Designing my death

This time last year I was busy squir­rel­ing away on a degree in Design Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and found myself hav­ing to “design my own death”. This even­tu­al­ly took shape as a series of illus­tra­tions which end­ed in this album cov­er type illus­tra­tion. In order to tie this all togeth­er I wrote a short descrip­tion of how I came about my demise.

My Death

I reached into the dark depths of the cold water and pulled out the soft tan burlap sack, which had been thrown into the lake by two young men in white shirts rid­ing as-new old-fash­ioned black bicy­cles. The large text in west­ern serif font read­ing “Sat­u­rate before using” at the rim of the bag only added to my fear of dan­ger. Jack­son Browne’s first album was called Jack­son Browne the let­ter­ing on the radi­a­tor bag was a mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion by the pub­lic and remained a joke between the singer and pho­tog­ra­ph­er Jim Mar­shall, who on a trip to Joshua tree with Stephen Stills and Joni Mitchell; who sat in the back seat of the black Lin­coln Cos­mopoli­tan with sui­cide doors pen­ning “Big Yel­low Taxi”, had com­plete­ly failed in their pey­ote rid­den haze to get any use­ful pho­tographs for the album cov­er.

That was 1971 I was born in 1971 and they were liv­ing in lau­rel canyon, I had worked with a woman named Lau­rel Click who lived in Lau­rel canyon. This lev­el of syn­chronic­i­ty com­bined with the fact that I could no longer feel my legs as I was being swept away down the meromic­tic lake did not bode well for the future. To my left I could see the strand­ed pon­toon boat; owned by Pas­tor Inqvist of the Lake Woe­be­gone Luther­an Church who had pur­chased it from Father Wilmar of our Lady of Per­pet­u­al Respon­si­bil­i­ty Catholic Church only last sum­mer. I plucked the pink-eyed albi­no cat off my torn eye­lids. I could see his name was Zantzinger from his sil­ver nametag, which was blind­ing me in the ear­ly morn­ing spring sun­shine. Forced her into the sack and threw it at the pon­toon where it hit the deck with a sound only a sack full of wet kit­tens could make, their star­tled spiky heads turn­ing to watch me help­less­ly drift under the dark water’s sur­face.

The heavy black leather steel toed boots pur­chased from Earl Krebsback’s hard­ware did lit­tle good fight­ing my way to the sur­face. I passed the bub­bling bac­te­ria between the fresh and saline waters, wrench­ing and gag­ging my way from aware­ness to help­less­ness.

The haze cleared slow­ly reveal­ing two ele­phan­tine, white mar­ble gateposts with hints of moth­er of pearl on their edges. On either sides of the mon­u­men­tal turn­stile were two sets of Tal­iban guards. A tall sal­low skinned man in a stiff white shirt and a shin­ny black badge read­ing Peter came toward me “Shalom”.

Cough­ing, chok­ing agony, the stiff hairs of Lau­rence Bunsen’s salt and peep­er beard stab­bing into my cold, wet cheeks, the sent of week cof­fee and cig­a­rettes in my lungs. Dull out­lines of peo­ple stand­ing, I could hear one say, “it’s too late”; as the zip passed my face; the sound of so many peo­ple cry­ing was unnerv­ing. Doors closed, engine start­ed, Bob Dylan singing “Hey Mr. Tam­bourine Man” played in the back­ground to what was either a eunuch or an over sized woman singing out of tune.

Bright lights, rub­ber tubes, cold liq­uid formalde­hyde pass­ing uncom­fort­ably up my… The soft voice of a woman said “Hey there, my name is Rachel Cor­rie, lets take a walk” I left behind my blue naked body and took what felt like the safer bet.

Though ter­ri­fied Pas­tor Inqvist was relieved not to burst into flames upon enter­ing Our Lady of Per­pet­u­al Respon­si­bil­i­ty Catholic Church for my cer­e­mo­ny. After all it was just out­side he had pur­chased the pon­toon boat for the annu­al East Coast Luther­an Minister’s Bean Feed. The even was a huge suc­cess until the boat ran aground on Agnes’s elbow leav­ing the con­clave no choice but to wade ashore. Sat­u­rat­ed min­is­ters with fur­rowed brows, in earth tones and hush­pup­pies gazed at Pas­tor Inqvist before mak­ing their way. That pon­toon boat had only ever brought luck to a wet sack of kit­tens.

J.S. Bach: Fugue in C minor rum­bled from the rotary auto-play organ as the con­gre­ga­tion gath­ered. Peo­ple from the chat­ter­box café and the side­track tap, the Bunsen’s, Krebsback’s and the Lake Woe­be­gone Whip­pets joined the some­what out of place cam­era crews from Fox News and CNN. It was an unsea­son­ably hot 60 degrees out, plaid shirts were car­ried under arm reveal­ing off-white T’s, which would usu­al­ly have been swapped with sum­mer whites.

There I was sit­ting in front of the alter, in a black urn with a fugue play­ing on the auto organ. I had always pic­tured peo­ple danc­ing to New Order’s Con­fu­sion. Vam­pires, Traci Lords, strobe lights with­out Wes­ley Snipes and the sil­ver bul­lets. Father Wilmar pre­pared him­self to start the ser­vice glanc­ing at my black agnos­tic ash­es he remem­bered the words Father “wear a con­dom just in” Casey had uttered when he was a boy “It doesn’t mat­ter what you do right now son! You were born a Catholic, you will die a Catholic”.

Martha Bun­sen caught her reflec­tion in the glossy black of my urn as the two men ran from the Our Lady of Per­pet­u­al Respon­si­bil­i­ty Catholic Church to their shin­ny red rock­et ship, which depart­ed with a strange­ly effi­cient, cold wet rum­ble.

After the rock­et took off all that could be heard were the soft melo­dra­mat­ic tones of Jeff Hay­ward singing “The chances of any­one com­ing from Mars are a mil­lion to one he said aah­h­h­hah­hh….” From Jeff Wayne’s Musi­cal Ver­sion of The War of the Worlds con­cept album. The deep rum­bling base and the sound of the unscrew­ing of large met­al cylin­ders grind­ing from the open door of the wood pan­eled, metal­lic blue, ford galaxy with two as-new old-fash­ioned black bicy­cles on the roof rack.

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