Molly pushed her
index finger against the tip of her nose, as if it were a
button that could heighten the smell of pre-death. “I love
this aroma of anticipation,” she said to Stanley, who was
marinating in a tub of cold water.
Stanley held his
elbows and shivered. When he spoke, his teeth clacked together. “I
thought we were gonna have sex.”
“Way too early
for that.” She opened her mouth and winked, as if he just
might like what she had planned.
Molly had initially
found out about Stanley when visiting her therapist friend.
Upon snooping through some confidential files, she’d found
the following note scribbled at the bottom of a page: Stanley
is the most suicidal client I’ve ever had.
Molly had shared
many of her quirky ideas with her therapist friend, including
her philosophy on prescription birth control: It wasn’t foolproof;
therefore, she wouldn’t use it. If you climbed into bed with
a warm body, no matter what precautions you took, you could
Molly didn’t like
babies. She found it annoying that they had so much life
ahead of them. She preferred dead people, who had their whole
life behind them.
“Here you go.” Molly
pressed down on the top of a red click pen. Excitement shot
through every vein in her body, and she could feel her blood
lighten and percolate, as if a champagne cork had been pulled
and the celebration was about to begin. She placed the pen
in Stanley’s right hand—the hand she’d made him keep dry.
and began to cry. His tears made her think of embalming chemicals
leaking from a corpse; the foamy soap around his nipples
reminded her of a lactating mother more than a lover that
she was about to experience; his fingernails were long enough
to pick a banjo.
not horizontal.” Upon her leaving the room, Molly pointed
at a white pad of paper.
Her strategy for
remaining barren stayed a secret, but her proclivity for
dating suicidal men became a constant source of gossip and
speculation. Afraid of picking up a charge of assisting suicide,
she moved on to other types of men: chemo patients, death
row inhabitants, and when desperate, she trolled the interstate
for fresh traffic accidents.
pregnancy fears began to increase. What if there were a small
amount of postmortem emission? Did such a thing exist? If
sperm can live for 72 hours in open air, could it live for
72 hours inside a dead body?
Enough is enough,
she decided. Molly started taking the pill, became a hospice
nurse and only assisted men who, at same point in their life,
had undergone a vasectomy.