The Perfect Li(f)e

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Act V. Terminal

“H-hello?” a shaky, relatively deep female voice says.

“Good evening,” a deep but fatherly voice replies. “This is James of the Marshfield Suicide Hotline. How may I help you?”

“Umm, I need help,” the woman says.

“Ma’am may you please specify the help you need?”

There was a long pause. “I’m thinking of death as an option. But I think you already know that since...”

“Yes, ma’am,” James replies. “As a matter of fact I do. Do you have any dangerous objects within your reach like a knife or possibly a rope?”

“N-no,” the man stutters. “Not at all. Everything’s in place.”

“Can you tell me your situation?”

“I umm,” the woman can be heard breathing a bit more audibly but still soft.

“Yes?”

“My dad, he—He looks at me differently.”

James seems to be waiting for any follow up but only silence was there. “Do you mind sharing more information? Where is your dad?”

“He’s i-inside the house,” she replies. “He won’t be able to look at me yet.”

“Your dad,” James replies with curiosity. “You say he… looks at you?”

There was a whimper and a shift in sound as if she moved the receiver away to not let James hear. “Y-yes.”

“Is he hurting you? Is he harassing you? I can tell you are hesitating… Don’t worry, you can trust me. This talk is just between you and me. You don’t have to disclose any personal info. I am hear to help you.”

“He hurt my mom,” she says as she begins to cry. “Real bad. Now I’m afraid he’ll look at me.”

James gulps in slight frustration as he identifies what could be domestic abuse, but he is yet to confirm.

“Now I’m afraid that he’ll continue to look at me funny now that my mom left,” she continues. “She left me to fend for myself. I can’t leave the house and he always looks at me funny. And I don’t mean the positive kind of funny.”

“Is it okay if you tell me how he looks at you?”

“H-he stares at me. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t talk. He just… Stares at me.”

James waits.

“And stares,” she continues. “And stares. And sometimes it stops when I push him. But he stares. He stares back. He—”

James is getting more worried by the minute. He looks around his office and finds that his co-workers aren’t around. He knew he should have went for a break too, as he was the only one in his cubicle 3:09 in the morning.

“Makes this creaking sound,” he continues. “And it’s very unnerving. I’m afraid that any minute now, he’ll look at me and I wouldn’t be able to sleep again. And he doesn’t even take a bath anymore. He just does nothing around the house doing the same thing he’s ever done since my mom left. Except stare at me. I don’t know why. I think he’s insane. He just stays in my room and—”

“Hello?” James says. He hears a creaking sound. He feels goosebumps as he imagines the dad stepping behind the woman.

Staring at her.

“Hello?” James says again, this time with urgency.

“He almost looked at me,” the woman continued. “I could have sworn I heard him.”

“Where is he right now?” James asks.

“In the house,” the man said. “But that’s not important. My mom is probably really sad right now. I think she needs help, too.”

“Is there anything you want to share with me?”

“My dad he—He cheated on my mom,” the woman said. “I saw this phone I’ve never seen before and it has— It has these pictures of him doing obscene s-stuff to some young whores.”

James waited patiently as he looked around his office. The cubicles were still empty.

“My mom found out and she asked me why I kept it from her. The only reason I could think of was that I couldn’t believe my dad could do those obscene things.”

James felt heavy. He knew what the man was saying. “What pictures did you see?”

“He was tying a young girl down to a bed. And he was in a black costume.”

That’s fucking kinky, James thought into almost a laugh.

“And the girl was moaning so much.”

Wait, what? James thought. “You mean you also found videos?”

“Y-yes,” the man said. “A lot.”

There was silence. Then there was creaking. James didn’t know why but he held his breath.

“I thought he was staring at me,” the woman said. “I’m sorry. A-and then he was yelling profanities at the woman. The woman seemed to enjoy it as she tried to move around moaning. Then my dad moved the camera next to her face. She was gagged with a hanky tied around her mouth. And she was crying and shaking her head as if saying no.”

James was confused. He felt something strange was happening.

“It wasn’t just one whore, too,” she said. “There were different faces. Those fucking whores.”

The sound of creaking.

“This face he makes is fucking pathetic,” she said. Nowhere in her voice was the same anxiety that came with the first few minutes of their conversation.

I think they can trace this call now, James thought. Something else worried him, though. The woman sounded aggressive now. She was breathing much heavier than before. “Excuse me?” he asked spontaneously as his skin crawled for a reason he couldn’t quite catch.

“His eyes bulged since he started hanging around here,” she said.

Creaking.

“What do you mean?” James asked.

“Geddit?” she said.

James was silent as he heard the creaking.

“Hanging around?” she said as her laugh trailed off. “I bet the furrow is far too deep into his neck. Just like how his head has been far too deep his ass to deserve love.”

More laughing.

“Ma’am?” James said, but in the voice of the woman by mistake. James was disappointed at this mistake. “Ah fuck it,” he said. “And that is the end of this story I came up with before another night sleeping alone in this ghost town. Ladies and gentlemen, this story is the Suicide Hotline by yours truly, The Last Man on Earth.”

Silence.


THE LAST MAN ON EARTH— is a breakthrough radio drama that has dominated the airwaves since its pilot episode, a 4-hour cry for help and idle talk from a man who has fallen asleep in a train one late night only to find himself awake in a terminal. He has walked the empty streets and has only found a very neat but abandoned ghost town. It’s as if everyone suddenly disappeared, he said, a man who has identified himself as Dennis I.

What’s so controversial about the show is that it airs in different times, and is found in different frequencies. Rumors say that it is actually a man who is sinking into isolated insanity in a town with no name, with a legitimate cry for help. Where is this radio station located? Who is this Dennis I? Why would he introduce himself with initials? Is this propaganda? Is this art? ...Or is this the development of madness and a cry for help broadcasted live for everyone to hear?


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