TWO THINGS I DID NOT KNOW - MICHAEL J. SOLENDER
Previously published at Negative Suck in January 2010
The workmanship displayed on the apparatus was shoddy and certainly nothing to feel proud about. Yet there it was on display for the gathering of notables.
The cuts made in the flooring were jagged and showed burn marks from where the dull blades of the circular saw dragged in their failing. Such inferior work was never exhibited in my shop. Yes, my medium of choice was a much softer material, but still I showed respect for the craft.
The hinges were not even brass. At least they bore the load they were intended to shoulder. Ironically they were stainless steel and my boots, stained and soiled, rested squarely upon them.
My boots were standard issue and had never trod on any surface that was not concrete before today. I liked the way my toes felt inside them as I shuffled up the wooden stairs to the first and only landing. Warm and tingly. They were alive.
I breathed in the air exhaled by the very ones who refused to hold my gaze. Their breath stank inside my lungs and tamped down the very minute amount of remorse I had left. It was replaced with contempt. Their fear warmed my cold sensibility as I steeled myself.
It was in the next few moments I learned two things I did not know.
You can hear your own neck snap, broken like a stale pretzel, when you drop through the trap door.
You don’t die immediately as it takes time to asphyxiate. No pain, though. With your neck broken, your spinal cord is severed and cannot send the pain impulses to your brain.
Maybe you can tell the others.
BIO: Michael J. Solender is editor of On The Wing, the non-fiction online magazine from Full of Crow. A recent corporate refugee, he foolishly turned to writing for salvation. His opinion and satire has been featured in The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Winston-Salem Journal, and Richmond Style Weekly. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for The Charlotte Observer and contributes frequently to Charlotte ViewPoint and Like The Dew, Journal of Southern Culture & Politics. Solender’s micro-fiction and poetry has been featured online at: A Twist of Noir, Bull Men’s Fiction, Calliope Nerve, Danse Macabre, Dogzplot, Gloom Cupboard, Right Hand Pointing, Shoots & Vines, The Legendary, Thrillers, Killers ’N Chillers, Metazen, Writers’ Bloc and over one dozen other venues. His essay, Unaffiliated, will be featured in the upcoming print anthology TOPOGRAPH, New Writing From the Carolinas and the Landscape Beyond, published by Novello Festival Press in the fall of 2010.