A suicidal young man prepares for his last night on earth, but in the suburbs of Streetsville, everything can change in a heartbeat.
Written By Gregory Patrick Travers
Shit, that was a name I hadn’t thought of since high school.
I never would have dreamed in a million years that I would associate that name with the reason I decided to not kill myself.
I never really believed in destiny before that fateful night, but the fact that she was walking down the street when I came out of the bar, the fact that Spinz and Tayler were out fucking about in that particular neighbourhood and decided to pull a gun on her, the fact that I almost turned around and went home to what I had planned to be my last night on earth…It couldn’t have all been just by chance. It had to have meant something.
We used to chill by my locker and watch her walk down the halls in her kilt, holding her notebook close to her chest, looking all hot as fuck. We knew we didn’t have the slightest chance of sliding off those sweet smelling panties, but that didn’t mean we didn’t constantly imagine having sex with her. In high school, I would jerk off to a mental image of her more than any other girl—even celebrity chicks. She was fucking perfect. Girls like that though, they didn’t fuck with guys like us. We were the skids. Our clothes were department store and not designer. We didn’t drive, we took the bus. We drank and got high which, in high school, all those girls thought was super fucking lame. Funny enough, five years later those same girls were getting more coked out and liquored up than our bodies could even handle anymore.
Yeah, me and the crew didn’t get too many of the hot broads back then. That’s not to say we were losers though, fuck that. We were a lot of things but we wasn’t no fucking losers. When people needed to find a score—they came to us. Fake ID’s—they came to us. Liquor and smokes—they came to us. When someone got shunned from a clique, they always found themselves kicking with us around town, though, when their respective cliques decided to forgive whatever wrong they committed, they usually ghosted pretty fast. But fuck it, didn’t matter to us. The core group never changed. It was just me, Petey and Zack. The rest of the world could go fuck itself.
After high school, though, things changed.
Zack became another person, it broke me and Petey’s heart. He became a fucking correctional officer, can you believe that shit? We spent the better part of six years screaming, “Fuck the police!” and now this guy becomes a fucking pig. He moved out west with his girlfriend, I heard they bought a house or something…either way, we never saw his ass again.
Petey started going pretty hard on the drink after Zack left. It was slow torture watching my best friend turn into a desperate alcoholic, but I guess you can only be told that you’ll never be nothing so many times before you start believing it. He went to rehab a couple years ago and I really hadn’t talked to him much since then. His councilors told him in order to defeat his addiction he needed to cut the ties that made him comfortable with that lifestyle. I was one of those ties.
I spent the next two years wondering what the fuck had happened to my life. I was closing in on thirty and I was completely alone. I had lost my best friends, I was watching everyone from high school get married or have kids, starting these great careers …What the fuck was I doing? The same as always: working in a greasy, sweaty kitchen, getting drunk and stoned four to five nights a week and watching cartoons on the couch in my basement apartment.
I had no one. I felt like no one. Sure, I knew a lot of people from the restaurant and the different bars we’d frequent, but I never really considered them to be real friends like Zack or Petey. They were more like acquaintances, there merely out of convenience, with no real deeper foundation or root. Whether they stayed in my life or not made no difference to me.
With no female prospects, bare to no education, little hope for the future and an overdrawn bank account, I decided: fuck it. I was going to kill myself.
It wasn’t like anyone was going to miss me anyway. Except, maybe Barry from the bar I frequented. I would see him on occasion and we would sit and have a pint together. He was a younger kid, wide-eyed and exuberant, always going off about his frustrations with his parents or the girls he was trying to fuck. He’d tell me stories and ask for advice…I was kind of like his psychiatrist.
Oh, and Mary from the pool hall on Queen St., she might miss me for a bit. She used to bring her dates there to shoot stick but a lot of the time she would just come to play by herself. We’d play sometimes and shoot the shit; we hated a lot of the same things. Pop music, Conservative government, fake tits—the list goes on.
Spinz from work too, I guess. If I wasn’t around he probably wouldn’t have anyone to tell his gangster stories to in the garbage room during smoke breaks. I never really cared too much about the fights he got into or whatever else he went on about but it was clear that he sought my validation, (perhaps because of the past reputation I had around town as a school-of-hard-knocks alumni) so I did my best to feed his desire to be the tough guy. I always was a strong supporter of positive re-enforcement…I had seen how the opposite had fucked up Petey along the road.
But either way, my exit from the physical realm would not be long bemoaned. All these people would eventually find a replacement for the small part I played in their lives and I would fade into eternity, forgotten in death as I had been in life.
On the night I decided to move forward with my plan, I shut all my windows and turned on all the gas elements on the stove. I planned to go to the bar for a couple last drinks and by the time I got home, my apartment would be prepped and ready. Then, all I had to do was light a cigarette and BOOM!—The most badass suicide ever.
I sat down at the bar and Bobby, the bartender, a husky young man with a thick, black beard came over to shake my hand. He was always real nice to me; I figured it was because I tipped him good. You have to tip good, especially if you’re a drinker. If you’re a regular at a bar and you don’t tip good, well, my friend, you’re a big fucking dick. I ordered my pint and shot of whiskey and began my usual routine of sports highlights and cigarette breaks. Before long Barry came by and took a seat beside me, reaching out his fist for a dap.
“What’s up, kid?” I asked with a half grin.
“Same old shit,” he said, taking a swig of his pint.
We sat in silence, staring up at the television for a good few moments until he turned to me and said, “Hey, man…You ever done anal? Like, with a chick?”
I laughed, “Yeah, once. Why?”
He shook his head, “Shit, I ain’t never done that before. I been dating this chick for a while now and I think if I brought it up she’d be down and shit but…”
He hesitated, his brown eyes in a furtive retreat.
“But what?” I asked.
“Well, it’s just that…I’m just afraid that if I take my dick out and there’s shit on my dick—or shit falls on the floor—or just any shit anywhere…that I might, y’know, get grossed out and not see her the way I see her now, y’know what I’m saying? I don’t want that.”
“I see,” I said, amused but not surprised at the young Jedi’s predicament. “You do know she does go poo too, right? She farts and all that shit.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. But that’s like in the privacy of her own home. It’s not, like, happening in front of my very eyes, get it?”
I smiled, “Kind of like that saying, ‘if a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?’”
Barry laughed, “Yeah, but this is ‘If your girlfriend shits and no one is around to hear it, does it still leave a stank?”
“Well, listen,” I started, “You say you’ve been with this girl for a while now, no? You like her?”
His eyes widened. “Yeah, lots.”
“Well, if she’s comfortable enough with you to let you penetrate her asshole then I think you need to be prepared to deal with some shit. Don’t think of it as gross or dirty shit but rather shits of love. She cares about you and trusts you enough that she’s willing to momentarily lose all control of her rectum. You need to honor that trust by not thinking any less of her if it should happen that way. And if you can’t—stay out of her asshole, get it?”
He took a long sip of his drink, reflecting on my counsel.
“Yeah, I guess so,” he said finally, seemingly content with my response to his conundrum. “Thanks, yo. You’re a smart motherfucker, y’know that?”
“Thanks, Barry,” I said with a smirk.
We talked some more about basketball and other shit we saw on the news until he went on his way. I paid my bill and said goodbye to Bobby. I was sure it was the last time he would ever see me, so I left him an even bigger tip than usual. Fuck it, I thought. I can’t take it with me.
I left the bar and began to walk down the street. It was September, and even though the days were fairly warm, the nights cooled right down. I really wished I had taken a coat with me when I left my apartment. As I kicked myself in the ass for my stupid decision, I noticed a young lady walking in my direction down the sidewalk on the other side of the street. She too looked like she was having some words with herself for not bringing a jacket with her. She looked incredibly familiar. Finally, after flipping through a mental Rolodex of memories, I remembered how I recognized her. It was Rachel fucking Mews–the cause of countless self-inflicted, late-night ejaculations during my high school career.
I wondered what she was doing walking down the street all alone. A girl like that wouldn’t have any problem finding a ride. I even thought about going over and saying hello until I realized how stupid of an idea that was. What was I going to say? “Hey Rachel, you probably don’t remember me because we never really talked but I’m just on my way to blow myself up and I wanted to let you know how super-hot I think you are.”
I was pulled out of my trance when I noticed two young hoods run out of an alley and surround her. By this point, she was directly across the street from me. I couldn’t make out who the thugs were because they wore bandannas over the bottom half of their face but one of them, the taller one, was holding a gun.
For a second I thought about continuing on my way as if I hadn’t seen a thing, but a voice inside my head said, Stop being a fucking pussy. You want to die anyway; if you get shot at least it’s a hero’s death.
So, without another thought and with no real plan , I bolted across the street, my heart racing a mile a minute. I had made it across the street before the two thugs even had time to react. I leaped off my feet and drop-kicked the shorter, fat one to the floor. The tall and skinny one, also the gunman swung around, his attention now fixed on me.
He pointed the gun at my face and warned heatedly, “Don’t be a hero. You’re gonna get yo’ self blasted, fool.”
I looked up at him as I held his assailant to the floor. I recognized that voice. “Spinz?”
The gunman’s eyes went wide and he pulled the bandanna down from his face.
It was Spinz, from work.
“Holy shit, George! What the fuck are you doing here?” he said with a trailing laughter of relief.
I got up from my knees and let the struggling fatty free. “What am I doing? What the fuck are you doing? You’re robbing this girl?”
“Yeah, yeah. You in or what?”
“Nah, man. I know her, she’s cool. Let her be.”
Spinz looked down at his friend who was moaning under his breath and trying to rub the pain off his belly. Spinz’s wily green eyes shifted back to me. “Aight, aight. Stay up.”
He turned to Rachel, who flinched at his icy stare. “You’re fucking lucky.”
Then he helped his heavy assailant to his feet, which I now recognized as Tayler—Spinz’ fat tag-along gangster friend, and they both ran off into the night, leaving me and Rachel standing face to face.
“You okay?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she replied, wiping a few tears from her eye. “You know them?”
“Yeah…but I’m not like that. It’s cool. What are you doing walking the streets alone at this time of night?”
“I—Just stupid stuff…”
She gave me a good once over and then said, “You look really familiar.”
“Yeah…We went to high school together. You’re Rachel Mews.”
“Yeah…And you are?”
“Oh, that’s right. You hung around Zack, right?”
“Yeah, Zack and Petey.”
We stood there for a moment absorbing the awkward silence. Crickets croaked in the distance. A black SUV drove by playing loud rap music. The engine growled as the driver sped up to beat the yellow light at the intersection where Spinz and Tayler had turned the corner and disappeared.
“Listen,” she said finally. “Would you maybe want to walk me home? I’m a little shook up…That is if you don’t have anywhere to be.”
I thought about her words.
“It can wait,” I said.
So, I walked her home.
Before I left I asked if she wanted to get a coffee sometime to which she said yes and gave me her number. She thanked me once more and gave me a hug goodnight. I doubt that any hug in the history of hugs felt the way that hug felt to me.
Things were going to be okay. I guess somewhere between drop-kicking Tayler and folding Rachel’s number into my pocket I had decided that I did want to live. I couldn’t believe I even thought about making myself not live. What the fuck was I thinking? I mean, there’s always a reason to think that your life sucks. For me, I felt abandoned by my best friends and angry that everyone was changing into these different people while I was still the same. But could I really justify my rationalization? Both Zack and Petey were just trying to better themselves; I couldn’t be upset with that. If anything, maybe I should have been trying to do the same. People grow up and it’s unrealistic to think that we’d be roaming the streets together forever. Even if we could, did I really even want to? And as for watching everyone get married and have kids—Sure, I felt a little behind the 8ball, but what was the rush? I had all the freedom in the world and it wasn’t so bad.
Besides, if I hadn’t grown up to be a fuck up, I wouldn’t still have been working in the restaurant, which means I would have never met Spinz, which means Spinz probably would have shot me in the fucking head that night, which means Rachel would have never let me walk her home and given me her number.
I guess sometimes you so badly want to be someone else that you forget how important your role is in this crazy thing called life. Maybe sometimes the sun gets jealous of the moon because it gets to see all those beautiful stars every night. Perhaps the moon gets jealous of the sun because it never gets to experience the warmth that it provides. Black people envy white people because they get all the breaks, white people envy black people because they have huge fucking dicks…
I guess the lesson I’ve learned is: Life is what you make it. If you keep telling yourself that life sucks well then, guess what—It’ll suck. But I’m on the way to meet Rachel for coffee and you know what? Life doesn’t suck.