"This is the book of life I should have read before leaving university in London.
It's got it all.
Sex, sex tourism, drugs, alcohol, alcoholism, prostitution & suicide.
In my search for sex and sobriety I travel from London to Amsterdam; to San Francisco, California; to Bangkok & Pattaya in Thailand and to Manila, Angeles City & Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Don't end up a loser like me.
Read this book."
- Paul Pisces
I borrowed the shotgun from Glen at lunch time. I told him that I wanted to shoot some rabbits invading my father's allotment. Sometimes Glen is very gullible. I sit in a comfortable chair in the lounge admiring the weapon. Precision made; a work of real beauty. The gun barrel fascinates me. I lick the gun-metal at the end of the barrel. It is cold and tastes slightly acidic. I am surprised to find myself becoming aroused.
I put the gun down and reach for the whisky bottle. It's just like the bad old days. It is 5pm and I have drunk nearly a bottle of whisky in under two hours. Emptying the bottle, I pour a final large slug into the empty tumbler and add an equal measure of cheap lemonade. I think about my debts, my aging skill-set, my aging body, the bad things I have done in my life. I am living alone; bored, depressed and frightened. The book I have written is a failure - no one will publish it. I can't really face the trip back to reality. Not again. I drink the whisky/lemonade mixture in one large gulp. This is my reality; the euphoria induced by alcohol. Here now, in this room, I have no debts, no failure, no problems at all. Just me, the empty whisky bottle and the shotgun. And we have an appointment together.
Holding the loaded shotgun toward me, I lick the gun-metal again. It tastes good. Reaching down, I cock the trigger on the first barrel. One barrel or two? 'One carnation should be enough.' It's a line from a book I like called 'Sati' (by Christopher Pike). My mind is weaving about happily. I open my mouth and close my lips around both barrels of the gun. It is definitely erotic. With a last surge of resolve I pull hard on the trigger and feel two jolts. My head jolts back momentarily and I feel the recoil of the shotgun in my arms. There's no noise, no pain. I seem to be drifting upwards. I feel fantastic. It's the best moment of my life. I am floating effortlessly and I feel a warm glow all over. Everything seems to be happening in slow motion. Slowly, slowly, I roll over and look down.
Oh my God - there's been a terrible accident! Somebody's shot themselves. Blood is spurting rhythmically from a large hole in the skull. There must still be a pulse. I should call an ambulance. Quickly. I drift closer to the body and examine the wound. Brain and blood are spattered over a wide area and a chunk of the skull has been blown several feet away by the blast. The blood stops spurting and just oozes from the wound. I think the pulse has stopped.
"When did this happen?" I ask myself. I don't remember hearing a shot. I study what is left of the face. He's a fairly attractive 40 something. No oil painting but still in reasonable physical shape. He reminds me of somebody.
I have a panic attack; my heart's pounding ferociously and I feel nauseous. It's not me! I didn't do it! It's a dream! Call an ambulance. Call the police. Wake up. Wake up. Why can't I wake up? The panic subsides but I still feel sick. It's too late for an ambulance - my body is dead. I am merely a disembodied viewer watching over my own corpse. I have an urge to clean up the mess but all I can do is look at it.
Suddenly the phone rings. I look at the clock on the wall - it is nearly six
o'clock. Eventually the answer phone picks up the message.
"Hello brother, it's Robert here. I just wanted you to know I'm missing you. Why don't you come back to London? Ring me back and we'll arrange to meet."
God I feel sick. What have I done?
Time passes. Slowly. In the morning the postman delivers mail. I can see by just looking at the envelopes that there are a lot of bills. And final demands printed in red. A pretty bright red, not like the dark, ugly red of the congealing blood caked around the stiffening corpse in the lounge. I examine the corpse again. I used to live there. It used to be my home. Two flies are buzzing around the lifeless body. One alights on some brain matter and begins feeding. I want to swish them away. I see the flies mating excitedly and watch as the female lays her eggs in some exposed flesh. My old home will soon be home to new occupants.
Days pass. More messages are left on the answer phone. Finally, my father leaves a frantic message that he's coming over. The maggots are well infested in the carcass by now and the face is unrecognisable. The smell of decay is overpowering. The body is bloated and yellow. Effortlessly I float outside and wait. An hour later my father arrives. He knocks on the door, then looks in his pocket for his spare key to my house. I want my body to be found but not like this, not by him. I shout at him.
"Call the police! Call the fucking police!" Please Daddy. "Call the fucking police." The tears are streaming from my eyes. He opens the door and recoils from the stench. He knows what he is going to find, I can see it written in his face.
"Call the fucking police!" I shout again. Too late. He finds the body, sees the maggots, the blood, the endgame. He's crying. My old father is crying like a baby. I am crying. What have I done? He recovers and fighting back the tears he does what I now cannot do. He calls the police.
At the funeral there's a big turnout. Most of my family are there; cousins,
aunts, uncles. Glen is there with his wife Elaine and their two children.
Glen looks so sad. He must feel bad about lending me the shotgun. As the
coffin is brought in and the service proceeds I see my dad is crying again.
My mum is weeping too - she looks as though she has been crying for days.
My little brother Robert looks watery-eyed and even my older brother James
"I am OK" I want to tell them.
At the end of the service the mourners disperse and I am left alone in the chapel. A small white light has been following me for the last few days but it frightens me and I avoid it. I visit my old house. Empty. I visit my brothers, my parents. I visit Glen. Their lives continue but now they are carrying a bit more sorrow. Some are carrying a huge burden of sorrow for my wasted life.
The light is bigger and brighter now and more persistent. I visit the chapel where I was cremated and see the flowers left for me aging and withered. The light pursues me with a vengeance. I retreat to my old house. A 'For Sale' sign stands outside - the mortgage company have foreclosed and want their money back. The bills are piled high from creditors who will not now ever be paid. My family will have to pay for my cremation.
I look down at the scene of my crime. Cleansed of most of the evidence it's hard to believe I did what I did. The light comes into the room and moves closer. It's huge now and fills the room. As I look at it, it is suddenly clear. The light isn't in the room - the room is in the light. The house is in the light. The light is vast, unending, overwhelming and beneficent. Beautiful beyond description and full of love. Now I see. Everything is in the light. No, no - everything is the light and the light is truth and love. With that thought ringing in my head I begin to lose consciousness, feeling just a momentary flickering of the light as it welcomes me home. Vast and unending though it is, it still finds time to acknowledge the passing of one of its many billions of children.
I have moved from consciousness to unconsciousness, from separation to unity, from the many to the one. It's over. Will I get a chance at reincarnation or is one incarnation enough? Only the one knows.
I wake up in a cold sweat. I am wet through and shaking. It's a recurring nightmare. I look at the whisky bottle I keep by my bedside. It's unopened. I relax a little - I have another precious day of life.
Everyday I take out the shotgun.
Everyday I taste the gun-metal.
Everyday I make a decision.
Everyday I choose life.
And remember, there is a God; there must be.