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  • Support System by Sheldon Lee Compton

    I never understood people failing to kill themselves. Rita said she knew a man who shot himself but the bullet wedged under his scalp, traveled around on the surface of his skull, and exited through his scalp. When I decided to commit suicide I knew I wouldn’t have the guts to go through with it, but I was determined enough to figure out a way around that kind of cowardice.

    Roughly five minutes ago I crawled out on the balcony of my apartment and slipped myself down until hanging by my hands. I knew that unless I decided against dying within about the first minute or so then, realistically, the decision would become a permanent one.

    Already my arms are too weak to be of much use. Pulling myself to safety is impossible. To even attempt it would mean cutting my short life even shorter. At this point my hand and arm strength must be nearly spent. I’ll slip soon and that will be the end of Calup Nelson.

    ***

    Calup Nelson was one of those guys who held old-style New York artsy parties about once a month. So when his group of friends didn’t get a call from him by early Friday evening, they got in touch with each other and decided to drive to his apartment.

    The three of them – Dexter, Town, and Crane – took turns ringing the doorbell and when no one answered, Town checked the door. It was unlocked and the three of them piled in, expecting to find their friend asleep on the couch or in the shower.

    Splitting into different directions without finding Calup, they started calling his name. They weren’t panicked. The three of them called out, Hey buddy, where are you? Hey man. Everything was casual.


    ***

    The guys’ll come out here soon. I think. They should be quick, though, because I’m close. My fingers feel like they’re splitting apart at the joints. Same for my shoulders.

    “Hot damn, Calup.” It’s Town. He’s leaning over the balcony rail. “Did you fall?”

    I shake my head. “I’m killing myself,” I tell Town, and then explain to him my plan.

    He disappears and returns with Dexter and Crane. All three of them are leaning so I can see their serious faces. They have their elbows propped up on the rail. Town explains to Dexter and Crane the plan.

    “It’s pretty much foolproof, if you think about it,” he says, and the others nod in agreement.

     

    Sheldon Lee Compton is the author of three books and lives in Kentucky with his wife and two children.

    Photo by Adam Lawrence.

    "Ghosts" comes from Irish ambient folk/pop singer Katie Kim's third studio album, Salt, which was self-released in November.