The Killing of Matthew Good
They plan to use my execution to kick off the County Fair.
I hear whispers that they will hang me. There are those that wished to see me electrocuted, but it seems they have but one generator and cannot spare the power. Better to have caramel covered apples than see my spine dance. I could simply not abide an execution without the availability of concession foods. Unruly I may be, but never uncivilized. There will be children present after all. Best to set a good example. Chin up and all that. And then it's off to meet the maker. I have nothing to complain about, you see. I hold no ill will towards anyone. I will leave this world as I entered it. Void of popular consent.
They have me locked up in some sort of cellar. I was unconscious when I was brought in so I'm not quite sure exactly where I am. Strangely enough, it's filled with a variety of costumes. Twice a day someone opens the door and slides a bowl of pork and beans into the room. This I have never understood. Making sure that those condemned to die are nourished enough to take part only serves to further the misrepresentation of compassion in a compassionless society. Yesterday, during the siding of the pork and beans, I decided to ask my jailer where I was. Their response was short and perfectly ambiguous. 'You're in God's country', said a voice. 'Hmm,' I said to myself, 'God must be lost'.
I have decided to wear a clown suit when the time comes. Why not. They're bent on hanging one, after all.
I have been sitting here trying to figure out where it all went wrong. It seems that I have been moving for so long that I have forgotten what it's like to be still. I've been sitting here trying to retrace my footsteps, wondering when it was that I became the formless monster that I now am. But nothing comes. They tell me that I used to be quite agreeable. I can't say that I remember being agreeable. I can't say that I can ever remember being anything but adamantly uninterested. I have stalked the planet to my discontent, it seems. And now, here in this unknown tickle chamber, I am left with the all the blackness that has consumed my insides. I am not unlike a cola company. The incorporated outcome of bottling canned crap.
Make no mistake about it. My actions, those things that I have either done or am accused of doing, are not the source of this new found realization. I have come to realize that, within everything, I allowed myself to be brought below the waves and partially drowned. I let myself go long enough so that I might flirt with the diminishment of the surface light and the moving of the world. But before I could struggle free the hands of Neputune and regain my lungs, I was caught. The hayseeds have me now. I am in God's country supposedly. They're gonna hang me. It was wrong of Christians to have ever bought into all that peace and love nonsense. Things were much more interesting when their wonderment at bloody vengeance was out in the open. Now they're just forcibly boring and seem to get quite offended when over glorified suburban idiots exclaim the titles of pornographic magazines over the airwaves.
None the less, I am doomed to dangle. There's no getting around it I'm afraid. I can only hope that the gallows are in a state of good repair. It would be a big disappointment to discover that I am to be stood on a chair and boringly tipped to my ending. Hopefully there will be a trap door to dramatically plummet through, or a team of stallions to hoist me at breakneck speed into the air. They have stallions aplenty in God's country I understand. It shouldn't be all that challenging for the promoters. Imagine that. Some dumb bastard in a clown suit getting yanked to his death by four steeds. Hell, light the gallows on fire or set off some fireworks when my head hits the top beam and you've got yourself the show of the century. You know, I wish I would have thought of that four months ago. I wish I would have thought of a lot of things four months ago.
It would be something indeed to have ones own demise promoted in a Don King type fashion. I have done my best to recreate what such a poster might resemble. See what you think…
Death's got a bad wrap.
The fear of death is worse than its actuality. Not unlike jumping off of something ridiculously high, you're scared and then eventually you do it. Afterwards you invariably come to the realization that it was really no big deal in the first place. I figure death must be no different. When I was eleven I was rushed to Royal Columbian Hospital because I was literally frozen in the fetal position. I couldn't unclench my hands, nor my knees or elbows or feet. It hurt like hell. Then, to add insult to injury, I started wandering in and out of consciousness. My mother and my grandmother rushed me to hospital immediately. I had had influenza for nearly a week and a half. After my parts froze my mother started thinking that it might be something else altogether. When we arrived at the hospital I was examined by several doctors. I was then given a spinal tap. They're not allowed to sedate you when they do it. They just lay you on your side, bend you slightly, and slowly slide needles into your spinal chord. The doctor told my mother and my grandmother that I most likely had spinal meningitis and would be dead within the week. All I remember is the JELLO. I wasn't given anything to eat besides JELLO. I'm not sure what that means, but though I'd mention it.
During the days and nights that followed, interns world wide started appearing outside of my room in droves. They would stand there, peering through the glass, as several doctors spoke and occasionally pointed in my general direction. It is a very rare thing, spinal meningitis. It excites the medical world to no end. One night, some days later, I awoke at around 4am. I got out of bed and walked out to the nurses station. I stood there, freezing. After several minutes the lady behind the kiosk noticed that I was standing there. She said nothing. I asked if I she would a sport and call me a cab.
So much for preeminent death.
I fear that this time I'm not going to be so lucky. This time there is just pork and beans.
So here I am. All out of moderately entertaining things to say. I have become the foundation of your dissatisfaction. I will pay the price for it. This theme park world that we have so craftily constructed without our consciences getting in the way will extract a toll much worse than the mere bruises of consumerist overload. The debilitations suffered by that which comprises our unknown quantities will surely be much greater. The Gods of entertainment demand sacrifice. It seems that they have chosen you to dispense their justice. In doing so I will be gotten rid of. And surely replaced by something altogether more predictable.
There was a time when slogans such as 'power to the people' and 'make love not war' were passably believable. But even then they were nothing more than cheap disguises bent on delivering the usually sought after nuggets of an anesthetized society. So you can replace them with 'Fuck the people, I want the power' and 'I was just looking to score cause of the war' because the truth hurts. And since art no longer reflects anything but unchallenging passiveness packaged as a good time tinged with bare skin, you'll be needing something to keep you partially sober. Because all that pixie juice you've been drinking has turned your head into a giant bubble. And, sadly, the world did away with sharp objects some time ago.
Last night the carnival trucks rolled into town. There were sounds of preparation, sounds of tired lives being led, sounds of discontented misfits practicing a trade as ancient as Tragedy. All through the night they worked feverishly to erected Ring Toss booths, the Haunted House, the Chain Swings. The animals in the make-shift petting zoo, blind with glaucoma, wander the husky darkness bumping headlong into each other. The carnival mascot writes to a girl he tries to remember as being something other than merely a voice on a phone. The ride mechanic swims the bottle. All in all, it's the kind of entity that surely must be put together under nights loom. Done in broad daylight, its secrets would be too easily revealed. It remains one of the last great unknowns in this world. Because if we were to discover how truly shoddy everything at one of those things is we would surely opt to do something better with our time. Like go to one of those ridiculous entertainment-megatropolis things and become pale reminders of ourselves.
I did my best to stay awake so that I might see the sun rise for the last time. But I fell asleep.
I awoke this morning to the familiar aroma of pork and beans. I wished it were JELLO. I attempted to pull myself together and convince myself that I would not waver when the time came. I did my best, but my knees were in the midst of launching a full fledged revolution. I tried to eat, but vomited.
I spent an hour or so putting on the clown suit, haphazardly slapping on some face paint, trying to make the shoes fit better. And then they came for me. No last meal, no last requests fulfilled, no few minutes with family or friends. My execution was medieval, in that I was simply thrown in the back of a cart and wheeled to my destruction. People lined the midway, some throwing things, others merely observing me with quiet disgust. The fact that I was wearing a clown suit only fueled the crowds anger. My last jab gave me little comfort, but at least it was something.
As for the rest, well, there is little I can say of it. I would have thought my conditioning able to provide some capable last words, but I merely shook my head to the negative when asked if I had any. And then, as quickly as my life had happened, it ended. My legs wobbled, my lungs felt as if they were filled with concrete, I nearly bit clear through my tongue. I just stood there in a clown suit with a rope around my neck. Then the floor gave way and I went with it. It was that simple. Satisfaction guaranteed.
I guess this means the fair's open.
'Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.'I had a vision. I was a fireman in a time of fires. And I was paralyzed.