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Missing The Mark

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When it came down to it, he couldn't do anything right. He was an abysmal, abject failure, as his mother often told him.

Not so often, anymore. Only about twice a year, when his sister persuaded him to endure obligatory family gatherings for Christmas and the old bitch's birthday.

Mark's first conscious thought after the attempt was Damn!

He had tied the noose correctly, thrown it up over a rafter in the barn, and even kicked out the little footstool from underneath himself.

His plan was foolproof, practically perfect. It would have worked, too, if the damn rafter hadn't snapped.

Mark had lost a considerable amount of weight in the few months since he became homeless. He weighed roughly 125 lbs, he guessed. The damn wood must have been rotten.

He whimpered and sat up, pulling the tattered remnants of the rope from around his neck and throwing it into a corner.

His neck hurt like a motherfucker. Mark laughed at the thought of the rope burns that would appear around his neck, purple-red ligature marks contrasting with his pale Irish complexion.

"Help," he rasped, his voice barely above a whisper. Mark rolled over onto his hands and knees and slowly sank to the ground. He would die out here, like an animal.

Good job, asshole! You're gonna get what you want after all, just not as quickly as you'd wanted!

Sooner or later, somebody would come out to this shithole of a barn and find him.

There weren't any animals, but there was a tractor and a few hay bales and a pitchfork stabbed into the dirt. Mark idly regretted not making use of it to help end his misery.

That's what it was, the best word he could think of to describe his entire life, or at least for the last thirty years of it.

Mark had nearly fainted when all of a sudden his hands were pinned to his back and someone had him in a headlock.

"Hold it right there, asshole! I don't know who the hell you think you are - Mark!?"

Mark groaned and waited for the little shit to loosen his grip on him. When he did, Mark turned around and punched him in the face.

"Wow, dammit. Josh?" His voice, already a low, gruff baritone, sounds even gruffer.

Josh Homme, the red-headed little fucker who'd played guitar with Screaming Trees for Lollapalooza 1996, frowned and looked like he might cry for a minute, before he made a fist and clobbered the side of Mark's head. Mark grunted and held his head until the bells stopped ringing.

"Whoa, ow! Nice punch, kid. If it were anybody else, and if I didn't deserve it, I'd kick your ass. What are you doing out here, Josh? Of all people, in all places -"

Josh's lip curled. "Me? I own this property, Mark. Call it nostalgia, but this shitty little barn holds a lot of memories for me. Me and my brother used to play here. What are you doing here?"

Mark chuckled and pointed at what was left of the rope. "What's it look like?"

"Oh no you don't! You can't, Mark. You can't do this to me."

Josh grabbed Mark's shoulders and headbutted him so hard he almost blacked out. Mark moaned and held onto Josh so he wouldn't fall.

"S-sorry," he mumbled weakly. "I'm sorry Josh, okay? I honestly didn't think it mattered that much - I didn't think that I mattered that much."

"Well, it does, and you do, Mark. I don't know what I'd do if anything were to happen to you. I can't do this without you, man."

"Wow, okay kid, alright. I must have subconsciously wandered out here, to this particular barn, so you'd stop me. It must have been fated, or something."

"It looks that way." Josh hugged him. "I guess the least I can do now is take you back to the house for a cold one. What do you say?"

Mark laughed and slapped Josh on the back.

"Hell yeah!"