Suicide no. 20: Perfected
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
White cotton, with a thread count no lower than eight-hundred, no higher than one thousand. No nylon. Blankets could be any solid color, no designs. Walls needed repainted semi-gloss white, and the thin, brown carpet had been replaced with the exact same order number every five years for the past fifteen. Two more years to go.
If a bulb went out, all bulbs in the one-bedroom apartment needed to be replaced immediately. He kept a supply closet stocked. The carpet was hardest to keep during the first five years—some idiot spilled red wine on it back when Charles was social enough to allow something like that to happen. He’d never allow it again.
Four burners and four brand new burner covers stocked the kitchen. Twelve spoons, twelve forks, six butter knives and six steak knives filled one of its drawers. A week ago, one of the steak knives broke at the handle, so he purchased a whole new set—throwing away four brand-new pieces of cutlery.
It’s going to fall apart eventually, Charles.
That voice in his head kept his schedule in order. If a thing changed, went awry, broke, or altered his pattern, Charles quickly adapted; his OCD wasn’t the issue. In fact, it was his laundry list of compulsive needs that kept everything in order in the first place.
Charles Whitt was a very well adapted kind of neat freak.
He lived alone because of it, though. And he lived with that old, familiar voice: the one telling him that things would always fall apart in the end. That was the voice he kept ignoring. His battle cry become one of solemn focus on patterns—he thought that, if he just kept fighting through the chaos that ordinary people simply allow to take over their lives, that he wouldn’t become one of those awful “statistics.”
And Charles hated the thought of becoming a statistic.
Like his father—the alcoholic. His mother—the brooding could-have-been-famous type. His two brothers—one in jail, the other, a hen-pecked husband with a few too many children to afford on his own. Unlike Charles, they were sloppy and unhappy people living confusing lives. If they’d only listen to reason, he thought.
But even reason has its boundaries, Charles.
To date, Mr. Whitt had never encountered one of those unlucky boundaries. He knew—not rationally, but somewhere in his gut—that the voice was right in the wrong kind of way. There was something, somewhere, in some self-help book on Tao Buddhism, that taught Charles that the voice was right, and that he was ripe for it.
The chaos was coming: unwanted, unmerited, and unscheduled. It beckoned like wildfire in a forest that hadn’t seen fire in over a hundred-million years.
Rather than wait for it, at age forty-eight, Charles had a plan hidden in a box containing a twenty-year-old, unopened bottle of vodka. Polished thirty-eight revolver, one bullet in the chamber, and a scratch of paper with one word on it:
Inspired by The Daily Post’s prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/daily-prompt-style-2/