Las Vegas, Nevada. December 13th, 1972
It’s been almost three weeks since Doctor Ferdinand Destouches had quit his practice and decided on this from of suicide. He had saved the money needed for the past five years, but most of it’s gone now. The deluxe suite at the Riviera isn’t cheap, not even back in 1972.
Doctor Destouches fought in World War I, in a French artillery unit. He lost his faith in god and humanity in the muddy trenches in the Battle of the Somme. Three million people fought, a million died or were badly wounded. He watched as officers and the upper class played with men’s lives, and they didn’t care if it was their own countrymen’s or the enemy. As the years have piled on top of him, political leaders have abused the peoples’ trust, wars kept happening, and society has turned into a cesspool.
Looking at him right now, an elderly man sitting on the edge of a hotel bed, slumped and on the verge of tears, you might want to pity the old guy, but please don’t feel too sorry for him. He’s a antisemetic asshole.
He sits at the foot of the hotel bed in nothing but his white boxer shorts while the record player in the corner of the room softly plays Josephine Baker, “J’ai Deux Amours.” Ferdinand slouches like a man who’s given up completely, his long gray bangs hang in his face. Completely motionless, he stares into the lime green curtains with aged eyes, every line and crack on his face earned. He stares and stares, trying to make the lime green curtains his entire universe. He wants nothing else to exist. He wants the outside world to fade away.
There’s a motion behind him. One of the prostitutes moves behind him. There are two: one male, one female. He doesn’t give it any attention. With all the drugs. alcohol and prolonged debauchery, they’ll sleep for at least another day.
His unfocused eyes are still lost in the folds of the curtains. Somewhere in the back of his head, he hopes these are his last moments on Earth. There’s a system he came up with, a seven day suicide ritual. On the first day he gambles, screams obscenities at minorities, and lies to everyone he meets. On the second day he buys enough street drugs for the rest of the week. On the third day he picks a fight with a complete stranger. This is harder than it sounds. Most people don’t want to hurt an old man. On the fourth day he hires a prostitute of each gender, and he really tests their limits with the acts he demands of them. This lasts until the seventh day, the Sabbath. On the seventh day… Well, that’s where we find him now, sitting on the edge of the bed in his white boxer shorts with a Colt Cobra .38 Special, six shot revolver, in his left hand.
It’s time for the endgame. The thought of a Frenchman playing Russian Roulette in Vegas makes him chuckle.
A cat jumps on a chair to his right, breaking him out of his green trance. It stares at him with big yellow eyes.
“Latin, Bebert,” he whispers to the cat, “every physician worth his salt should speak Latin… that way when a pesk comes to him with their eternal whines and aches the physician can make up anything… as long as he says it in Latin, the stinkers will think he is wise and therefore correct… Deus ex machina.”
Bebert licks his paw.
“Sinister,” Ferdinand licks his lips. “It comes from the Latin word sinistra, which means left, as in left or under handed… it is time Bebert… I must proceed with our sinister purpose.”
Bebert’s big yellow eyes look up in surprise when Ferdinand flicks his left wrist and pops the gun’s cylinder out. She continues to watch him as he produces three shiny brass bullets.
“Now our odds increase to fifty percent… up from thirty three… I don’t mind saying that I hope fate is kind this time… I do not know if I have enough money for a third week.”
Bebert rubs his head on the back of the chair to scratch an itch.
“If we have to go the full six weeks we may find ourselves destitute.”
Ferdinand laughs a little but stops when one of the prostitutes behind him stirs. He lowers the gun out of sight and turns his head to look at her. She falls back to peaceful sleep.
Ferdinand straightens his posture, spins the cylinder, and raises the gun to his left temple.
You feel more than the cold metal barrel when you put a gun to your head. You feel everything: the temperature of the room, the mechanics of your own heart, you feel the beads of sweat balloon then trickle down your cheek. You feel the air on your tongue when you inhale. You can even feel things outside your five senses. Suddenly you feel your very surroundings and the energy they give off. You can feel the height of the sky, the hopelessness of an endless march of time, and you can feel how lime green can fill the entire universe.
The pistol stays at his temple for a few seconds more. The expression on his face remains emotionless. Then, he drops his left hand to his lap and looks at Bebert. “What do you say we move to another hotel? The curtains here are abysmal.”