There Are Only Three Ways to Die

There are only three ways to die:

1.) You find them.
2.) They find you.
3.) You kill yourself.

I'm not good at hide and seek, so I chose option number three. Kurt Cobain is a hero of mine, but I couldn't do it his way. Same thing with the Plath solution; I don't think they make gas ovens anymore. Man, famous people used to go out big, or creative. Now it's all pills and pills and pills.

I'm not famous, but if I pulled this off, maybe I would be a little. I decided to go out with a real red bubble bath. Something about that appealed to me, turned its face right in my direction.

My roommate was going to be left holding the bag, but fuck that guy. Who sprouts his own beans on the windowsill? Who listens to Phish at three in the morning? Who only uses the tub to shave his balls? Fuck him and his white guy dreads. I hope they got him too, just for being involved with the mess I would make. Some real vicarious shit.

It's not pretty when two guys share a bathroom. I know, everyone is shocked. It never bothered me before, but now it did; I guess I didn't want my roommate's pubes floating on the surface of the water while I was dying. The last thing I wanted on my mind when I died was his inconsiderate ass.

I opened the storage closet in the hall. Fuck, what a mess. How did this happen? When I moved in, I put a bottle of Windex on the second shelf. Right there. Even when my roommate brought his shit I could still see my little blue bottle. I hadn't touched it in a year, but I liked knowing it was there. It said, "Hey buddy, you can turn all this around. Cleanliness is next to godliness! And godliness keeps you safe."

It had taken him a year to fill the closet with random shit. Did he throw my Windex away? I pawed through some unglazed pottery, a roll of duct tape, and a spool of...twine? The hell? Where did he buy twine? Did he pop back in time to a general store, buy some twine and sundries? I giggled. Oregon Trail, pack a lunch.

I kicked a tangled bundle of wire hangers down the hall. Can't a man find a bottle of window cleaner so he can kill himself in peace? I left the avalanche of shit I unearthed, doubly disgusted.

See, this is what I'm talking about. Everything we try to do ends up a clusterfuck. Nothing is ever as simple as it should be, am I right? Go to eat cereal, out of milk; go to eat chips, out of salsa; go to kill yourself, no goddamn Windex. Shit, what a world.

I tore everything out from under the kitchen sink. No dice. I looked in the fridge and found exactly dick. I did take my roommate's kombucha out and pour it down the drain. The nasty glop inside got stuck on the drain, so I stabbed it with a dirty fork until it was gone. Like I said, fuck that guy.

In the cramped living room, I flopped down on his old yellow couch and sighed. I closed my eyes for awhile, rubbing at my face. I opened them again and saw our broke ass blinds had let in a ray of sunlight. I watched the dust swirl in the golden light, trying not to think about what was coming next.

Did they appreciate the way dust could dance in sunbeams? Did they ever dance, just to get their hearts pumping and maybe feel what it's like to be warm and next to a girl that's pretty? Did they ever stop, did they ever ask if they were doing the right thing?

I knew they didn't, and that got me motivated again.

Back in the bathroom, I soaked a towel in the sink. I hunkered down and started to clean the tub. It was one a giant son of a bitch that had feet like a lion and looked like a beached whale. The fucker was as big as one, too. When I was done, my forehead was wet and my arms were sore like a bastard. I had gotten most of the hair, but the soap scum wouldn't budge. Even a man with a death wish can't get soap scum off a tub.

The hot water knob made a noise like a fat guy groaning when he stands up. The water came out in little piss dribbles that were lukewarm, so I cranked the knob some more until I got a torrent of steaming water. I read somewhere that hot water numbs you, so you don't feel it when you cut yourself. I was banking on that.

Even at full stream, it was taking awhile to fill the tub. Shit. Couldn't this just be over? What if my roommate came home in the middle of it? It was his day in art studio or some bullshit, but he had skipped before to come home and blaze. I had to do something.

I threw the top bolt on the door to our apartment, reconsidered, and slid the second one shut too. I turned back to the gurgle of the faucet, but paused. What if the crazy fucker was on some hardcore shit and decided to kick it down? Not the first time that asshole would come home out of his mind on something his buddies got him to try.

The couch groaned as I dragged it across the floor. One of the legs got caught on the rug, and it pulled my DVD stand down. Plastic cases scattered everywhere, clicking like the little beetles I sometimes saw in the kitchen. I got pissed at the mess before I remembered what I was doing. Then I laughed. Someone walking up the stairs paused when they heard me laughing, then I heard them walking faster.

That's right lady, run! Run before I die on you!

I sat on the toilet, waiting for the tub to fill the rest of the way. I kicked my legs back and forth. I drummed my fingers on my knees. I stared up at the cracks in the ceiling, stared so long my eyes burned, stared until I heard the water splashing over the edge of the tub. Ha ha, I was in business!

That's when I heard the knock at the door. Not my roommate's knock.

The knock.

Their knock.

Everything seized up inside of me. But no - I had a plan! I clambered over the side of the tub and splashed in. I felt a rush of cold, then my nerves got sorted out and told me I was burning. No, fire came and went. This was constant fucking heat, like putting your hand on a stove burner. I allowed myself a soft moan.

From the living room I heard the knock again, louder this time. I almost laughed. I had beaten them! They wouldn't get me! I held my right wrist out, and...shit, where was my knife? I thought I grabbed it while I was in the kitchen? I did that thing with the tea instead! No! Fuck!

I began to climb out of the tub, but my hands slipped and I fell in again. The scalding water doused my face, prompting a gurgling scream. It was too much for them, and I heard the door crack. I knew it wouldn't take another hit.

I whipped my head back and forth, looking for anything that would work. A disposable razor? My toothbrush?

The door exploded inwards. The couch groaned as they threw it out of the way. Desperate, my eyes landed on the back of the toilet. I heard footsteps coming down the hall, so I leaned over and grabbed the lid off the toilet tank. I smashed it hard over the side of the tub. The edge that was exposed was sharper than a knife.

I thrust both my wrists down on the broken porcelain as the bathroom doorknob began to rattle. Blood spurted from both my arms like fireworks from a Roman candle. The pain made my burn from earlier seem comfy cozy by comparison.

As I watched my life's blood spray out in crimson arcs, the door burst open. They stood over me. I laid back in the rapidly reddening water, watching them. I wasn't afraid anymore. They stared down at me, faces blank.

I couldn't resist. I had won. "Hey assholes, glad you could make it!" I said. "Water's really warm! Want to feel?" I meant to splash some of my last bath water on them, but my arm wouldn't move. The water was dark red, and things were dimming at the corners.

The one in the front screamed, and its mouth opened too wide as it did. It sounded like cars crashing, an alarm, and a baby crying all at once. I think I pissed myself, but the water made it hard to tell.

I realized you were never done being afraid of them, not really. And they would not be denied. Even as I lay dying, one of them came closer. It grabbed my neck and snapped it.

My last thought was that there are only two ways to die:

1.) You find them.
2.) They find you.