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A Good One


The Greeks would say that you’ve only had a good life once you’ve had a good death.

But what makes a good death if you’ve had a shit life? Can a good death even make up for it?

I’ve drunk too much, beaten my children, my wife. I’ve cheated, I’ve stolen, and worse…

Now, here I sit thinking that for a man of my stature, any death would be a good one as seen by those around me. They do not love me, nor do they have reason to. I do not ask this of them - I know I’ve been less than a person for years now, and way less than a good one for even longer.

So, naturally, a good death would be sacrificing yourself to save a mother and her baby from being hit by a bus, or like many of my comrades, dying for your country. Had I died then and there, maybe I would’ve been remembered by a child or two fewer, but I would’ve been remembered as, what the Greeks would call, a good and happy man.

Now that it’s too late for all that, here I am pondering if a masochistic way to go would best reward those that have suffered at my hand, or perhaps they’d be happy enough not having to attend an open casket funeral.


Photo: GregMontani / Pixabay

I’ve finished my whiskey now, and I hear an ominous chord playing in my head. The letters have gotten blurry anyway.

Heads is the quick way, tails is the noose. All I ask of those who will bury me is that they do not lie in my name and speak no good of me for I believe that what I’m about to do will be a good one.

Lieutenant Brian O’Riley



#creativewriting #prose #letter #TheGreeks

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