LAST WORDS by Willie Davis • Cleaver Magazine
LAST WORDS by Willie a long time, I kept myself awake by writing personalized suicide notes for each of my friends. I’d found a website that compiled every recorded suicide note of the last ten years, and, not to sound conceited, I could do better. To be fair, a lot of the note-writers were teenagers, and some of the older ones had already taken enough sleeping pills to write like teenagers, but these were pretty pedestrian. They tried to fit the whole world into one paragraph, so all the sorrows clanged together. Also, seriously, every third letter used the phrase “ocean of sadness.” Go small, I whispered into my computer, after reading an open-veiner yammer about “piles of endless infinity.” Talk about the disappointment gathering at the pit of your stomach every Sunday evening, so slight and predictable you can mistake it for hunger. Talk about waking up five minutes before the alarm clock rings. Talk about your cousin who loves telling people he loves jazz. I know pain, and I know escape, but I don’t know one infinity, let alone piles. The hardest part of writing a bang-up suicide note for the living is guessing each person’s method of self-destruction. They each had their separate styles. Pill-poppers talked of betrayal, of friends who walked out, the beating of their own broken hearts. Shooters were brief—they didn’t care if anyone read it. The people who hanged themselves were the best because they had a sense of humor. They understood they were leaving a body behind, swinging like the world’s fattest wind-chime. The only time I ever told any of my friends I was setting them up for posterity, I was on half-a-suicide mission myself. Meander Maddox and I had been tasked with wandering through Irishtown and finding Ollie Nunez’s runaway black mastiff. Somebody had purposefully taken the dog off the leash while Nunez was inside a party in Prospect Hill, the shanty-town peak overlooking the rest of the neighborhood. Nunez assumed Meander had done it, and he sent the two of us into the cold to try to retrieve the animal.