Death After Life
The day started well. He had felt a curious sense of calm as he rocked out of the Tempur-pedic, flossed his teeth twice, and made eggs, two of which he fed to the turtle. Six capsules went down with eight ounces of fruit punch, and in a bathrobe, he sat down at his 1963 Remington, and began to type.
By eleven, he had checked email at that infernal laptop. His agent had signed him up for a gig: some ridiculous Christmas farce they were filming next spring. Did he truly look old enough to be that heifer’s grandfather? Sure, she was a Disney starlet, but she was twenty-seven. That was just an insult.
Afternoon brought those Asian cleaning ladies around. In accordance, he locked his underwear drawer, where he kept his most precious treasures. Those cleaning people stole everything. Just last week, he noticed two small ornamental statues missing in the foyer, and two months prior, he saw them leave with the vacuum!
Four tablets were swallowed with eight ounces of fruit punch.
At three, he took a shower in the guest bath, and under the water, realized that he’d forgotten a towel. He exited nude and dripping, but for a hand towel lain across his hairy shoulder, and startled a woman with a feather duster on his way to the bedroom. He dressed quickly in a Chinese print button down and slacks, and promptly left.
His driver had the day off, so he drove himself to the hospital. That evening, he would be hosting the black tie opening of its new psychiatric wing.
Seventy doctors, a gaggle of nurses, and the press cheered as he cut the ribbon and led the group inside. Pictures were taken, champagne was passed around, his decade old Oscars were celebrated. The place was beautiful, with walls of glass, botanical gardens, and non-offensive artwork. It put him in a festive mood. He even posted a selfie with the top doc.
On the drive home, lights raced past him smearing like a color palate, and he thought of his wife, who was a painter. She’d be home by now. He looked at his wrist, to check the time, and nearly ran off the road. His watch was gone. Those cleaners! They must have gotten into his underwear drawer after all. Or, perhaps someone at the event had stolen it. There had been quite a lot of drink going around…
As soon as he screeched into the driveway, he ran to his bureau and removed his treasure: seven precious watches, in twenty-four karat gold, in platinum, in diamond. Now, he had a duty to fulfill. He wrapped them delicately in various undergarments, tucked them in a hat, and drove off once more.
His friend took them in like orphans, as he knew she would. He didn’t stay longer than a quick exchange on her door mat. And then he left for home.
Who could you trust in this world? His life was an abyss that swallowed up his blockbuster hits, his fortune, his happiness. Where were the award shows now? Where was the gratitude?
He dressed for bed, pondering this, and kissed his wife on the cheek. She was reading, and smiled at him as he explained that he didn’t want to miss the Tonight show.
Then he went to the bathroom. He did not take his pills.
His hands yearned for a razor blade. What they found was a small pair of scissors.
The next morning, every news headline read: BROCK BOWER, 61, FOUND DEAD IN HIS LOS ANGELES HOME.