(Not based on a true story – just my attempt at a Monty Python-esque sketch)
(The youngish man hesitates on the sidewalk outside the business’s door, then opens it to enter a one-room office. A slightly olderish woman is sitting behind the desk, writing until she sees him enter. A huge smile becomes plastered on her face as she stands to greet him)
Facilitator: Hello, sir!
Young Man: Uh, hi, uh, is this place you go when you want to die but are too cowardly to kill yourself?
Facilitator: It is indeed! Welcome! Have a seat. (He sits on a chair in front of the desk) Can I get you anything? Coffee, tea, hot cocoa?
Young Man: (Squirms a bit) No, thank you.
Facilitator: (Sits in her chair behind the desk) Let’s get started then: you’re entitled to this one free consultation, where we can review what we like to call your “Exit Preferences”.
Young Man: Aren’t you interested in why I want to do it?
Facilitator: Oh, no, sir, we never ask for that kind of personal information from our clients. That would fall under a psychiatrist’s purview. Now – here’s our catalog, (She hands him one the size of a phone book) take as long as you like. We have a large number of packages with pricing dependent on the amount and type of resources required. Plus, we also offer the option to customize your purchase on the off-chance you do not see anything that fits your needs. (She folds her hands on the desk as she waits)
Young Man: (Flips slowly through the catalog and stops at one page) What’s the “High Speed/Stand Still” package?
Facilitator: Ooh, that’s where you stand in the middle of a road, and we drive a large vehicle into you at over 100 miles-per-hour.
Young Man: (Winces and rubs his chin) Sounds rather messy. I don’t think I’d want the family to deal with cleaning up all that.
Facilitator: Oh, you have family? I was afraid you were all alone in the world with no one to care for you.
Young Man: Are you judging me?
Facilitator: Oh no sir, we never judge our clients. The only true judge or judges of us all are in the hereafter, eh? (Laughs)
Young Man: (Laughs uncomfortably) Yeah. (Flips some more through the pages) People actually choose “Electrocution”?
Facilitator: We serve all needs, sir – some like to be more spectacular in death than they ever could have been in life.
Young Man: Hm. (Turns to another page) “Beheading by Double-Edged Sword” – that might be all right.
Facilitator: Yes, that one is a favorite. Quick, clean, and usually works on the first attempt.
Young Man: Oh. What? The first attempt?
Facilitator: Please note our disclaimer, sir.
Young Man: (Turns to the first page and reads) “Before completing the transaction, all clients must be aware that any of our methods, listed or unlisted, are not guaranteed on the first attempt. Please allow up to five attempts before submitting a complaint to our Client Services Department”?!
Facilitator: As I explain to all our clients, sir: when it comes to death, much as with life, nothing is certain.
Young Man: So I could be hacked on the neck five times before I can stumble over to the Complaint Department?!
Facilitator: You’ll be interested to know that it took about nine for the Duke of Monmouth – but then word was his executioner was drunk at the time, and we have a strict zero-tolerance policy on that sort of thing with our employees.
Young Man: Are there any of these that are guaranteed to work the first time, 99% of the time?
Facilitator: The poison section is pretty reliable – usually one goes off into a nice, peaceful sleep. Then again, there is always a chance that the dosage is miscalculated and you experience every agonizing sensation as your cells die, one by one.
Young Man: (Stands and leaves the catalog on the desk) I’m not ready to decide yet – can I come back another time?
Facilitator: Of course! Take the catalog with you, and my card, (She stands and hands him both) and feel free to call whenever you decide to end it all. To help in your decision, the front of the catalog has some articles on the sick and deprived in the world, children in war-torn countries, and the poor and homeless right here in our own backyard who would give their left arms to have the opportunity you have to choose your method of destruction. It’s our way of giving back to the community.
Young Man: (Looks at those pages abashedly) Thank you for all your help. (He runs out the door)
Facilitator: (Smiling and waving) Any time!
(The door closes behind him. A block away, he stops and looks at the card. It reads:)
FINAL EXITS, LLC
OUR BUSINESS IS TO GO OUT OF BUSINESS