sometimes it’s easier to kill somebody else

I was never a very good suicide, I gave it a go now and
then but something always seemed to go
the time I was living on Kingsley Drive and working for
the post office I decided to have another go
at it:
I swigged down a 6-pack and then prepared the
I was living on the 3rd floor of an apartment house and
it was a fine sunny afternoon
and as an old suicide-pro I knew what to do:
I taped the cracks around the door, jammed newspapers
under the door, closed all the windows, turned on the
oven and all the jets on the stove and also started up the
gas heater.
I found the last beer in the refrigerator, cracked it, went
to bed, sat up against the pillow and worked at the
beer, finished it, then I
stretched out, flat on my back, closed my
the hissing sound of the unlit gas was not un-
pleasant; waiting there I had no regrets at leaving, although
I did consider that death might be worse than life, outside
of that there wasn’t much thought, the main one
this is very strange, there is no

I listened to the hissing and then I passed into another
area: I could still hear the hissing but all about me
mostly inside of my head, my brain, my skull, whatever, was
this dark steady
blackness; it was a very non-threatening
then that
and there was
nothing; I have no idea how long that
at once! I jack-knifed, sat up in the
bed:    a steel band was fastened around my head
just above the eyes
the steel ring ran around my head

I reached up and tried to pull the ring
away, then I started laughing. I got up
still laughing
opened the windows
stopped laughing
shut off the jets
the stove
everything, sat back down upon the
edge of the bed, had the worst headache
of my life
and then
at once
it vanished
just an easy pumping at the

so, I sat and thought, maybe I’m
now brain-damaged, well, that’s
all right.

I decided upon a couple of 6-
being clothed, all I had to do was
put on my
which I did, pulled the tape and
newspapers from the door, walked
out and down the street to the
liquor store….

when I got back and was fitting my key
into the lock
the old lady across the way opened her
door and asked, “listen, do you smell

“gas?   no, I don’t smell any

I went inside and opened a beer, sat on
the couch and let the good cool juices
run down my throat, then I noticed an
old cigar in the ashtray, I stuck it
into my mouth, picked up the lighter and
flicked it..

there was an explosion, it made this small
BANG! and there was a round flame
in front of my face, it was intensely hot,
a vigorous circle of
almost the size of a child’s
balloon, then it

I smelled burning hair and my face was
indecently hot, I picked up the can of beer
went to the bathroom and looked into the
mirror:   my eyelids had been burned almost
completely off–a few twists of ravished
remained and
I had no eyelashes at all
and my nose was not so red as
and one strand of twisted burnt hair
from   my head was dangling into my

and then I started laughing

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript