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Slice of Life: The Hang Man

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I happen to be quite dead. I don't ever convince myself of the opposite. It's not as if something is animating these bones and sinew, other than the chemicals that are supposed to keep me from rotting. But in our case, death isn't as final as it is for most people. It's just like life, really, with more time for contemplation. Think of those zombie movies, except we don't have that consuming lust for brains.

I keep wanting them to put in a zombie display near us, but nothing yet.

I wasn't sure what I was signing up for when I decided to do this, other than donating my body to science didn't sound as much fun when I actually researched it. If I'm going to be a strange bag of meat and bones, I'd rather be entertaining while doing it. Death never really bothered me, but the thought of being boring did. If you ask me, being pumped with embalming fluid and put on display in front of my friends and family seemed just as macabre as this.

This isn't so bad. It could be worse, I suppose. After a long stint in the boxes I tend to get a little depressed. We don't get to choose what we're doing, of course, and this was not exactly the form or pose I would have chosen for myself. Could be worse. There's one here who hangs from nearly three hundred strings, wafting in the breeze. He's a nice chap, I think, not having much of vocal cords anymore to speak with- or eyelids to blink with, for that matter, but I wouldn't have wished it on him. He does sway a bit to let his opinion be known, and we are trying to take his votes into proper account whenever he registers them and we notice. It's just not very stately. Then again, none of these poses tend to be very dignified, but if we had wanted dignity, we would be worm food under the ground, wouldn't we?

My own title card is a terrible pun, but I like it. I once heard puns were the highest form of humor, although after the whole life thing I would have to say death tops it. How else could you explain the people who come pay to see me when all they have to do is look in a mirror?

I was healthy in life, thankfully. I wouldn't want to be under a display case, bits at a time. I know that the Organs bristle at any semblance of pity, if digestive systems and bits could bristle, but I think the internal organs are just a little too...exposed. We all try to be sensitive. I'm not sure how much they think, not having connections to the mind anymore, but they do get crabby. I suppose it's like phantom limb pain, but with a brain. Or maybe like when we were alive, and that tingly feeling you had when your foot was asleep. Anyway, they keep to themselves mostly. It's not that we try to be clique-ish, but it just always seems to end up that way.

I'm lucky to be in one piece, even though bits of me are misplaced. I think some of my missing skin might have ended up in Munich, but who knows. At least the rings are decorative. I'm a Suspender. That's what we call the ones stuck in the backbends and twists and dives and strange sports poses people seem to like. I actually never liked rings in life, but rigor mortis and the chemicals they use are infinitely better than any sort of muscle training I could have done. Kind of amusing that I'm infinitely more flexible in death nowadays. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being a Suspender, mostly, so lifelike and pose-able, like I'm about to swing off my rings. The poor fellow with the skateboard, he hates it. Never stops complaining about the crick in his hip. Always threatening to sit down on the job, which we all know is a load of waffle.

Of course if any one of us really did move it would lead to an amusing panic. That's almost enough to tempt me, but not quite. Maybe next time I'll wiggle a few toes at a little kid when he comes a bit too close. I did that once, in Toronto, but it was a white-haired octogenarian with not much sense of humor. I was in trouble over that one, you don't want to know.

I do sometimes feel like moving. Swing a little bit and wonder how many people will blame it on the wind. A little wink the next time a fine-looking girl tries to glance at my groin without looking as if she were. All that strange head ducking and blushing. No doubt wondering if the rest of the audience should think her a pervert. I don't judge, of course. Why would I?

There was one very pretty girl at one of my first exhibits, right at the beginning of the tour when I was too scared to take advantage of the situation, the kind of girl I always went for and she was interested, if you know what I mean. She was with a gaggle of friends and they were all looking furtively around, sneaking camera pictures. I was flattered. In life I would have possibly paid money for that sort of interest.

The women here are mostly snobbish or spoken for, although there's a few good-natured ones that don't like to be tied down to anyone in particular. You lose a lot of the shyness when your innards are all exposed, and a lot of blushing when your vascular system has been replaced with rubber. I keep my options open, but relationships are tricky even in death. You never know what display you're going next to in the next city. I've seen plenty romances end in heartbreak, as well as quite a torrid affair and breakup between Smoker's Lung and Heart Attack that made us all choose sides. Split up the entire exhibit for a week. It wasn't pretty.

It's not that bad of a death, really. I always liked watching people- we all did- and now I watch them watch me. It's stiffer and drier than I would have liked, but as an afterlife you can't really complain!