Saturday, June 28, 2008


He was hoping that in the act of buying a gun, buying ammunition, driving home, opening the package of bullets, and opening the chamber of the gun, that he would feel something. Anything would do, but in particular something along the lines of sadness. Depression never felt very much like sadness to him. Sadness had beauty, romance, and meaning. Depression had more depression. More days that were the same as before. Anxiety without excitement, suffering without gain, and misery without purpose. He didn't quite remember the last time he felt sad, but it had been two years since he had cried, and that was probably one of the last times his despair had the validating sensation of sadness. And now as he loaded the gun, a revolver, bullet by bullet, he still felt nothing. He dropped the fifth one onto the floor as he tried to put it into the chamber while holding the sixth with his two little fingers and the gun itself with the other hand and now it had fallen down under the card table. As he bent to pick it up, the thought occurred to him that to just take a new bullet from the open box would have required less effort than picking up the one on the floor. The thought was funny, but not really. However, it may have been what caused him to realize, as he loaded the final bullet, that six bullets were not necessary to shoot oneself in the head. He even considered, even if just for a moment, removing five of the bullets to avoid confusing the police that would be investigating the incident in just a few hours. That was kind of funny, even to a depressed person. And finally, he remembered that not even half an hour ago he had been at the weapons counter, where he had been talked into buying a second box of ammunition for half price. It was too much. He exhaled sharply through his nose and then grimaced, then sat in silence reflecting on the bullet under the table, the bullets in the chamber of the gun, and the extra box of bullets unopened and still in the plastic shopping bag on the kitchen counter. He shook his head and turned his attention back to the gun. As he lifted it and flicked the chamber closed, he shook with silent laughter a few times. It felt strange, holding a gun in his hand that was meant to kill him, moments away from his death, to be laughing silently to himself so hard that he was shaking his chair a little. He continued, and soon his abdominal muscles grew fatigued, but the shaking continued. Tears formed in his eyes, like the ones that he used to get as a teenager making jokes with his friends in Sunday school when he couldn't laugh out loud. Suddenly his voice broke through and he felt it come up from his stomach like vomit, through his throat and then his teeth, and then out into the room where it reverberated off the walls, and entered into his ears. It wasn't accurate to say that he felt happy; that word had lost its meaning long ago. But the whole thing was funny. Nobody could deny that. Once it had been run through his tired mind enough times to become only mildly amusing, he regretted the purchase of the gun, which had cost six hundred dollars. The next day he returned it to the store.

The End


Josh said...

I was really excited when I saw you had a new story posted. This was another great one. I really like the idea of him "vomiting" out his laughter.

How's Alaska by the way?

jo said...

My favorite part:

"Depression never felt very much like sadness to him. Sadness had beauty, romance, and meaning. Depression had more depression."