Tending bar last night, chatting with a guy named Jo but pronounced with a Spanish J  like in Juan so when he says, "Yo," I’m like,

  “Yo, wassup?”

  “No, that’s my name.”  

We go around and round, like who's on first . . .

He sees a poster about my book behind the bar (ABP – Always Be Promoting!), tells me he has a friend who is suicidal and he’d like to buy a copy for her. Sometimes people do have a depressed friend, but sometimes a “friend” is themselves and they're hesitant to say, “I’ve been having thoughts of suicide and would like to read your book.” Because no one wants to get locked up in a psych ward for 72 hours. 

Turns out this Yo is a nice, Jewish kid with a plethora of knowledge about the Kabbalah and a huuuuge TOOL fan who can recite most of their lyrics. He's in town for a court date, something about aggravated assault, and he’s looking at 16 years inside the State Pen up in Cañon. 

And I pause because he might be having a few drinks to bolster his courage and then head upstairs to his room and hang himself. The anonymity of hotel rooms do protect your friends and family from finding your body, but you'll traumatize the hell out of the cleaning staff. 

A quiet hotel room to hide from the world and complete one final performance. Like Anthony Bourdain. Like Chris Cornell. 

Sitting in front of me, this kid seemed happy and then I remember once someone has decided to do "it", and by that I do mean take their own life, then a wave of relief and happiness swells. Maybe he’s thinking he can’t face being locked-up for 16 years and is happy he’s discovered a way out.  A way to lever the pain onto others.  

Before he gets up to leave, he asks me, 

  "What’s the message of your book?"

I want to say it's not my book but his book. It's for him. 

It's a good question because he didn't ask what the book is about but rather the why of it. So, I hand him a copy and say,

  “Maybe this will offer hope.”

No way I'm going to charge him for the 400 pages because this is WHY I wrote it. For this moment. 

When I ask him to whom I should sign the book for, he wants his name instead of the “friend”. And I privately hope that he might carry it upstairs and substitute the rope for the book. 

An hour later, I see him coming back from Loaf n’ Jug with several bags of Cheetos and I think, “We’ll, that a good sign. But that junk food will be the death of him!" 

Here's the scary part about blogging our interaction: What if he did hang himself last night and for years I am plagued by a guilty conscious that I should have done more? Maybe I should have called EMS or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. But not once did he indicate a plan to harm himself or talk about lethal means. After writing this damn book, I'm starting to think everyone is suicidal.   

And if he didn’t read it last night, then soon enough he might have plenty of time. About 16 years.