"A degeneration of mind." Doctor-speak. Colm had just turned thirty. The condition seemed brazenly premature. And the pills -- Buspar, Propofol, Lexipro, Xanax, Klonopin, Keppra, Tegretol, Lamictal -- too many to count and only more to follow. The decision was relatively simple.

He wrapped the VEEG cord around the shower head, then tied the remaining length into a slip-knot. His father had taught him the process when he was young, though the goal then was to lasso small cherry trees in the side yard. Times change. Colm dragged the handicap elevated toilet seat accessory into the shower stall and stood upon it. Slip knot over the head. Raised himself onto the elevated throne. Rehearsed last words, vain but honest. "I’m ready to rest."

-

But there was a woman. She was likely sleeping, though a restless sleep filled with worry. She folds her body into an L -- a perfect L -- when she is in bed alone. Standing high in the shower stall, prepared to step off and allow the VEEG cord to tighten his trachea, thus blocking his jugular vein and carotid arteries until eternal darkness came, Colm remembered the open blinds and imagined her lying in her L shape. He gripped the cord tightly for a moment, the thought of hurting her eclipsing his own suffering. As the tears fell, he decided he would endure. If he lived every remaining day with uncontrollable episodes and countless pills, he would do it. Not for her, because of her. Tomorrow morning she would wake early and bring him too much food -- fruit, yogurt, cereal, a fresh bagel -- anything to combat the despicable hospital food. Anything to fatten his thinning face.

Contents

Cover

Publisher's Note

Rational Anthem Ivan Jenson

Just Like That Jennifer Mills Kerr

Dancing In The Shadows of Greatness Dr. Ernest Williamson III

Life slips Allison Whittenberg

The Dream Bruce McAllister

Debate in Seasons Dr. Ernest Williamson III

Ell Kyle Bradstreet

warm broken cookies Jessica Provencio

egomaniac Dr. Ernest Williamson III

Photo Circa 1969, The Art of Redaction Scott T. Starbuck

At The Special Olympics Sandra Ervin Adams