This story was discovered by Tintin in an opium den in a miscellaneous country. It was smuggled out inside an elderly bearded man’s pipe. After many ill-fated adventures it ended up here, at “the sandwich”.
I hope it brings you joy and the world peace and fragrance.
I got these blue hands. Can’t help that. They’re not actually blue, mind you. That’s just what I call them.
I’m okay most days, really I am. Leaving the house and all, working. Got a girl. It’s coming along great, all things considered.
But sometimes it all swallows me up again. I don’t let anyone catch on, and no-one knows anything’s wrong.
I’m not depressed. Not the way you know it.
It comes over all sudden, a soul-crushing despair. I’m bearing it in my heart, a black weight. Me, some guy you’d never even notice in a crowd. Oh God, how it hurts in there.
I’ve got maybe minutes, seconds, before I surrender. And I know that when I finally give up, I’m gonna hurt myself.
I need someone, anyone. I see a someone, and oh how I love them in that moment. Just some stranger, some beautiful soul with merits and flaws. I’m a black lump of ice, and they’re warm and alive. I want to touch them, and for them to touch me, to tell me that I’m a nice boy and that everything’s alright now.
My hands grab for theirs, and sometimes I’ll grip their forearm, touch their cheek, tug at an earlobe. Sometimes they’ll wriggle free or slap at me, but mostly they’re stunned. That a stranger, a boy with a sad smile, some freaking idiot was audacious enough to invade their personal space.
And that’s all. Then I let go and walk away. I let my tears go but they’re just fat salty tears of relief, the bogeyman all gone, the weight of the moon lifted from me.
I never hang around to find out, but I see it in that moment, just how they’re going to do it. People who don’t have any reason for ending their lives, but they all do.
Because of my blue hands.
Jason Fischer is based in Adelaide, South Australia. He is a graduate of the 2007 Clarion South workshop, and a recent finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. His fiction has appeared in various e-zines and he has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again. He enjoys
stories with a local flavour, particularly anything with zombies or a post-apocalyptic setting, and can be found lurking in internetland at jasoni.livejournal.com