It was February 10th, it was 12 degrees outside, the fucking wind was howling and Jack felt it all slipping away.
Figures it would happen in February. February sucked; it was a nothing month. January held out false promise for change and March held out false promise for warmth but at least they put a ripple out into the universe.
February did nothing but stand up and say "Hey, it is fucking cold outside so deal with it. You got no hope and no future; cover up with another goddamn blanket and shut the hell up."
The Allman Brothers were playing, rather loudly, on Jack's ipod machine. He was glad to have them sound tracking this moment because they had been the soundtrack of his life.
One of the very few things he could count on, for almost fifty years now, to take him away to a spiritual place, a place that meant something to him, a place he could understand.
Nothing else made sense.
His life had devolved to a point of total incomprehension. It was a work of fiction, no different than the thousands of novels he had read in his lifetime.
Jack supposed there was some truth to his life at some point but he could not remember what that felt like or even if he had ever recognized it as such. What he could remember was nothingness; madness, absurdity, a sense of watching his life unfold as if he were watching an embarrassingly low budget movie.
The feeling was so intensely foreign that Jack lived in perpetual anxiety. He did not know how to relax; he did not know how to enjoy himself.
There was no peace.
Jack blew off work on February 10th. Fuck work. He had not worked one goddamn job in his life that meant anything to him. Every one of those fucking obligations stripped him of his soul and reduced him to a fraction of the man he truly was.
He started in on the whiskey around 8:00 that morning, shortly after his wife left for work. And he sat with his father's knife.
He had found this knife under the seat of his father's Cadillac; the Cadillac Jack inherited when his father died.
It was a vicious weapon. Insanely sharp with a killer point; serrated up top to inflict maximum damage.
He didn't know what compelled him to grab the knife from the cupboard it was displayed in; he hadn't touched the damn thing in a decade.
Today, somehow, it comforted him.
He drank, he reflected on a wasted life, and when he got too agitated he got up and walked around flashing the knife as if he could kill his reality.
Sometime around noon, Jack was dancing around the kitchen to The Allman Brothers when he slipped and fell, driving the knife right up inside his gut.
He wasn't sure exactly what kind of damage he had done but he was quite sure that it was serious.
He dragged himself over to the counter and sat with his back to the dishwasher. He left the knife right where it was and abstractedly watched the blood flow over his legs and onto the floor.
The pain was horrific but no harder to bear than the pain of the life he had pissed away, day after endless day.
Jack was surprised at how slowly his life leaked away but he was happy to sneak in three or four more songs.
He smiled and shook his head. What a strange way to go. Bleeding out from a self inflicted wound, a goddamn accident, not even suicide, as his cats lapped up the blood.
"No One To Run With" dialed up, a song Jack considered his theme song for the last 20 years or so. He fucking loved the song. Tried to sing along but the pain came in waves as his vision blurred.
It occurred to him there would be a hell of a lot of gruesome clean up when his wife got home, but it wasn't his problem. He really didn't fucking care.
His head fell to his chest and his cats contentedly returned to their cushy beds over the heating vent.
The February wind roared as Jack found his peace.