:: Article

Perfect Crime

By Simon Crump.

Elvis borrowed a book of suicides from the Forensic Pathology section. It was a short loan and it pleased him to think that he would be dead before it was due back. Back in his apartment he studied it like it was the Sears Catalogue, but which one to choose? They were all successful methods or they wouldn’t have been in the book.

Prison suicides, where the wonderful power of the human spirit, which people were always talking about, turned nasty on itself. Inmates cutting short their sentences in desperately ingenious ways. The man who put a dessert spoon handle-first into his nose and brought his head sharply down onto a table, or another who inserted a mop-pole into his rectum and jumped backwards off a chair.

Some solutions to his little problem were only available to those with the fortitude and determination of the completely insane, like the eleven-centimetre nail which one man succeeded in driving into his brain with a mallet, or the woman patient who had simply forced her head into a washbasin, breathed deeply, and drowned.

One of the points made in the book was that in some ways suicide could be seen as the perfect crime; an unlawful act which requires courage and ingenuity. The idea appealed to him and he contemplated his own death with this in mind, no longer content to just pick one out of the book, intent now on something original, effective and painless, something to be remembered by.

He made the down-payment on a beautiful 30.06 Remington Gamemaster hunting rifle, complete with a Shilba 4×15 coated imagetelescopic sight. He knew a telescopic sight was unnecessary, but the man at Gun Mart and Sporting Goods was so helpful that he bought it anyway. After all, he had the address on the credit agreement, he’d get it all back soon enough.

Elvis did not wish the sound of the rifle to be the last thing he heard, in fact he was afraid of the noise made by guns. He didn’t want to be discovered with his face contorted by fear as it would be if he heard the cartridge explode in the chamber.

The solution, he decided, was to shoot himself while he was unconscious – he already had plenty of tranquillisers. He held the muzzle of the rifle steady in a rubber collar made from a hot-water bottle, fixed around his neck with insulation tape. To pull the trigger he used the mechanism from an electric alarm clock which he bought from K-mart.

Elvis loaded and cocked the rifle, set the clock and swallowed the tranquillisers. He settled back in his chair. The clock was only a cheap two-jewel model but it would suffice.

Born in Leicestershire, Simon Crump studied philosophy at Sheffield University and has lived in Sheffield for the last twenty years. An internationally exhibited artist, he has lectured in fine art and photography at various universities. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies and he is the author of Monkey’s Birthday, Twilight Time and Neverland, published by Old Street. The Galley Beggar version of My Elvis Blackout is a re-release of a classic first released by Bloomsbury more than ten years ago. During that time, instead of conquering the world as it should have, it has all but disappeared apart from in the minds of the lucky few who have read it. If there’s any justice, that will change this time around. As Dan Rhodes says, every home should have one.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, January 8th, 2013.