I could do it right in the office, if I’m feeling dramatic. Come into work in the shitty car I got from that perv off Facebook, park it right in front of the building, stroll up to Alcoholic Amy at the front desk- one two bam, blow my brains out. She needs a little trauma, Amy. Might give her something to talk about other than her latest take on potato salad. (Hint: this week it’s the addition of raisins.)
Or Boss Man, fucking Jake the Great. Maybe this is the day I take him up on his “opportunity” to suck him off. Today, after all, marks the one year anniversary of the first time he asked me to. My first day on ad copy. I wore a Goodwill blazer with leather pads on the elbows.
I’ll suck him off, spit the salty shit on the floor- one two bam, blow my brains out.
That hairy cat cafe with the artisanal cruelty-free latte flavors, where I first called mom upon arriving. She was all happy back then, all this was the right choice, getting a Real Job and leaving That Girl. You can get a Real Man now. There are some nice specimens out there in those cornfields, growing from the stalks themselves and waving around in the wind. Waiting for someone like me to come picking.
That’s rude, though, ending it in the frappuccino line. Children may be present. They love those cats.
The bathroom on the top floor of my shitty condo. It’d be stupid dumb cleanup for my roommate but he’s kind of an asshole. Always has people over and they’re loud and the walls are as stick-thin as he is, walls too cheap to hide the orgy sounds. Or maybe they’re a coven. All the fishnet and crop tops. I can’t tell.
That field. Well, not that field- there isn’t any “that” field, they all look the same, they all blur together.
If I take the pills there, pushing through stalks or hay or cow shit to find a solid spot to lie in, I’d put money down they don’t find me for days. The animals out here disguise any smell, the fields warp any sense of place or time. It might be next week and I’m unaware. I might have traveled too far. Am I in Illinois? God forbid- Wisconsin?
Could live-stream it to Linkedin. If that’s even a thing. Right above the “congratulate Penny on one year at State Realty,” there’ll be my face, or my feet, my kitchen stool with me levitating above it.
Or Facebook, maybe that’s better. Then Rachel can know right as I do- I’m dead.
I don’t want her to feel bad, not really. Nah. Maybe a little bit? Just enough so the thought crosses her mind- I shoulda begged her not to go. Shoulda said your mom’s gonna die one day and then what’ll you do, continue to edit web content about Ohio for the rest of your life, continue to decay in Ohio for the rest of your life? Marry Brett from accounting?
Dead people can’t cut you off financially. Dead people can’t do nothing to you.
I can hear her now- Brett’s dick won’t satisfy you like I can, you know that. This lying to yourself. Jesus. Give it up. Come back to me, pick up the guitar again, we can travel the world. Eat Ramen. Renew the calluses on your fingertips. I love your calluses, how they feel inside me. No one gets me off like you do.
You can’t get me off if you’re dead.
My bedroom. That’s too easy. My third grade teacher said I’d be something one day, that my creativity was “boundless.” Ms. Carter. Can’t let her down. If she’s even still alive.
The car. The car’s a classic suicide spot, possibly should’ve been number one on the list. You can gas yourself out, you can splatter the passenger seat, you can crank the music up and swallow. Unlike killing yourself in a house, this requires way less cleanup. Makes it kinder to everyone involved.
You can live in a house where someone was murdered, sure. There are multiple rooms. But a car? No one wants that car after. You can’t fuck in a car where someone died, unless- I guess there are people who dig that kinda shit. Not the point. They send the Jeep to the junkyard, crush it up. No post code reminder of who once was, no nothing. Spotless.
And in terms of ease, well. I’m in the car as we speak. I could ram it into a tree but then you run the risk of surviving and getting shackled to a hospital bed and mom’s gonna flip shit- nah. The pills are in the cupholder. The gun, the glove compartment. Rope in the trunk. Better ways.
I drive to work on autopilot. Everything on autopilot. I am autopilot.
In front of the tv. Now that’s classic Americana- death in front of a screen, a big black mirror hanging off the wall, watching me on the couch. I like my perch sunk into my Cheeto-dust, surrounded by the roommate’s crushed beer cans and used condoms.
I’d clean up his shit but I don’t see the need. I can live in it. I’ve evolved beyond cleanliness. It’s a social construct anyway- science says we use too much soap, strip our bodies and hair of natural bacteria.
I am a petri dish.
In front of the cake. At work, they made me a fucking cake. With the little number one candles like I’m a baby.
The gun’s in my purse. I could, I could- Chekhov’s law states so, this pistol must be used- but I don’t. Boss Man Jake’s got that face on, the shit-eater face, as he compliments my jeans. My jeans, my jeans. (Hint: my ass.) Our little secret.
I get frosting on my face. Wipe my mouth on my sleeve. My cubicle feels drafty when I sit and sit I do, just sit all day. The computer screen so bright. I edit a list of the best pizza places in Troy. Mary keeps using the em dash wrong. The best places to go on an afternoon run in Cincinnati. Steve, again, the “city streets” aren’t what we want here. Research parks, you dumbass.
Best restaurants for a working dinner in Columbus. Um, the pharmacy? Best small towns to live in. Absolutely nowhere. Best bars for singles looking to mingle- don’t go to a bar, sweetheart. You have two options- get the hell out of Ohio or one two bam, blow your brains out.
I leave early. Jake asks if I want to grab a drink to “celebrate.” I say nah, got places to be.
Not sure if I’m gonna end up in Heaven or Hell. Not sure I believe, fully believe in that shit, even though mom raised me on it, plopped me in front of Veggie Tales and let the tv do the work. My bets are on Hell. I’m okay with that, I guess. I guess I don’t really care.
Maybe eternal torture ain’t all that bad.
The hardware store. The rope I have isn’t thick enough and I’ve decided that’s what we’re gonna do, that’s our method. Not overly messy. I can look up at my living room light as I go. It’s a nice light, kinda Victorian. Got it from some guy off Craigslist.
The teenager working at the front counter says nothing when I come in, face buried in her phone. I make a beeline for the rope aisle, meaning I have no clue where the rope aisle is but I’m swinging my head back and forth, speed-walking like I’m in the Olympics. Is that- there we go.
Shit. There are so many types of rope. Thick rope, thin rope, rope with fancy knots on the ends, rope covered in waxes, rope covered in colored sheens. Should I be fashionable, get a nice color?
There’s too many choices. I stand for awhile, staring. My legs get tired. I squat, looking up at my options. My thighs get tired. I sit on the floor, legs out in front of me. The place is silent minus the occasional laugh from the kid up front- no one’s here.
Maybe I should go classic- simple twine, thick, hefty. I’ve seen on Pinterest, they use this kinda twine at millennial barn weddings- they tie the thin version of it in bows around mason jars, around flowers curated to look just-so handpicked. That’s so me, right? If Rachel and I had stayed together, had we gotten married, we woulda done that. Or- she would’ve been all into it. I would’ve gone along with it for her sake. Happy wife, happy life.
Happy wife, happy- or would she have wanted something less aesthetic, more like- the green rope? Maybe we’d get rope in every color, a rainbow, super super bright. Get a bunch of pictures of my mom near the colors, if she’d even show up.
And Rachel, Rachel . . . She wouldn’t wear white, never. Too susceptible to stains, too basic. More like a light peach. A pastel pink. The bridesmaids might wear white. Rachel would call that “ironic” and I’d say hey, love, I’m not sure that’s a correct usage of the word, like is it really that ironic? All our friends are married. Not like they’re single in white.
I turn my head- it’s the kid from the front desk. There’s paint on her jeans, the splatter pattern suggesting she did this deliberately.
She says, “Can I help you with anything?”
“Uh,” I say, “Not sure what rope to get.”
The girl blows a gum bubble. I smell cinnamon. “What for?”
She might understand. Kind eyes.
I say, “Art project. Like, a hanging installation.”
“Hm.” She walks in front of me, eyes up the rope collection for a second, then reaches on her tip-toes for a coiled bundle. Her uniform top, a navy golf shirt already two sizes too small, rides up. Exposes the small of her back.
She gives me the bundle. It’s black-coated, coil heavy in my hands.
She says, “It can hold up to, like, a lot of pounds.”
I don’t stand up. I can’t stand up.
We lock eyes. She doesn’t move. I don’t move. I can’t. I literally-
“Hey,” she says, squatting down next to me. All teenage pretense in her face is gone, apathy replaced with something I can’t quite name now, here on the dirty floor, dust collecting on my jeans.
She takes the rope bundle from my hands. “Maybe you should just go home, okay? Watch some tv. Or something.”
I nod. I eye up the rope. I don’t stand up.
“Or,” she says, “You can sit here for a bit. I’m up front if you need anything, okay?”
I nod again. I have a headache. The backs of my eyes sting, my nose stuffed.
She looks me over once more, my low ponytail and eye bags, my lack of a belt. She’s gonna go back up to the register and text her friends about me. Like OMG.
Rachel would know. What to do. Rachel at that age, when we first met- God, the way her hair fell to her hips, the way she still looked good in braces. If this kid were Rachel, if it were me and Rachel in this store with its shitty lighting- aisle four, two bulbs out, someone should get on that- she’d pull me aside.
Or, well, I’m already aside. When there’s no one else but the two of us- no reason to pull.
She’d say babe, babe. Get in the car, go for a drive, you know how you love driving to nowhere. So go, go nowhere, be nothing- I’m here with you, I’m in your ear. I’m in the passenger seat, hand on your thigh- remember us in high school? University, those house parties? Remember when I cut your bangs, and when you kissed me in the chip aisle of the 7/11, how the overhead light flickered?
Our spot on the bridge- let me lick you open. I miss being inside you, on top of you, underneath. I miss our way with prepositions. I miss you like this, unable to speak or move, paralyzed- let me fix you, let me fix you, let me fix you, let me fix you, let me fix you, let me fix you, let me fix you, let me fix you, let me fix you, let me fix you, let me fix you, let me fix you, let me, let me let me let me fix fix fix fix let me let me fix fix fix fix let me fix fix fix fix fix fix-
Genna Edwards is a writer and sound engineer based in Brooklyn, New York. Outside of a produced stage play and a handful of awarded short films, you can find her work in a variety of magazines and journals including The Susquehanna Review, Flora Fiction, and Marrow Magazine.