SHORT STORY: Death Goes To The Winner

SHORT STORY: Death Goes To The Winner

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It’s disgusting and weird and cynical how we started calling it National Forgiveness Day

December 23rd, the day before the day before Christmas. What a friend of mine used to call Christmas Eve Eve. Not anymore. Now it’s our day of unbridled hatchet burying. Every year, any hatchet going. 

I don’t think the early years were so bad. It wasn’t as sentimental back then. It struck just the right tone: serious, but not too serious. The Government released those detonation plans for Building 7 and the public uproar seems almost quaint now. If you cast your mind back, it didn’t even spoil Christmas. We had a few days of media panic and then the best boxing day sales ever as we hosed ourselves down with alcohol and spree-shopping. We raged hard, but our anger evaporated like a winter fad. That was the unofficial beginning. 

It was the year with Monsitor that cemented it. They had their books hacked open. The company killed a bunch of retirees out in the Midwest, throat cancer, the lot of them, all from faulty disposable cups. So that made the news and then a month later Kurt Cobain was right there on CNN, walking around, waving at us, alive and in the flesh. The authorities wanted to indict him, but we weren’t having it. We all shook our fists and forgave Kurt. We petitioned and protested. The charges were dropped, and it fanned out like a brush fire from there. The very next week, Monsitor asked for forgiveness and they got it, too. Then hours later it was EXXONN, the 2008 Wall Street guys, the Wagner family, Roman Polanski, all the big dominos started falling. The higher-ups recognised an opportunity when they saw one. National Forgiveness Day was born, December 23rd, public holiday. 

The rest of it bores me. No one cares after the Moon Landing Address anyhow. There was no up and down, no north and south, after that. Ever since, it’s just another holiday. Some years it’s surprising and some years it’s funny, but most of the time it’s mundane and corporate.

And I wouldn’t mention it, wouldn’t bring it up at all, except I know something is coming now and it’s big. This is something I’ve done. Something requiring every ounce of forgiveness you have left, if you have any left at all after years of this messed up holiday.

I’m not going to go into detail. All the files are logged down here in the bunker with me, and it doesn’t matter anyhow. Just know that I’m sorry. When the time comes, tell everyone how sorry I was. I didn’t mean to let all this out into the world, to make another problem, the last problem. If another National Forgiveness Day rolls around, if we all live that long and the sun comes up, just think of me. You all need to know I was real, and I was here. I was never the man in the high castle. Guilty, yes, but never in hiding. I’m going to spend my last days working. I’ll be trying to fix what I’ve done right until the very end.

Which brings me to the point. My work of mine is a penance, but you’re free. 

You’re all so free. 

The world is ending. These are your last days. So you’re not free for long, but still freer than you’ve ever been before.

You’re the last people of a dying world. 

Tell your friends and family that you love them.

Look at the sun. Walk in the forest.

Listen to your favourite songs.

And then swim in your neighbour’s pool or seduce his wife or husband.

Take that drug you miss the most.

Go to church. 

Kill someone you hate.

It’s your choice. 

Do whatever you need to do.

Because that’s all that’s left now.

This is the end of all stories.


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