This is the first in a series where I write about the more extreme solutions to people’s modern problems.
There was only the sound of water running. Nicola stared up at the ceiling and sobbed a little. By her side, Francis sat cross-legged with a notebook perched on his knee. He was drawing how she would look without her bra on, smiling slightly to himself. She was quite beautiful to look at and had a splendid body, but her voice! It made Francis want to rip his own skin off so his screams would drown her out. Oh, and her language; her continued use of the phrase “y’know”; every t replaced by an f; the occasional “innit”. It was sending Francis bonkers.
“So tell me again,” he said, “why do you feel depressed?”
“I think about how my life is so awful, and how all my dreams have gone unrealised, and that others are doing so much better than me, y’know?” A tear rolled down her cheek; Francis drew a cock next to her left tit, then rubbed it out and drew two cocks. “No-one loves me, no-one cares. Even my children don’t like me! I have so many problems.”
“Hmm,” said Francis, “Although I don’t want to make light of your issues, try to consider the people in war-torn countries that face torture and misery every day.”
“Yeah,” she replied, “and they don’t know how good they’ve got it compared with me. I had to drink water without any squash this morning. Water! I hate the taste of water.”
Francis stared at her for a few unbelieving seconds, then reluctantly continued. “Why do you think you feel depressed about your life Nicola?”
“I don’t know!” Francis knew; she was simply an alcoholic idiot that had jumped on too many dicks too quickly, spawned a load of bastard kids and then life caught up with her. Such a shame; as soon as she tottered through his door, Francis had immediately thought about asking her out until he’d spoken to her for five minutes. Now, he just wanted this therapy session to end so he could sooth his ears.
“So tell me about the incident three weeks ago, when you went to hospital.”
“Well, I went out and came back –“
“Where did you go out to?” asked Francis, drawing a detailed cock next to her mouth. That would be good he thought, if only for the silence it would bring.
“Just to the pub, and a few clubs, y’know.”
“What time did you come back home?”
“About five. Well, I gets in, right, and then my kids start playing up -”
“Did you wake your kids up?”
“Not really.” She sniffed. “I was just playing a bit of music, y’know…” Francis could see her trying to justify playing music at five in the morning, but because she was a moron they sat in silence for a few minutes. “…because I have problems sleeping in silence,” she managed at last. “Anyway, my kids came down for some reason and I just lost it!”
“Could it be the drinking? Maybe we can prohibit you from drinking for a few months?”
“Oh no, it’s not that. Definitely not drink. I’d only had a couple. In fact, I didn’t even drink that night.” Her face was sombre, feigning desperate honesty. Francis nodded and made a note about her alcoholism. “So then I thought about how everyone’s always having a go at me, innit, and next thing I know, I’m taking a knife to my arms!”
“Can I ask something? How many times do you go out drink – er, socialising?”
“I told you,” she snapped, “my problem isn’t drink!”
“I’m not asking about that, replied Francis, adding yet another cock.
“Erm,” she thought of the answer and divided by half. “Twice a week?”
Four times then. “And you don’t work, so how do you afford to go out so often?”
“I save up my benefit money,” she answered, suspiciously. “Why?”
Francis sighed. She made it sound like it was OK to go drinking at the expense of her children’s welfare. He made another note. “Do you think the self harming is a cry for help, Nicola?”
“Nah, I really want to die. I’ve tried several times now, innit.” She rolled up her sleeves proudly; her arms showed the criss-cross of scars. In some cases, self-harm was a medical condition, but in this case, it was a girl wanting to have some attention. Well, so be it. Francis knew how to handle this.
He finished off the obscene picture and closed his book, then leaned in close to Nicola. “I can help you.”
“Great!” She settled back in the couch. “Just give me some pills and I’ll be on my way. Will I get more disability benefit as well?”
“No, I mean I can help you.” He opened a drawer and carefully pulled out a huge shiny Magnum handgun. “I’ve helped several people who want to die. You see, your problem is that you want to die but are too afraid to go through with it. My problem is that I love killing people, but feel guilty about taking the lives of those who want to live. I think we can make a mutually-beneficial agreement, yes?”
She stared at the gun as he loaded the chambers with bullets, the tiny clicks of metal sliding home. “Um…” she said slowly, “I think I just need some medication and I’ll be fine…”
“Nonsense!” He snapped the cylinder closed. “You said yourself – it’s not a cry for help. You showed me your arms! No-one would pretend to try and kill themselves, would they?” He leaned forward. “Unless you were actually doing all this as a way to scam money out of the state. My God, imagine the amount of time and money you would have wasted by acting out several attempts at suicide!” He shook his head. “I think I’d have to kill anyone who I found doing that. What an evil thing to do just to avoid a day’s work. Anyway, where were we? Oh yes!” He pointed the loaded gun at her face. “I’ll tell everyone that you must have found my handgun and shot yourself. There’s no shame in that. Are you ready?”
“No!” She screamed and backed off the couch.
“No? But only a few weeks ago, you were opening up the veins in your arms, trying to die! This way, you get your wish and I get mine! Come on, let me shoot you! If it helps,” he didn’t have to lie for this bit, “I find you absolutely repulsive and want to kill you?”
“No! Please! I don’t want to die! I was just making it all up!”
“Good,” he replaced the handgun and pressed a button. The far wall slid away to reveal all of her friends, her family, even her children. They were flanked by two policeman.
Francis sat back, pleased. “Now who wants to talk to Nicola first?”