"The Famous Last Words of Roald Dahl" - Michael Walker
Strong men turned to one another and said things like, “I guess this is it Joe,” and “Good-by, everybody, good-by.” And for the next thirty seconds the whole City held its breath, waiting for the end to come. ~ Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach, p. 126
In 1916 a man at Verdun writes to his wife concerning his infant daughter shortly before going through the wire. Not long after, his guts are dis-integrated. As he lay bleeding in the mud he calls out to Odin. To Andraste. To Satan. To Moloch. Later, the trees grew back in such a way that the moon would always shine on that spot and the grass grew between his finger-bones.
G.G. Allin remembers how his mother’s milk tasted. How the soft warmth of her breast led his infant mouth to suck. He then curled up into a ball as his lungs were filled with vomit.
Don Hertzfeldt reaches out into the firmament from a hospital bed. He attempts to describe the smell of dust and moonlight to his great-grandchildren. Then all of the lights went out.
Ernest Hemingway sits on the edge of his bed and remembers the first girl he’d ever kissed, in some far off spring. How the world was new and exciting and that things could never change. He forgets that grenade he threw in France. He then propelled himself upward into the empty stars.
Roald Dahl is secretly furious at his condition. He tells his loved ones that he is not afraid, it’s just that he will miss them. But inside, he is greedy for life. He squeezes his wife’s hand as a nurse sticks him with a needle. He shouts “Ow, Fuck” and then quietly slips into nothing.
Time unwinds our memory spring,
And glues us to the spine.
Until all of the pages fall out.