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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Short Story - All The Time In The World

Abraham Kochinsky had had enough. Life just wasn't working for him anymore. The dream was dying, or perhaps had already died.

He'd spent the first half of his fifty-odd years aimless, for the most part. Following his bliss, as they say. But bliss, he had found, was fleeting. The things that had once made him happy no longer did. In fact, they depressed the everliving fuck out of him. 

Working was working. He was never lucky enough to find solace in laboring to earn a living. The world defined men largely by their work, and the subsequent earnings it brought. Women, although a joy much of the time, led to further disappointments. You only needed to break a heart once, and have your own broken, before you could lose your taste for romance. Which is what led him to his current ennui.

Along the way, he picked up writing. It was writing, ultimately, that ruined his life.

He endured the first ten years like a soldier. He had been taught that being an author was largely a story of rejection, and had steeled himself for it. Eventually, he was inured to the rejections from editors and agents, most of them stock replies. He survived by telling himself that he was good, but the market wasn't ready for his style of storytelling. Cliche piled upon cliche. He had the wall of letters from publishers telling him, in so many words, that he wasn't quite good enough to be published. 

For a long while, even that was a badge of honor. Eventually, his optimistic philosophy lost its effectiveness at staving away depression.

Then the self-publishing revolution took hold. Suddenly, he was in an admirable position. He had skills, and a huge back catalog of unpublished work, free and clear. He set about getting his books online. True, he made many mistakes, initially. But he was convinced of the quality of his work. It was all just a matter of time and effort, he told himself.

Another few years of this, and his hope had again faded. He had a few fans, and some reviews that one could be proud of. But commercial success continued to elude him. There was never enough time to do all that he needed to do, trying to juggle work and writing. It was overwhelming.

He felt foolish. Again. A writer writing about a writer writing was hackneyed. Done to death. No one really wanted to read it. Especially other writers, who had once commiserated with him, drinking from the same cup of sorrows.

He braced himself with a few shots of rotgut, and fingered his three-eighty, waiting for his courage and resolve to kick in. Finally, he walked to the station house down the street, smiling with genuine kindness at neighbors and passers-by.

Moving as though in a dream, he shot the cop working as desk clerk right in the nose, opening up a fist-sized hole that exploded like a water balloon. With a cheery expression on his face, he took out the first officer to respond with a double-tap to the heart and throat.

Then he was engulfed in blackness, shot from behind. Textbook suicide by cop.

When he awoke, much to his dismay, he was in a prison hospital. His greatest hopes had been realized, in part. He was famous. But he had wanted to die. 

At least he could fully devote himself to the craft, though. Now he had all the time in the world.