Joe Regan was a writer. His suicide note was not his best piece of work. It simply read, “Fair well cruel world.” Joe took all the sleeping pills and sat down in his recliner. When he opened his eyes again, he was looking into the face of his agent, Bernie Blackwell.
Bernie smiled and brushed back Joe’s hair. “Hey.”
“Hey. Oh, my head hurts.” Joe looked around. “Where am I?”
“You are in St. Thomas Hospital. I found you and called 911. The doctors pumped your stomach. You’ve been in a coma for five days, man.”
“Oh. I don’t know if I should thank you or not. I just wanted to die.”
“I know, man. I found your note. Why did you do it?”
Joe smiled. “You’re my agent. I think you know why. My novel has been rejected by 45 publishers and I haven’t earned a dime in three years.”
Bernie chuckled. “It’s 47 publishers now. I didn’t get a chance to tell you about the last two. However, while you were in a coma, I’ve been busy. I posted your suicide note on a few key social media websites and wrote what a tragedy it was since your novel’s so great.”
“My suicide note? I didn’t say much in my note.”
Bernie smiled. “Yeah, well, I sort of rewrote it. I also went ahead and published the e-book version of your novel. It’s going viral. We sold over 10,000 copies in four days. We now have offers from three publishers. I think if you had died, your novel would make the best sellers’ list.”
“Lucky me! I have to nearly kill myself for my novel to sell.”
“Joe, what do you expect? You wrote a romance novel about gay pygmies living in San Francisco-not a great genre. Anyway, since you really don’t want to live, would you consider killing yourself? It would mean a lot to me. I could help.”
“What! My novel is finally published and you want me to kill myself? Are you crazy?”
Bernie shrugged his shoulders. “No big deal. Come on, get up. I brought a wheelchair. I’m taking you out of here.” He handed Joe a glass of water and some pills. “Here, take these.”
Joe took the pills with the water. With Bernie’s help, he got into the wheelchair. Bernie wheeled Joe out of ICU and headed for the elevators. Bernie pushed the up call button for the elevator.
“Where are you taking me?”
“Don’t worry about it. I am taking you to the tenth floor. The second elevator is out of service. I should be able to open the doors there.”
“Bernie, I don’t feel so good. What were those pills?”
” Sleeping pills.”
“I took four. Am I supposed to take that many?”
“No, man. You’re supposed to take only one every 12 hours.”
“Won’t that kill me?”
“No. It’ll make you comatose. In your condition, you won’t notice that the elevator’s not there. The fall from the tenth floor will kill you.”
“But Bernie, I don’t want to die any more. I want to live.”
“Listen, man. I’m telling you. If you die, we’ll make the best sellers’ list. We’ll be able to negotiate a big contract. We’ll attract more talented writers.”
“We? I’ll be dead.”
The elevator arrived and Bernie pushed the wheelchair inside and pushed the tenth floor button.
“Well, yeah,” said Bernie. “Quit thinking about yourself for once. Did you even consider me? This is my big break. When I post your next suicide note, I’ll sell a million copies of your novel. Plus, I am sure I can get a six figure advance for your next novel.”
"My next novel? I never wrote a second novel.”
“It will be found among your things after your death.”
“Bernie, don’t do this. I don’t want to die.”
“Quit being selfish! Close your eyes now and rest. It’ll all be over in a few minutes. You are going to be a bestselling author. Congratulations.”
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