong.  A brush with death had not made me appreciate life more.  It had made me realize how little everyone else appreciated it.  I became disgusted with almost everyone around me.

I suppose me leaving the door to my apartment unlocked was a sign that maybe, maybe I wanted someone to catch me in the act.  Lenny walked in just as I stepped off the stool and felt the clothesline tighten around my neck.

I struggled.  He smiled.  I gasped.  He laughed.

I didn't die.  He finally pulled me down.

He lead me to the couch and sat me down.  He gave me a glass of water from my own kitchen.

"So, Kyle, I have to thank you."  He stood a few feet from me.

"Why?" I rasped and then downed the rest of the water in the glass.

"The man upstairs and I had a bet going.  You proved me right."

"You had a bet going with Mr. Harlan upstairs that I'd kill myself?"  I was in fierce pain around my throat and befuddled how I'd botched my own hanging.

"Not Mr. Harlan. Think harder."  Lenny shook his his head, "When the cyclist came at you, you didn't move even though you had time to do so.  I contended that you stayed in place because you wanted to die and this was your version of suicide.  The man upstairs contended that your death was accidental.  I told him that I could prove you were truly suicidal and that you belonged with me and not up there with him."

"My death?"  I was having tremors start in my hand, "In the hospital... you... you said they resuscitated me."

Lenny smiled at me and leaned in closer, his voice a bit more gravely. "First off, I said they tried one more time.  You assumed that they'd been successful.  Secondly," this was when he leaned in closer and whispered into my ear, "you now have an eternity to learn that I am the one being in this universe guaranteed to never tell you the whole truth ."




Well, I dunno... just started with the first sentence and took shape from there.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-10-29
Noticed in Committing by *enigmaticsmile Suggester Writes: A simply brilliant short story, both in its' execution and language. ( Suggested by doodlerTM and Featured by BeccaJS )
:iconjallarial:
Jallarial Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
It took on a spectacular shape, I say. Double twist! My brain did a double take on that one.
Reply
:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
It's my most popular for a reason.  :)
Reply
:iconemmery:
Emmery Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Those first four words had me hooked instantly. And the story sure as hell didn't disappoint.
"I struggled.  He smiled.  I gasped.  He laughed."
So brilliant. That right there twisted everything from intriguing to horrifying. I definitely didn't see it coming. And it was delivered so damn well.
:clap:
Reply
:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. This is my proudest piece.
Reply
:iconrieal-dragonsbane:
Rieal-Dragonsbane Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2014  Student Writer
Wow, I did not see that coming. I thought there was something supernatural going on while reading the first few paragraphs, and then when I realised he was fantasising my expectations were reversed. I can't believe you reversed them again at the end like that. Well done!
Reply
:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Well, what a phenomenal compliment! Thanks so much!
Reply
:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DailyLitDeviations in a news article that can be found here: dailylitdeviations.deviantart.… Congratulations on your DD!

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article. Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks so much!!
Reply
:iconyaydei:
YayDei Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Hobbyist
Holy shit, I've got goosebumps..Your writing is enrapturing.
Reply
:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, what a great compliment!!
Reply
:iconyaydei:
YayDei Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2014  Hobbyist
You're welcome, I truly enjoyed reading it.^^
Reply
:iconlonglivetheglue3:
longlivetheglue3 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow I really enjoyed this story! Normally I can puzzle out a story before it ends, but I could not figure out the twist until you gave it up. You do a very good job with characterization and suspense. 

The only things I would suggest changing are at the beginning of the story, where there are a few word choices and grammar problems. For example on around the eighth paragraph, you use the word 'place' about three times in two connected sentences. If I were you, I would consider changing one of the places to a different word. 

But those are only suggestions. I'm glad you recommended this story to me, thank you. 
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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I will check that out, thanks!
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:icongypsygoddess:
GypsyGoddess Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014
Fascinating read, I was hooked from the first sentence! The ending was astoundingly well written, it could have easily felt cliched, but you managed to avoid that. :+fav:
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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. And, thanks for the fave!  I am proud of this one.  Now that I re-read it today, I think all my stories need this much attention and detail.  I appreciate you taking the time to stop by, read and comment!
Reply
:iconfull-darkness:
Full-Darkness Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Okay. I know you have thousands (that statistic was used in a hyperbolic manner) of comments already and I already favorited this, but I just read it again. And it blew my mind. Again. Amazing. I love the point of view taken as well as the whole twist...I TOTALLY did not see that coming. Your style is so, I dunno, fun to explore.  Very enigmatic ;p I love your writing.
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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very, very much. I was actually feeling disheartened that no one had commented on anything in a while when this wonderful comment came along. Thank you!
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:iconcristinewakesuphappy:
cristinewakesuphappy Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
:+fav:

hi! i hope you don't mind my humble feature:
your lovely piece is handpicked. (link)

thank you.
:iconbluedancingflower:
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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I am most grateful!
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:iconaphelps:
Aphelps Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Ha! Just read this one. Fucking love your stories. I wish I was a better critic so that I could express this in a better way.
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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I think "fucking love your stories" covers it succinctly. :)
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:icontheangeldiscordia:
TheAngelDiscordia Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ooooh, damn. Coffee date with the devil.

Also, for some reason that little line in the middle about foreshadowing his death just didn't sit right with me. It was like giving away a relatively important twist.
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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I understand what you're saying, but most people didn't see the twist coming.  
Reply
:iconjallarial:
Jallarial Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I didn't see it coming until the reveal at the end.
Reply
:iconwitheredpages:
WitheredPages Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer

OH MY GOSH!!!! THAT WAS AMAZING!!!! I NEVER SAW THE END COMING!!! I LOVED IT SO MUCH I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY!!! I'D LIKE TO SOUND ALL SMART AND FORMAL AND SAY STUFF SMART PEOPLE WOULD, BUT I'M TOO EXCTIED!!! (Plus i'm not smart. :lol:)

 

Its just... just so perfect... I can't even... :iconyesyoucanplz:

 

Sorry for the ranting comment, I just... really really loved it and I can't express that in words. :ohnoes:

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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so very, very much!

Tell your friends - I love feedback!!

(thanks for the fave)
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:iconstevengilby:
StevenGilby Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Student Writer
That was absolutely amazing! It had a somber tone throughout, which was perfect, especially when the end hits you like a ton of bricks. Bravo!
:iconclapplz:
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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!  And thanks for the fave!
Reply
:iconthecheshercat:
TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
*mind explodes*

...This is truly brilliant.
Reply
:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks!

*picks up pieces of mind and returns in a Ziploc bag*


Reply
:iconthecheshercat:
TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, thank you, I'd wondered where I'd misplaced those...

(Still, I love this piece!)
Reply
:iconhysm90s:
HYSM90s Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
3rd paragraph from the bottom did you mean to say "...I could prove YOU were truly suicidal..." instead of your? Also, Great twist! Didn't see that coming at all, at first I thought it sounded kind of silly but you brought it around the end and really impressed me.
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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, that's what I meant.  Thank you for that correction.

I'm glad that I impressed you.  I hate predictable stories (especially TV shows), so I try to make my stories a bit unique.  I appreciate the time and attention.

:)
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:iconjazmin2hip:
jazmin2hip Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Wow, amazing!
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:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks!!
Reply
:iconwildirishrose7:
wildirishrose7 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I didn't see that coming. Great twist. Thanks for writing, and sharing, this tale.
Reply
:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks!!!
Reply
:iconwildirishrose7:
wildirishrose7 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome.
Reply
:iconelf15:
Elf15 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013
probably the first one of these that as i read the last line my jaw dropped. Usually I have an idea where its going. This one caught me off guard. Good job.
Reply
:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, thanks! That's a great compliment. If you have the time, can you tell me what your thoughts on my story "Hot Chocolate and Redemption" or "Auditor of the Ashes"?
Reply
:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Student General Artist
Very, very interesting. It's brilliant. You should get it published in a magazine or something. I love your style.
Reply
:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Really? That's quite the compliment. I wish I knew somewhere that would take this story.
Reply
:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2013  Student General Artist
:hug:
Reply
:iconblissfulisland:
Blissfulisland Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
that was amazing! great plot twist!
Reply
:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! I end up writing twists a lot by accident. Try "Hot Chocolate and Redemption" or "Auditor of the Ashes" if you're interested in more.
Reply
:iconblissfulisland:
Blissfulisland Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2013
thanks i will!
Reply
:iconlittle-supernova:
little-supernova Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Holy moley, talk about a plot twist. Great concept, too.
Reply
:iconenigmaticsmile:
enigmaticsmile Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so very much!
Reply
:iconthedorsai:
TheDorsai Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I...never saw that coming. This piece sucked me in from the first sentence and hit me over the head at the end. And it made me laugh out loud in surprise. You should submit this to an anthology.
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