Mental Suicide – A short story by Arnold Peters

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Mental Suicide - Table of Contents

Life is like that; sometime there is no rhyme or reason for our actions. She married Bill one month after he came to town and by so doing, shocked the townspeople. Before I knew enough about it to write to Johnny and break the news, he arrived home.

That morning as I opened the garage, Johnny drove up large as life and twice as handsome. He asked about June and how she was keeping for he said he had not heard from her for some time and was worried. That left it up to me to tell him the bad news and it was a hard detail. When I had finished, Johnny said, “You’re a liar! June would never do anything like that to me.” and he left mad as all get out.

The little town of Redwood will never forget the next few days, Johnny visited June and returned with a broken heart. That night began a round of the local beverage rooms that did not end for several weeks. I was more than shocked one morning to read in the Chronicle that the police had arrived just in time to prevent Johnny from jumping off the East End Bridge. He was given a severe warning, so the paper said, and let go home. It went on to say that such an alcoholic condition in one of its citizens was a disgrace. I knew why Johnny was continually inebriated and felt that as his pal I should try to help him. With this in mind I decided to go over to his home and see him but when I phoned he was not in. I searched all his local haunts but no one had seen him; he had literally vanished. When I called at his home I found missing only the suit and coat that he was wearing.

Full of apprehension I notified the police. They decided that Johnny had finally committed suicide. He had told them when they had apprehended him on the bridge that life was worth nothing to him now and that he would soon be free from it all.

Redwood soon forgot Johnny but I often wondered why an intelligent lad, like he had proved in college to be, should take his own life simply because his own girlfriend has proved untrue. I progressed in time from greasy-monkey to owner of the garage where I had began. Due to my business connections, I knew many people and I learned that June and Bill were getting along fine. They had two lovely children and had built their own home. I was pleased to hear that it had all worked out so well for June.

One day, Mr. Johnston drove in. He was just back from the States, he informed me. We spoke about his trip and then he surprised me by asking about my old friend. “Say Pete” he asked, “I think that I saw Johnny Wilson at the summer resort in