ok i’m still going through MY PERSONAL ARCHIVES, and i found the first draft of my novel (lol), which is something like 100k words of humiliating self-incriminating nonsense. there’s a chapter called A STAY OF EXECUTION and it’s about, uh, deciding to commit suicide while reading in a bathtub. i was 23 at the time and living alone in an unloved wasteland in north baltimore.
thank god i never published this thing. see here:
It rained every day for fifteen days after I returned home from New Orleans. During that time I didn’t leave my apartment complex once. My internal schedule became scattered as hell. I collapsed in the middle of my living room every morning at six AM and woke late in the evening to freezing rain and total darkness.
One evening, after having been awake for a half hour, I took a bath with the bathroom door wide open, which is a secret luxury of living alone. I thought that maybe I would start planning my own death, which I would accomplish with carbon monoxide.
Because I had hardly anything else to do, I had been reading about my hero John Kennedy Toole, and how he had iced himself the very same way. Toole, who was by all rights a saint and a genius, had written a novel that he knew to be good, but that no one wanted anything to do with. Towards the end of his life, he gained weight and became slovenly. He started drinking heavily and seldom left his house. On top of that, he became too sad to live anymore. So he drove to California, and then to Georgia to visit the home of his hero, Flannery O’Connor. On his way back to New Orleans, he parked somewhere in Biloxi, Mississippi, and gassed himself to death by running a garden hose from the tailpipe of his car through the window. His mother later destroyed his suicide note.
I decided in the bathtub, on the loneliest day I had ever been alive, that I was through being a slave to gravity. I was through with my role as a tube of chemicals which functioned at 98.6-degrees Fahrenheit. I would, I decided too, follow Toole’s path to permanent self-destruction: I would begin my own doom-tour of the United States: I would visit every major city I could, and then, when I was finished, drift away into a chemical dream and let the angels take me home.
All I needed was some money.
and how was i going to make money?? by ingesting experimental medications for a japanese pharmaceutical company of course!! i ended up in a research study where I drank gallons of what has come to be known as “The Power Cleanse”, which contains, what, green tea and honey and cayenne pepper and shit like that. i had zero reaction to it. in fact it tasted pretty good and it was the easiest money i ever made. see, this company paid me $1,300 a weekend for three weeks to drink that stuff, and i really did plan to use all that money to die on purpose.
a little ways on, when i enter the hospital:
We got to the end of the hall. Princess waved me into a small corner room that had two beds in it. “You lucky,” said Princess. “You only got one roommate. Everybody else got four, five, six roommates.”
“I guess my luck depends on how shitty my roommate is, though,” I said.
“Mmm. Yeah. True,” said Princess. She walked over to the bedside table that belonged to my roommate. He had already checked in. God only knew where he was. “Here’s his stuff,” she said. “If you quick enough, maybe you can figure out if you’ll like the dude or not.” She smiled and walked out of the room.
The drawers of my roommate’s bedside table were pulled open. It was obvious they were full of bullshit. His possessions, as far as I could tell, consisted of a 20-year-old cassette player, a journal, a plastic jug full of gummy bears, an empty milk carton, a blank envelope that was stuffed with clipped coupons, and a book called ‘Debt Cures’.
I walked over to my bed and curled up underneath the blanket. I pulled a pillow from under my head and cradled it to my chest. I was genuinely afraid that my roommate was the most boring psychopath on the planet.
that guy did end up being a psycho, by the way. his name was eugene and was a self-described michael jackson impersonator, despite not being able to sing or dance, and having absolutely no resemblance to michael jackson. he tried to rope me into some sort of scheme where i would, uh, be his manager or something, and we’d tour japan together ripping everyone off in the process. maybe he got that from a chapter in ‘debt cures’ (lol)
anyway: i think the saddest part of reading this stuff is seeing how little i’ve developed as person in the seven-year interim. whoops!!! well i’m being dramatic, but yeah, there sure is a whole lot of present-day ryan in this. oh well
uh. should i post some more? i probably shouldn’t. i probably will though. stick around i guess