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July 2011 Volume 13 , Issue 7 submit to us!
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Public+Service
by Amy S Tripp -- Contributing Author [Email This Story]

I died three times before it finally took, so I know what you're going through. Were you trying to kill yourself? I suppose not. No one tries to off themselves by inhalation. Well, if you want to survive, you better make sure someone sees you. Soon. Putting your hands around your throat is the international sign of choking, you know. Truthfully, I don't understand why you didn't do it before. I thought it was a reflex.

Actually, none of my deaths were from choking, so I'm not exactly sure how it feels. Once I was almost suffocated. By a pillow. Medium firm foam, of all things, not a nice goose-down. Perhaps it's about the same as choking. What do you think? Oh! Don't look at me like that. You have at least four minutes before you have to worry about brain damage. Well, three and a half. Maybe if you grab your neck and stand someone will notice. Really, you should think of these things. Where's your survival instinct?

And why were you eating alone in a restaurant? I'll never understand why a woman would, especially one who's passable looking. Think about this: if you had a date, you wouldn't be in this predicament. You'd have your own built-in savior.

I once heard that if you're alone and choking, you can throw yourself over the back of a chair to force out the food.

My, my, that looked like it hurt. No luck though, eh? Pity.

Anyway, look at me. Ahem . . .  I said look at me. It doesn't take that much effort to turn your head, does it? When I was alive, do you think I ever dined alone? Of course not.

Why'd you pick a table in the back corner? And why's it so dark? Were you afraid to be seen? Can't say as I blame you.

Oh! Or were you meeting someone you didn't want to be seen with? An illicit affair, perhaps? Now, that's more like it!

Maybe you're not the loser I pegged you for, but you're certainly not my caliber. Men used to say I looked like an angel. Do I still? I think I look the same as when I was alive, but it's hard to judge. Don't look at me like that! Of course I know I'm not a real angel. See, no wings, no halo. I didn't qualify, especially after the circumstances surrounding my final death. Oh, that one was a doozey. It's no wonder I stayed good and dead.

Look! That waiter finally saw you! But I believe he misunderstood. He must think you need a refill since he's grabbing a water pitcher. Not too bright, I'm afraid, but at least he's good looking. Maybe when he gets over here, he'll realize what's happening . . .  well, after he serves that other table.

That's right, I was going to tell you about my deaths, wasn't I? The first one was that pillow incident. That easily could have been the end of me. I was alone in the house with that murderous bi . . .  ahem . . .  witch. Luckily she wasn't smart enough to finish the job. As soon as I stopped moving, the moron thought I was dead. So I suppose that wasn't technically a death, but I did see a bright light -- not that I had any intention of following it.

I know. I'm a bit horrified by that incident as well. I mean, how was I supposed to know that guy was married to a nutcase? Just between you and me, I pretended to be iced and watched her. She threw a bunch of clothes into a suitcase -- no good labels, mind you, no wonder hubby cheated -- and flew out of there like she was late for the Black Friday sale at Wal-Mart.

I heard she wrapped her Kia around a tree a few blocks away. I wonder if she ever came out of that coma. Can you imagine, the last face she saw was mine? Isn't that priceless?

What? You don't think that's funny? Well, if you survive, I'm sure you'll appreciate the humor.

Oh! Someone finally noticed you! Look at him run! You have to let him put his arms around you, honey, if you want to be saved. Stop fighting! There you go. That's better. Now I imagine this might hurt.

My second death was my own fault. I really shouldn't have tried to swindle that casino owner. Luckily, the goon he sent to kill me was willing to let me live in exchange for certain favors. Hmm . . .  I guess I really didn't die that time, either, but it was a close call. And the guy's breath was nearly enough to kill me.

What in Hades' name did you inhale, girl? Mr. Do-Good can't dislodge it no matter how hard he squeezes. His arms are rather puny, though, aren't they? And here I thought this might hurt.

Your face is turning a ghastly shade of blue. I'd hate to be seen like that.

Now this man might be just the one to help. He's beautifully beefy, don't you think? Look at those biceps! You lucky, lucky girl. He could wrap himself around me any old time. Okay, with him it really might hurt, but a little pain can be fun, don't you think?

And don't look at me like that.

Shoot! I forgot to tell you why I'm here. I'm supposed to give you the spiel before you're saved or die.

Holy Mother of Satan, did you see how far his fists sank into your stomach? Now that had to hurt! How is it you're not spewing?

Yeah, so I'm supposed to be a warning. You've been quite naughty. Perhaps not to my level, but naughty still. If you don't survive this, you won't be wearing any wings or halo. If you do live, well, I suppose it's up to you if you want to change. Personally, I wouldn't. Even if I'd been visited before any of my deaths, I wouldn't have stopped being who I am . . .  was. Life's a party, right? But death's another matter. Let's just say it hasn't been a load of laughs. More like a load of . . .  well, you get the picture.

You know, if you don't cough up that sporker soon, I think they might do that whole cut you open and stick a straw in your throat thing. What a scar that'd leave, eh? Do you hear sirens? Must be someone called 911. I doubt they'll get here in time. How are you feeling?

Don't look at me like that!

Your mascara's running.

Since my last death - and that ugly incident's not worth mentioning - I get called into this kind of duty more often than not. I didn't want to be a public service announcement, now did I? All I ever wanted was to have a little fun, live loose, and swindle some cash. But now I have to watch fools like you do stupid things, warn you not to be like me. Repent!

Yeah, right.

Are you blacking out? You really should try to pay attention. This is important, and if I don't get the message across I don't get credit for the intervention. Although I have no clue what I'm earning credit for. I hate to ask the bosses, they're all such stiffs.

Damn! The paramedics are almost here. I've gotta be quick. Listen! Live right, give to charity, pet a puppy, date an ugly guy, yadda, yadda, yadda. Got it? Good.

Oh, Mr. Beefy's not giving up! Maybe he's got the hots for you. Bingo! Would you look how far that flew! It must have gone twenty feet. What was it, chicken? Well, whatever it was, that old geezer's not happy to have it on his lap. Of course, by the look of his wife, it's probably the most action he's seen in decades.

I suppose my work here is done. If anyone asks, tell them I did a stupendous job, sweetie. Yes, stupendous.

Don't look at me like that!

 
 
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Features -- July 2011 -- Beginning Month Issue