Exit Bag

        You won’t find me in the Yellow Pages. My website is under permanent construction. My Facebook page states that I work in customer services, which, all things considered, is not an untruth.

My Twitter status still says, ‘So this is Twitter.’ I am the antithesis of an obstetrician. My repeat business is nil. My projected future business is infinite. My clients think I am their saviour, but I never hear from them again. If I do, I’ve failed. Or they have. Even then, they always come back.

         Visit www.amazon.com and type in ‘helium tanks.’ Look at the ‘Customers who bought this item also bought’ section and you will see, amongst the balloons and bubble machines, book titles such as ‘Break the Bipolar Cycle,’ ‘Why Am I Still Depressed,’ ‘Final Exit,’ ‘The Best Way to Say Goodbye,’ ‘The Peaceful Pill Handbook,’ and ‘Obsessive Love.’ You will also find adult oxygen masks, and for reasons of which I am oblivious, a ‘no more mildew’ shower curtain. This is not a fabrication. Feel free to investigate for yourselves.

         My office walls are adorned with postcards from all over the world: the Empire State Building, the Grand Canyon, Mount Fuji, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Aurora Bridge and of course Zurich. I have quite the collection of postcards from there.

         People find me when there’s nowhere else to go. I don’t advertise, but I’m not hard to locate. Forums, chat rooms, help groups. I make sure I’m present everywhere I might be needed. I’m a lot like God--when people get really desperate, they go looking for me.

         My agency is full service. I book flights, always return; hotels; tours; dinners; skydiving; escorts; whatever you want. I use my client’s credit cards for everything and those cards, they get well used. It’s logical, if not fully ethical; if you’re not going to be present when the bill arrives, are you really concerned as to your outstanding balance? My fee is paid in cash or over PayPal, payment has to be made at least one month before the event.

         I’m sure you’re speculating as to where my value really lies, after all anyone can book a hotel. Dear friend, I must impress upon you that this is the most important vacation you could ever schedule and you want to ensure all the details are perfect. That’s where my real expertise becomes invaluable. I will tell you the mortality rate from hanging is 80% and I will explain that death normally occurs in five to seven minutes. With jumping, I will tell you that if you want to be certain, you need to jump from at least 150ft over land and no less than 250ft over water. I will send you the instructions on how to make an exit bag and I will have the helium tank delivered to your home along with balloons. The balloons are just for show.

         Are you disgusted? I find that a strange reaction as I’m unremittingly proud of what I do. I grant people their final wish. I give people the choice that we forget we have. More importantly, I get to play God every single day. My e-mail box is always full. I sleep well at night. I’m here if you need me.

HV Whitehead is a fiction writer based in Vancouver, Canadialand. Originally from the UK, she has a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University. Her previous stories can be found on Word Riot, Cherry Bleeds, Diddle Dog and Gutter Eloquence.

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