May 2004 / Volume Five / Issue Two
Tom O'Connell
Death Proves Genius

At the bus stop, everyone is talking about the latest
celebrity suicide. The jokes are already circulating.
His teeth, some guy says. Har, har, har. Thatís
disgusting, says a woman wearing a blue wool suit and
cross-trainers. They all know the story, they know the
story well. Someone will toss out a fact and everyone
will nod. Agree. I heard that too, they add. They
discuss each role he played. Each character is
suddenly telling. His dark roles; you could sense his
pain. Couldnít you? His light roles; didnít he hide
his anguish well? Didnít he? His low-grade, rent
paying embarrassments; such talent wasted. Donít die
skinny and bald, the AIDS rumors will fill the
newspapers tomorrow. I got an uncle in an old folkís
home in Danvers whoís skinny and bald. Do you think
heís got AIDS? The papers are horrible, they shouldnít
print that crap. Did you see his widow? They were
separated. The movies will all be on the television
now. Itís like when a rock star dies, for the next
month youíre forced to listen to his dismal music. Why
canít a singer I like die for a change? How did he get
so low? The films. The press release photographs in
all the newspapers. The talk at the bus stops. What
would make a person do a thing like that? What was
going through his mind?