Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sittin' In: "How Many Tylenol Does It Take To Kill Myself?" by Samuel Snoek-Brown, as based on the song "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" by Elton John

I've got some big stuff brewing for Our Band Could Be Your Lit: a book. The idea was brought up around the same time that the idea for the project itself was invented, but more in a "Wouldn't that be rad if you this turned into a book?" Since then, I've pictured an Our Band Could Be Your Lit print version to be spread out over three volumes. Since the idea is to write one hundred short stories, the first volume would be the first third of those--thirty three stories--along with twenty two supplemental stories based on songs of my choosing. I've had someone at a small-but-dedicated publishing company solicit a manuscript from me, which means there has to be a manuscript to submit.

So, Samuel Snoek-Brown is one babysitting duty for the next month while I finish up a first draft of the manuscript. I'm sending him three songs each week and he's picking one of them to write a song about. This week he had a choice between "Limerick" by Bardo Pond, "Jack Pepsi" by TAD, and, the song he ended up choosing, "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" by Elton John. In his defense, he wanted to do "Limerick" but his ideas were too similar too his previous OBCBYL guest post, the story "Buzz" (As based on "Omens and Portents I - The Driver" by Earth). He also wanted to do the TAD song, but the narrative was already so complete. He thinks I set him up to do an Elton John song, but really, that song rules, so I don't feel bad at all. And you know what? The story he pulled from it is pretty great as well, so scroll down a bit and read it. I'll be back next week with more from Sam and an update on the manuscript. Let's rock.


How Many Tylenol Does It Take To Kill Myself?

Does it make a difference if they’re children’s chewable? I have half a box of those, maybe a dozen of the adult kind. And another bottle of wine – I’m pouring the last of this one now. I say bottle. Does it matter that it’s actually a box?

She’s screaming again. She’s so damned small, the size of a carnival prize, but all those sounds she can make in the night, all that volume. Christ. Thirty minutes ago I went downstairs and unfolded the hide-a-bed, flipped the mattress up against her closed door, tried to stack the couch cushions after it but they kept falling down. I can still hear her.

If the police come, maybe they’ll find me in time. Maybe I’ll be curled up in a ball, a chrysalis in my own sweat and vomit. Pupating. Isn’t that the word? I don’t much like the image, wouldn’t want to be found that way. But it’s the only way I have left to be.

Barbara knew what she was doing. She got one look at our tiny daughter, a moment in the arms, and then she slipped away, peaceful as you please. Transformed and fluttering free from all this. I lose my wife but I still get the girl. It’s not a happy ending.

What in hell does she want? It sure isn’t sleep. I have nothing left to feed her. I changed her diaper an hour ago, and if she needs it changed again I’ll have to move the mattress from her door.

If I had beer instead of wine, maybe I’d have a clearer head.

It’s three AM. I shake the box and think I might have half the wine left. It won’t be enough. I could go outside and just leave her in that downstairs room, screaming till all her air is gone. I could just leave everything, tuck the box under my arm and swagger into the night, free as Barbara, fly away. But for a long time I can’t seem to stand up, my ass heavier than my legs. I lean over in my chair for fifteen, twenty minutes, all the blood in my face, until I manage to tilt forward far enough that I come up out of the chair and I’m standing, but I’m trapped in the middle of the room. I try to reach for the doorknob but my arms are heavier than my ass, too. I just stand there, the cries echoing and surrounding me, my body so dense I’ve achieved my own gravity, my heart the heaviest part of me and the air revolving with her voice. It’s the only sound I have left.

In the corner of my office I have a stereo, an old component system with stacks of black-and-chrome equipment. I grab one of Barbara’s cds from the wall and drop it in the disc tray. I can’t hear it eject or retract; I can only hear the cries. I turn up the volume. Now it’s four am. I can’t find the children’s Tylenol. I think I kicked them under the desk. There are maybe a dozen of the adult kind. I take four. I turn the music up. Louder, higher, play it again. Shuffle, repeat, that same chorus, over and over, and I can’t tell anymore which is his voice and which is hers.



Elton John is a musician who really had his shit together in the first half of the 70s, but has now become known pretty much as a flamboyantly homosexual man who writes songs about Princess Diana, lions, and rock star assholes in Cameron Crowe films.

Samuel Snoek-Brown's scribblings, thought patterns, and flat-out scatterbrained ideas can be followed at his website, including his blog, Beginner's Mind.

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Next week: More from Sam, as he chooses between "Potted Plant" by Cast Spells, "Broken Hearts Are For Assholes" by Frank Zappa, and "Micha (Those Who Fear Tomorrow)" by Integrity.

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