To Whom It May Concern:

The revolver felt cool in his hand—the handle burning textured steel in his contracted palm, the barrel running down the length of his thin forearm like a metallic snake coiled hermetically around his thin arm.

He felt his skull crushed by the calm force of the bullet, a quiescent explosion pummeling through the thin bone hugging the pale mass of gray that had spurned him on in his self-destructive desires (and had, in fact, first introduced them), obliterating the first cause of its own creation, the poor patricidal projectile unaware of its crime against parentage even as it was catapulted headlong into its kin. Later, after being wrung through the arduous blandness and mind-blunting routine of police forensics, it was released from custody in the evidence room and let loose into the embrace of a landfill, where, thankfully, it would live out the rest of its days in blissful unknowing of the patricide it had committed.

And so he was released from life, his self smashed into a billion pieces unrecognizable to each other, forever unable to be put back together again, like a puzzle without a solution—but his subconscious continued to spill out of the wound carved like a lunar crater into the side of his head, just above his temple, by the exiting bullet. Dreams and fears and ideas rushed like rapids from the void of flesh, far outpacing the fast-drying fountain of blood that had sprung up soon after the initial blast. His hands instinctively, without any conscious direction, reached up to try to grab the escaping mindstuff, but they soon slumped down again next to the slouched, lifeless body, unable to sustain any activity now that the crux of their neurological infrastructure had been dethroned. How tragic they looked as they sat and watched, helpless and unmoving, as their once-prized treasures of deep, unquantifiable thought fled like freed doves from the paternalistic net of the brain. It was a sad sight, indeed. I am in tears even now, years later, as I remember their noble stoicism, their forms looking almost Platonic as they lay still in unnerving rest.

I had never particularly liked his limbs—any of them—before that moment, but seeing them lying limpid and defeated, incapable of the vain struggle for containment they sought…but I am getting choked up, and must strive for calm.

The dreams flowed in viscous fluorescence from the wound carved out of his head, a small flap of tattered brain hanging a limp lipid strand from the off-white shell of his broken skull. Arches of light, ellipses of random color flashed brilliantly, indiscriminately in the stark void of his dimly-lit apartment, its sole illumination emanating in dull waves of pallid moonglow from the artificial star of the ceiling fan’s flickering, solitary bulb. It seemed as if it might devolve into a supernova, implode into a nothingness that would reverberate exponentially, expanding in a burst of energy perhaps even greater than a real star not made by man, dispersing its blown-glass body to the four winds and decimating its wiring and coil into infinitesimally small fragments of their former selves. They would be unable to recognize themselves, even, if they saw what they would soon become—or so I assume, given my trans-temporal, but still limited, knowledge.

The spray of blood from the bullet exiting his brain left a small little Pollock painted on the side of his sofa (he was sitting on the floor when he decided, finally, to pull the trigger), but the impact of his head falling down against the suede canvas had smeared some of the original geometries. This was one of the first things his sister noticed when his sister discovered rhe body, a few hours later, as she walked in through the unlocked door to deliver a book she had borrowed a few weeks ago. He had arranged the meeting so that she would discover his corpse before it had much time to decompose. I’m not sure why this detail stood out to her so vividly—perhaps the dull brown of the aerated blood caught her eye against the pale backdrop of the sofa’s worn leather, dull and without even the faint vestiges of life that the crusted, browning red contained—but I do know that it would continue to be the most persistent image—indeed, the only clear one—of her brother’s last moments on earth. Everything else was a blur: the 911 call, her mind and body still in shock, thoughts and hands both shaking with unsteady fear of what-she-could-not-discern and her thoughts still racing, with a manic sense of purposelessness, to rationalize how he might still be alive, perhaps barely, comatose, his mind half-gone but still able to be revived into some semblance of his former self. Much later, when the full gravity of the situation set down upon her like a vengeful, tumbling sun throwing all of its weight upon the weak shoulders of the horizon, hoping to annihilate the earth along with its own suicidal plunge into oblivion, she would laugh with tear-filled eyes over her desperate hopes, and feel her throat contract into silence when she remembered the strange, almost otherworldly hue of the blood painted with expressionistic lifelessness onto the bland corpse of the furniture.

I feel compelled to state my own feelings of guilt in having failed to prevent this form happening; I saw it coming, of course, and felt like I did everything in my power to stop it, to cheer the poor fellow up, but angels in my capacity can only do so much. I know that my inclinations to think I could have accomplished more are just sickly symptoms of idealistic retrospection; indeed, I’ve seen far too many cases in which my peers, overcome by guilt, have resigned from the guardian business to pursue more legalistic and less-taxing, emotionally speaking, occupations. Weighing the merits of a human’s actions while on earth, I know, seems to be a popular fallback for those who can’t handle the fluidity and “human element,” as our customers call it, of our work. But I have faith that I did all I could, regardless of my irrational sentiments of guilt, and look forward to being reassigned at the discretion of the court. I have lost enough sleep over this case already, consumed by my aimless guilt as I lay awake and pondered ways in which I might have saved him… But I am rambling now, and was asked to keep this plea brief. I do not ask for pardon—I know I have done nothing wrong—but I do seek the opportunity to prevent another of this species from falling into a similar trap. The best way to accomplish future recoveries from such feelings of despair, meaninglessness, and a general, overarching sense of personal worthlessness is, I believe, to encourage exercise and a proper diet. I perhaps could have pushed harder on these fronts with my past subject, who sadly fell prey to the unfortunate vicissitudes of his mind.

Sincerely yours,