Deathwish 042: Jason

Editor Matty Byloos, Editor's Choice, June 22nd, 2016

"I'm not afraid of dying. I'm afraid of not living."

nailed deathwish jason


Hi, Dad. Your son is in stage three. There are only four stages. Nowhere to hide those thoughts. You learn what matters.

Am I afraid to die? Fuck no. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking forward to it. Dying will suck. You’ve felt dread. Probably a public speech since that’s what everyone says people fear the most. I’m sure you felt it deep down in your gut, the thought of all the eyes on you. Measuring. Judging. That was probably ten years ago. That’s what death is like. Over before you know it. Fearing that speech was stupid. Fearing death is stupid.

You probably think you haven’t thought about death. But you have. You’ve stuffed it in some crack in your mind like a freshman pushing a takeout box of half-eaten pad Thai under their bed. You just don’t want to think about it. And just like that wet mass of egg and noodles, it’s rotting, liquifying into stinking ooze. You get whiffs when you can’t sleep.

You wonder where that stink came from. And then you drink half a fifth to get the stink off you.

Someday you won’t be able to cram it into that crack or push it under the bed.

I remember when I couldn’t. The real biopsies were over. The C word was in full effect. They just needed some bone marrow. You don’t want that shit in your bone marrow. A strapping nurse held up the hollow awl she was going to ram deep into my hip bone. On my belly, I knew when my wife had fainted because the nurse stopped jamming the awl through the bone.

After the quiet drive home, I called my dad.

I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of not living.

You should be too.

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To read the previous installment, “Deathwish 041: Melina,” go here. To participate in Deathwish, find details here.

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Jason was born in Augusta, Georgia, and currently lives in Denver, Colorado.


Matty Byloos

Matty Byloos is Co-Publisher and a Contributing Editor for NAILED. He was born 7 days after his older twin brother, Kevin Byloos. He is the author of 2 books, including the novel in stories, ROPE ('14 SDP), and the collection of short stories, Don't Smell the Floss ('09 Write Bloody Books).