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Death and a Funeral (Part 1 of 2)

“Aww, shit,” were his last words, incapable of becoming famous, as they were whispered only to himself when his knees buckled on the ledge and the belly he had been trying to lose for the past few months tipped him forward, plunging him past the first story. The first story was where he managed an “Aww, shit,” and the remaining 37 passed by so quickly, he had time only to recall a memory of being pantsed in middle school, underwear flush with gym shorts at his ankles, his pre-pubescent penis exposed to a group of blossoming teenage girls who were hitting the volleyball only a few feet away. The diminishing bounce of the ignored ball against the hardwood floor was his final thought. There wasn’t time for anything else. The ground seemed to rise as he was falling, as if to meet him half way. It was the least it could do.

So the thought process was this: “Aww, shit” > full pantsing >             . Much different from the mental monologue ten minutes prior, when he — with no actual intention of killing himself — stood on the skyscraper’s rooftop, proud that he had attracted a group of three to four pedestrians and diverted the attention of one police officer attempting to wrangle a ferrel cat from a tree, an officer who’d fallen into a pattern of looking up at him and then back to the cat, as if trying to follow a conversation between the two desperate animals to see which would jump first. He relished in his moment on the roof ledge, bouncing childishly on his toes, ironically similar to a competitive diver. It was the most attention he had received in weeks without payment (butlers and prostitutes adored him), although his civilian audience might have been ogling a pack of vultures circling the air behind him, vultures that were fulfilling some prophecy about certain body parts being able to predict when rain was going to fall. His pre-fall mental monologue was cryptic and privy to the secrecy that all mental monologues are privy to, but it included — without being restricted to — a) reconsideration of the appropriateness of a Hawaiian shirt for staged suicide and b) possible panic over having to desert his post for the latrine due to his vengeful Mongolian barbecue lunch. He tried suggesting to the policeman that he should maybe grab a megaphone from the squad car, but voices don’t carry effectively downward through 38 stories of dead air space. Particularly when cars are screaming obscenities at one another in Friday afternoon traffic. Perhaps a shorter building would have been better. More like a dais, a pedestal even, atop which he could have conducted proper negotiations for his life. The auctioneer haggling with strangers over the value of something only he truly knew the value of. They were sure to overpay in their urgency.

This building was named after some auto industry giant, and it was this white giant’s star of fame segment on the sidewalk where his body landed…approximately. The cigarette he had been smoking for affected nerve control on the roof extinguished in the golden star — the butt driven into the ground by his face acting as a boot heel with 38 stories of hoedown-stomping force, although it’s likely the flame went out along with its feeder’s soul during the descent. Cigarette smoke trailed, plume-like, into the air from the heap of red meat and bone on the cement, so that it evoked in bystanding minds thoughts of raw steak dropped in the center of a heated skillet. The cat sprung from the tree and scrambled toward the pile to sniff out its sole offering of a meal for the week. The officer kicked outward in an attempt to shoe the cat away, but feline intuition placed the cat several feet to the right and the officer’s unavenged boot in the middle of the flesh pile. Imagine a wad of chewed gum five times larger than the shoe that steps on it. Pedestrians dabbed at blood that had painted their khakis with the random, devastating pattern of a dropped ketchup ramekin. Everyone resumed normal acts of grooming like this much more quickly than one would assume a crowd was capable of after witnessing a violent suicide. Removal of blood was practical rather than hysterical. Red ambulance lights cut through the lengthening afternoon shadows of roadside trees that had imprinted themselves on building facades. Red leaves fell from the trees at a much slower rate than dropping bodies. Red sidewalk chalk traces of children’s handprints acted as fading precursors to the white chalk corporeal outline soon to be sketched by more practiced adults. Red eyes were yet to view the scene: they come with comprehension.  He (or perhaps more accurately now, the pile) bled onto the neighboring sidewalk star, where his own name was engraved next to a golden profile that might or might not have been his face (it was, in fact, the same profile etched on Alec Baldwin’s star in Hollywood; the artist was banking on the two personalities never encountering each other’s shit), the blood beginning to fill — as if in preparation for a lithographic printing — each indented letter of his lengthy surname:

His name…his name…his name…

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