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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Eli Edelmann never intended on making a living through mercy killing @greg_levin

continuing with July's 'emotional scenes' with
The Exit Man
Greg Levin

Sgt. Rush looked around the room, then at the exit hood, then back at me.
“I’m ready,” he said.
“Is there any music you want to hear, or something you want me to read aloud while you are, you know, going under?”
“No. Let’s just keep things simple.”
“You’re the boss.”
“Thank you again, Eli. You have no idea how much this means to me. You just have to promise me you won’t let your conscience torture you on this. You are a good man, doing a noble thing.”
“I appreciate that, but don’t worry about me. I’m honored to assist.”
I wanted to say more. I wanted to tell Sgt. Rush how I admired him for having lived a purposeful and honest life. For having raised a happy daughter. For having endured his wife’s illness and death with courage and poise. And for having been such a good friend to my father for so many years. I realized, however, that expressing such sentiments would have been more for my benefit than for his. Sgt. Rush didn’t need me to deliver a living tribute or eulogy. He didn’t need to be reassured that he had been liked and loved and respected by the people he encountered on this planet. He felt no existential despair. He needed no soft words to send him home. He simply wanted to leave.
I checked to see that the long plastic tubing was securely hooked up to the release valve of the tank, and picked up the plastic bag.
“Remember, there won’t be any helium in the bag when I first slip it over your head. You will be able to breathe freely. Once I insert the tube into the hole and turn the valve, just continue to breathe slowly and deeply. It will be just like you are breathing oxygen, and you’ll drift off before you know it. Is that clear?”
“Good. Are you ready to begin?”
Sgt. Rush scooted back in his bed and propped himself up on a couple of pillows. I carried the connected tank and the bag to the side of the bed, close enough for the tubing to reach Sgt. Rush’s soon-to-be hooded head.
Here’s where I had earlier thought one of us might crumble. This is the point at which I had half-expected to suddenly come to my senses, or for Sgt. Rush to suddenly come to his. But it turned out to be the easiest part of the whole plan. A dream sequence. Distance and detachment, yet each of us locked into our respective role – doubtless that what we were doing was right. Beyond right. Bordering on obligatory.
Me: Focused and methodical as I slipped the bag over his head and attached the straps, tube and tape.
Him: Unwavering in his response to my final “Ready?”
No tension at the turning of the valve. No coughing as oxygen was ousted. No struggle as helium stole the show.
No panic as the number of living people in the room was cut in half.
Sgt. Rush, or, more precisely, the body he had borrowed for 62 years, lay slumped awkwardly on the bed, his head tilted to the left at a sharp angle, his torso leaning heavy in the same direction yet still supported partially by the pillows. After I removed the plastic bag and packed all the hood pieces into my duffel bag, I carefully un-stacked the pillows and guided the body into a position more in line with that of a man who had been napping rather than one who had been sitting up in bed to watch a program on a non-existent TV set. 
On my way out of the room I snatched the envelope Sgt. Rush had left on the dresser and slid it into my duffel bag. Just like that, I had been transformed from a rank amateur to a highly paid professional – nearly doubling what I had earned the entire year before in a matter of minutes. 
I turned to look once more at the body. I would miss the man who had exited it, yet I felt no remorse. On the contrary – I was overwhelmed by a strong sense of achievement. An impenetrable sense of… there was that simple word again…
Sgt. Rush had just been released.
He wasn’t the only one.

Suicide should come with a warning label: “Do not try this alone.”
If you truly need out and want the job done right, you should consider using an outside expert.
 Like Eli.

Add The Exit Man to your Goodreads Shelf

Eli Edelmann never intended on making a living through mercy killing. After reluctantly taking over his family’s party supply store following his father’s death, he is approached by a terminally ill family friend who’s had enough. The friend, a retired policeman, has an intricate plan involving something Eli has ready access to – helium. Eli is initially shocked and repulsed by the proposal, but soon begins to soften his stance and, after much deliberation, eventually agrees to lend a hand. 

It was supposed to be a one-time thing. How could Eli have known euthanasia was his true calling? And how long can he keep his daring underground "exit" operation going before the police or his volatile new girlfriend get wise?

About The Author

Having spent much of his life weaving intricate tales to get out of things like gym class and jury duty, Greg Levin is no stranger to fiction. Greg’s d├ębut novel, Notes on an Orange Burial was published in November 2011 by Elixirist (now 48fourteen) and has sold over 11 copies to his immediate family. Greg's second book, The Exit Man (available Spring 2014), is already being hailed as one of the top two novels he has ever written.

Greg has been getting paid to put words together since 1994, working as a professional business journalist, freelance writer and ghostwriter. He has written hundreds of feature articles, case studies and satire pieces, as well as a critically acclaimed business ebook.

When not busy writing, Greg enjoys thinking about writing, and spending time with his wife and daughter. He also enjoys cooking, traveling and exercising, as well as freestyle rapping for his friends even when they don’t do anything to deserve such mistreatment.

Greg was born in Huntington, New York in 1969, and then moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with his family when he was six. He attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated summa cum laude in 1991 with a BA in Communication and a special concentration in Creative Writing.

Greg currently resides in Austin, Texas, where he is one of just 17 people who don’t play a musical instrument or write songs. He is currently wanted by Austin authorities for refusing to eat pork ribs or dance the two-step.

Follow the rest of The Exit Man Tour HERE
* This tour is brought to you by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours *

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