ONLY DEGREES OF MISERY
I was lyin in bed one afternoon, smokin an thinkin about how bad things were when the phone rang. I couldn’t be bothered talkin to anybody but I answered it anyway. “Yeah?” I said.
“You have to help me!” this female voice replied. “I can’t stand it any longer. I’m going to kill myself.”
“Fine,” I told her. “Go ahead.”
Silence from the other end of the line. Don’t think it was quite the response she expected.
“I don’t think you understand,” she said eventually. “I need your help. I’m planning to kill myself.”
“So you need help with the plannin?” I asked. “Like you can’t think of a way to do it yourself? Hey lady, there’s loads of ways.”
There was a muffled sob from the other end of the line. I half-expected her to hang up. I lit a smoke an waited.
“Can’t you….can’t you talk me out of it?” she pleaded.
“Why should I?” I replied. “I didn’t talk you into it.”
More muffled sobs. More silence. It dragged on. This time I broke it.
“Look lady,” I said, “I don’t even know you. You call me up an tell me you’re plannin to kill yourself an you want my help. Hey, how’d you get my number anyway?”
“Oh I just dialled a number at random,” she told me. “You see, I’m pretty desperate. Things aren’t too good at my end of the line.”
“Hey, they’re not too clever at my end either,” I informed her.
“But I cry myself to sleep every night,” she said.
“Hey lady - I cry myself awake!” I replied.
“Oh!” More muffled sobs. “Sorry,” she managed.
She sounded kinda nice. In a desperate sort of way. I decided to help.
“Listen, this is the only piece of advice I’m givin you,” I told her. “You’re not allowed to.”
“Not allowed to what?”
“Not allowed to kill yourself!” I yelled. “What the hell d’you think I mean - not allowed to go out for coffee an donuts!?”
There was an expected silence while she thought about that.
“Why aren’t you allowed to kill yourself?” she eventually asked.
“Because the Big Boss don’t like it,” I told her. “Takes it as a serious insult after He’s granted you the precious gift of life an all that crap. Really pisses Him off.”
“You mean God?” she asked.
“Call Him what you like,” I said, “but kill yourself an things will get even worse. A thousand times worse.”
“How can they get any worse?” she asked.
“Believe me they will,” I replied. “Read Edgar Cayce.”
I spelled it for her.
“Will he help me to kill myself?”
“Will he help me to be happy?”
“But I used to be so happy,” she wailed, “and now there’s just all this….all this misery.”
I laughed. “That old red herring happiness,” I said.
She hesitated. “Have you ever been happy?” she asked.
I ignored the question. “Happiness is too fleeting,” I told her instead. “It’s like a snow fall in the river - a moment white then gone forever.”
More silence while she thought about that.
“Do you think people get a second chance at life?” she asked.
“Lady, I don’t think they get a first!” I told her.
This was gettin tedious. I sensed it could go on all day. I decided to bring the call to an end.
“Look lady, this is my final word to you,” I said. There’s no such thing as lastin happiness. There’s only degrees of misery. That’s all there is - only degrees of misery.”
I hung up.
I lit another smoke an decided to change my number.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Danny Erin.
Published on e-Stories.org on 07.04.2009.