Let's Buy a Death Permit!

How would you cope in a world where suicide has become as commonplace as a trip to the grocery store?

1Likes
2Comments
1315Views
AA

1. This is the only chapter

(I apologize in advance if the story seems a bit weak. I came up with the setting first, and it was supposed to be a dark comedy/satire with a completely different plot. However, I ended up using the setting for an English project, so I was forced to hammer in a dramatic storyline, along with characters whom I find poorly developed. This is my first attempt at blending drama along with my usual form of black comedy, so feel free to tear this to pieces)

Our story begins with a line of people walking slowly into a gray two-story building, like cows into a slaughterhouse. These people are usually broken, depressed, unemployed, you know the type. The thing they're lining up for is a permit that allows them to escape from their crappy lives.

Standing by the front of the line is a twenty-something named Connor. His job is to hand these miserable people a coupon for 20% off of a medication called Cyanax, "The miracle pill that stops all of your problems in a heartbeat!"™.

Every once in a while, he encounters people who happen to be smiling for a change. They're often teenagers or other twenty-somethings who stay in groups when they're in line. Connor has been told to ignore these people.

"If they're smiling, laughing, or showing signs that they're enjoying life," his employers told him, "they're probably not interested in our product".

One day, Connor encounters a familiar face in the line. He couldn't believe who it was at first, but there was no denying who it was once the man reached got close to the front of the line. "Dad?" Connor said, with a hint of shock and panic in his voice.

The man cursed under his breath.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

The man did his best to ignore Connor. He avoided looking at him, he stared out into the distance, he tried starting a conversation with anyone else who happened to be in line. But it's kind of hard to ignore someone who is standing right in front of you.

"Well?" Connor said. His tone of shock was turning into one of anger.

The man didn't speak for a few moments. He merely stared at the coupons and said "What are those coupons for?".  He's still avoiding eye contact.

"What?"

The man finally looked up at Connor and said "Aren't you going to hand me a coupon?"

"Don't try to change the subject!" Connor cried, shoving the coupons in his pocket.

"Is this what you started doing after you dropped out of college? Do you just stand outside all day and hand people coupons?"

"Dad, you're not thinking of getting a permit, are you? Does Mom know about this? Have you told Sarah and John?"

The line started moving again. "We'll talk about this later," The man said as he walked into the building.

Connor's mind was flooded with thoughts on what he should do next as he took the bus back home that
evening. He was considering either confronting his father directly, or maybe he should just tell everyone else about it and get them to convince his father to go back on his choice.

I just realized that I never really explained the permits were for. You see, in the year 2025, suicide became a leading cause of death in America, and nobody knew why. It could've been due to the economic depression, the rise in people with depression, or a fad caused by a string of celebrities who offed themselves nearly a year prior.

Many people called on the government to do something about it. And after months of bickering about whether all city buses should be painted a uniform color (They declared that they should all be painted purple), they began working towards a conclusion on how to handle the suicides.

One person suggested that therapists should be hired in each workplace in order to reduce the death rates. Unfortunately, this plan was shot down due to it being too costly. The plan everybody else took was to place a hefty fine on those who killed themselves, as it would lower both the suicide rates and the deficit.

Within the 3 years after the fine was enforced, suicide rates dropped about 9%, and the economy was slowly recovering. However, many families were left in debt due to the fine. Protests were started homes were foreclosed (which oddly led to a slight increase in the number of suicides), and a few towns were almost involved in riots started by its newly indebted citizens.

After more months of bickering, the government declared that anyone who wished to kill themselves without facing the fine would have to purchase a plastic green permit that costs about as much as a typical smartphone (which is a bit less than half the price of the fine). Those who purchased the permit would have to wait 3-5 business days to actually get it, as they needed to have their names registered with the states, and the waiting period is long enough for them to think long and hard about their decision.

It wasn't long before everyone from unemployed businessmen to depressed mothers to those who were curious about the afterlife were waiting in line to get the credit-card like permits. It was at this point that pharmaceutical companies saw an opportunity for a profit, and they began producing poison pills (such as Cyanax™), which can now be purchased in the pharmacy aisle of your local Wal-Mart.

The permits, on the other hand, became less of a symbol of death, and more of a fashion accessory worn by teenagers and twenty-somethings, who tend to wear it like a necklace and they cover it with rhinestones and/or their small markings. This trend was started by various rappers and pop-stars, who began wearing around suicide permits in honor of their fallen comrades. Unfortunately , this was lost on their fans, who began wearing it around, not as a symbol of loss, but because "OMIGOSH,ILOOKLIKE[Insert celebrity here]!" (sic). You can tell these people apart from anyone seriously thinking about suicide, as they are usually the youngest and the only ones smiling in lines to get a permit.

Before anybody knew it, suicide became less of a taboo, and more of a thing people do. It wasn't uncommon to find the words "kill self" in a to-do list or a daily planner underneath "Have lunch with in-laws", or the more popular "Tell boss to piss off". That's not to say that some deaths affect some people more than others...
For the rest of the night and a large chunk of the next day, Connor did nothing but pace around his cupboard-sized apartment. At around 5:31 P.M., he tried making a phone call to his parents. His heart sunk for a bit when they never picked up, but then he remembered that would not get their permits until a few days later. He shoved his phone in his pocket, and hopped onto the first purple bus he saw.

During the bus ride, he saw a few familiar faces. The broken, depressed, unemployed people from the permit lines were all here. And quite a few of them were carrying those small boxes of poison wrapped in plastic bags like it was cough syrup that they purchased from a nearby pharmacy. They made Connor think about his dad. He got the sudden urge to rip those bags out of everyone's hands, to tell to them to go see a therapist, to try anything else other than suicide. He refrained from doing this by telling himself "Stop worrying. None of this is your fault. You're not the one who sold them the pills". However, he did make their tickets to the afterlife about 20% cheaper.

When he hit his stop, Connor pulled the bus string, hopped off, and ran the half-mile distance from the bus stop to his parents' house at full speed. He was panting heavily by the time he got to the house. And to his misfortune the drive-way was empty. Connor walked up to the house door, and sat beside it so he could catch his breath. He waited about half an hour or so before his parents pulled up to the driveway. 
"Mom!", Connor yelled as his parents stepped out of the car. They were both elegantly dressed. His mother was wearing a golden-silked dress that Connor's never seen before, and his father had on an expensive Armani suit, which he hadn't appeared to had worn since Connor's high school graduation. "You know Dad's getting a permit, right?", he asked.

"I already told her", his dad said.

"And you're okay with this?", Connor said, turning towards his mother.

"Connor, you have to understand", His father said, "Your mother and I, we've already lived a full life. We've been through poverty, we've raised 3 intelligent, independent kids, we've witnessed great changes in society. There's not really much  left for us to do other than...well, die, or end up in a nursing home with a slowly eroding mind".

Connor opened his mouth to say something, but no words would come out. His thoughts were blank, and it took him a good 4 or 5 minutes just to say "D-do you know stupid that sounds? And Mom, you're going through with this too?".

"Sorry, but everything your father said applies to me as well," his mother said. "You, Sarah, and John don't really need us anymore. The world has been getting worse each day, and I can't really stand being away from your father, be it in life or death".

"....Are you people even listening to yourselves?", Connor yelled at the top of his lungs.

"Maybe we should talk about this inside," One of his parents suggested.

"We don't need to talk about anything!" Connor said, walking back to the bus stop. "If you're just going to kill yourselves without a second thought, then who am I to stop you?"

"Where are you going?" They shouted. Or maybe it was just one of them. Connor started tuning them out a bit after that last sentence.

So he waited for an hour at the bus stop until it came. On the trip back to his apartment, all these little, everyday conversations he's heard a thousand times before just seemed so morbid. He heard people placing bets on which celebrity would kill themselves first. He heard teenagers bragging over the phone about how they just got a permit and how they would decorate it.

If it isn't very obvious, Connor wasn't okay with his parents' planned..."departure". If anything, that little chat he had with them just made him want to try even harder to convince them otherwise. He did even more pacing around back at his apartment for hours before he got the idea that his older siblings would be able to help.
He pulled out his cellphone and began dialing a number.

The dial tone rang nine times before a woman's voice answered. "Hello?" it said.

"Sarah, do you know about-"

"Yes, I know about Mom and Dad", the voice replied harshly.

"Well, aren't you worried about them?", Connor asked.

"Of course I am, but it's not like I can do anything about it. I already tried talking them out of it, and I ended up getting some lecture about how 'They're no longer needed anymore', and how 'They can't go on living without the other one'".

"Well..... m-maybe you just didn't try hard enough. I mean....uh....Think about your kids! Do you want them to grow up without their grandparents?"

"Connor, don't even try pull that crap. I doubt that you even remember their names. Besides, why do you even care? You haven't spoken to them since you dropped out of college."

"I don't know. Maybe I'm concerned about their well-being because they're my parents?"

"And what about me? You don't think I care about whether they live or die? I want them to live just as much as you do. But there's nothing we can do to get them to change their minds. I know I've already tried".

Connor hit the "End Call" button on his phone. It was obvious that he was getting nowhere with Sarah, so maybe he'd have better luck with John. He went to his contacts list and pulled up John's number.

"Hello?" A nearly monotonous voice answered.

"Is this John?"

"Who is this?"

"This is Connor".

"Oh. Hello". There was a bit of an awkward pause, as Connor was waiting for John to say something else.

"Well, uh, have you heard about Mom & Dad?"

"Yup". There was another awkward pause.

"So....Have you thought about any ways we could get them to change their minds?"

"I don't see why we should", John replied almost immediately. 

Connor felt as if he had been punched in the gut after hearing that sentence. "B-but...Why?", he asked.

"Well, it's their decision, and we should at least respect it".

"I'm sorry, are you talking about our their thoughts of suicide?"

"Oh, were you talking about something else?"

Connor was at a loss for words. Not an "Oh my gosh, I'm so shocked" loss of words, but a "How do I get my point across to an idiot" kind of silence. "No, we weren't", he sighed. "So you don't care at all?"

"I did, at first. But then I figured it was hopeless, so I stopped. I think you kind of did the same thing when you were in college".

"Why does everybody keep bringing that up?"

"Connor, I'm a bit busy at the moment. Do you have anything important for me to hear?"

"You mean other than our parent's suicide?"

"I'll take that as a no".

The line went dead. Connor chucked his phone on the couch and then went to his room, thinking some sleep would help him come up with a better way to save his parents.

That did not work. Over the next few days, he barely left his bed. He felt overcome with a sense of depression and the feeling that nothing he does matters anymore. It doesn't, but nobody should feel like that.
He couldn't stop thinking about how he barely spoke to his parents, and how he did nothing but take money from them for the first part of his adult life. He wished he could change that. He wanted his relationship with his parents to at least end on a good note, even if the circumstances weren't so great.

He looked at his calender. They probably wouldn't be getting their permits until the next day, and God only knows when they were going to use them. Connor thought long and hard about what he was going to do next, and figured that things couldn't be worse than they are now. He jumped out of his bed, hopped onto the first purple bus he saw, ran the half-mile distance to his parent's house, and knocked on their door...

 

(Congratulations, you reached the end! Give yourself a pat on the back, and then feel free to complain about how much time you wasted reading this piece of shit!)

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...