Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Cutting Edge

Today my head’s at war: good versus bad, logic versus emotion, high versus low. I’m in the middle of my raging melodrama when Patty opens our session with a cheery hello.

The others squeak back, reminding me of those sunny Happy Face stickers. Everyone “checks in” with what they’re feeling, doing, thinking. I slouch in my chair, transport myself to some other place, any place but here. I conjure up my kitchen, my trusty Wusthof. An excellent knife, an eight inch, ten/twelve carbon steel forged blade. Perfectly balanced. In my mind, the blade flashes bright and swift, decimating whatever lies underneath.

“Earth to Ben.” Patty interrupts my daydream. I open my eyes. “How are you today?”

I dismiss her with a wave of my hand. Laurel someone yammers about her depression. Everyone offers support. They’re so freaking chipper it makes me sadder, lonelier. Isolated in my melancholy. I continue rambling through my apartment to the bathroom, an ideator’s paradise: the hard surfaces, the mirror, the razor blades, the scalding water. The medicine cabinet: Motrin, aspirin, antihistamines, cough syrup, and lithium. If you take enough of it, lithium will kill you, though not very nicely. Inside the box of Trojans, a stash of benzodiazepines. Not enough to do me in, but taken with a glass or two of Dolce d’Alba, a hot bath, some Mahler, and the knife, they’ll make for a pleasant evening.

My dark mood lifts. Yes, I think to myself, this is how I will do it.


Response to the theme = The Balance of Terror, and a modified excerpt from BRIGHTER THAN BRIGHT.

Peace, Linda


  1. I always feel so thrilled when I see new stuff from your corner. Please work on that book. It's going to be a masterpiece.

  2. I like the irony here, the others are dark in the cheeriness, and Ben is chipper in his darkness.

  3. This is great! I hate those happy face sticker people...

  4. I echo Laurita's comment, spot-on cool.

  5. I hate non-Happy Face sticker people. Well, not hate them, but get sick of them faster. At least this one will be gone soon.

    Was that too mean? I'm sorry. But at least it wasn't cheery. That's something for this narrator, right?

  6. Loved the concept of "an ideator’s paradise" with all the means of self-harm for this particular 'ideator'.

    Touch stuff and yet lyrical, a nicely judged high wire act on your part.

    marc nash

  7. At least it'll all be over soon. At least that's the happy thought. Good story!

  8. Really intriguing piece of flash, Linda... I hate the chirpy people myself sometimes...

    Well done.

  9. Linda, I find this with everything you write - I am always sad to reach the end of the passage because I am always hooked and wanting more. Is this from a newer version of BTB? I don't remember it! Can't wait to read more :)

  10. Thanks all for reading! Laurita, funny how you picked up the irony -- I didn't - thanks for pointing it out. Carrie, you always make me happy with your comments. Chrys, it's kind of BTB, new stuff. You are def on my PURE first-reader list -- it's all your fault (and J's) that BTB got where it was in the first place.


  11. How interesting that you posted a grim/chipper story in a week that everyone (or a lot of people) seem to be drowning in gloom.

    Really liked the story. This line is great!

    some Mahler, and the knife, they’ll make for a pleasant evening.

    Ah, a quick feedback from a first time visitor. (not the last one though :) It may be that I'm a bit sensitive today -- head hurts -- but the deep blue in contrast with the light shade of font made the reading a somehow difficult. Maybe too much contrast? Just a thought.

  12. That last line is a killer, love how you flip the depression with cheerfulness at the thought of suicide.

    Now you have me going off to Google to find out what death by lithium overdose entails :-)

  13. You had to know some facts about depression and suicide to write this piece. An accurate depiction. I desperately want to save Ben after reading this. Your character is so desperate. I agree with Carrie, keep at this one, it will be a masterpiece.

  14. I think Laurita has it right.

    I think suicides do rehearse the event in their minds, imagining various scenarios. When The Day does come it may not seem any different than any other day. It's just that, after all that rehearsing, the person is ready to act.

  15. Fantastic as always Linda. I too picked up on the irony right away, and that's really what made this so great.

    Interesting - my story this week, which I thought so silly I almost didn't post, apparently had a lesson in it. It took several readers telling me that before I caught on. I guess sometimes we get so wrapped up in the characters, the story itself, we don't even realize all we're portraying.

  16. Linda,

    I like the slightly altered scene from BTB. It does reflect the theme of The Balance Of Terror because, really, what Ben wants more than anything is to live, feel and love but what he's considering is slice, drugs and death.

    Yikes. Love it!!

  17. Damn chirpy people.
    Did you know my cat is named Ben? I think he has some mental health issues, too. Luckily he's declawed and doesn't do baths. Not willingly.
    Nice sharp little bite, this one.

  18. No! Don't do it, Ben. He seems such a tortured soul, can't help but have empathy for him.