Monday, July 11, 2011

Short, Short Story— The Lady and the Life Sentence

One morning she set the revolver upon the tripod, hammer cocked.

Attached to the trigger was a sturdy thread, which ran to a lever, set to activate a pulley connected by another thread to the arm of a phonograph.

When the needle entered the final groove of the record, it would set about a chain of events that would cause the trigger to be pulled. The bullet would travel a path toward her, entering slightly above and between her eyes.

She had ingeniously strapped herself in a chair, which had been bolted to the floor. She sat motionless.

There she sat, in her chair, as if waiting for the poisonous pellets to snap open in her little room, the electricity to purge her from existence, the firing squad of one to pull the trigger. She waited for the music to rise ... for Mahler to scream ... to exit this plane in some sort of glory ... one last meaningful moment ... one marvelous high drama ... feeling the bullet's ecstatically timed explosion in her brain.

Legs, arms, head strapped firmly in place, she had tricked cowardice. She had done it. She had done it all; and she would do this.

She had participated in life at its fullest, taken advantage of all possibilities. Men. Women. Children. Animals. No one. Every classification of act and being in nearly all ways. So many excesses. So many denials. There was, of course, only one experience left and she had not the patience for it come to her.

Boredom wore cement shoes. Fate was tardy. In her lifetime, she had been deserted, beaten, raped, starved, forgotten, ignored. She had been penniless, a beggar, a scavenger. She had eaten well. She had slept in silk. She had drunk too much. She had suffered the misfortunes of greed and of miserliness, of temperance, of lust, of giving it all and giving none of it. She had lived among the roaches, the rats, among borzoi, marble, gold and Lamborghini. She had seen births and given them. She had loved and cried and bled and bitten. She was dead now, except for the dying.

The music played. She relived it all. The torment, the ecstasy. One more time around the block, this time in front of a loaded revolver.

But the bullet did not come. Instead, coherent in that pattern where there is always a handful of nothing amidst eternal grasping, the needle of the phonograph became lodged, fatefully stuck in the final groove.

There, the lady sat listening to death’s redundant approach


r2 said...

Wow. Nicely written. Very poetic. I loved it.

Ronald Tierney said...

Thank you, r2. I have a couple of other strange, little stories, but none so short.