Blackberry Jam

Ben confides to his friend Ash that he plans to commit suicide. The two are in a neighborhood bar that they almost never frequent. They have a lengthy detailed conversation about methods and timing. Ash says his preferred method would be a pitcher of margaritas, a warm blanket, and a commercial walk-in freezer. He’d die happily drunk and they’d find him frozen the next morning.

It’s too rainy for margaritas, so Ash orders another whiskey sour.

Ben says this kind of outlook proves that Ash would never do it. Too focused on avoiding pain, when the pain comes from just living every day after day after day after day. Ben says he doesn’t care how it’s done, just that it’s over. He is so so so tired. He wants peace, he says. So any method, really, would do. However, he adds, he’s not down with ending up as a vegetable.

A gun, Ash says.

Whatever, says Ben.

Overdose, Ash says.

Sure, says Ben.

Jumping off a bridge, Ash says.

That’s good. But seriously, whatever.

Hari kari, says Ash.

Too messy, Ben says.

Ash suggests that if Ben is committed to doing it, he might get down to final matters. They engage in a long inconclusive discussion about wills and other legal death instruments.

Lawyers, Ben says. What do I got that I need to worry about? Ash, in the event of my death, you get my car and its transmission problem. There.

Thanks, Ash says. Can I have your laptop?

Sure, Ben says. No, that better go to my little brother. He’s just starting college. Can you delete all my shit off it first for me?

Sure, Ash says.

Ben scratches at a blob of varnish on the scared bar top. Other people have scratched at it before. Ash watches a delivery guy with a hand truck on the drizzly street outside.

Ben says he wants to swim in warm ocean water once more before he dies. That’s his final wish.

Not sex? Ash asks.

No, warm ocean water surging around me one last time. Okay, he adds. Sex would be nice too.

Ash says he’d like to have a big sushi dinner before he dies. With sake. All his friends.

Ben thinks for a bit, his eyes fixed on the mirror over the bar. He says he’d like to see West Side Story one more time.

Ash says he’d like to see Rear Window.

Vertigo, says Ben.

Eggplant Parmesan, says Ash.

Not just sex, says Ben. Really good sex. Really good, really open, really mindblowing sex.

With a sweet, wild woman, Ben adds.

A beautiful woman, Ash says.

Yeah, a beautiful woman, says Ben.

Not a beautiful dude? Ash asks.

Hmm, Ben thinks about it. No. Too awkward and fumbly. For me.

Too sausage party.

No, Ben says. I’m kinda down. But I’d be an idiot. Too shy, too stupid. Ben says. Homo-amateur.

Ben raises his beer glass to the bartender who silently gets him another.

Strong coffee at sunrise, Ash says.

Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, says Ben

Re-reading Grapes of Wrath, says Ash.

So sad, says Ben.

Uplifting at the end, says Ash.

Sorta, says Ben, Preacher Casey’s dead. Driving a car through the desert.

A sports car. A fast car, says Ash.

Any car, says Ben. The windows rolled down. AM radio on. Warm wind on my face.

Why do you wanna do this? Ash asks.

Exhausted, says Ben. Tired of trying. Tired of the phonies. Can’t bring myself to get up and run with the rest of the rats.

Fuck it, Ash says and lifts his glass like a toast.

Fuck it, Ben lifts his glass.

My Nanna’s blackberry jam, Ash says.

Ah, I’ve had that. Your grandma’s blackberry jam. Homemade. Fucking amazing. Like a wack in the head with the flavor bat. It always reminds me of eating a handful of blackberries right off the brambles along Bear Creek with my grandpa when I was a kid.

Ben’s eyes mist over. You still have any?

No, but Nanna made a batch in August and is sending a jar at Christmas, Ash says. Nanna’s blackberry jam.

I want some of that, some of your Nanna’s blackberry jam before I go, Ben says.


1 Response to 'Blackberry Jam'

  1. Unknown'> December 2, 2009 at 2:58 PM

    Nice post and cool that you are on Blogger now. I love Blogger...


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