Memories of the island come to me like a dream. Being there had eventually made me so sick to the stomach I had to leave. The wind blew over the island like the big nothing it was and constantly filled the bottomless hole in my head with sand.
This wash of thoughts made for overactive senses. Smells were sharp, sounds cut through me; the slightest touch gave me goose bumps, especially when it was cold. Or when someone touched me. Sometimes I’d stick out my tongue and taste salt in the air, or damp on the grass and leaves. Sometimes I could even taste dirt.
But there are these weird little ones, memories; they’re filled with a beauty that doesn’t exist in my life anymore. I watch them play out in third person. A little kid running down a road, a rustle underfoot, a canvas of branches and autumn leaves overhead holding in everything he needs to know and be. His clumsy arms grabbing for a leaf dipping swooping doubling over and dashing forwards. The misty-eyed sun poking through the canvas and spying upon him until, at last, he notices its gaze. Standing still, mouth open, they communicate wordlessly. The eye shuts, the leaf has gone, another falls.
Those that come to me in first: stabbing my arm repeatedly with a pencil in detention. Pulling my best friend’s hair after he bit my fingers. Screaming at my mum, the weight of our words making my whole body tremble. Discovering my dad’s boxcutter, “Careful, that’s sharp.” Hiding beneath the porch. Jumping off the roof. Stubbing a cigarette out on the back of my hand.
That last one. The hiss of my roll-up tricks me into the memory, the sound of tiny hairs singing, the smell of burning flesh.
We were drunk in the playground’s Wendy Hut: James, Eve, Alan and I. Around us were the etchings of cocks, names, dates and devotions of love. “CP + EM 4 eva. That’s us,” I said. She smiled at me, and for a moment and we were in love. Until that point I’d never known anything with such clarity.
Eventually she laughed and ran off. Alan chased her and they fell in a heap by the swings, drunk and hysterical. James comes up to me and tells me they’re together, pats me on the shoulder like he’s sorry for my loss or something and fucks off. I’m left there, ears prickling, tears welling, cigarette burning. I didn’t make a sound, just the quiet hiss upon my hand. The sand swept away. The nothing sank in. That sweet, absolute nothing I continue to crave.
I stepped out with this new release, took the vodka from James and walked out onto the cricket field. He didn’t even bother coming after me. Fingering was big back then, everyone was at it, regardless of who was going out with who. Guys would run up to each other and glide their fingers under unsuspecting noses. At the time Alan fancied Eve, most of the guys did, and it was likely he was hoping to get a turn.
Upon the field the teenage boy is on his back, drunk, staring up at the sky. The island slides away from him, taking with it the excited sounds of laughter and moans of horny adolescents. Stars poke holes through the blanket stretched above. He hasn’t had sex yet, but thinks this must be what it feels like after. Eyes closed, the blanket is laid upon him and he enters a state of slumber. When he awakens it’s light and the cold and the vodka’s gone.
Cold. It’s cold in here. As I grind the cigarette on the windowsill I look at the garden and see the shed where we used to watch videos, get stoned and piss ourselves playing WWF on the Playstation. Beside it, in what used to be a flowerbed, lay the bodies of hamsters six inches underground – Jam, Pickles, Nuttela, Peanuts and Gaylord – each with their own little headstone.
The window’s shut. Cold’s locked out. I’m trapped in.
Don’t look at the bed.
Sitting down I stare at the patterns of the carpet. Retro red blue and yellow zig-zags. Who in their right mind designs this shit? The ceiling isn’t much better either. Infuriatingly inconsistent swirls of white paint. A buzz sounds from beside me.
Don’t look at the bed.
A boy approached Godleg, asking the clouds it disappeared into for the meaning of life.
Godleg bent so that Godear could be closer.
Godknee crushed the child.
‘Pudding’ part one here
Monday morning Simon begrudgingly allowed his mother to kiss him upon the cheek before heading downstairs. In the lobby he nodded to Carl and stepped into the conference room. Anarchy. Children of all ages fighting, laughing, running over tables, throwing paper, pens and pencils. Simon shook his head. These things didn’t grow on trees, he thought. He didn’t even know if there were trees anymore.
Paul woke with a start and glared at the alarm clock.
He rose from bed and fumbled both legs into his trousers.
“The alarm didn’t go off!”
“Oh?” She chewed her bottom lip. “That’s unfortunate.”
“You know what they’re like about being late! I could lose my job!”
“Goodness me.” She went through to the kitchen. “Breakfast’s ready when you are.”
“I don’t have time for breakfast,” he said, rushing passed and buttoning up his shirt.
“Have a good day at work, dear.”
The door slammed and Susan sat, staring at his plate of uneaten food. Humming to herself, she thought of the chores that filled her day. First was the kitchen. She’d put Paul’s food into the container stamped ‘Waste not want not.’ Then she’d do the dishes, sweep the floor, mop it too if needed. After that was the bathroom. The boys were both good at keeping it clean, so it wouldn’t take too long. Then the bedrooms.
She decided to mix up her routine and start with Simon’s room. As she emptied out the bin a balled up piece of paper rolled across the floor. Unravelling it, her eyes ran down a list of ways Simon would kill the three of them. She scrunched it back up and continued with the chores, whistling a curious Beethoven/Bach medley.
On Sunday 7th July 1940, Collin Dupont awoke as he had for the last two months. The sun poked its way through the holes of his makeshift curtains, once towels, prompting him to squeak from his bed and creak across the floorboards. With a grand sweep of an arm, he welcomed in the glorious sunlight as it filled his dingy little hovel with a sweet, soothing warmth.
He stretched for the ceiling, the knuckles of his toes clicking in relief, let out a few strained squawks and exhaled a mighty bellyful of morning breath. Scratching at the foliage of his chest, he turned on a bare calloused heel and made for the front door, its hinges battered by the constant maintenance it required. Collin flung it open, sending it bouncing off the wall and shoving him outside.
He discovered that once again, perhaps for the third week, the milkman had not made his delivery of buttermilk. After a quick search of the surrounding area - behind the woodpile and the rickety gate, in the gutter running along the wall beside his house, and beside the doors of his closest neighbours - he came to the conclusion that Stuart had fallen ill and was unable to do his rounds. Either that, or his wife had discovered he was cheating on her with the rather glamorous Michelle Pipet and forbade him to leave the house.
Collin knew all about the affair. In fact, he knew of many rumours, both true and not, and considered himself quite clued up on the island’s goings-on. Despite this, few were interested in the considerable gossip he had to share, as well as his very own first-hand accounts of dubious activity. He’d seen them a number of times sat together on the bench outside the Island Hall, when Stuart should’ve been doing his rounds. She would just sit, scarcely making eye contact, a cigarette indefinitely smouldering between her gloved fingers, whilst he looked restless and guilty. Occasionally her laugh would ricochet off the building’s great stony face and ripple outward. This would make Stuart’s eyes bulge and look about him frantically.
Collin would watch them from the graveyard neighbouring the hall’s courtyard, the vantage point provided an excellent view, and was further aided by the compact binoculars he’d purchased from a jumble sale. He would occasionally pull the little metal box from his pocket, squeeze the release button and press the eyepieces to his face, taking a delight in Stuart’s painfully anxious expressions.
As his bare feet slapped on the hot road back to his house, the thought of the crusty bread and boiled egg he would often eat watching them played on his mind. His stomach murmured, to which he replied to with a gentle pat of the hand. Soon enough darling, he thought, soon enough.
In the garden he picked a handful of string beans, a few tomatoes, a whole lettuce and pulled an onion from the ground, all of which he ran under the outdoor tap, the only source of running water his small decrepit house had. After this he splashed his armpits a few times and returned inside.
He cut the vegetables into thick slices and dressed them with the last knob of butter and a dash of salt. Then he sat, swinging his feet upon the three-legged stool he’d cobbled together one afternoon and scooped handfuls of the bitter, buttery, juicy treat into his mouth. Any stray juices, seeds or slices were caught in the thick curly mess of his chest.
Within a minute or so, the meal was over, and the absence of an egg was indeed noticeable. He had lost his chickens during the last cold season, a particularly unforgiving winter, and for a moment he lowered his head to mourn them. He wiped his eyes with the back of a hand and began to pick at the lettuce sat atop his chest hairs with the other. Once finished, he dressed himself and decided to go for a spot of bird watching.
He hadn’t done that in a while.
(Note: based loosely on Jean Teulé’s novel, The Suicide Shop. Script formatting has not copied over particularly well to Tumblr.)
RUPERT DRAKE (mid-30s, handsome, well-groomed and wearing a dark suit) stands in front of the curtain beside…)
LUCY DRAKE (early-30s, beautiful red head sporting a frankly very flattering dark dress)
Music begins, coaxing the audience’s attention.
We’re not about magic or mysticism, or sadomasochism. We’re here to help you, dears, escape this awful prison.
Now some of you, friends, look terrified. But don’t you worry, come on inside.
Open curtains to reveal…
INT. SUREFIRE SUICIDES
The stage is set up as a shop that specialises in equipment to off one’s self. The various aisles and shelves, filled with this equipment, are positioned in a fashion to allow the actors to sing and dance without hinderance. In one corner (stage front) a “Bargain Bin” is filled with plastic bags, scissors and various other unexciting items. The lighting is to be dim at all times.
POPPY DRAKE (13, overweight and hideous, also wearing dark clothing) joins her parents.
RUPERT, LUCY & POPPY:
What we are we do not hide, we’re a shop for suicide!
THERE’S RAZOR BLADES TO SLASH YOUR VEINS
AND HEAVY THINGS TO BASH YOUR BRAINS
WHY SIT AT HOME AND DRINK SOME BLEACH
WHEN’S THERE’S SO MUCH MORE
Preach, dad, preach!
An OLD WOMAN (a theatrical caricature of an elderly woman) enters.
WELL THAT’S JUST SWELL!
DON’T YOU HATE
THIS LIVING HELL?
(placing arm around OLD WOMAN)
GO TO THE LADY
THERE WITH THE KNIFE
Isn’t she hideous, my darling wife?
OLD WOMAN walks reluctantly over to LUCY, who then guides her around the shop.
WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE, GLUM AND LOW
BUT SUICIDE’S FUN, DON’T YOU KNOW!
TAKE THIS HERE GUILLO-TINE
IT’S SHARP AND FAST AND EVER SO CLEAN
ONE FELL SWOOP AND YOUR HEAD IS OFF
RUPERT, LUCY & POPPY:
EXCLUSIVE HERE AT OUR SUICIDE SHOP
HAVE YOU HEARD OF CYANIDE?
WELL LOOK AT THIS, IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
FROM THE GLANDS OF EXOTIC FROGS
TAKE A TRIP AND POP YOUR CLOGS!
OR LOOKY HERE, FROM MEXICO
TOXIC TEQUILA, YO HO HO
That’s rum da-
Song begins to reach it’s finale as LUCY finishes her tour with OLD WOMAN and stands beside her husband.
RUPERT, LUCY & POPPY:
YOUR LIFE’S A FAIL-URE,
WE SHAN’T DI-GRESS.
LET’S MAKE YOUR DEATH A
As the song reaches it’s crescendo RUPERT thrusts his arms up into the air.
(To OLD WOMAN)
So, what’ll it be, mmm?
Well, actually, I only popped out for some milk.
RUPERT lowers his arms.
I do believe we have some. Um, let me see. Poison, poison, poison. Rat poison? What’s this doing here?
Oh, how embarrassing. That belongs in the bargain bin.
RUPERT takes the rat poison from LUCY and dumps it into the bargain bin.
Ah, here, look. Melamine Milk.
Melamine Milk, of course!
Door bell jingles as OLD WOMAN exits.
Don’t worry dad, I’m sure business’ll pick up.
Oh stop, child. Your optimism’s so depressing.
They do say fat children are jolly children.
I’m not jolly! In fact, I’m quite miserable! I want to kill myself!
(makes to sing)
(places hand over his mouth)
She’s familiar with the items, darling. She takes the inventory every month. Besides, Poppy can’t kill herself. Who’ll run the business once we’re gone?
Us? Gone?! Ha, impossible. We Drakes are immortal!
Does that mean I’ll be fat forever?
Of course not, Poppy dear. No one’s immortal. You’ll die fat and the weight’ll just rot right off.
Why don’t people want to kill themselves any more?
Is there something I’m missing? The world’s in pieces and yet they’re all just… getting on with it.
RUPERT picks up a newspaper and sits in an arm chair. As he opens it soft, melancholic music begins.
The apartment had a mild sent of parma violets when they found her in the bathtub. Despite the bloating, she still looked pretty good.