Is Suicide Painless – Excerpt

I had a rare moment in which I was able to briefly tune into WILK’s the Jason Barsky​ show. Listening to a caller made me think of the following passages from the novelette “Is Suicide Painless.”


-26-


Out the window of the small jet I stare. The skies become gray. The ground below is scarred and dotted with waste from a long dead coal industry. I don’t need the pilot’s announcement to let me know we are nearing AVP. The jet begins a steep downward trajectory. Culm rises up to meet us as we hit a tarmac that is just short of hell.

An oversized and modern airport has replaced the one from which I departed all those years ago. In a desperate attempt to be modern, money that would have been better spent on people, was disposed of into a hulking, nearly empty, corrupt politician’s boondoggle. Only death could bring me back to this area that the grim reaper calls home. I don’t have to bother with the baggage carousel since I only have my carry on. Dad is waiting at the bottom of the escalator. He looks so lost without mom. They have been inseparable their entire married life. He tries to smile. With seemingly great effort, he lifts his hand to wave. He has aged so much since I have last seen him.

I embrace him, and he embraces me.
His tears dampen my shirt.
I’ve missed my dad.

-27-


I get to the funeral home early. My cousins have set up a board with pictures of my family. I can’t remember the last time I have seen a picture of Sissy.

The viewing is well attended. My parents are well respected and well loved. They are good people and good people come to support my dad in this terrible time. Everyone is kind and compassionate and all ask if I am going to now come back home. I smile and noncommittally nod and shrug my shoulders.

At Dad’s, the quantity of food sent to the house could feed a small army. After everyone leaves, he and I take the bulk of the food to a new family across the street. Dad tells me they have fallen on hard times. Both had good jobs, but returned home to be closer to family. He knows it won’t last forever, but it could save them on groceries for two weeks.

They are very grateful.
I see in them the trap of the area.
Good people stuck in a region that destroys all who stay.



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Joe

5 thoughts on “Is Suicide Painless – Excerpt

  1. I thought it was a poor sort of joke for the Pride of Hamtramck. Of course, he was known as the Painless Pole, so there was yet another pun in there. And I suppose you don’t get to be a dark comedy for no reason. They used the song – without the movie lyrics – for the whole TV series run.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My God! I never knew this. I just read the whole interview mentioned in Wikipedia. I’d always thought the song very deep and thoughtful. The exact opposite of stupid.

      Like

  2. The description of the flight home and meeting in the airport in the strange alien world of the bereaved, drew me back into memories of my own. And the questions of “do you think you’ll come back to stay now?” met with my silently screamed, “why the fuck would I want to!?”
    Really evocative piece here, thank you.

    Like

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