He had a bottle of Vodka in one hand. There were approximately 12 cases
worth of empty beer cans lying on the floor of the darkened room. The
shades were drawn, and had not been opened since he had started his two
week leave of absence from work. There was a puddle of vomit near the
sofa. He hadn't changed clothes in four days, the last time he had
taken a shower. He had eaten some brown sugar yesterday, which had
wound up on the rug. He lifted the bottle to his lips, drank. The
drool that had been clinging to his mouth now formed a line to his hand
as he put the bottle down. Empty stare, motionlessness.

     He picked up the razor blade, and instead of looking at it, he applied
it to his wrist. Blood flowed freely.

     The Lord emitted an indignant squeal, appalled by this sudden change in
plans, and immediately sealed the wound.

     He slit the other wrist, and once again was foiled.

     He reached down, and slit both ankles. The Lord had to go to the
bathroom, however, and was unable to step in. Blood flowed freely.

     He finished the bottle in the quiet darkness of the tomb, back against
the wall by the stereo, sitting on the floor, and the blood continued to
flow, yet he wouldn't die. The Lord had evidently finished his shit,
and had changed the rules again. He slit his throat, trying to
decapitate himself, but the blood was all on the floor now, forming a
black gelatinous pool around him, soaking his jeans, and so nothing came
out of the neck-hole. A couple of weeks ago, it would have been odd to
see large gash wounds that produced no blood. Now, it seemed fitting.

     He stumbled to the kitchen, found a half-full bottle of gin. The girl
in the elevator had had a pink wrist cast, and had compared it to the
color of her toenails. He unscrewed the bottle, took a sizeable hit,
sat down on the linoleum.

     He tried to open the cabinet under the sink to reach the waste basket,
but vomited on the floor anyway. He crawled through it back into the
living room. Whenever he woke up in the morning, it felt like he had
just run a marathon, and the brilliant sunlight around the shade burned
laser holes in his eyes. The sheets didn't fit, and smelled, and the
people above and next door always seemed to be making some manner of
distracting noise. He would often return the favor by farting.

     He leaned back against the wall, stared, wondered if it was day or
night. What day it was. The computer used to provide some measure of
entertainment, as did the TV, but not anymore. It was beyond that. He
had read all of Bukowski's books. The balcony was full of smog. The
outside was the same as it had always been. And they couldn't evict you
without going through a hell of a lot of bureaucratic red tape. He
figured he would test out the old Machine.

     Ian 'once met a girl with the life in her hands'. He doubted it. Why
was it so difficult for him to get a gun? It posed no problem for most
other people. Why did he have such a hard time doing all the things
normal people took for granted, like smiling at appropriate times, and
believing you had a right to stand in the checkout line at the
supermarket? Gas prices were rising. People were baffled by the fact
that high school misfits were shooting up the library, despite the fact
that he had written a song about it.

     The clock was SCREAMING TICKS AND TOCKS, being rather blatant about it.
It was a good and a bad thing, depending on your mood. One step closer
towards that respectable milestone of natural death, or one step closer
to tomorrow morning and breakfast and rush hour and coworkers and
nothing. Tedium.

     He struggled to his feet, walked to the door, opened it, stepped out on
the balcony, and threw himself over the railing. He fell for two of the
three stories, then caught the sight of Jesus lugging out a trampoline,
and positioning it beneath his fall. He bounced back up over the
railing. "Not yet, asshole!" Jesus yelled, and poofed away.

Scott Taylor is 30 years old, and lives in Denver, Colorado. He is a writer and a
musician. Among his literary influences are Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs and
William Vollman.

2004 Underground Voices