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Authors: Amanda Filipacchi

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BOOK: Nude Men
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“Take these,” I say, “and write your will the way you want it: the clapper at your grave forever, if that’s still what you want.” Because after ad, I think she should be allowed to write her will before she drowns. It’s just common courtesy.

She looks at me with surprise and says, “Why now?”

“Because it has to be written and signed by you. I don’t think they’d believe me if I just told them, without your signature.”

“But why

“Because you were right. It’s best not to wait,” I ted her through the mask. “You’ll feel more at peace if you get it off your chest. You’ll be more relaxed, our promenade will be more carefree.”

So she writes whatever she wants on the piece of paper and hands it to me. It says: “I want my fortune to be spent on everything that was written in the
National Enquirer:
clapper at my grave forever or until money runs out, shifts allowed, etc.” Her signature is at the bottom.

I fold the paper, tuck it in my pocket, and we go on our walk. I must find a place to drown her. A place with lots of people. Some sort of event. An event that attracts large crowds. A concert would be perfect.

Eventually we come upon an outdoor circus. That will do. It’s very crowded. The people are standing, watching, and clapping at the show. I bring Laura to the edge of the clapping crowd, and I watch her sink, becoming engulfed in the sea of clap ter. She looks at me with confusion, but the people soon close in on her. She tries to hang on to me, to my clothes, but I don’t help her. The crowd is clapping at the circus, not at her. She sinks into a sea of anonymous clapter. She is submerged in someone else’s success. I gaze at her through the eyes of the Mickey Mouse mask, and I am comforted that she cannot see the blank expression on my face as I watch her sink.


n the way back to New York, I feel much better and saner. My mind is cleared.

I know I’m going to have to face people when I get back. I dread having to face them. They will still clap at Laura. They will clap at her death. They will ask me, “How did she do that death trick? Is there any chance you might ever reveal how she did that death trick? How subtle. Ah! The naïveté of it, the deceptive simplicity of it! The vocabulary is rich, and the language, my goodness, the language is sublime. She is a genius, her choice of tricks is superb, exquisite. I
the way she deaths! I mean, the way she dies.”

When the plane lands, I go to Lady Henrietta’s apartment. She is ecstatic to see me, as I knew she would be.

She says, “When you were away, I realized why it was so important for me to be with you. The memory of Sara can be preserved more vividly between us. I can’t be with anyone else, or it would be like abandoning Sara. But between us, she will live.”

I hug her.

“Where’s Laura?” she asks.

“They loved her to death. She drowned in success.” I avoid specifying that it wasn’t her own success.

I tell Henrietta I want to take her out to dinner. She says she needs a minute to change and goes into her room.

While I wait, I spot on a low table by the couch a magazine with a totally black cover and a white title:
Under the title: “The Cheer-up Magazine for Every Man or Woman Who’s Ever Thought of Committing It.”

I open the magazine and read an advertisement at random:


Do you come out of Disneyland feeling depressed?

Wanting to jump off the roller coaster?

Or to kick the giant mouse in the balls?

Having trouble enjoying even the simplest pleasures in life?

You need to put your life in perspective. We can do it for you. Come visit us at DEATHLAND, where we offer high-quality suffering. Your petty problems will evaporate in seconds. Your bigger problems will disappear in hours. The death of a loved one will be forgotten in a day.

(We guarantee that our simulations are as effective as the real thing, or your money back!)

To receive your free brochure and sample meal kit, simply call:




The world isn’t as I thought it was.

As I keep waiting for Henrietta to get ready, I absentmindedly glance around the room, and I am astonished to see in a corner, next to the hateful painting of me and Sara, a large painting of Tommy, nude.

When Henrietta comes back out and sees me staring at the painting, she says, “Oh, yes. Tommy got in touch with me through your mother, because he was so upset to have been the indirect cause of Sara’s death. He wanted to talk to me and offer help if I needed it.”

“Why did you paint him?” I ask.

She takes the suicide magazine from my hands, dips through it, and says, “Because I read an article in here that said that to get over a tragedy, it can be helpful to make a picture of the person who is responsible and then tear it up, or cross it out, or burn it, or stab it, or harm it somehow. I wanted to try, so Tommy agreed to pose for me.” She hands me the magazine, opened to a page with an article entitled: “A Healthy Mixture of Voodoo and Art Therapy Will Kid Those Suicide Blues.”

I look at the painting of Tommy. It is not damaged in any way, but there
a big kitchen knife lying next to it on the door. “When are you going to damage it?” I ask.

“I don’t know. I’ve lost interest. It now seems pointless and trite. I doubt it would make me feel better, especially since there was no hope of Sara recovering from her illness. She was going to die anyway, so the car accident didn’t make much difference did it?”

I pick up the knife and hesitate a moment before placing it in her hand. I close her fingers over the handle.

“There was hope.”





chapter two











Table of Contents

chapter one

chapter two

chapter three

chapter four

chapter five

chapter six

chapter seven

chapter eight

chapter nine

chapter ten

chapter eleven

BOOK: Nude Men
4.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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