raised the gun to his head. The cool metal ring pressed against
his temple. He blinked, took a look around the room. He gently
replaced the gun onto its velvet cushion on the dresser, rose
from his hard-backed wooden chair and walked over the the bed.
empty suit lay there, lifeless. The hollow arms were folded across
the motionless chest, clutching an envelope in their ghostly hands.
Henry stared at it for some time, readjusted the arms, smoothed
out the last few creases.
silent room was suddenly filled with a dry wave of noise as Henry
cast a plastic sheet over the bed. He sighed heavily as the sheet
knocked his suit out of position. Now one arm draped hopelessly
downwards and the other seemed to be struggling against a choking
coller, the envelope had slid under the bed. Henry looked his
best suit over, he followed the acute angles of the arms, considered
the stitching. Henry turned his back on it all.
paced back towards the dresser, slowly lowered himself onto the
hard-backed wooden chair and picked up the gun.
cool metal ring pressed against his temple. Henry closed his eyes.
His fingers tightened on the grip; they were trembling slightly
against the hair trigger.
room exploded with noise - Henry's radio alarm clock burst into
static life. He had never bothered tuning it in. He would have
to leave now. He threw the gun onto the velvet pillow and left
his dingy apartment. He passed the yellowing 'Out of Order' sign
on the rusty grate of the ancient elevator on his way to the stairs.
It was a long way down. As he stepped down his foot slipped, his
hand instinctively shot out and grabbed the cold guard rail. Teetering
there, he peered all the way down the twisting, jagged spiral
and back towards his hand. He swore under his breath. His supporting
hand gave up its grip and Henry decended into the garage.
opened the large, squeeking door onto a room full of darkness
and punctuated by shadows. His hand fumbled and searched across
the unfriendly stones for the grubby lightswitch. It snapped up
and down ineffectually. Henry clicked his tounge and blindly stumbled
into his car, pressing the garage-door open button. The blank
face of the door shuddered slightly, then a hard, metalic screech
pierced the stolid air and a meagre sliver of grim gray light
was begrudgingly released before the whole thing came to an ear-splitting
halt. Henry stepped out of his car and battled with the unfeeling
door. Straining against rust and neglect, sweat pricked Henry's
forhead; it swiftly cooled and left him with a headache. In awkward,
thrusting, resisting jumps, the garage door finally yielded. Henry
walked back to his car, drove through and pressed the garage-door
close button. It glided noiselessly into place, only offering
a slight, satisfied click on completion.
shoulders heaved. His hands alternately tightened and relaxed.
He wiped the stinging sweat from his forhead. He closed his eyes
and drove to work.
again, as always, Henry failed to catch the eye of the pretty
receptionist whose name he only knew from her badge. The elevator
doors closed in his face. His computer would not start. The milk
in the staff room was off. He was shouted at for loitering there
when he was not. His coffee tasted cheap and bitter. His life
tasted cheap and bitter.
imagined great, undulating, rolling hills covered in fresh green
grass and bathed in pure light. Unhurried, joyous, innocent laughter
from an unknown source drifted into his ears. He raised a hand
up to the paralell bars of his cage. He saw the sun blocked out
by a great shadow that crossed the land. He saw worms crawling
on their bellies through the dirt towards his cage. They slithered
up his moving-dead legs, burrowed into his moving-dead flesh.
He could feel them inside his moving-dead body, propelling it,
controlling it. He could still hear the laughter, but now it was
so faint, nothing but a spectre's reminiscing. He could hear a
series of clicks - like a clock counting down.
hoped no one would find him silently crying in the toilets.
couldn't pull the trigger. Why the fuck couldn't he pull the trigger?
What was wrong with him? His life was a collection of days, loosely
chorded together by recurring themes of disappointment, frustration
and failure. He was sad; sad and pathetic, balling his eyes out
in a toilet like some jilted school girl weeping over a bad boy.
And weren't they all bad? And isn't your life so hard little Nancy.
Why don't you cut yourself? Make all the pain go away - just for
a moment? Why don't you Nancy? Because you can't. Because you're
weak. Why couldn't he pull the trigger. What was so damn difficult
about pulling a hair trigger? Why can't I pull the trigger? Bang
bang shoot shoot.
wiped his face and staggered up off the toilet. He would go now,
go home and pull the trigger. He would take responsibility. He
left the office unnoticed and unhurried, drove home, climbed each
step like a mountain, turned the key in the lock, shambled over
to the dresser, lifted his gun from the velvet pillow and pressed
the cool metal ring against his temple.
Henry pulled the trigger. He pulled the trigger. I pulled the
fucking trigger! Why aren't I dead?!
isn't Henry dead?
searching, emploring eyes, Henry twisted the gun round in his
hand. It was not loaded. Every empty chamber peered back at Henry,
mockingly. Bullet by bullet, Henry slid every metal-jacketed promise
into place - swearing he would end it this time. I will end it
loaded gun, what a comforting weight. Henry pressed the cold metal
ring against his temple. His hands tightened, relaxed. He couldn't
pull the trigger. He replaced the gun onto its velvet pillow and
slouched into his hard-backed wooden chair. He could not pull
the trigger. He could not keep his promises. What kind of man
cannot keep a promise made to himself?
knew he could never pull the trigger. He could never pull the
trigger. I could never pull the trigger.
ran to the garage. Dusty, miscellany junk was scattered everywhere.
He searched for a narrow rope with good tensile strength, a pulley
and a winch. With his prizes under his arms he walked back upto
his room. Before Henry could think he had suspended the gun from
the ceiling, threaded the rope around the trigger, tied it tighter
than a hangman's noose, then looped it through the pulley and
wound the loose end around the winch he unceremouniously hammered
into the wall.
solemnity, Henry placed his hard-backed wooden chair underneith
the shadow of the suspended, anxious gun. He combed his hair and
washed his face, thought he heard the faint echo of a laugh. He
licked his parched lips with a dry tongue.
sat down and gave the winch a good turn with his unsteady hand.
It clicked as he turned. The rope creaked as the slack was slowly
drawn in. Every minute action was an achievement for Henry, it
was movement in a positive direction. A release offered by tightening
a rope. Every second was bringing him closer to metal-tipped salvation.
Every turn made the winch click - it sounded a little like a clock
counting down. The clicks came closer together as the rope became
tighter, as hope drew nearer. Henry started to feel resistance
coming from the winch. Henry started to feel. I started to feel.
It pushed against my hand, but my hand was now clutched and intertwined
with Fate's - and he's irresistable. The clicks bounced off the
walls; they were quiet and measured, logical progressions.
winch suddenly shuddered in my hands. It was poised on the point
of no return. It was hanging between worlds. I looked at my hand,
at the pale moving-dead flesh. I could see the worms crawling
away from my hand like rats escaping a sinking ship, like prey
fleeing from a predator. Those little bastards. At this point,
I'm both living and deceased. Now it is
merely a choice to see what becomes of me.
going to open the lid on Schrodinger's cat - I wonder what I'll