What If I Jump?

“What if I jump?”

“Then you die.”

There was no discernable emotion in his voice. He simply stated a fact.

“You’re not very good at this.”

“Well you’re not dead yet so I can’t be that bad.”

If her toes were not hanging over the edge she might have laughed. She watched as he pulled a pack of cigarettes from a pocket inside his coat. He tipped it up and looked into the opening. With the gentleness of a surgeon he extracted a single death stick and placed it between his lips.

“You’re not even gonna offer me one?”

“I still don’t know if you plan on painting the sidewalk red. I only got two left and I don’t want to risk wasting one.”

“Is this your first time doing this or something!?”

“Naw. I done it once before.”

“Oh yeah? How’d that turn out?”

“I guess that depends on who you ask.”

“You are so weird.”

“You any good at English?”

“What?”

“I’m trying to think of words that rhyme with sponge. All I got so far is plunge and grunge.”

“What about lunge?”

“LUNGE! How did I not think of lunge?”

“What the hell man! Is that what you’ve been thinking about this whole time? You think just because I thought of a word that rhymed with sponge my life is suddenly worth living!?”

“Nope. That would be a ridiculous scale on which to judge the value of a life.”

“That’s it! I’m jumping!”

“No you’re not.”

“Watch me.”

“Watch you stand there? That’s boring.”

“Is this some kind of reverse psychology? Do you think I’m that stupid?”

“No. You thought of lunge.”

“Ugh! You are really pissing me off man!”

“I was simply saying that people don’t say they are going to jump. If they really wanted to jump they would just jump.”

“How the hell would you know?”

“You’re not a very good listener are ya? I told you. I done this once before.”

“What kind of person goes around trying to talk people out of killing themselves?”

“Who said I was here to talk you out of it?”

“Then why are you here!?”

“To ask you three questions.”

“What happens after those?”

“I leave.”

“Just like that? You don’t try to stop me?”

“Nope. I just leave.”

“Well go ahead. Ask.”

“Are you happy?”

“You really must be stupid! If I were happy would I be ready to through myself off a roof?”

“Do you think throwing yourself off will suddenly make you happy?”

“No. But it will stop the pain.”

“Ha!”

“Don’t laugh at me! You don’t feel pain once your dead.”

“When your body dies, it doesn’t change the condition of your soul. Jumping won’t solve your problem. It will only take away the opportunity for you to find peace.”

“That sounds like a nice theory.”

“It’s not a theory.”

His facial expression never changed, but for the first time he look up met her eyes. In that moment it felt as if her blood had been turned into ice water.

“What’s your third question?”

“Who won the World Series last year?”

“I… You are the weirdest person I have ever met.”

“Just answer the question.”

“Uh… The Yankees I think.”

“Damn.”

“So you’re leaving now?”

“That was the deal. But I gotta admit, I will be sad to go. You are beautiful deep down.”

“How do I know if anything you’ve said is true?”

His eyes never left hers as he stepped onto the ledge next to her.

“I told you. I done this once before.”

He leapt off the edge with the grace of an eagle. Before a scream could escape her lips he had vanished.

Copyright © 2011 Adam Drake

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7 comments

  1. I so did not expect that ending! Brilliant! I look forward to reading more of your stories.
    One question, are you given prompts? If so, where do you get them?
    Thanks!

  2. The first few sentences really drew me in. I love this piece of work. There is a lot of depth to this piece which will have me revisit this. I also enjoy the vagueness. I would suggest that you take it a step further and eliminate gender (unless it has symbolic meaning.).

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