The 31 Deaths of Evelyn Johnson

Number 7: Deus ex Machina

On the day Evelyn Johnson decided to kill herself (June 5th), the sun was shining, the birds were whistling (needless to say, in the trees), and, all around her, the world radiated a sense of all being well. Four weeks later, on the day she went through with her plan, the conditions remained pretty much as they had all summer.

She’d spent the month putting her affairs in order and had even changed her will to better represent her current relationships and favourites amongst them. All her belongings were packed up and ready for distribution to various worthy causes and named individuals. Her fridge was empty, turned off at the wall and its door was open so that the world (with which all was well) could see the freshly-cleaned sparkle. Evelyn had paid her utilities bills until the end of the month, and informed her landlord that she would moving out and that somebody would along to pick up her stuff by the end of August. She’d even sent out a letter to all her friends, which explained, clearly and succinctly what she would be doing and what the practical consequences were likely to be.

Evelyn walked calmly out of her flat, locked the door behind her and sealed the keys in an envelope which she posted to her solicitor at the first post box she passed as she went her not-so-merry way. After about a mile, she came to the highest bridge in the area, walked half way across, climbed over the side, and after a brief pause, leaned outwards and let go of the structure. Whereupon she began to fall.

And falling is where we must briefly leave her.

Somewhere in the Amazon, God commanded an unseasonal butterfly to flap its wings twice as fast as it usually did for a moment or two. Chaos theory was kind-of validated, and we now return to Evelyn.

A very strong wind blew the falling would-be-suicide into the branches of a nearby tree, the branches broke her fall, gradually slowing her down until she tumbled gently from the lowest branches onto the ground below. Besides a slightly twisted ankle and the bruising sustained in the first impact with the tree, she was completely unharmed.

A voice rang out from the heavens, “Evelyn Johnson. Know that it is for God, not you to choose the moment of your passing.”

As Evelyn repented, vowing to make amends, God commanded a bolt of lightning…

Later that afternoon, council workers, investigating the unusal weather discovered Evelyn’s body. The lightning hadn’t even touched her, having naturally struck the tallest object nearby – the tree. The tree had been split from top-most-tip to root, and then fallen both due east and due west. It was the half pointing towards Jerusalem that had fallen on Evelyn and squashed her flat.

A Story I Once Heard

I can’t remember where I first heard this, but it’s been doing the rounds for a good few years now – since well before any of the Ring films got made. There’s not much to it really – just that a struggling young writer foolishly left his word-processor switched on when he went to bed having just watched Naked Lunch. He woke up in the morning to find that his keyboard had eaten half his lower left leg in the night. Some variations of the story say it was a wireless keyboard, but I believe the version which claims that the keyboard used its cable as a make-shift tourniquet.

It’s nearly time for bed now. To top off a day of film watching, I just watched Naked Lunch. My computer was switched on all the way through. In case it’s got any ideas, I’ll be switching it off at the wall and taking the batteries out of the wireless bits. But just in case, I’m posting this now so that you’ll know if something happens to me tonight, so you’ll know what it was even though the authorities will try to hush it up.