On this Friday, the 22nd day of August, I, Julian Papp, being of "reasonably" sound mind and body (for though I'm perfectly aware of what I'm doing, I'd hardly consider myself "in the pink") make the following provisions for the distribution of my earthy goods (and ashes).

To my Mother Dear,

whose lifelong devotion merits more from her only son than the cruel shock of finding his remains, I leave everything not otherwise bequeathed, but especially I will her my hand-carved chess set given to me by the first Grandmaster who bowed to superior play (i.e. mine). Being my most prized possession, perhaps this gesture will dispel any doubts she may have about my feelings for her. My last act is one she is/was powerless to prevent, even had I made my intentions known. From my point of view, her motherhood was flawless, and thus guiltless.

To my father,

about whose verity my mother thought me unaware, I return my first chess set (sans two lost pawns), which arrived mysteriously by mail on my sixth birthday. Being the only gift I ever received from him before or since (excluding my initial genes—which, alas, have proven suspect) I think it only fitting he should have it.

To Polly Elton,

I leave her last letter, which I framed and hung on the wall above my bed—complete with effusive affirmations of her everlasting love (dated three and a half days before she left me). I trust this "document of female constancy" will find her fat and happy and blithely breeding in Dubuque (or wherever).

To Miriam Jeffries,

Who nobly suppressed her secret loathing for my body to soothe its "beautiful soul," I leave a lock of my hair.

And last and intentionally least,

To Mercedes Ballantine,

I bequeath my dark glasses, which, I may rest assured, will be mounted in her trophy room alongside the other ill-gotten mementos of sundry and gullible freaks—for whom she made her shapely legs the unabashed avenues unto ecstasy (once per customer). A pox on her predatory pubes.

Conscience nearly cleared, spleen vented, these closing words will ratify my choice to self-destruct:

Having had the misfortune of being born without pigmentation in my skin, and therefore resembling a kind of whey-faced colorless slug, I have long fought the stares of an ignorant world whose tolerance for difference is zilch. However, this ongoing struggle—a considerable scourge in my earlier years—has not been without compensation (and thus ought be discounted as my sole justification for suicide). Being conspicuous in the eyes of my peers, I came to discover I had none (peers, that is)—a sort of compensatory snobbery bred of the wasted years spent envying the normal. Freed then from a misguided urge to be considered 'of the people' I deliberately set out to emphasize my uniqueness. The makeup my mother well-meaningly bought to enliven my ghastly complexion I discarded. In its place I purchased some talcum powder and a pair of white pajamas. Eventually, my entire wardrobe followed suit.

It wasn't enough, though, to look different. I had to be different. And chess, glorious chess was my salvation. (As further evidence of my soundness of mind, let it be noted that I am aware of the vain indulgence in this autobiographical outburst and will shortly curtail it). With a little study and a lot of practice, I discovered that I was not only good but exceptional at the game; I dare say I was unbeatable. Was.

But now I get fits. Not just while playing chess. I get them doing almost everything, but during chess in particular. I cannot tolerate this. My doctor assures me that once he has found the appropriate dosage of anticonvulsants I'll be able to resume competition and "a normal life." But what no one understands is that I no longer see the board the way I used to. Before my first seizure, winning lines were as clear to me as night and day. I hardly had to concentrate. Now I play as in an obfuscating fog.

It is for this reason that I have decided to terminate my life. To anyone not me—i.e., everybody else—this will seem irrational, but from the only relevant vantage point—my own—it makes perfect sense.


May my corpse be burned and set out with the morning trash.



Julian Papp


"But why can't she...

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