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I'm Only Going to Do This Once

(708 words)

Hello! I spoke with the girl here earlier and thought I should talk with somebody else. Yes, I have a reservation. No, she couldn’t find it. But it’s there. Two days, the Dead Woman Frequent Flyer Special (laughs). Yes, I’m aware it’s a holiday weekend, I don’t give a shit—oops! Didn’t mean to swear.

Sorry I’m so jumpy. I’m logged into more chat apps than I can name, with stakeholders in seven, no eight different time zones, and deadlines in more than that. I’m in meetings with two clients who are, right now, giving two different, simultaneous presentations—two mute buttons, one for each earbud. But you take me and my status’ll flip to Unavailableso fast . . . . Until then, rise and grind. Right?

I don’t mean to sound desperate, but my pills stopped working. All of them. My mind wants to shut down. And I want to shut down, too. Specifically, I want to die. For three days. Not two. I know that’s one day longer than government safety guidelines for cryo-thanato suspension, but I don’t care. You know that French singer, Limonia? She dies for four days at a time. She’s basically brain damaged when they revive her, so they give her double neuro-stims with her adrenaline shot. They need to clean her drool for so many hours afterward, so she can’t take any interviews. She’s a zombie.

Sounds wonderful.

Anyway, Limonia’s world tour starts next week, so I see no reason why you people can’t kill me for just one day more.Two days dead just will not do. You revive me after two days and I’ll just sit up and cry.

My reservation? Like I said, the girl couldn’t find it. But I assure you, it’s there. Also, I’m aware I said three a second ago, but I need the real Limonia special: four days dead. Pretty please.

And about my reservation, can’t you make an exception? You can even cut the laughing gas. I can handle it. Your luxury medical specialists have killed me probably a million times since my twenties; I don’t even feel myself die anymore. Just stick me in the cooler, attach electrodes to my tits, stop my heart, and flash-freeze my brain. I won’t even puke; all I’ve eaten since Tuesday is pills. I’ve been in continuous meetings and can’t tell if I’m asleep or awake—I’m begging you, make it stop.

And if you mention my missing reservation one more time, so help me, I’ll tell everyone this establishment does not care about its customers. Because, remember, you lost my reservation; or at least your colleague did. In fact, she says I never had one. Imagine that! If that’s true, then why the fuck did I come all the way up from downtown? And why did I take Monday off? Because I assumed I’d be dead by now, my body splayed out inside one of your award-winning cryo-thanato chambers; heart, stopped; mind, nonexistent. And to think, I thought you’d be cool and bend the rules to keep me dead just one more measly day. What a fool I’ve been.

Please . . . I need this. And so do you. Why? Because this whole world is sockets, fuses, and pretty Christmas lights. And if the fuses don’t get a little rest, well that means pretty Christmas lights popping one at a time—pop, pop, pop—right there in their sockets. And you want those Christmas lights to stay pretty, right? That’s why I need that Limonia special: four days dead.

Maybe five.

Through Wednesday night?

I can handle it.

Oh, this? It’s a handgun; a .357, actually. Why? Because if you won’t kill me, I’ll shoot myself. Blow my head clean off, right here in your lobby. No more meetings! So, if you people won’t kill me for five days, no—six! No—seven!—so help me, you’ll have a magnificent mess to clean up before you’re all tried as murderers.

What? You found my reservation?

I take it back: you’re the best!

You want me to put this gun away? No, thanks, I’ll keep it here next to me in your cryo-thanato chamber. You know. Just to make sure you kill me right.

H. A. Eugene is a Pushcart-nominated writer of strange stories about food and death. His work has appeared in X-R-A-Y Lit, Short Édition, and Flash Fiction Magazine, among others. Witness him talking to himself on Bluesky and Threads @h_a_eugene.

Radon Journal Issue 6 cover art
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