Aphelion Issue 218, Volume 21
June 2017
 
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Peachy Head

by Mark Govier





The famous Peachy Head suicide jump cliff towers some 300 meters above a jagged, rock strewn beach.

We climb down to the Cafe, cited in all good travel guides. The white building nearby is marked "Undertakers".

I decide to pay extra, to get a good seat.

Tim, my fellow traveler, smiles. "Nice choice," he says. "We can see everything from here."

A waiter, dressed from head to foot in blood red, strolls over to our table.

"Would you like a drink first, sirs?"

"We’ll have the special rice wine," we say.

"What sort of flavors, sirs?"

Tim and I laugh. "Apricot," we reply, together.

The waiter returns with our drinks.

Tim orders duck rice, I order chicken rice.

"Do you want any dessert, sirs?"

No, we say, but we’ll definitely have another drink.

"When’s the Jumping supposed to start?" asks Tim, tucking into his duck.

It’s nearly 1 PM. "About an hour," I reply.

By now, the Cafe is standing room only.

It’s a pleasant day, the sun shines, waves lap rocks, and a light breeze wafts.

Tim removes a pack of Ritalin-Extra from his shirt pocket. There’s no rice wine left in the carafe, so we swallow another.

At 1:45, an announcement is made, in five languages.

"At 2:00 PM precisely, the Peachy Head Beach will be closed. No customers will be allowed to leave until 4:00 PM. If you do not wish to remain, please leave the area now. Staff will assist anyone with mobility or other health problems walking up the Chalk Steps."

No one leaves the Café.

As 2:00 PM arrives, all conversation ends. The Program says first Jumper is a 32-year-old man. In anticipation, we remove our photo-binoculars, like everyone else, look up.

"This freak does look doped," whispers Tim.

I focus on the Jumper’s face. Tim’s right. We snap shots. The State Social Worker appears, a woman dressed in black. She approaches the Jumper, to make the 'last appeal.' The man ignores her, jumps, and is torn to pieces on the rocks.

"What’s next?" asks Tim.

I check the program. "It’s an old woman, at 2:15."

"I’m going to the bar, want one?"

I do. Tim returns, just in time. This Jumper looks 70. The State Social Worker re-appears, the freak jumps. Splat!

By 3:30, Tim’s staring vacantly into space.

"The Undertakers come soon,’ I say. "Could be interesting."

By 4:00 PM Jumping finishes. The Café doors open. A few spectators have had enough. They amble towards the Steps, talking loudly. The Undertakers emerge from the white building. They’re dressed in white, carry electric saws, large white plastic cartons.

"Do they separate them?" I ask Tim.

"Don’t know" he replies, snapping more shots, "check the guidebook."

It says, "The Jumpers remains are collected together, cremated together, and strewn together in the Suicides Garden at the local Council cemetery".

The train rockets back to the Traveler's Getaway.

"Got some great shots," we say together, popping another Ritalin-Extra.


THE END


© 2016 Mark Govier

Bio: Mr. Govier may have been a sergeant in the Time Marines, and will be in the first assault wave in the Great Battle of 5359. To him, it was just last month--or he may have neglected to send a bio, forcing to us to make something up. You must decide for yourself.

E-mail: Mark Govier

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