Friday, July 24, 2009

Laser Suicide #1

My other work, Laser Death, garnered some feedback that perhaps the title was too 'spectacular' for the actual content of the poem. It was then that I suggested I could top even that, and write a piece called 'Laser Suicide'. This suggestion was met by popular demand, hence a body of work I am now calling 'The Laser Suicides':

Even in what should have been the heady weight of his last few moments, the voice taunted him. It jeered as he burned tiny holes into his skin.

"Normal people would use a simple note," it said disdainfully. "Not dismantle their DVD-RW laser and inscribe their stupid suicide message all over their bodies."

"They will play me like a fucking record, you'll see" he said, gritting his teeth. Then he ungritted them, and smiled. "God, I'm so clever," he laughed to himself.

"You're not clever. Paper and a pen. That's all you need. Simple. Does the job. Message delivered. If you tend to make a lot of mistakes, use a pencil instead. One of those with an eraser on the top."

He looked back at the voice, who had been there since his very birth. Imagine the excitement of actually being born -- that explosive gush forth, full of life and potential -- marred by some clueless idiot asking in the background, "What the hell is all of this?" The early years had been particularly bad. He had been trying to learn simple things then, like how to walk, how to talk. That had been a major achievement, for him -- his first spoken word. When he did that, he remembered now, it had been so satisfying because he could look back victoriously at the voice. "See that?" he had told it, smugly. "That is a real voice. Physical. Motor skills. Concentrated effort paying off. Not just some faceless, bodiless drone like you."

"It's not that great," the voice had replied. "Nobody thinks it's that great, except maybe your mummy."

But back then he could easily dismiss it. The excitement of being able to talk, and walk, simply washed over the criticism. Besides, there was little substance in what it was saying. What else did it expect from a toddler? Toddlers usually walk and talk, and the act is usually affirmed by encouragement from their mummies. What a stupid voice it had been then.

And what a stupid voice it was now, too. "I suppose you're just going to watch on gormlessly as I do this?" he asked. "Just sit there and make snide remarks? It will end for you too, you know? Shouldn't you be trying to stop me?"

"I have never tried to stop you from doing anything," said the voice quietly. They both fell silent for a moment, as the DVD laser squeaked away. Then it asked, "What are you writing away over there, anyway? A bloody will?"

He laughed to himself. "Nah, other people leave wills. I'm just leaving a very short note, but choosing everything carefully."

"What sort of things?" said the voice, becoming interested. It came over and sat next to him, and peered at his work as though they were the closest of friends. He turned his hand a little and let it read the inscriptions.

"Just the usual stuff. Need to start off and reassure everybody that no, their world is not ending, etc, just mine. Take a deep breath, chill out, etc. Then specifically name each person or group. Mom, dad. Both siblings. Aunts and uncles. Cousins. Dear friends. I think that's about it. Everyone else is filed under 'Buddies'. That's it, really." He laughed to himself again. "I mean, you can't just keep going on and on in a suicide note, you know?"

They both laughed together. "No, can you imagine that? Some guy decides to off himself, but first goes ahead and writes an entire novel about it," grinned the voice.

"Heh. What a terrible thing to do to the poor police officer who has to process everything. Or to loved ones. Do you think they would read all of it, if one were to do that? Write a suicide novel in place of a suicide note?"

The voice smiled back, shaking its head and musing with him. "I don't know, really. Perhaps you could even do it in Tolkein-esque parts. Ooh. Dude -- you could have appendices!" They both laughed at what a cruel thing that would be indeed. "And even a map," jested the voice. It read once again through his draft so far, and then looked up. "Can I make one tiny, teeny suggestion?" asked the voice.

This was met with another offhand laugh. "Sure man. Go for it. What's the difference at this point? No need to be all sheepish about it."

"I think you should say something about how you want the body disposed of."

The magic was over. He looked back at it with the same painful expression he'd given it all their lives. "Aww, come on. I told you it's not a damn will! Who gives a shit how the body is fucking disposed of? You know, for a disembodied voice you sure --"

"I'm just saying," insisted the voice, "some people leave great ideas about what to do with their bodies after they're dead." If it had been corporeal, the voice would have pulled a sizeable catalog from its coat, and thumbed through the pages. "You could, say, ask to be shot from a cannon. That's quite popular these days. Or have your ashes beamed into space. I think they can do an arrangement like that at NASA. Very ... futuristic." It was thick now, relishing this idea with some sort of doughnutty glaze.

"Who gives a shit? Look, for all I care, they can burn me to ashes and blow it all into somebody's face."

"Whose face?" asked the voice.

He put his hands over his own face, and real tears began seeping from between his fingers. "It doesn't matter whose face it is. Get some face. There's millions out there."

The voice looked down unhappily. "That's very aggressive. And rude, and crude. For such a sacred moment --"

"Ok fuck it, I'm not even going to bother now," he said, and got up. He kicked the dismantled DVD-RW laser unit, whose pieces scattered across the recently varnished wood floor surface.

The voice basked in yet another glorious victory.

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