attempting suicide


Attempting Suicide

There are a lot of ways to attempt suicide, like a lot of years ago I walked deep into a black Philadelphia ghetto at two in the morning. It was a hot summer night, and people were out on their porches and congregating on street corners. I met a lot of eyes, and none of them had that “life is precious” look in them. They took a reading on me and then looked away, allowing me to become invisible.

After about an hour I came across a shabby hotel sandwiched in the middle of a block. I went inside. A heavy-set black man in an impeccable white suit sat behind metal mesh and bullet-proof glass. He glared at me and flicked on the intercom.

“Yes?” he said.

“Do you have any vacancies?” I asked.

“You got to be kidding,” he said, his amplified voice echoing off the paint-peeled walls and tile floor of the entryway.

There was no paperwork. We rode the freight elevator up to the second floor and he showed me into a room with no lock on the door.

“That’s $20,” he said. “Up front.”

I fished a twenty out of my wallet and handed it over.

He stuffed the twenty into his pocket, looked me hard in the eye and said, “Hey man, I don’t need no one killing themselves in my hotel.”

“No problem,” I said.


The next morning I woke up still fully dressed on a cot with sunlight streaming thru the shadeless window and a cleaning lady mopping the floor.

“Get your sorry white ass out of that bed so’s I can finish my work,” she said.

And I did.

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One Response to attempting suicide

  1. Wondering if you got my letter regarding Mary Ann van der Meulen sent to Ellenville, envelope saying “please forward or return to sender”, but with no exact address?

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