Darren Groth is the author of the acclaimed fiction novel MVP - MOST VALUABLE POTENTIAL; short listed for Best Young Adult Book in the 2004 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards and lauded by The Courier-Mail, ABC Radio, 4BC Talkback and CBC’s ‘Reading Time’.
When he’s not writing, he’s watching ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ with his beautiful Canadian wife, or head banging to Spiderbait with his four-year-old twins.
Read a sample:
Forge inhaled two lungs-full of
“Hail Mary, full of grace-”
(come on do it)
“The Lord is with thee-”
(do it you freak)
“Blessed art thou amongst women-”
(ashes to ashes)
“And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus-”
(dust to dust)
(life is shit)
“Mother of God-”
(so jump you must)
“Pray for us-”
“And at the hour of our death-”
He leaned forward, waited until Commitment, Drive and Focus had shifted
from mind to body, then fell toward the afterlife.
Forge looked out from the mid-point of the
Was this evening, with its invigorating breezes and its smoky moon, the
most appropriate upon which to die?
There’d been a lot of suitable nights over the course of September.
Alistair knew them by heart. September 3rd had been cloudless.
September 21st - perfect temperature. September 26th, it
had rained throughout the day, but cleared around 6:30pm. September 16th
had graced the city with a magical copper and amethyst sunset, and September 19th
had produced the lowest smog readings in five years. There’d been nuances
peculiar to each individual evening, but they’d all been fit. And the evening
of the 29th of September was honouring the tradition. Alistair Forge
couldn’t decide whether it was the most appropriate, but he was glad he’d
It hadn’t been his first choice.
That had been September 10th. September 10th - with
its cool change, its southerly zephyrs, its array of the galaxy’s most
September 10th had been pencilled in by the Vanguard ‘Naked
and Narly’ Basejumpers - the NN’s, for a clandestine visit to the
Alistair would’ve agreed too. Courtesy of the NN’s opportunism,
he’d been denied his own. The investigation of an alternative was necessary.
He hadn’t cared to do that, not after the three months of careful deliberation
that had gone into selecting September 10. Under normal circumstances, he
might’ve given the whole thing a miss. Circumstances being anything but
normal, he’d cajoled himself into setting a new date. Two weeks was all it
took second time around.
September 29th. Possibly the supreme evening of the month. And
if not the best, then certainly salutary for Alistair’s purpose.
Alistair Forge intended to jump from the
Officially dead. Alistair believed he’d been deceased for the past five
years. The functions of the body had carried on unabated, but as sure as the
sulphur mounds on the northern banks of the
The rumble of a passing eighteen-wheeler, headed for the city centre,
distracted Alistair from his observation of the nightscape and prompted him to
check his Rolex.
He hadn’t set a specific hour for his demise but 11pm seemed like a
reasonable option. Traffic on the bridge would have thinned, leaving little to
no threat of witnesses or spectators. Waiting also allowed Alistair to set his
affairs in order, the effects for which were contained in the black knapsack by
his feet. His affairs constituted three things - the writing of a letter
explaining his actions, a final few games of ‘Tetris’ on his Nintendo Game
Boy and the downing of a bottle of whiskey purchased en route to the bridge.
There were other larger, more imposing, public interesting affairs he was
connected to, but he’d declined to use a guiding hand in their future
direction. They would continue on, carving their paths without him, blissfully
unaware of the eternal influence he could’ve exercised over them. That’s the
way it would be - just as it had always been.
The affairs in the black knapsack though were different. They could not
happen without his say so. The parting note, the last Tetris hurrah, the
drunkenness - he controlled them. He dictated whether these objects and outcomes
would remain whimsical suggestion or actually occur. And it was his desire for
them to occur. That was the decision he’d made.
(why do anything you’re going to kill yourself aren’t you that’s
all you gotta do that shit you’ve got in your bag it’s not gonna save you
it’s not gonna give you the kiss of life after five dead years)
(only one thing’ll bring that about jumping off the
(so what’s stopping you from doing it now)
Using a light support pole to his immediate left, Alistair hoisted
himself up into a standing position on the rail. The breeze lulled, allowing him
to gain a relatively secure balance, without any swaying or rocking. His left
hand remained with the pole, at close to full arm’s length from his body, the
contact more a caress than a hold. The tactile sensation of the moist palm
against the cold, unyielding steel provided Alistair with physical evidence that
reality was yet to give way to oblivion. His feet offered no such input; they
were numb and absent of feeling, despite the treads of his two hundred and fifty
dollar cross trainers clinging limpet-like to the meagre breadth of the rail.
After twenty seconds, he removed his hand from the pole, brought it down by his
side and looked into the void below.
(this is it)
(freedom is at the end of one tiny step)
(one tiny step of your choosing)
Alistair wondered at the thoughts of past suiciders and whether, with
blade poised or the gun in the mouth or the noose around the neck, their supreme
emotional state was anything like his now. He assumed there were commonalities -
relief, release, peace. Perhaps even true joy. He doubted, though, that many
before had felt the overwhelming intoxication of the ultimate state of mind:
empowerment with focus. The power of power itself. The courage and strength to
use it. Alistair Forge was finally going to be wholly and solely accountable to
Alistair Forge. He could do anything with his life. His fate was his
responsibility. A responsibility that was the result of a firm, unflinching
truth: redemption for half a decade of ordeal and torture, in which confusion
and weakness and indecision had placed the power of his life in everyone’s
hands except his own, could take only one form - doing himself in.
Now, the combined voices of Commitment, Drive and Focus that had led
Alistair to the Impossible Bridge on this salutary evening of September 29th
were irresistible, propelling him headlong into his destiny. They demanded
satisfaction. They barked out the command for him to step forward. The traffic
behind continued to come and go and the discarded black knapsack persisted with
its commands for attention. But these were trivialities. Single-mindedness had
no ear for trivialities. All it could accommodate was its ruling mantra:
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