Sometimes when you write an end of a novel before the novel itself you have to discard that ending. But it’s still good. It’s just a different outcome to a different story. This is the original ending of Tenement. And it’s not a nice one. I couldn’t have Erik killed off so I changed this ending.
They’re handing down my sentence now and I know what I must do
Another mile of silence while I’m coming back to you.
And on this fine October day i’ll join the chosen few
Who left their pride on the other side
Of coming back to you…from Leonard Cohen, Coming Back to You (Italics mine)
While Stacie is still asleep I leave a note for her that says I cant go on. Forgive me.
Walking slowly on a bridge high over the leprous wastes of the White River in Indianapolis. In my hand is the same cell phone that Stacie had found me with when I was at the tenement after she tracked me all over Fuckedupistan.
I will go to the airport and fly back there to Fuckedupistan, to the same beach house where I killed five guys that were trying to kill me just because I was there. Someone will come along and kill me good and dead, which is as it should be. Should have been. I shouldve known I couldn’t live without Dana.
So of course I cant have this phone on me. I have my arm raised to throw it into the water but I stop. I just have realized if I want to be in a killing field there’s an appropriate one much closer. The tenement.
I go home and let myself in quietly and get the .357 magnum. Stacie is still asleep when I leave. I drive to within a hundred yards of the overpass and park near the tracks.
It occurs to me that we all live in a tenement of some kind because we bargain with fate and end up in a purgatories of our own making. My heart is a tenement. Why not die in or near one? I’ve heard this neighborhood has deteriorated even more since last Spring when I started living with Stacie. I will walk the hundred yards to the overpass and see how far I can get before somebody kills me. I’m sure I wont make it to the tenement itself. But I’ll see. I only have six rounds and I doubt that’ll be enough.
All I have to do is lock the car keys inside with the phone. I toss them in the car and hesitate. All the car doors are locked but the one I have open. When I shut that door, it will lock and there’ll be no going back.
Will I see you soon now, Dana, my sweet, dead, impossible love? I think I will.
I trick my mind into going one way while my arm slams the door shut. I am locked out and effectively fucked. I look in the car mirror to see if I look as perfect as I should. I have on my best suit and every hair is in place.
I feel much better because there are no more decisions to make, since the last one has just been made. A walk the length of a football field and it will be over. A pleasant walk in the October sun.
I almost die without firing a shot. A very silent mugger starts to swing a club at my head. I feel the breeze from the club and shuffle step to get out of the way of the club. He’s off balance because he swung too hard and I trip him and yank the club away. I smash his head while he is down and make sure he’s dead. It’s not a club, BTW. Just a piece of pipe. Hmmph.
Finally I reach the tunnel of the underpass. Last winter a couple had moved a mattress in the shelter of the overhang. I note with surprise they are still here. A woman who looks retarded and a guy that looks like a wild man. He always looked like that.
I wonder if I should kill him first. He snarls and bares his teeth at me like an animal but does not move toward me. I guess he’s just trying to protect the woman. Since he is no real threat I leave him alone.
I’m kind of disappointed. I had expected more company. Maybe a small army. But those who are here are fewer and sicker. I don’t even have to kill one till I am halfway thru the tunnel. BANG!
You got to walk that BANG! lonesome valley
You got to walk it by yourself
Oh, nobody else can walk it for you
You BANG! got to walk it by yourself BANG!
And I am thru and past the tunnel. I made it . The tenement is right here.
And what do you think of that?
I even have two rounds left.
The door to the hall of the tenement is wide open, as if they’re expecting me. The hall is deserted. Naturally I seek my old room.
The lock on the door is nothing. I kick the door in and to my surprise someone is there in my old room. I feel the slug from his gun go thru me before I hear the BANG! But it doesn’t matter because I will bleed to death in a few minutes. The young man who shot me is doomed, of course. I shoot him and his head disintegrates.
I even have a round left. Now that’s efficiency! It’s getting noisy and crowded here; I hear a shitload of sirens and see so many flashers you’d think Lecter had escaped. But the cops never come down here. WTF? Of course. Stacie woke up and saw the note and…well. I’ll bleed to death before they get here. I hope.
Of course Dana is here, now.
Hey, Fancyboy, she says, flipping her hair.
I thought you’d never come, I say happily.
At the curb a copcar screeches to a stop and another behind it and four storm troopers in helmets get out and run this way.
RU ready, Freddie? Dana says. We’ll have lots of time, now.
I’ve been ready, I say.
I pick up the gun and blow my brains out.