Never Too Late!

Never Too Late!
any resemblance to anyone real or imaginary is mere bad luck
we are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are trying to get up


Deeper and deeper in a happy world in the middle of the day

Lying head on the table. I could hear the scratching of a pen on paper, the regular clink and thud of a glass being lifted and put down again. I watched an ant struggle in spilled water. The background chatter of conversation and the occasional clatter of cutlery on china came in broken waves, part drowned out in sine-wave interference. An occasional shouted order behind the counter.

I’d actually been in a good mood when I’d decided to kill myself. It had seemed like a sort of groovy idea at the time. I’d sat there with the hosepipe through the car window and the engine on, singing Beautiful Sunday to myself, humming the bits I couldn’t remember, while the car filled with exhaust fumes.

Then I sneezed violently and a ball of bad thoughts flew out of my nose. I thought ‘Fuck this,’ got out of the car and went to find the closest bar. Then memory sort of fades, but for disturbing and vague dreams and visions: a big toe splits open and peels away revealing an eye which blinks and surveys the room...

Now somewhere, depressed and wretched, head on a restaurant table. But where? I wasn’t interested in finding out.

A hand appeared, hesitated, wiped away the spilt water and the ant with what looked like a wet kitten, disappeared. Uncertain pause. Then a voice, inquiring, perfunctory, unconcerned.

‘Are you alright, sir?’

Carefully now. This is the genius of the madman; like a chessmaster, my mind flicked through all the responses open to me and possible reactions thereto. What was the bare minimum I needed to say to make him leave me alone?

‘Yeah. Fine. Another one, please.’


realgem: the story finally continues, or what?