Forever in a Moment
How do you die with dignity? Or is dignity less important at the end of one’s life? Maybe it’s better to die with love or contentment or even the satisfaction of having accomplished something. Is it worth spending my final moments wondering about the way I’m perceived? Or am I just trying to die the way I lived?
Fifteen and a half seconds. That’s how long I have to figure out my last words, my expression, my mood at the end of it all. Only a fourth of a minute will determine the way I am remembered for eternity. Although I know I won’t be remembered for eternity. The odds of anyone finding my body anytime soon in the back of this grocery store stock room are minuscule, and the odds of anyone noticing I’m gone are even less. And then it doesn’t help that his face looks so ratty. My focus is struggling to maintain itself before such a dirt-ridden smirk, and even more so I cannot stand his penetrating gaze. He looks through me as if I’m already dead, with his firearm pressed firmly against my forehead. I hate him with every fiber of my being, although I’ve known him for less than a minute. All I know is that he wants me dead. That’s when I realized the one thing I always remember when I see this sort of thing in movies—I should be scared.
Why am I not scared? I’m angry, sad, and nostalgic, but no part of me is scared. Maybe this isn’t it? No, it must be. There’s no possible way I could get out of this.
Wait… I haven’t said anything yet. How have I not responded to this at all? What should I say? Do I save my pride or do I try to survive even though it might be futile? I only have about nine seconds left, maybe I can extend that a little bit if I say something clever.
“Where’d you get the gun?” That was what I came up with? Am I stupid? How is that gonna help at all? What is the point of thinking this quickly if the result is idiocy?
“The prop store,” he lowered the gun and started to laugh.
The manager peaked into the stock room visibly annoyed.
“Hey, is that you again, Johnny? Are you harassing the new hire already? He just started this morning.”
Johnny dropped the fake gun and scrambled out of the room.
“Sorry man,” the manager sighed, “Johnny is homeless, he breaks in here and does that from time to time. Anyway, if you’ll follow me I’ll show you how we sanitize the bathrooms.”