He lay there on his bed. Unable to move, opening his eyes ever so slightly, looking around. The room was his own, full of memories. Of a life of struggle, against himself, against an ever growing grey shadow of gloom. The eyes closed again.
He stood there on the stage, watching the audience break into raptures, controlling them with laser-like precision, deciding when they should laugh, when they should listen, improvising at times, but sticking to his script for the most part. The audience followed, like a herd of sheep controlled by the moving Sun and the bent shepherd’s staff. They listened, they laughed. At the end of the show, they had their fill, some in tears. Troubled marriages, broken careers, skewered ambitions, all forgotten for a brief hour.
The eyes opened. “Do you need anything sir?” asked the nurse. The head shook ever so slightly. What would a man with tubes inserted into him need? Could they ever get him what he needed? The love he never experienced, the family he never had, someone who would cry when he left the world, or just give him the final shove over the cliff? He closed his eyes again.
Life had been a cruel joke. He had managed to build an empire. People talked of him as the most successful comedian ever. But it had always been lonely at the top.
The nurse was still there hovering around him impatiently, as if she expected him to go any moment and just wanted to get it over with. Someone paid to serve will only serve enough to be paid. He laughed at his own joke, but there was no one to laugh with him and he knew no one would have laughed at it.
It was no age to die. He was only 40. But there was no will to live on. There was nothing to go back to. He had seen everything he wanted to. Traveled around the world twice. Done all the things on everyone’s things to do before you die list. Still there was something missing. If he ever got up there would be the same people, the same faces to look at and deal with. And he suspected they were all hoping he would die. He knew he was like the golden duck that had laid all its eggs, and all they were waiting for was his death, so that they could sell the golden flesh. Was that enough to fight for? That would take extreme sadism from him, and he knew he was no sadist. He had been cruel to people, but never a sadist.
The nurse was calling the doctor. “…heart rate is dropping…” he heard her say. Maybe this was it. Maybe it was finally the moment for him. They say your life flashes before you at the moment of your death. So he looked back. There was nothing worth it. A childhood where he was hunted by bullies and abused by his father. An adolescence where he fought starvation and the cold, having been discarded by his father. A youth, where he managed to see the funny side of it all. And a middle age where he built an empire with just that.
“Maybe there’s something better waiting for me”. He closed his eyes waiting for it, hoping for a long sleep in peace. The nurse was now frantic. Suddenly the door burst open and people in white coats and blue scrubs burst in. It took them just a couple of minutes to realize there was nothing they could do. The sheet was pulled over his face by the intern who had tagged along.
There was a cough, more of a hack. They looked at each other. They turned towards him. He was hacking away. The heart rate was slowly picking up heading up to normal. He looked around, still unable to move. Even death had been a cruel joke…
P.S: Just trying out stuff, hold off on sympathies and life advice 😛