[WP] Suicide has become an art form, and the general public attend "shows" where the top performers are technically "one-hit wonders".

“There’s been a mistake!” I shrieked. “I don’t want to commit suicide,” but there was nobody around to listen.

I was stuck in a room with a middle aged man and a teenage girl, both staring at the ground with lifeless eyes. I was unaware how I had got to this place. My memory was foggy, like waking up after a night on the drink and being unable to remember how you ended up in that stranger’s bed but this was even worse. I was on that show for people who committed suicide in front of everyone. I could hear it out there. I could hear the host on stage.

“Well, wasn’t that great?” boomed the host’s voice from several metres away. “We are going to take a short break to clean up folks, but we’ll be back in ten for some more great one hit wonders. Toilets are in the back and I hear its happy hour for cocktails. Get ‘em in now!”

The curtain closed noisily and the host barged through the stage door and in to the room we were sat in. “It’s a tough crowd tonight, folks. Make it exciting,” he rambled on, not really expecting an answer. The two others didn’t even look up at him. “Now, wrist slitting?” he pointed towards the teenage girl “Am I correct? And you’re the shooting.” He turned towards the man. “I take it you’ve brought your own gun and ammo?” the man nodded quietly. “Great! Now I think you’re new on the list. What’re you going to do?”

“Thank God. There’s been a mistake. I don’t know how I ended up here. I don’t want to die. I need to get out of here,”

“Look, it’s an original act but just save it for the stage OK? I just needed to know if you’d need any props” he said, pouring himself a shot of whisky.

“I’m serious! Help me! I’m not dying. Please. I don’t want to be here! Let me go!” I was on my feet now, shaking him. He dropped the shot glass on the floor and it shattered. He looked up at me with menacing eyes. I expected him to lash out.

“Hey, Steve! Sort this girl out. She’s going crazy,” and with that he left the room.

Steve walked in. He was large and bald with a friendly face.

“Hey,” he said, and after checking his papers said “Lucy, right?”

I nodded.

“What’s up, Lucy? Cold feet?”

“No. I never even had warm feet. I am not suicidal and never have been. Well, except when I was 17 and my first love Timmy had sex with my best friend and I walked in on them. Even then though, I took 5 pills and got scared so told my mum and cried. I was fine after that. He ended up working for Burger King and he has a serious acne problem….”

“So, overdosing? Really? It’s getting kind of boring but I guess it fills the spot. We put you down for 15 minutes so try and talk the crowd up a bit first so we’re on time. You’ll be the first one after the break,”

“No. I’m not overdosing. Why is nobody listening? I don’t WANT to die,”

“I know. You just want to stop the pain. Look, none of us think you are weak. Sometimes this really is the best option,”

“No. I’m not in pain. My life is fine,”

“Oh really?” and again, looked down at his papers. “Lucy Cartwright? 28 years old? Both parents dead. Father was sexually abusive while mother acted as a sort of enabler. Only one sibling alive. He suffers from severe autism. You took his carer to court last year for allegedly abusing your brother but she was acquitted due to lack of evidence. Since the trial your brother’s behaviour has been violent and unpredictable. No partner. Roughly spending £200 per day on gambling. Previously worked as an escort but after a violent sexual attack left the business. Now working as a receptionist at City Gym. So far received 2 disciplinaries for… inappropriate conduct? Wow. One more strike and you’re out. The landlord has given you an eviction notice for failing to pay rent for several months now”

“How did you know all of that?”

“Oh we have our ways. I’m not gonna lie, Lucy. I think this may be your best way out. Look, are you religious?”

“I guess…”

“Maybe you just weren’t meant for this world. God or whoever will look after you. I don’t quite have time for this. Weren’t you offered a counsellor before coming on the show? Well, I guess it’s a bit late now.”

“I don’t want to die,” I repeated.

He got irritated now. He lowered his voice to a whisper. “You were chosen,”


“Our investigators. They found you. They saw the mess that your life was in and thought you’d want to do SOMETHING right”

“This is doing something right?”

“You know that everybody who appears on our show gets £1,000,000 right? The top one hit wonder of the week gets double. It goes straight to their closest blood relative which will be your brother. Look, it says so right here. Imagine the quality of care he could get for that money?”

“But I’d be dead,”

“Have you been that great of a sister anyway? When is the last time you visited him?”

“I’ve been busy!”

“With what? Friends? Boyfriend? No. You have nobody” With that, he left me alone.

I began to doubt myself. My life really was empty and unfulfilling. I kept waiting for it to get better. Yet I awoke every morning wondering if this was as good as it gets. There wasn’t really anybody who would miss me. I assumed that I’d get older and get married and have kids but relationships just didn’t seem to work out for me. Maybe this really was the best option. At least in my death I would be leaving something useful for my brother. I would be doing one thing right.

“Please welcome Lucy on to the stage everybody!”

The cheers were deafening. I walked out slowly, getting a microphone clipped on as I walked past, already sobbing. The lights temporarily blinded me. As I looked on from the stage I saw hundreds of people gathered around, drinking and eating, chattering excitedly. Their eyes were hungry for the show.

“I’m Lucy and… I don’t know if I want to die. I’m scared,”

Boos came from the crowd as if this was a pantomime.

“I don’t remember how I got here. I don’t remember any of it. I don’t remember agreeing to this, but maybe it’s something I would have agreed to. Maybe it’s for the best. I just thought there was always time for things to get better. That someone could help me. Can’t someone help me? Please?” tears streamed from my face now.

“Coward!” came jeers from the audience.

“How do I know that this is the best decision? I think one of the show’s creators took me. I think they kidnapped me. My mind is all foggy. They’re messing with my head,”

Laughter erupted.

“No, it’s not a script. It’s not a game. I’m serious. I’m so confused. What am I doing here?”

The crowd grew impatient now, some of them throwing bottles on to the stage.

I looked to my left and saw the elevator that would take me high up from the ground so I could fall to my death. I’d seen it on TV.

A bucket of pills were to my right. I could take these one by one and the crowd would count with me to see how long I could go. I’d seen that too. In the corners were some more violent looking contraptions, with spikes and traps which I didn’t even consider.

The longer I stood, the better of an idea it seemed. It was simple really. Once I was dead, all of my problems would go away.

My eyes settled on the noose, hanging from the ceiling.

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