Suicide no. 55: Tell Me If You’re Game
–as told by Derek Alan Wilkinson
Tell me if you’re game.
It was an obscure title for a book, consisting of only photographs and no words (aside from its title), recently discovered, according to the City of Cambridge officials, “During the unearthing of a forgotten church, and protected by layers of carefully-layered plastic” by an excavator while building a McDonald’s. The book is described by film director Mark Daniels: “The odd angles embedded in these pages suggest lack of photographic expertise, yet the result tells a story, page by page, that is remarkably profound.”
The book, (which takes on the appearance of having been pressed by a notable publisher) which few claim to have ever seen (if they actually even have—oddly, no other copies have surfaced to date) is merely the “juxtaposition of different, color and black-and-white images: A dead rabbit, a collection of Ray Bradbury books, and, coincidentally, a photo of an excavator of the type that actually unearthed the tome, to only name a few of the several hundred snapshots” according to one Cambridge University student.
The images are believed to be, in some philosophical sense, a storyline of the rise and fall of humanity—a question for the ages. Daniels states regarding the title: “Tell Me If You’re Game is a question: Can you stomach life?”
Anthony Alderson, professor of the Cambridge School of Film argues otherwise: “The number of animals, mostly dead, of unnatural causes, depicted on the glossy pages ask a different question than proposed by Daniels—that is, tell me if you’re game: as in, a small, hunted animal.”
What of the multiple stills of excavators and other construction equipment depicted? Susan Guiles, professor of Economics at Anglia Ruskin, suggests “Creative destruction. The photographer wants to show us that, by creating new things, we destroy the old.”
Byron Singer, award-winning writer and philosopher, suggests otherwise: “These depictions are tales of the old struggle of nature versus nurture: an argument for the return to the classic conservative ideal presented by the likes of Julius Evola in Men Among the Ruins.”
While the book contains no acknowledgements, credits, publisher, or wording of any kind outside of its title, it is believed to have been published by a Cambridge student. The book does contain a bar-coded ISBN on the back cover: CB21QE. This is a misnomer that doesn’t indicate any publishing house to date, as it doesn’t follow standard rules for ISBN sequence. A Google inquiry for “CB21QE” yielded a strange address: it is the postal code for mail delivered to Tennis Court Road, Cambridge, containing few buildings—many of which are dormitories. Much of the rest of Cambridge has an altogether different postal code: CB21QF.
Books are for burning,” remarked Daniels, in reference to the photo depicting Bradbury’s works, “Perhaps the author wanted us to find it here: to show us that it is not by government mandate that books will be forgotten, but simply due to the lack of interest foretold in Fahrenheit 451.”
Guiles stated that “Life gives way to new life” in reference to pages 20-23 (pages in the book were said to be unnumbered, but were given numerical references later), which depicts the stages of a decaying fox—killed in traffic, and tossed into the brush—with a plot of daisies having grown in its place.
Despite media attention, no one could claim to have authored the book. While a few likely false claims arose, no one could produce the negatives, nor any evidence that the book was their creation.
Daniels theorized: “The author has likely died. I’m wagering suicide. He did not enjoy life.”
“Not likely,” argues Guiles, “she believed that her work would fall into obscurity—as all works do. The author purposefully made herself absent to resound her message, loud and clear.”
Editors note: This article was found in a typewriter inside of the apartment of a Mr. Joseph Reed. There is no known connection of anybody with the name “Frøhm” to Reed. Joseph was found dead in his apartment of what was ruled to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Scrawled on the bottom of this text, in handwriting matched to Reed’s, was a statement:
“All thought, and life, falls into obscurity.”
This is a work of fiction. Any references to real people, places, and organizations are intended only to give this work a sense of authenticity.