Leaving is hard

Leaving is hard (9/15/2017 – 1PM)

It is said that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Well, I tried. The lemonade was just too sharp to drink daily. So, finally I decided to “check out.” Can’t be that difficult, right? I read all sorts of stories on the internet and that shit is happening all the time – teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s after which it seems people sort of accept their fate and get on with the hassle of living. Well, it isn’t. Maybe I was just grossly incompetent, just plain unlucky, or at some subconscious level I wasn’t really ready to go.

I did my research. Ok, truth be told, I just watched a bunch of documentaries. I made a list of possible options and the old car exhaust method seems to be the most painless way to go. Just sit back and relax, and let odorless carbon monoxide do the trick. I didn’t have much of any affairs to set in order which suited me fine. I wrote a brief “suicide note” and snail mailed it to the only person I knew wouldn’t bother to open the mail until I was gone. Checked the listing for vacancies and found a warehouse that looked like it would be suitable from the pictures online. I wasn’t going to leave anything to chance, so I fired up Google Earth as well, and it appears the pictures posted by the estate firm didn’t even do it justice – it looked even more decrepit, abandoned and weed-grown from above (damn estate agents using old pictures!)

I read somewhere that the best time to die was either Friday afternoon right after the work day ends or on Monday mornings: Friday evening people can’t wait to get on home or hit the pubs, and Monday morning they are too busy trying to get to work early or still recovering from the weekend hangover: either way, they can’t see you for their own issues. Which is how you want it when you want to commit a permanent crime against your own person.

I pulled up to the warehouse in my old jalopy and drove straight through the excuse for a double door that wouldn’t even keep a horse out (and horses are known for following the rules, right?). the only thing I had with me was a family-size KFC bucket and a 2-litre bottle of Coca Cola: I intend to die happy. Besides, whoever heard of the dead dying of diabetes? I ate half of the bucket and washed it down generously with the coke. I guess I should have bought a non-carbonated drink instead for all the burps the coke was inducing in me.

Time to get down to business. The key is not to hesitate. I plugged the hose to the exhaust pipe of the car, went back with the other end and stuck it through a little gap in the window, then tape everything up nicely. I started the car, reclined the seat and closed my eyes. Anytime now … who says this stuff has no smell …. as long as it gets the job done …. my shut eyes were burning and I started to cough … I intend to wait this thing out …. finally I checked my wristwatch and noticed it’s been close to an hour. It wasn’t supposed to take this long. I couldn’t cope with it any longer and opened the door. Turns out my old jalopy wasn’t exactly airtight and I could have punished myself in there for a month of Sundays and all I would have had was a nasty headache and possibly bronchitis.

I was disappointed of course but I still had my list. I returned home and the fact that no police or anyone for that matter had showed up looking for me means I was right about the fellow I sent the letter to. The only letter he opens with any sort of regularity is the ones containing his disability checks.

I spent the next few days investigating option two. Again, to tell the truth, after a few YouTube videos about how to tie a noose, I sort of got carried away watching the season 7 episodes of GOT. I was disappointed by the ending. I knew season 8 would be the final season by I am not sticking around for 2 years to discover who finally gets to sit on the iron throne. No way. I took a trip to Walmart and bought a good length of a thick strong woven synthetic rope they had. Another detour to KFC and I was set with another family bucket and this time non-fizzy ginger ale from the gas station. It only cost $1.29 for a 2-litre bottle. Maybe the warehouse was jinxed, this time I searched for a nice house that was for lease in the suburbs. I timed my arrival to ensure the dads have gone to work and the mums are probably doing laundry or visiting. I parked a few blocks away and made the last few meters on foot. With my face cap and bag slung over my shoulder, I could pass for some courier guy. I was in luck as the keys to the front door were under the “welcome” doormat. It was nice and dark inside. Half a bucket of chicken and a liter of ginger ale later, I was ready to go. A quick look at a straight-to-the-point video on YouTube on how to tie a noose securely again and I was ready to make my own copy. It seems the cable I bought was too “fat.” After battling with it for what seemed like an eternity, I threw it down in disgust. I watched the video again and looked at the comments under it. That’s when I found that there was a suggestion as to the optimal diameter for a rope to make the sort of noose in the video. Aaaarrrgh! OK. Not too bad. I can still make it to Walmart, exchange the rope for something thinner and be back in time before the husbands’ lunches are ready.

I am not sure where I got the idea that the “real Walmart people” only come out after midnight. Seems they made a special exception that day to torpedo my plans. All the queues were packed and half of them dressed as if they had just escaped from some nearby loonie-bin. By the time it got to my turn, the day was far gone but I was going to try anyway. That’s when I learnt that the rope in my hand had been paid for by someone and should not have been on the shelf. I was on the way back when I had to stop at an intersection for the lights to go green. A fellow called to me from the sidewalk asking if I had any loose change. From his looks, I suspect he was a druggie, but where I am going I don’t need any cash. He came over and I gave him some notes then on a hunch asked if he knew where I could get some ropes? Without missing a beat, he said it was my lucky day and I should drive round the corner to some construction work going on. Big mistake. I didn’t even make it out of the car before I had a gun shoved in my face by a second guy that appeared out of nowhere. Long and short of it was that I was parted with my car and wallet. The fellow was nice enough to leave me a $20 bill for my cab ride home. He wanted to give me a smaller bill because he thinks wherever I was going wasn’t far and a $10 should get me there. Fortunately, he couldn’t find one.

The escapade had taken it out of me. I flagged down a cab and had to go into my apartment to get the balance of $6.24 because the ride ended up costing $26.24 – freaking mugger!

No more ropes. And I needed a break and some distraction. I went looking for the chap I had sent the letter to. He’s always welcoming as long has you have a pack or two of something cold in your hands. He was watching Netflix. I pulled up a tattered seat and sat next to him. Just on the table behind me was my letter. He hadn’t opened it. I picked it up and slipped it into my pocket.

I told him in passing that I had attempted to “off” myself. He chuckled and went on watching the TV. I don’t think he quite registered what I said I had done. Stayed there watching the TV amidst some light banter till late in the evening then went back home.

I was ruing my fate by the roadside when I noticed this bird that kept making short dashes into the road from the curb and back to the curb. It was obviously hurt cause one wing sort of hung to the ground. Then a police car came flying past with sirens howling and made a road kill of the bird. I stood there and looked at the mess on the road: minced meat. I couldn’t believe it. That bird had probably had enough of this world, and it got to leave without even trying! I was clenching my fists and grinding my teeth in anger when the idea came to me. It was a real eureka moment. All that was missing was the lit light-bulb hovering over my head. I was going to commit suicide by cop. But I have to get a gun to do it right. I will go to the seedier side of town and purchase one. Either I get mugged and stabbed to death (though from all the movies I have seen, that shit ain’t quick and painless) or I get the gun and go out in a blaze of glory full of holes by the men in blue.

When they say a place is the underbelly of the city, I didn’t realize it literally meant the smell of weed, vomit, feces (and more I couldn’t identify) all rolled into one. It’s amazing that I have lived in the city for as long as I have and have never had cause to visit this area of town. It’s one of those areas you just naturally learn to avoid in the cause of time. But yet, that night found me wandering around the darkly lit streets. My plan was to go from club to club, by a drink, cozy up to one or two people and stylishly drop the fact that I was looking to purchase a gun. Nothing but hostile looks in the first four or five bars and I was getting tipsy. I looked back on my trip to the next bar and realized I had picked up some real “hostiles.” My mind told me to run but my legs went two steps forward, one step back and half a step sideways. As I was about to topple over, strong arms grabbed me from either side and I heard a voice say “You are the prick looking to buy a gun yeah?” All I could do was nod because I could feel something struggling to break free if I so much as opened my mouth. “Well, it’s your lucky day. We have just the thing you need. Untraceable, yeah?” I nodded again. “With a box of bullets to get the job done.” I shook my head, I didn’t actually intend to shoot anyone. Next thing I was dragged into an alley and frisked from head to toe. I was being held down and struggled feebly because the alcohol was messing with my coordination. “Hold still!” one of them shouted and when I still continued to try to resist, I felt the impact of a set of knuckles connect with my face. I did not see stars: I saw a bright light for a second or two, or three. I laid still for what seemed like forever. When I finally decided to move, I could only see out of one eye. The other was swollen shut. A toy gun (I didn’t realize it until I picked it up and felt how light it was) was on the street next to me. All I got was a black eye, and a toy gun for my troubles.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The gun was on my work table right beside my laptop for several days. I was staring out the window one of those nights when the moonlight glanced off it. To my now back to fully functional eyes, it looked black, shiny and real enough. I decided it was still worth a try especially if it was in the dark. Now to find a situation where there would be enough cops to ensure I don’t end up partially paralyzed or brain dead – I need to be real dead as in DOA-dead. I knew a local bar where on certain nights cops gather after work and there’s always a few out in the parking lots smoking at any point in time. I was going to go there and make their day. I knew I had to make it so unexpected so their instinct kicks in and they unload their weapons without hesitation. I whipped out the gun as a I walked towards them in the partially-lit parking lot and pressed the trigger for the fun of it. The gun burst into all sorts of multicolored flashing light and some baby-sounding voice saying “I am an officer of the law. Surrender now!” followed by that ice cream truck music. I was sniffing shoe dust in a matter of seconds with my hands behind my back and my chest to the floor. As I was dragged up to my feet, all I could think of was the fact that I couldn’t even get killed by cops and I am black and I had a gun. That damn bird!

I was at the station in a few minutes with the evidence of my intended crime on the counter across from me.  One of the officers picked up the gun and turned it over a few times. Then chuckled and pointed to something embossed on the gun. The inscription read “cop friendly” – what the hell does that mean?!!!

I was thrown in jail while I guess they were trying to decide if I was sane or not. Seems I must have been talking in my sleep and let the cat out of the bag because the next thing was me being hauled to some psychiatric hospital for an evaluation. Long and short of it was instead of prison, I was remanded in the hospital for observation and treatment. An unknown benefactor of the hospital picked up the tab.

Two months later, after telling the doctors what they wanted to hear, I am let out the front doors of the hospital into a bright day that made it seem all was right with the world and Kim-should-be-certified in North Korea is not trying hard to nuke us all while starving his countrymen, and 121 people are not going to commit suicide back here at home within the next 24hours (that is one person every 13 minutes) and there are no famines, hurricanes, and wildfires trying to make believers of all of us that the end times are actually here.

The sun was shining brightly, and the temperature was just about right. A light breeze blew through the trees and there was a flowery scent in the air that was refreshing. Then the pigeon shat on my head. I looked up at it looking down at me and just like that I decided I wasn’t going anywhere just yet – not until I returned the favor to this specific pigeon I couldn’t tell apart from the thousands in the city. I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

But some things just can’t be explained.

– – – – – – – – – –  The End  – – – – – – – ( 9/15/2017 3:12PM)  – – – – – – – – – – – –

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: +1-800-273-8255

(Available 24 hours everyday)

Solitary Exposure

Solitary Exposure

Who am I? Where am I going? Why am I going?


As we went on the expressway towards Bonn, I am seated at the front of the bus, just behind and to the right of the driver. I snap a picture now and then when I see something interesting in the landscape. Looks more like the countryside.

solit02 solit03 solit04

It struck me that 70 years ago, I would not have stood a chance. Even if I was alive, I would have either been in a concentration camp or making my way fearfully across the country in an attempt to escape. Along with the other “undesirables” such as the gypsies, the Jews, the invalid, the disabled, the colored, I would have fallen under the war machine of the Third Reich and threshed completely or turned into a bloody pulp of blood and gore on their wrathful wine-press.

But there I was seated in full view, just as cold as the next person, one ticket conferring equality on me just as the same with every passenger on the bus.
Thank God for the past, thank God for the present, and thank God for the future, because despite the violent darkness that shrouds the whole world, there are streaks of hope breaking through to light our way.

Thank God for Germany and her people: for rising above the past and surely not forgetting and being watchful. Hitler might have been an aberration. A mutant. But he was in good company of men like Goebbels , Dr Mengele, Himmler … So mutations are not so uncommon as one would hope.

But yet, for the believers, we hold on to 1 John 3:2 which means “perfection”:
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

solit05 solit06 solit07

Between Bonn and Bad Honnef (1:58PM 02-Jan-2014)

I check in to the hotel. I had to go back and forth between a couple of banks down the road and the hotel. The hotel doesn’t accept debit cards and then I had to transfer money between my savings and current account since my ATM debit card was only linked to the current account. I have completed a couple of forms to have this fixed at my bank but I guess some requests never make it past the customer service desk.
Finally I had the cash.
The room is spacious enough with two beds side by side.
I take a shower.

I made the call.

Probably will get no response.
Well actually not nothing. Just some recorded voice in German which I assume said I should leave a message.

solit08 solit09 solit10 solit11

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I do not have the right adapter for my laptop’s power supply so once I run down the battery, I am without “eyes” on the Internet. I have the phone though so I can still peep in.

The whole day was before me. A stranger in a strange land. I decided to go for a walk after I ran down the battery of the laptop.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I have got lost several times in Amsterdam. So a little German town won’t faze me. The street names are just as strange and slightly similar. The cold is still getting under my fleece and leather jacket. And I can certainly feel it on my thighs through my pair of black jeans. But I feel extra alive so I walk on.

The Germans are known for their love of – or strive for perfection. “Engineered to perfection”. Benz anyone? Lots of nice small German machines on the road. There is “money” in this town. But no pretense at royalty or over abundance of wealth thereby making up for some character flaw. Like some people back home but I guess same applies in all countries – if you look closely enough.

A lady walks up to me. Tomboyish. She asks if I speak English. She needs a bus to some tongue twisting place. She could be Scandinavian from her English. Said someone directed her to the bus stop across the road but her stop is not listed on the small plaque displaying the destinations. I am a visitor myself. She asks about the rail station. I was able to point her in the general direction. I told her to ask as she goes along. Not very many people on the streets though.

solit13 solit14 solit15 solit16 solit17 solit18

There is a young boy dragging a trolley bag coming the opposite way. Probably early teens. I stop to take a picture. He crosses the road to the other side well before we meet and continues on his way. Our eyes meet a couple of times. We fear what we don’t know. I might be the bogeyman but he’s too young to be a mugger.

This street surely has an end?

Or is it a test? The short responses. The “no” responses. It is just me.

If she’s worth it you won’t quit. If you quit you aren’t worthy“. Saw that on Facebook.

Surely Facebook has made it as informal references into some academic theses by now? What happens if Facebook goes under? I guess same thing as when referenced books go out of print.

solit24 solit25 solit26 solit27 solit28 solit29 solit30 solit31

I come across a lady with a cute dog. I ask if I can take its picture. She said why not. Stood by me and tried to get the dog to look at the camera.
She said something that sounded like “ah-cee, ah-cee whaa-whaa”. I think it means stop or stay.


Ah! It’s not an end but there’s a definite curve to the road. I am flanked by two kings: Jesus, heavenly king on the left. Ceasar, earthly king on the right. Narrower is the way … I hear the bell toll just then for whom it will. Actually it marked 7pm.

king1 king2

I go on past the little church. Further down I see an overhead bridge.
I shall take the overhead bridge as its end. It thins out and splits into several roads there. A car just rolled to a stop. I could have sworn I head its rims scraping the Tarmac. But then it continued on its way on one of the smaller roads and was soon out of sight round the bend. I am retracing my steps. Can’t be less than 40mins. What goes down must come up.

I can barely control my fingers anymore. They are numb.

There is snow on the ground.

snow1 snow2

There is a full moon out.


Must be some iconic church to be preserved in the middle of the road. Have I captured some piece of the Templars code on film? Can I decipher it to get to the source of unlimited wealth or the holy grail?

templars1 templars2

A lady runs by me to her car in front. I thought she was the one that gave off the strong smell of tobacco. But it was an older gentleman parked on the curb. He was just starting his car to take off and he had a big fat tobacco in his mouth. The inner light of his car was on. He looked directly at me as I stared at him in turn.

A middle age gentleman stood in front of a compound with a dog whose mane would arouse the jealousy of some lions especially considering its relative size.
I crossed the road and approach the man while at the same time taking off my head warmer. The cold should not make for any preconceived stereotypes but given that I haven’t come across any black faces since I arrived, better to do everything to appear “less” threatening. I smiled broadly and asked if I could take a picture of the dog. He apologized that his English isn’t so good. So I held my hands in front of me like I was holding a camera and pointed at the dog. Oh. Sure. He says.


I am back at the beginning. I take a picture of one side of the room.

Where are you.

8:15pm Bad Honnef

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Saturday starts slowly.

Then you came along.

Then Saturday ends too quickly.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sunday morning, I check out of the hotel and pop into the neighborhood Catholic church. The service is in German. I stay just inside the door. I close my eyes for a couple of minutes and say hi to God.


church1 church2 church3 church4

Then it’s up the hill.


I am going back. I am at the airport.

It was nice seeing you. No. More than nice. Great.



Solitary once again.



Bundled against the cold
On a cold winters night
I wandered where I know not
Icy fingers can’t freeze my heart
Make me calm as the snow king
I think of you 

I looked at the sky
No stars
But they are there
Shining their light
I wish I was lost among them
Tell me how to define eternity
If not a day without you 

The leaves crunch underfoot
The lady smiled as I pass her by
Do I frighten her?
Maybe it is my eyes?
Do I frighten you? 

I wage war with the sins of my past
They fiddle with my mind
I am of late April
I am supposed to be strong
Stand firm against the tempests of life
I will – if by you 

I pass a man
A mugger I thought
“Jump me” says my eyes
Use the knife in your jacket’s pocket
Strike before the dried blood of your summer victim rusts your trusty blade
He didn’t hear me
Or maybe he thought he pitied me
Because of you 

I am back to my journey’s end
I opened the book
I turned the page
Paul tells me to stand firm if I could
But seek if I wont
So I knelt on the felt
Closing my eyes
I asked for you