Dark Matter by Brett Adams
A beautiful suicide.
It wasn’t a phrase Rasputin had ever heard. He supposed it wasn’t a deed attempted much either.
But tonight he would pull it off.
The idea had been simmering at the back of his mind for years, and now it had come to the boil. One minute he’d been eating sweet-and-sour pork in the foodhall of the cinema complex, his head a bucket catching every stray sound. The next he’d been treading the asphalt of the undercover car park, his body burning with the idea captured in those three simple words. He couldn’t remember how one had turned into the other. It didn’t matter anymore.
He would commit a beautiful suicide.
Everything necessary lay in his beat-up Datsun. The car would be his troubadour’s wagon, holding both stage and props. In its backseat was a woollen blanket he’d bought from the Salvation Army for five dollars. In the car’s centre console was a bottle of water, and in the glove compartment a small jar of opaque white plastic. The mail-order chemist’s label wrapped round the jar said: Amitriptyline (150mg), take orally once a day at bedtime. And on his driver’s license was stamped in indelible ink the all-important instruction.
He would wind the driver’s chair back to sixty degrees, spread the blanket over his body, take the top off the jar, and with the bottle of water begin washing down the dusty pink tablets.
After as few as ten tablets (so he’d read) his eyelids would grow heavy and close. His mind would sink into unconsciousness. His pulse and breathing would slow. Then stop altogether. He would not so much shuffle off this mortal coil as sublimate from it. His being would evanesce like dry ice.
Above all, he would do this without violence. The mere thought of slicing open the flesh of his wrist sent a thrill of panic through him. No, he would close his eyes and float away with the clouds.
He hoped he wouldn’t dribble, or fit and spasm out from under the blanket. That would disturb the tableau. But he could bear that. How he looked wasn’t the beautiful part.
He’d considered overdosing on Heroin, even tested it, but that ran the risk of throwing a red flag at organ appraisal. If you were sticking Heroin into your veins, what else was flowing in them? But Amitriptyline, an antidepressant, was the housewife’s remedy. A nice, normal death. A work-a-day death that left all of your vital, and vitally needed, lumps of flesh in saleable condition.
Here was the beauty. Rasputin would cast his soul to the wind, but leave his body for who knows how many still-breathing folk.
And when it was parcelled out, what new sights would be seen through his corneas? What new aromas sucked into his lungs? What new toxins filtered by his kidneys? (A fleeting doubt: would Amitriptyline damage them beyond use?) He imagined a beneficiary of his largesse gazing at the Eiffel Tower, smelling the bouquet of a Château d’Yquem, and pissing it down one of those funny open-air urinals, a pissoir, found on the streets of Paris. And all of this courtesy of his hardware.
Perhaps portions of him would go all over the world, an inverse Frankenstein’s monster. Today he was Rasputin T. Lowdermilk of 34b Bell Court, Riverton, Perth, Western Australia. Tomorrow he would be many people. Legion. It was modern-day magic.
That was the plan. Until he stumbled on a fly in his ointment.
The fly stood about six feet tall. It wore dirty Converse sneakers, black jeans, and a hood top that had a price tag dangling from its hem. The fly was bent at the waist, side-on to Rasputin. Its right hand was gripped around a screwdriver, and with that it was jimmying a car door lock.
The fly was attempting to steal his car.
A combination of irritation and disbelief loaded insults onto the back of Rasputin’s tongue.
He was thinking that experts say we use ten percent of our brains. Leaving aside the question of what goes on in the other ninety percent, he reckoned this guy would be hard pressed to make a whole number. For starters, his car—the car this guy was trying to steal—was a piece of crap. It was one bill from the wreckers. Second, the guy was standing in the only pool of light for a hundred feet. Third, any minute now the cinemas upstairs would vomit clots of moviegoers into the car park. And to top it all, here was Rasputin standing at the rear fender and still the guy was working the lock……………………………..
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