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  • Writer's pictureFrank T Bird

7.5 Seconds

Is it possible to simulate death?

A man eating pizza and wearing a VR helmet

Somebody put a lot of effort into the Italian interior of this place — their art now lost on fat diners stuffing pizza into their face holes. I regret being one of them. When you are dying, you appreciate things. In those last moments, you become your genuine self because there is nothing left that is worth the pretence.

I’ve never been bothered by death as such, but in typical British fashion, I always wanted to die without making a fuss.

There is this gorilla of a man with garlic breath trying to give me some fucked up version of the Heimlich manoeuvre. He is thrusting his mammoth, drunken frame into me as if it’s mating season at the zoo and knocking over people’s dinners in the process. I want to apologise to them. I can’t because I am choking on mozzarella. I suppose this is my final piece of absurdist art — I call it ‘Death by Cheese’.

I would laugh, but I can’t for obvious reasons.

I’m sitting on a bench at a train station. It is a beautiful English summer day. There is a sign on the wall that says: All trains cancelled.

Macey is holding my hand, and she’s telling me it will be alright. I’m not sure what she means by that, but I’m trying to tell her we must drive to my brother’s house. Macey isn’t listening anymore. She is looking at her phone, so I try to tell Gordon Ramsay instead.

Get back to fucking work”, he yells.

Terrified, I wipe the sweat from my forehead and start chopping onions while peeking out into the restaurant. There is a crowd of people standing around. I see the flashing lights of an ambulance outside.

“Some poor bastard choked on cheese,” Ramsay tells me.

He starts laughing like a maniac and wanking himself off. An alarm is going off, and voices are echoing in my head. I am confused and begin to panic. I open my eyes, and for a split second, through tears, I see Macey looking back at me. She is saying it’s going to be alright, but I know it isn’t.

I’m back in the restaurant watching from above. The ape that was crushing me has his head in his hands now. People are patting him on the back and telling him he is a hero for trying. I want to say to the bastard that he should have just left me alone. Why did he have to ruin everybody else’s night? Why is he crying anyway? I’m the one that’s dead.

All at once, everything goes black. I’m back in the office.

A familiar voice announces, “We still need to do more work on the train station.” It’s Keith, one of the programmers.

I take off the helmet, and Macy is smiling at me. I ask her how long I was under.

“7.5 seconds,” she tells me.

“It’s lunchtime”, Steve casually announces, looking at his watch and standing up. “Pizza, anyone?” he asks with a grin.

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