By: Kyle Jacobson
My neck itches. Itches so bad it burns. I try not to twist in an effort to keep the pain tolerable, but only succeed in creating a more general discomfort, like getting out of the bed after sleeping funny. The swaying itself doesn’t really help. I know how this is supposed to end. I know how this is going to end. That’s what gets me. Through the pain I need to find time to relive what got me here in the first place.
Lucky O’Connor’s Irish Pub: original name for an Irish bar. If that’s not enough, how about the bartender/owner named Patty. The place was simple; a bar running the length of a hallway with stools so close to the back wall seated customers could lean on it. When drunk enough, that wall became a lifesaver. It was on one of those nights where the wall had caught me countless times that all this happened.
I felt it now. Like an unseen spider; one leg at a time casually creeping the nape of my neck. I don’t swat it. It’d be pointless. I’ve learned the futility of such actions. The spider taunts me. It could bite me at any moment, but it won’t. It just wishes to make me aware… to remind me. Then I’m pushed ever so slightly. The rope tightens around my neck and the burning grows to a level of unworldly pain. I want to scream, but the rope is tight enough for a lump of pure panic to get stuck under it.
The wall of whiskey was something the most experienced of alcoholics would be proud of. For no reason in particular, that night, I decided to sample only the best. Shot after shot slid playfully down my neck; itching…
…burning the inside of my throat. A score of whiskey shots in a couple of hours of blissful masochism made me drunk enough to know that it was time to go home, and confident enough to know I could drive. I stumbled out the door into the forsaken fog of the night.
I can barely breathe. The burning pain coupled with asphyxiation is more than welcoming. I pray for my eyes to finally roll back and allow me an escape. Just this once, please, let it happen.
How I managed to find my keys, insert the correct one into the door, unlock it, find the driver’s seat, start the car, and even buckle my seat belt is beyond me. I took the back roads in an effort to avoid coming into contact with pedestrians…
“See, it was an accident,” I think as loud as I can. The thing hears me and tightens the noose. The pain is unbearable, it is a comfort. It is as though Satan blessed this rope with fiery angst and allowed it wielding without limits.
…I took the back roads in an effort to avoid a ticket. As I’m going downhill into an impossibly dense patch of fog it happens. I see the headlights of a minivan packed with a family of five. I swerve into wide-eyed faces. They swerve into the fog. In my rearview mirror I see headlights dancing. They fade as I speed up and drive away.
Just before things go black the rope snaps. I live. It’s been twenty years… and I still live. I should buy a gun, I grab another length of rope, that’d be too easy, and tie another noose.