a man save himself by ending his life?
the night of September 29th, Alistair Forge – football icon, wealthy
businessman and hero to the three million people of
– is going to jump off a bridge. It
is not a spur of the moment decision; it is something hes been scheming,
planning, considering, building up to for five long years
five long years that
followed The Mistake.
now its a done deal.
suicide isnt as easy as Alistair thought.
His stomach says no when the inner voices say yes.
A salesman with car trouble and a cagey attitude enlists his reluctant
assistance. A former TV star turned
derelict guardian angel takes up the mission to talk him down.
The spectre of his fathers lesson for success hovers over him like a
pall of smoke. And worst of all, the
wife, the cops, the media and half the city descend upon the bridge to see if
their hero still has what it takes
and stunning, The Procrastinator is
a contemporary tragicomic fable that examines the nature of heroism, the weight
of expectation, and the search for salvation.
Its a novel that wont be put off until another time.
Groth is a fresh and exciting new voice
Groth’s dark wit is well honed and a worthy read
roller coaster ride of a story
In Store Price: $23.00
Online Price: $22.00
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages:
Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published: 2006
Groth is the author of the acclaimed fiction novel MVP
– MOST VALUABLE POTENTIAL; short listed
for Best Young Adult Book in the 2004 Queensland Premiers Literary Awards and
lauded by The Courier-Mail, ABC Radio, 4BC Talkback and CBCs Reading
hes not writing, hes watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? with his
beautiful Canadian wife, or head banging to Spiderbait with his four-year-old
Forge inhaled two lungs-full of
smog and shut his eyes.
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
s highest and most famous bridge – and couldnt decide.
Was this evening, with its invigorating breezes and its smoky moon, the
most appropriate upon which to die?
Thered 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. Thered been nuances
peculiar to each individual evening, but theyd all been fit. And the evening
of the 29th of September was honouring the tradition. Alistair Forge
couldnt decide whether it was the most appropriate, but he was glad hed
It hadnt been his first choice.
That had been September 10th. September 10th – with
its cool change, its southerly zephyrs, its array of the galaxys most
September 10th had been pencilled in by the Vanguard Naked
and Narly Basejumpers – the NNs, for a clandestine visit to the
. Wishing to take advantage of the favourable weather, and having conquered the
fifty storey VAMI Insurance building without a single claim, the NNs had
arrived at the bridge hoping to set a new benchmark for an au naturale team
exercise. It proved a roaring success. All landings perfect, all body parts
present and accounted for, not a single police siren or flashing light to speak
of. Robed and huddled together on the escape launch, theyd all agreed – this
was as good as it got. Opportunities of this kind, unlike the opportunists
themselves, didnt fall out of the sky.
Alistair wouldve agreed too. Courtesy of the NNs opportunism,
hed been denied his own. The investigation of an alternative was necessary.
He hadnt cared to do that, not after the three months of careful deliberation
that had gone into selecting September 10. Under normal circumstances, he
mightve given the whole thing a miss. Circumstances being anything but
normal, hed 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 Alistairs purpose.
Alistair Forge intended to jump from the
– clothes on, parachute off – and make himself dead.
Officially dead. Alistair believed hed 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
beneath him continued to grow, he was a corpse. There only remained for the
annoying physiological facade of life to be taken away. Alistair figured a one
hundred and seventy feet free fall into concrete masquerading as water would
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 hadnt 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 hed 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 couldve exercised over them. Thats 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 hed made.
(why do anything youre going to kill yourself arent you thats
all you gotta do that shit youve got in your bag its not gonna save you
its not gonna give you the kiss of life after five dead years)
(only one thingll bring that about jumping off the
thats the final word the bottom line ending your existence is all that
(so whats 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 arms 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 everyones
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: