Suicide is a tricky thing. I have a friend, we'll call her Brianna, who tried to kill herself by overdosing, and then, deciding that she didn't want to after all (a little late for that?) she tried to make herself throw up. Unfortunately, her gag reflex wasn't working that day. I can only imagine the panic that must have ensued, realizing that she was about to die.

I don't know the whole story, but she ended up in the hospital, having her stomach pumped. She survived to tell the tale, and she didn't die after all. However, with, let's say a gun, there's no turning back, no second guessing once you've pulled the trigger.

In Leo's case, ironically, he landed on his feet when he tried to jump. Like the story about the man being hanged, An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge, the sudden rush of endorphines brought on by survival must have given him a desire to live again, like Brianna's experience did.

Suicide is a tricky thing. For everyone it's different. Some yearn it out of self-loathing, others out of a hatred for the world around them, and yet more because they're simply in a pinch, and the chemicals in their brains stop working for self-preservation and tell them, "You know what, it would be really smart if you killed yourself."

As we are soon to see, Leo isn't regarded as a martyr. Instead, a massive coverup over his death ensues, and he is painted as a casualty in the war against the mice. Like a short story I once wrote about my own death, it's pinned on something easy, and turns into just the opposite of the actual cause.

I'm sure no one ever read that. I wonder if anyone will actually read this?

If you are reading this, I have a few things to tell you. First of all, thanks. Secondly, I'd like to elaborate on my reasoning for attempting to write a novel in a month, a ridiculous task to be sure. My goal is to help unravel the conspiracy of the cats in our own lives. To clarify, I'm certain that the cats of our lawmakers aren't getting into their brains and running our government. I'm not schizophrenic. Instead, I implore you to look for the cats, the false prophets in your own lives. I'm sure if you tilt your head and squint at your life for a minute, you'll start to see them.

They hide under the names of peace-bringers and do-gooders, of protectors of the society. Like the lies that no one bothered to fact-check in Three Cups of Tea, no one dreams of questioning these works. Let me name a few: the Bible and the United States Constitution for one. Both establish a hierarchy based on a subjective morality or established social structure. To think that we worship a document that established African Americans as three fifths of a human being.

Like Kurt Vonnegut described in one of his books (the title of which slips my mind at the moment), the primary role of the government is not to protect the rights and well being of the People (capital P indicating a term used religiously like God), but the property rights and über well being of a specific group of people, the wealthy. Hopefully, I can weave that into the dominant impression of this novel.

I don't expect a story written in 30 days to be life changing. I don't expect to say anything profound that hasn't been said at least a hundred times before. Ideally, you will put down this manuscript and allow it to mingle with the thousands of other ideas that are flowing through your mind. And even more ideally, some of those ideas may bond, and, LIGHTBULB! If I can succeed in accomplishing that, then I will have achieved my goal for this month, contributing to the accumulation of extra-societal ideas in our literate population.

As an atheist, I think that, the accumulation of knowledge and the pursuit of the truth surrounding our existence (which I don't pretend to know) is the purpose of life. Achieving the purpose of life isn't a bad goal for the month.

When I was planning out what I'd say in this particular interruption of the plot for a long winded, preachy speech, I considered discussing the invalidation that Dane received, and the tie ins of that to my own life. Instead, I'll opt for a less specific approach.

Nearly every character in this novel bears some resemblance to an aspect of myself. I don't pretend to be able to rise above the cycle of elitism and ignorance, and, besides, when anthropomorphizing animals, it's hard not to let yourself get in the way.

Dane bears a particular resemblance to me. When I was planning my novel, he was named after one of my friends, Daniel, but he's become more of a reflection of myself and my present mood. Especially for a mouse so snarky, I can't resist but enjoy the schadenfreude-based camaraderie that comes from a character that must feel pain when you do, like a "mate" in the drinking game Kings: he has to hurt when you do.

Fil is also a bit of myself, but the less reflective and more "rebel without a cause" side of me. And Jak is often me when caught up in the personality of a fantastic near-friend I want to impress.

But, as for Dane, his barely developed ego is destroyed, and henceforward he will rely on the approval of others to validate his emotions as genuine. This has been a condition of mine for nearly all my life. The secular parable Pinnochio put it best: "I want to be a real boy."

The End

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