Why else would you have found yourself awake at 3 am, your pupils bathed in bluish glow, perusing (and erasing) search results for how to self-induce a fatal heart attack, if not to spare your busy wife and teenage son the hassles heaped on suicide survivors—endless, dim what-ifs and whys and what-could-I-have-dones—if not to give them (and yourself, post-mortem) all the benefits, the dignities, accruing to a “natural” demise—in light of which they’ll be allowed to feel their shock and sadness unalloyed—their righteous, cleansing anger leveled at the universe (and/or at their respective gods) unsmudged—and spared unhappy, fruitless speculation as to what exactly might have been so awful in your quiet, privileged life that you’d be eager to engage that everlong ejection seat, to jettison your soul and end your days before your stamped expiry date—and plus, the nuisance of insurance claims investigations: best to spare them that as well, if possible, and see that they’re provided for without the contestations, protestations, probate snags and such (and yes, of course, there could be other ways to go—like maybe in an “accident” instead—a certain gawkish, bleak allure; a grim and somber flair—but don’t those single-car collisions, don’t those arcing falls from shaky ladders, don’t those skydive/hang-glide/parasail “mistakes” just always strike you as a little fishy—don’t they leave the faintest whiff of doubt—and so, so much the better if it looks as if your body turned against you, mutinied, because who’d ever will that fate upon himself—who even could—and so, who’d ever even question (question, even for a moment, ever) whether there was any cause to cast suspicion on your tragic, early death?)?

Matt Tompkins lives in upstate New York with his wife, daughter, and cat. His stories are forthcoming in H_NGM_N, Post Road, and a couple of other places. You could read more of Matt's writing, if you feel like it, by visiting his website: