$114,090. One-hundred fourteen thousand, ninety dollars. The most recent letter is decidedly less pleasant than its forefathers, reading:
You have been given ample time to respond to us concerning your now seriously delinquent account. We have been reasonable and patient and yet you have not responded.”
It continues after, but my eyes are drawn inexorably to the claims of reason. I want to call. I want to offer derisive laughter and genuine nonchalance. I want to display it proudly.
Instead it disintegrates and I inhale it and it becomes a part of me. The number tattoos itself to my eyelids, the words “we have been reasonable and patient” following me into sleep, stalking me like an unwanted lover.
I want to hang myself with rope.
There are easier ways. No, not easier. Less obvious ways. Onehundredfourteenthousandninety milligrams of Percocet would suffice. Irrational and improbable, but efficient.
Stones in my pocket and Wolfe at my back would be easier. I would struggle briefly, panic temporarily. . .but then I would drift off and welcome sleep.
I like living well enough. I am attached to being, I suppose. I have only ever known being. Anger flares within me, thinking again about his words (I have decided that He, a nameless He, has composed the letter. No, not nameless. Craig. This seems like the work of a Craig.). He accuses me while I sleep.
Your reason can kiss my ass Craig. You can take your patience and you can use it to fuck yourself Craig.
Craig wants me to do it. As he holds the number over me, the onehundredfourteenthousandandninety is slung over my neck like a noose. I stare into Craig, his glittering coal-like eyes open greedily, his red mouth agape, letting his forked tongue taste the air, my impending death feeding his need.
Courage is not all that is needed for the stones or the pills. Will. I must also have will. I do not.
But Craig has it. Let Craig do it. Go on, Craig. You know you want to. Think about your patience. Think about how reasonable you’ve been. The time you have given me has been ample.
Go on, Craig. Pull it. Pull the rope and hang me high.