(1300 words) Mr. Joseph Bowser was sick of life. He walked away from his unhappy home, sick not only of his own existence, but of everybody else’s, turned aside down Dog Kennel Lane to avoid the town, crossed the wooden bridge that goes over the canal to Blackstone’s Cottages, and was presently alone in the damp pinewoods and out of sight and sound of human habitation. He would stand it no longer. He repeated aloud with profanities unusual to him that he would stand it no longer. He looked around for somewhere to sit but the ground was damp, as were the occasional fallen trunks. Woe is me! he would’ve thought, had he been on passing terms with that expression. He walked, scuffing the fallen pine needles with his shoes until he reached a clearing. There, a log lay in the sun and afforded him a dry – or, at least, sufficiently desiccated – place to rest. He had determined to take his own life but now he regretted his lack of planning. He had neither knife nor pills nor rope. Short of headbutting a tree, he could think of no method to end his suffering. Perhaps if he held his breath? He could at least pass out. He closed his eyes and held his nose.