Rethinking by Kent V. Anderson

Kent V. Anderson's character gives a whole new meaning to drinking himself to death.

I'm sitting on the couch in my apartment. I get depressed thinking about my cheating ex-almost-fiance Maria.

I decide to kill myself.

I research online the many methods for doing this. It's hard to decide which one is best.

Then I come up with one that I hadn't considered before. I read that drinking too much water can kill you. I figure it's an excellent way to die.

I go out and buy two cases of bottled water, and I start drinking. I'm not sure how much it takes to kill, but I'll find out soon enough.

I drink one bottle, two bottles. It tastes good. This is an awesome way to die!

Three. I wonder if I'll be killed by bursting. Maybe not. I think perhaps all my cells will be drowned.

Four bottles. Not that easy to drink a lot of water.

Then number five. I should have purchased smaller bottles. I was stupid and got the 20 ounce size. If I'd been thinking, I would've bought 16 ounce bottles. Then I'd be at number six.

Six. This stuff is tasteless already.

Seven. Now it's beginning to taste bad. I shouldn't have bought the generic brand.

I hope the news media doesn't just report that I "died from drinking." It's important that they mention I died drinking too much water. I should write something to make sure they know. I mentally draft my suicide note, "To whom it may concern: I died from drinking too much water. It wasn't easy. Don't try this at home. Signed: Mike Henderson, ex-almost-fiance of Maria Delgado, who lives at 359 Thomas Street, LaSalle, Illinois. Please tell her I did this because of her."

Eight bottles. I'm full. My stomach aches. I was expecting this to be painless. You'd think there would be an Internet rule that anyone who writes about a suicide method has to include how painful the method is.

Nine! It's hard to keep it down. Some of it spills out of my mouth.

I have to wonder what Marie will think when she hears I'm dead because I drank too much water. I hope she realizes I picked this method because I thought it doesn't sound gruesome when you hear someone died this way. I add to my mental suicide note: "PS: I chose to die of a water overdose because it sounds less morbid."

Number ten. My head hurts. And it's spinning. I've drunk ten bottles of water. I can't believe it. What a stupid way to try to kill yourself.

I'm hoping that just one more bottle will do it.

Ten and a half. Well, one half more doesn't do it. How could anyone commit suicide this way?

I have to pee. But if I do, maybe I'll have to start all over. I'll just have to cross my legs and hold it in. No one said suicide was easy.

Almost eleven. Yes. Eleven bottles of water. Now the pain is gone, and I'm completely numb.

I hear and feel nothing.

Does that mean I'm dead? I'm not sure. Perhaps because I'm thinking this, it means I'm alive? But if I'm still alive, I wonder if I am happy that I am? I decide not to think about it, because if I decide I'm happy to be alive, I'll be disappointed to find out I'm dead. I realize now that I should have kept the TV on, so I would have something to let me know if I am dead or alive. If I ever write a handbook on suicide, I'll include that as a suggestion. I'll have my mother edit it because she's good at pointing out my errors.

The doorbell rings. I take it as an indication I'm alive. Now I wish I'd decided if I am happy or not about it, because it's awkward not knowing how I feel.

I can't help but hope it's Maria at the door, coming to apologize for wanting the freedom to go out with other men. I told her I consider that cheating. But she said it isn't if she told me first. Maybe I shouldn't have asked her to marry me. But what would have happened if I hadn't? Perhaps I should have given her more time to consider, even though she should have known her answer right away.

Uumph. I attempt to get up to answer the door, but my legs are crossed, and I weigh too much. At least the numbness is gone. I try again to get up by rocking back and forth on the couch. It works.

I waddle my way to the door. It's a guy with a petition he wants me to sign. He stares at my drenched shirt and crossed legs. I say I was trying to see how much water a person can drink. But he wants to tell me about his petition and what it means to the neighborhood.

I decide I want to be dead.

I tell him I'm in the middle of something important, and I ask if he can come back later. He says yes, and wants to know if an hour later will be a good time. I indicate that should be sufficient.

I wiggle back to my couch and continue drinking.

Water. Remember, news media, it's water. It's a thoughtful way to die. No blood, no mess, just empty bottles that can be recycled.

Now I realize I never actually wrote my suicide note. I decide to be modern and do it by email. Surely the cops will check out my computer and find it. I write the note, word for word like I mentally did earlier. I send it to myself; that way it will be found when I die, and yet I can also revise it if I think of anything else to add to it.

I press "Send."

I think of something to add already. I receive my own email, and I type: "PPS: Tell my mother I love her. And tell her I chose this method for her benefit, and not just Maria's." I change the subject line to "My Suicide (by drinking too much water) Note."

My vision's getting blurry. It's a good thing that I sent my email suicide note when I did.

Twelve. I think getting up off the couch did me good.

Thirteen bottles of water. I imagine the morning news: "Mike Henderson was found dead on his couch this morning. He apparently drowned internally, by drinking x-number bottles of water. We at Channel Five News find it amazing that anyone could drink x-number bottles of water in a single sitting. And these were generic brand 20-ounce bottles! Mr. Henderson left a note, mentioning his ex-almost-fiance Maria Delgado, who was seen crying outside his apartment. She was heard to say how sorry she was that she didn't accept Mike's proposal right away when he made it last week. Mike Henderson also said that he loved his mother, but he didn't leave her address, so we haven't been able to contact her."

I quickly, reopen my email, add my mom's address, and resend it back to myself.

Reluctantly, I go back to my drinking. I want to puke. But I try to ignore it.

Fourteen. I can't believe that I've drunk fourteen bottles of water. I feel horrible. I must be almost dead.

Oops. A bit of water comes back up. Make that thirteen and three quarters.

Fourteen again. Or maybe I get to count that as fourteen and a quarter because I actually drank it twice. Probably not.

Now almost fifteen. OK. Fifteen times 20 ounces each.

I'm not numb any more. Now everything hurts, and the room is swirling. What am I doing this for? I'm stupid. I'm thinking that suicide by any method is dumb. The water method is just slower.

My phone rings.

I'm glad. Any excuse to stop this is OK with me. I feel it's like the governor calling. I can't go through with killing myself. And I have to pee and throw up. I drop the sixteenth bottle of water and answer my phone.

It's Maria. She says she's sorry about everything. She never cheated on me or even went out with anyone else. Maria says she was wrong to say that I think about everything too much. She wants to get back together.

I tell her, "Maria, I don't think about everything too much. Whatever gave you that idea? Did my mother tell you that? I think it's you who doesn't think enough."

But then I think about what I'm saying. I have to admit, it doesn't sound right, not even to me.

I say, "Maria, I'm so sorry. Perhaps I do over-think things. I think, maybe, I think about everything too much. I think I should get professional help for my issues. But, Maria, will you marry me? I love you so much!"

Maria says, "I love you too, Mike. I really do. I will be so happy to marry you!"

I throw up and pee.

And I decide that I am happy to be alive.


  1. A daft and deft comedy - what a hapless guy! Tension held well - he nearly did leave it too late. Let's hear it for activists with petitions... Thanks,

  2. I understand that this correctly mimics the thoughts of suicidal people. Sympathy when you are dead doesn't help much.

  3. Witty and fun - I enjoyed it. Thank you.

  4. Had he died, he would've been mist.

  5. very well written, i really wondered how it was going to end,
    but he still needs help.

    Mike McC
    those with petitions, keep it up

  6. Perfectly paced.. and finding humor in suicide! What a treat! This is a writer to watch...

  7. Indeed - this was a good one. Well-played, Sir.