The Death of a Man

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The Death of a Man


I think my problem is that I was raised in a normal family.

I tried to warn the news reporter who sat off-camera, asking me questions 60 Minutes style and I could hear the clock ticking 60 Minutes style and I imagined what the Sunday evening highlights would be. Do they always do on – camera interviews with people they know have been drinking? I make a mental note to ask the reporter when she’s done with me, and she is tossing questions and I’m thinking these thoughts as I tell her that my mommy never beat me, and my daddy never beat my mommy and really didn’t drink. I was a nerd in school and I got good grades.

The lights were bright and I could barely see her silhouette. I can’t see the men walking behind the cameras and the lights, holding boom mics and grips. I was still wearing the sweater and slacks that I had put on for the press conference earlier in the day, and the make-up people gave me a touch-up and even got rid of those dark circles that are always around.

And if I had an agent he would be screaming at me right now for doing an interview at 1 am after drinking and smoking, but I would retort with something about how it doesn’t matter if the host is also drunk. She called her crew and woke them up and demanded they come to my hotel with their equipment. My room was now a TV set and I sat with the velvet drapes as a backdrop, and the table supported only an empty bottle of whiskey and a watery glass.

“One would think that somebody with such loose morals as you would be the product of a broken home,” she said, going straight for the jugular.

“Is that a question?...What would you define as ‘loose morals?’ I haven’t killed anyone, nor stolen anything they weren’t willing to give.”

“How about any dark family secrets?”

“Absolutely not. I wish there were but my parents were incredibly boring and raised me in an incredibly boring town. Sure, it was easy to get involved with the wrong crowd and experiment with the wrong things, but it goes to show that wicked behavior is essentially normal behavior that is accustomed to being suppressed.”

She tossed her hair and changed the subject. “What does your family think about your profession?”

“My wife probably knows the most but she doesn’t know everything. My parents are willfully ignorant. They aren’t political people and never have been. I picked everything I know up in college.”

The questioning continued and the lights were bright. Even under normal circumstances I would have a hard time not squinting, but the booze and the drugs made my eyelids heavy and droopy. I don't know why I agreed to be filmed on camera, but things are destructing all around me at a rapid pace; my career is probably over, my wife will be pissed at me, I could go to jail. I guess it's time to form a new me, but first, the old me has got some things to say.

"You've mentioned that you've ruined lives...how so?" she asked, leaning forward slightly. I'm married but she looks good, and the way she says I ruined lives makes me sound more important than I truly am.

"What's the best way to put this? I've taken minor problems in a person’s life, a regular lapse of judgment, even things beyond a person's control, and made them look like Satan’s work. And I've put these transgressions on pieces of glossy mail and sent them to thousands of people, ruining reputations, marriages, businesses and the like. Don’t even get me started on the television commercials and websites I’ve made."

"Do you ever feel any regret or remorse?"

"I never really do......In my mind, these people deserve what they get. I'm used to power and working for the most powerful, and if you try and take us out you better be prepared to deal with the power of the blank check."

"Earlier tonight something unprecedented happened,” she said, with dramatic pause. “A United State Congressman called a press conference to announce his withdrawal from the race, then apparently changed his mind during the event.....and pointed the finger at you. He said you were blackmailing him for $20,000 cash so you wouldn't reveal his affairs and dalliances with prostitutes to the world. Would you care to comment on that?"

She said it rather directly and I could see the producer squirming to get the best angle.

"I'd rather not get into the details of his allegation, but I will say that what you saw today probably has never happened before. It kinda reminded me of the whole Bud Dwyer thing, where this politician named Dwyer was being accused of wrongdoing and shoots himself in the head on live TV. Turns out he was being accused of something he didn't do...and not to compare this situation to that one, but I would like to deny that I was blackmailing Congressman Peters. Yes I did discover that he was cheating on his wife with prostitutes, and yes I did use that to convince him to drop out.......but I did not solicit money from him."

"Did he give you money?"

"I'd rather not say at this juncture."

"Have you committed any crimes, either on this campaign or other campaigns?"

"That's not up to me to decide......"

The lights were moving now and I began to sweat. The feeling that comes when you need to cash in your chips after a night of drinking hit me like a ton of bricks. I light a cigarette and it does not taste good but I smoke it anyway. I dab a t-shirt to my forehead and wipe the sweat off my face and neck and hands. This is not a good idea, but I don't care. I have to get up early tomorrow to get the hell away from this mess I've created.

I stand and look around. All I can see is Stacy the famous reporter and the lights are too bright. "Everybody get the f%*k out of my room, I need to go to sleep." No one moves. "Seriously. Get out!" To punctuate my statement I remove my sweater and shirt and sit on my bed. The lights are turned off by someone but all I see is swirling colors and flashes. I lay back on the pillow and everything is dark.

I can worry about this tomorrow.




© 2011 - All rights reserved by the author. No unauthorized reproduction.

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Comments 26 comments

emichael profile image

emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

Fantastic piece of writing, my friend.

One thing I noticed though. You have minor tense issues in a couple of places. The majority seems to be past, but you slip into present every once in a while.

I wouldn't normally say anything, but since I see you entered it into the contest, I figured you would like to know :)

But really, great story man. And good luck!


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks for the helpful comments. I read some of the stuff on your page and it is an honor to get a compliment from a writer of your caliber.


emichael profile image

emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

You're very welcome.

I certainly don't feel worthy of such a compliment, but thank you anyway :)

I look forward to reading more from you as the contest goes on. Do you think you will do mostly short fiction or do you do poetry and photography as well?


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

I did enter one poem, on my profile page, but my conundrum is that I have mostly written long fiction. I am working on a novel and have hit a wall at about 32,000 words. I'm trying to find pieces of it that can be posted here to help me revive it and finish. My goal is 60,000 words.


emichael profile image

emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

That's excellent, and good thinking. The feedback you get here may very well help you. I've encountered a great community of writers on HubPages who are great at both encouragement and criticism.

I hope you're able to make it past your wall. Also, I do hope you find something to post from your novel. I'd love to check it out.


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks E - I did come here to write helpful info articles, but was pleased to find that HP can be a place to develop my creative writing drive.


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 5 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

I loved this! This is a unique piece of writing. Keep it up! I can't wait to read more. Good luck in the contest.


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks for your encouragement and for reading. I will be posting more fiction very soon.


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 5 years ago from Northern, California

I really enjoyed your unique style. I could see in my mind just how that hotel room set looked and sounded with the crew everywhere. I enjoyed this hub very much.

Cheers~

K9


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Enjoyed the piece, truly.

PS A novel is usually 80,000 to 120,000 words...


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

LMMARTIN - thanks for your kind words. I may have to call my book a novella then. I will probably get to 50,000 or 60,000 words then sell it as a Kindle e-book at a discount price.


iviskei profile image

iviskei 4 years ago from In your computer, stealing your internet.

Whoa. Interesting piece you have here!


StayathomeMommyJo profile image

StayathomeMommyJo 4 years ago from The Midwest

I enjoyed that.....would like to know what happens next!


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Iviseki and MommyJo: I can tell you that this is an excerpt from my soon-to-be-completed novella. The main character finds himself in a sticky situation when he flees the country, one involving an international suicide cult and a murder plot :)


Talisker profile image

Talisker 4 years ago from UK

I kept reading to the end, your writing style very much kept me engaged. I'm looking forward to reading more.


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Talisker - that means a lot to me. Glad to know I didn't waste 4 years (on and off) writing my book. I should post some more.


Bella Nina profile image

Bella Nina 4 years ago from USA

OMG ~ this is incredible!! Now that you've whetted our appetites . . . when can we have more?? I'd vote it up twice if I could!


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Bella - nice to know people are still reading this. Your kind words have inspired me to keep working on this novella until it's done (almost there).


Bella Nina profile image

Bella Nina 4 years ago from USA

I am so happy to hear that. I cannot wait to read the entire thing! Please be encouraged, this one is already a success. I just know it.


parentsreview profile image

parentsreview 4 years ago from Lansdowne, PA

This is really intelligent writing. I love the line, "...but it goes to show that wicked behavior is essentially normal behavior that is accustomed to being suppressed." The dialog is sharp. Great writing!


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks PR - means a lot to me. Glad you enjoyed it.


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 4 years ago from California

Love Love Love it... Good luck on the contest!

Blessings,

~Lisa


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Lisa (Rustic). Alas, the contest is over and the prize went to a more deserving author, but I'm glad that it got me to post some of my creative writing.


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 4 years ago from California

ooo..I didn't even notice the time frame. my apologies married. I still enjoyed it very much.

:)


toys-everywhere profile image

toys-everywhere 4 years ago from That little rambunctious spot in the back of your mind :)

The title reminds me of 'Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller... will bookmark it for future reading! :D


marriedwithdebt profile image

marriedwithdebt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

I'll take an Arthur Miller comparison any day - thanks for reading (when you do!)

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