NH Writer’s Project Winner



by H.E. Ellis


I spent the better part of this morning doing what I do every morning. Hitting the snooze. Pouring the coffee. Contemplating when and how I was going to kill myself.

The coffee’s flavor and intensity fuel my imagination and determine the “how” of my demise.

The “when” is a secret that belongs to me.

This morning’s piquant brew reminds me of a summer spent in the Napa Valley. Perfect for a northern California cliff dive.

I picture the scene clearly in my mind; setting out on a cross country drive from my home in New Hampshire, blissfully traveling open highways, eating at greasy diners, sleeping at random truck stops. Asking total strangers to take cheesy photos of me that no one would see. No one while I was alive anyway.

Finally I would reach the coast of California and drive one of those roads I saw in old movies, the kind that are cut into sides of mountains with only the flimsiest of guard rails protecting motorists from plummeting to fiery deaths. As clear as day I picture myself in my ’68 Impala, cruising a winding road overlooking the Pacific, glancing back and forth between the canopy of cedars growing horizontally to my left and the clear blue-green depths of the ocean to my right.

I see myself slowly close my eyes, take a deep but controlled breath, and punch the accelerator to the floor. The shifter vibrates wildly in my hand as the Chevy climbs faster and faster, fighting to keep its tires to the road.

I slam the transmission down into fourth.

I ignore the faces of motorists passing by.

I tighten my grip on the wheel; choose a spot on a whim –

And drive straight off.


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