Strangely Satisfying

Mark Webber sits in his apartment alone Saturday night. He drinks cheap wine and watches the tube until he drifts away in his once comforting easy chair, lonely and isolated. You see, Mark has no one in his life. He doesn't have a woman because he's homosexual, and he has no man because nobody but you and I know this. Mark used to fantasize about a happy, social life... But that fancy shriveled up quite a while ago… Now he's at peace because even though he doesn't have that pretty picture, it will all be over soon. For now, he'll eat his T.V. dinner, drink his drink and maybe indulge himself with a movie rental.

Something with a happy ending. A charming, wealthy man meets a poor but beautiful girl and they fall in love… and this terribly typical but strangely satisfying story will send him off with a, "Happily ever after." In the most superficial and glorified Hollywood fashion…

And then maybe, he'll say a prayer.

One, two, three…

Take a breath, it's going to be okay after all.

Four, five, six…

"This morning, residents of Balsam Apartment Complex were shocked to wake up and find that police had taped off the parking lot and the apartment of Mark Webber, who committed suicide last night. He left a note on his dining room table addressed to police, and threw himself off the building's roof. His body was discovered by the building's superintendent. Mark Webber left behind no living relatives, and no legal Will and Testament."

What a shame. But what is more upsetting is not that a life is lost, but that no one will miss him.

Across town, in a pretty townhouse, Sherry Walker cries for joy. The little white stick reads 'positive'. Squealing with joy, she rushes into her husband's study and thrusts the pregnancy test into his hands. He's speechless; there aren't words to describe how elated he really is. After years of futile attempts, after countless struggles and terrible disappointment; she is having a baby.

"Sherry and Cole Walker are excited to announce that they are expecting their first child! The couple's group here at St. Paul's Anglican Church will be holding a coffee hour at 4-o-clock next Wednesday, to celebrate this joyous news in the name of Jesus Christ. All are welcome to attend. Congratulations and God bless! "

What Cole doesn't know and Sherry has no intention of telling him is; she went elsewhere when she found out that Cole's sperm count was low. A few nights spent with her assistant from the firm, and the deed is done. Seed planted, her ignorant husband was just about as happy as a person can be, and none the wiser. Besides… she was only doing her marriage a favour.

You or I might feel guilty, but Sherry is sure that God will forgive her for what would ruin her husband's life should he know. No biggie.

Meanwhile, a group of teenagers are crowded into Todd Hughson's basement, passing around a joint. Over in the corner, Rita Kerr sits with her back to the group, trying to distinguish her legs from the floor panels. Her buddies behind her are being plenty loud, but what Rita hears are explosions and mind-splitting screams.

Maybe they're her screams… She's not sure…

Purple dots fly before her eyes, and the shadows created by the potted plants on a table are swallowing her up. She is more frightened than she has ever been, but her throat can't make a sound.

The walls are bleeding… Bleeding? Jesus…

"What happened?"

"Overdose. Acid."

"Christ…"

Rita went into a coma that day, and the doctors don't see any possibility that she might recover. After two weeks of spending every moment by his only child's bedside, her grief-stricken father gives his consent for her life support to be terminated. The boy who slipped her the acid was shot in the parking lot of a club just days later, right after drugging and raping a young girl in the men's room. The bullet wasn't meant for him, but he died anyway, and the crazed man who pulled the trigger is on his way to Mexico right now with his wife.

His dead wife.

Unstable people don't appreciate it when their wives have affairs with hired pool cleaners, you know. Apparently this man's wife didn't know that.

"Marilyn… Oh God, Marilyn… My sweet, precious treasure…"

"Robert! Robert, please!"

"How could you do this Marilyn?"

"Robert, please… Please put the gun down… Oh God…"

"You're my wife!"

"Robert!"

The murder weapon can be found on display at Harrison's Pawn Shop… And there are a few young men very interested in putting such a nice piece to very troublesome use.

The dumpsters at the city park are going to need emptying a little earlier than anyone anticipated.

And they're all around you. In your neighborhood, teaching your children, and bagging your groceries. Unsettling? Oh yes.

But, sadly… To live in this world means to live in fear…