Chapter 1: Poor Planning

John stared at the bottle of pills, flush with Alprazolam (the bottle, not him [yet?]), and he wondered why benzo's weren't a more prevalent method of suicide. They would seem to be the least painful final approach to the great landing-strip, if slightly less dramatic than the draining, dangling, stabbing or shotgunning preferred by his many literary and music idols. But maybe drama wasn't necessary because to him, suicide should be just as much about NOT making a statement, as it was about making one.

John struggled with this paradox at length because he realized that no single act carried a more succinct, convincing message about one's view of the human experience than willful non-existence. In fact, he had often daydreamed quite fancifully at the idea of dedicating his life to a cause--in the most profound sense of the phrase--by ending it in a manner which would draw publicity to a cause. I.E. pulling a pistol out during an incumbent president's press conference and firing into the air--upon which, being swiftly de-activated by the special protector-dudes, but just before his lifeless body slinks to the floor (possibly on camera)--a sign rolls out of the gun-barrel saying, "please visit www.Leftover711Sandwiches4hobos.com".

One time, John saw a statistic about how many pre-made, probably-nasty but certainly calorie-dense sandwiches get discarded nationally by the 711 company due to being unsold for only two days. Of course he forgot the exact number, but even if it were only 4 per day per store... And American cities might average six 7-11 stores, that's 24 semi-stale sandwiches per day per city that can be driven around and distributed to that city's streety citizens. This is not even taking into account the pallets-worth of unsold soft (mostly hard) pretzels, pastry-cases full of donuts, and admittedly only semi-edible, but seemingly metabolizable hotdogs and weird taquito-fusion tubes that spin slowly on steel rods like dismembered dick-prizes at futuristic alien boardwalk-games.

He used to work at a Sev--as he would say, lifetimes ago, but actually 8 or 9 years ago--and every day the ritual of throwing all this stuff out made him practically sick to his stomach. He vowed to start some program where automobiled do-gooders go around for an hour every day picking up this unsold food and dropping it off at soup kitchens or neighborhoods where crack-cocaine has replaced protein and carbohydrates entirely. (And then quickly jetting the hell out of there.)

Corporations show no decency towards the homeless. Recently John had read a story about how Walmart had been instructing their employees to cut up the unsold clothes so that no dumpster-divers could benefit from bottom-wrung unwanted throwaways. People on the clock were getting paid to ensure that the very-poor did not divot into Walmart's profit margin. When he read this he almost gagged. It's not that he was a redistribute-the-wealth-hippie, he just felt that most people--and all groups--were halfway decent but terribly shortsighted. And greedy practices like corporate discard were so appallingly wasteful that it drove him mad.

The way he saw it, the world worked like this:

If you need to take a hundred stuffed-owls from point A to point B... And you need to take seventy-five aborigine mask replicas from point B to point A... Do you follow the official policy of fueling up two trucks and sending them on two separate errands? Or do you instruct the one truck to drop off the owls and return with the masks all in one trip? This very basic approach to world navigation would seem like a no-brainier, but the modern era's general lack of strategic thought anywhere past the dollar margin was perhaps his greatest cause of despair.

Inefficiency was also one of the reasons why he had not been voting for big-government as much as he had was. He saw both righties and lefties as idealists, but he had to ask himself if he wanted to vote for an ideal he agreed with slightly more but which was doomed to be poorly managed... Or vote for an ideal that was shittier but had hopes of being run by people with business experience. And that was one of the dems' biggest weaknesses, they generally had no background as greedy, dishonest pigs working for the bottom line and therefore were unable to get much accomplished. This was best illustrated by the current incumbent: America's first black, most honest, best intentioned and least effective President probably ever. The new genre of politics he tried to invent, which he called bi-partisan cooperation, should have been called Puke-athon 2008.

The failed Obama experiment was the official nail in the coffin for decent human beings in political office. Obama made John promise himself he would never vote for a non-dickhead again. And this was largely emblematic of why he was now staring at a tall, frosty bottle of pills, feeling divorced from his country and from his era. Perhaps he would never vote again period.

Or perhaps he would vote just once more, and make sure this particular vote got on the 6 o'clock news.

He was unsure why the concept of suicide had always been so important to him, and he never risked mentioning it to his therapist, because in these suburbs, counselors have about as much contextual nuance regarding the "S" word as TSA agents have for the "B" word. He rarely, if ever, felt suicidal, but he ruminated the intellectual implications of it almost constantly. During his manic spells he daydreamed about all the aforementioned types of history-changing suicides he could implement to make himself an important person. During depressive spells, he valued suicide as the single thing he could definitely and without question control and achieve--giving a final F-U to God for having invented him only to tease and torture him with the knowledge that the great feast of daily miracles called life will someday be folded up like a used condom and tossed in the dumpster like so many rock-hard and oddly moist 7-11 pretzels.

He stared at the bottle some more and thought that, if heaven is indeed a neurological post-mortem chemical phenomena, this would certainly not disrupt it like a bullet would. And who knows, maybe that type of heaven is forever, perhaps one's ability to experience time would change completely.

Alright, sometimes all this talk goes to far. It's time to stop being a fucking pussy and just do it for real this time. He didn't feel like he wanted to, hell he never felt like he wanted to, for the same reason death made him unable to enjoy life in the most satisfying ways. He didn't feel he wanted to but he THOUGHT he wanted to. And just like it is less effective for some poor cocksuckers to have 9 kids than it is to use a rubber and get a degree, sometimes we have to do not what feels good but what we KNOW is good. And what John thought was good was to no longer be a jerk-off puppet for fictional gods, especially when virtually none of the powerful people in the world could agree on strategic implementation of a consistent value-set.

He certainly wasn't manic, but weirdly, he wasn't quite depressed either, which he found alarming (that he was reaching for a bottle of pills during relative clear-headedness).

"Better to do it quick, like a band-aid," he thought, "before I change my mind."

He swallowed the entire bottle of pills before he actually made a decision.

"Holy cow was that painless!" he thought.

Holy cow, he never regretted anything so thoroughly and instantaneously in his life.

"Alright, time to vomit, like, on the double!" he said out loud, and then giggled that such a sentence was being uttered so light-heartedly in his kitchen, with stark contrast to the declaration's decidedly less-than-lighthearted ramifications.

Of course this wasn't the way to go out, he hadn't even penned a god-damned manfiesto!

FUCKING GET YOUR HEAD TOGETHER AND MAKE WITH THE VOMITING, JESUS CHRIST!

"Um, okay, so first thing's first I guess it's with the fingers down the throat."

The fact that John was born without a particularly compelling pharyngeal reflex had never been brought to his attention before. The next three minutes would have been hilarious in a silent film with no life-or-death ramifications. Jim Carrey would play "Guy trying in vain to puke."

A stubborn man, he was not going to call 9-11. He refused to get caught in what would be called by others a "cry for help". If there's one thing at which he knew for a fact he was not going to be found ineffective, it's suicide (or, quick recovery from indecision thereof). It always baffled him how someone could fail a genuine attempt at suicide, and he always looked down on those who did. No, his pride was now at stake, and he was going to figure out a way to regurgitate, or die trying. The brief satisfaction of actually embarking on a short, manageably attainable mission with very important consequences on the line gave him a quick smile, and manic surge--both of which he quickly scolded out of like a hurt-locker general chiding a troop for dicking around on the clock.

"Okay what in my apartment can cause me to vomit?" he said half out-loud.

For some reason he looked under the sink, because that's where most of the clutch poisons always seem to live. As he shuffled through various cleansers, the back of his mind reminded him that most of these are things for which if swallowed, you are instructed to induce vomiting, I.E. THEY WON'T MAKE YOU VOMIT, THEY'LL JUST MAKE IT MORE IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO VOMIT THAN IT ALREADY IS!

"God Dammit, Think!"

Okay, do I have any experience vomiting in this house? If so does it involve any substances that are available to me? He ran to the pantry and grabbed the lone bottle of bourbon which was... half-full.

"There was no way I was that stupid to have spent a full two seconds staring at that bourbon," he one-fourth said out-loud. It's possible if guzzled quickly it could have made him puke, but god forbid it doesn't, now he's left with a stomach full of xanax mixed with pass-out-juice.

"There has to be some way for a civilian to empty the contents of his gut without getting anyone else involved."

He looked out the window like a moron, as if the old 7-11 he worked at ten years ago was going to inspire any MacGuyver-like throw-ups.

"CHEWING TOBACCO!" he yelled as he grabbed his keys and wallet, and--out of habit--his cell phone. He had never partook, but he read that swallowing even a small amount of the juice can empty out a torso pretty efficiently. He would slurp-down half-a-canful like an oyster and then suck on the rest, swallowing every droplet if need-be till he hit paydirt.

He ran across the street and saw three people at the checkout counter. He was somewhat well-read on the social contract, and decided that the minute-and-a-half extra of getting in line like a normal person would be worth it to avoid the overly athletic task of demanding loudly, with cogent explanation, why he needed a canister of chaw IMMEDIATELY.

During the short wait in line, he was unlucky enough to have a grandmother of seven playing lotto. All her grand kids' birthdays!

No matter, the alprazolam was making him less anxious about the crucial nature of total barforama anyway--Fucking Benzo's!!

"Can I help you?" says the clerk.

"I need a Red Man, stat!" Having once worked behind that counter, he knew every brand by heart.

"Sorry, we're out."

"Kodiac."

"Hah, this dude just bought the last one!" he thumbed to a shirtless guy with a tattoo of Jesus holding a broken hockey-stick. Why the fuck was he serving a shirtless guy anyway? And didn't every consumer in America know you had to wear a shirt to a store? John didn't mind it on a personal level, he saw shirtlessness as significantly less disruptive of the free market than tons of other things, but these jerkoffs behind the counter generally went so mindlessly by-the-book on everything--

"Okay, real quick. I need you to grab the first chewing-tobacco product you see and hand it to me as fast as you can." He slapped down a ten on the counter. The slap sounded like one of those floating noodles you would play with at the pool growing up. He dinged the attention bell four times quickly either to add urgency or because he was all neurons at this point, and those neurons were having more and more of their GABA inhibited as every second passed.

The bell only slowed the kid down.

"Can I see some I.D.?"

"YOU MOTHER FUCKER, I USED TO WORK HERE FIFTEEN YEARS AGO!" he asserted in a sort of whisper-screech. He fumbled for his wallet, knowing the ID wasn't in there. He lost his previous wallet two weeks ago and hadn't been to the DMV yet because... if there was one government bureaucracy that he was most reluctant to spend time hanging out inside, it was the DMV.

He stumbled out the front door hating everything about modern America, sobbing with odd bursts of laughter as his consciousness started to deteriorate. He leaned up against the trunk of a parked car feeling really fucking emotional about what a shitty coincidence biology was. He heard a clang and looked over his right shoulder. A different employee was hoisting two heavy trash bags into the dumpster. One of them caught a sharp snag on the top of the dumpster, and no fewer than 40 thousand pretzels, croissants and hot-dogs rained down on the entire trash area like a garbage confetti-cannon. With that sight, John hurled angrily all over the trunk of the car for a good 9 seconds.

He leaned down to a kneeling position with a sobbing but victorious grin. He looked straight forward to see puke dripping down an Obama bumper-sticker, and with genuine rage he began vomiting again while running full speed directly at the employee who was on his iPhone sending a tweet about Casey Anthony. He grabbed the other, unripped trash bag and drove to the shittiest part of town, laughing and vomiting the whole way there.

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