THE GOGOL IN ME Darryl Mockridge
So, you know, after he killed himself—that being his only means of escape—an
expert interviewed the poor sobbing widow, looking for what he called ‘warning
“Did he show any sign whatsoever that may have indicated he was about to do
this awful thing?” asked the expert.
She looked up and said, “What?” She seemed confused.
“Did you notice any warning sign that, now, looking back, you realize might have
indicated that this... uh... event... was about to occur?”
She just looked at the expert as if lost for a bit, then began somewhat hesitantly,
“I wonder if... well, over the last ten years he pretty much maintained a continual,
relentless, never-ending onslaught of harping. I don't know how many times I
heard him say that he could not go even one more single day working thanklessly
as an unwilling servant to my father…” She paused, then asked meekly, “Do you
think there could have been a hidden message in that somewhere?”
“You mean, in ten years of constant ranting?” asked the expert.
“Ranting and stomping around and cussing, and throwing things.” she said.
“No. No,” said the expert, “I’m looking for something you may not have noticed at
the time, which now, in looking back, may have indicated…”
“Well, he did, one time, send out emails to all his contacts saying ‘In the name of
CHRIST, please help us get out of this situation. Do you think THAT might have
The expert only sighed.
“Please,” he said, “I know it’s tough for you right now, but try to think back and
see if there was anything, anything at all, that might have given you a clue about
how he was feeling...or what he was thinking.”
So, she thought back.
"Well, once I woke up in the middle of the night and heard him in the bathroom
chanting, ‘Get us out of this fucking place, get us out of this fucking place,
PLEASE get us out of this fucking place, over and over and over again. I peeked
in and he was on his knees, drenched in a feverish sweat, his hands clenched
tightly in prayer. When he came back to bed, I asked him if everything was OK,
and he said quietly, ‘I now know that there is no God’. He sounded so sad. Do
you think there might have been a message buried in there somewhere, which I
might have missed?”
“No," said the expert, "that just sounds to me like the futile plea of any man
trapped in any unbearable work situation with no possible hope of escape." He
went on to explain, "Any man treated with bitter scorn by a maladaptive narcissist
boss might feel that way. And especially if he has to stand by in silence and
witness his wife being treated like a part-time maid by her own father. "No," said
the expert, "it must have been something else. I'm looking for a clue as to why..."
She pondered but could think of nothing. There hadn't really been any clue.
"Oh well," he said after a bit, "if you think of anything, anything at all, let me know.
Here’s my card.” Taking up the widow’s hand, he said “ But, you know, sometimes
these things are just unpredictable and simply cannot be explained.”
Only after the expert left did she remember something.
One time, after working an eleven-hour long split shift for the little king-- that's
what her husband had called the man they worked for-- he took his very dear
wife into his arms and he held her very tightly. And, taking in her fragrance, he
whispered into her ear, "Gosh, I wish things were different."