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How to Plan for Imminent Death

By Jumaana Abdu


Lacey was – at least for six months – my entire life source. So consequently, upon her dumping me, that life source was gone. And now, I am prepared to die.


Currently, I am surviving off remnants of her. Glimpses on campus. The smell of her still in some of my sweaters. Running on fumes, I am.


How do I know I will die? Well, when we were together, there was this constant ticking in my head. Like a clock that’s far too loud. But it wasn’t a clock. It was my heart. And that ticking went away when she did.


It’s fine. I’m not too torn up about it. I’ve been enveloped by a sort of calm. Like I’ve been knocked really hard in the head and everything has gone silent and distant and is moving in slow motion. I’m already dead. Mostly. A half ghost. Half death is only moderately painful, and I imagine any discomfort will vanish with complete death. It’s not so bad, see?


I only worry about breaking the news in the right way for each person. I have written a few goodbye notes:


Dear Mum,


If you’re reading this note, I’m dead. Please don’t cry. It makes your eyeliner run and that always reminds me of this lady from a horror movie I wasn’t supposed to watch. But I did anyway. And I don’t want you to look like a woman from a horror movie. Especially at my funeral. Which you should get organising. Because I’m dead.


PS: don’t forget to feed Cat.


Love, Chip


(Cat is my dog. I named him Cat because he thinks he is one. His mother died after he was born so the pet shelter put him with a mother cat and her kittens. Evidently, this confused him considerably. It’s all the better for me though, because he’d rather curl up next to me than go for a walk. And I hate walking. And exercise in general. Luckily, I can’t exercise when I’m dead.)





I haven’t addressed this letter as ‘Dear Dad’ because I know you aren’t great with intimacy and paternal love. That’s fine. Me neither. In any case, you won’t have to worry about that anymore. Because I’m dead.





Dear Lacey,


You’ve killed me.


I’m not sure how to sign off Lacey’s letter. I considered putting in a few swear words. But I’d like to be a bit more tasteful, you know. It’s my last chance to grow up before I die.


Speaking of last chances, I’ve made a list of things I want to do before I die:

  • Find Cat a soul mate
  • Remove my braces
  • Finish the current season of Downton Abbey
  • Find the perfect song for important moments in my life
  • Compile these songs to make the ultimate playlist for my funeral
  • Get a makeover to show Lacey what she’ll be missing out on in the afterlife


This might be the only to-do list I’ve ever actually intended on completing. Imminent death has filled me with a sort of pre-mortem motivation. I also have to plan my last words. So far the best line I’ve come up with is, “Fake pockets in women’s clothing are sexist.” I’m sure women will appreciate that. The only thing worse than fake pockets is that corn silk-esque disaster of a hair transplant on Donald Trump’s head. How so many people could consider that walking dried apricot a “nice man” is beyond me.


But then again, people always seem nice when you don’t properly know them. For example, Lacey seemed nice. But then she murdered me. And to be honest, the murdering part hurts more than the actual dying.


And die I will. I’ll miss Cat, sure. And maybe Mum and Dad. But one thing’s for certain: when I’m dead, I won’t be missing assignments or taxes or sensationalised news or social media or fake pockets. And I definitely, most certainly, one hundred per cent, will not be missing Lacey.


… In any case, if I ever get terribly lonely, there’s always the ghost option.