Three Is The Tragic Number, Yes It Is

Edwin_Austin_Abbey_King_Lear,_Act_I,_Scene_I_The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art

“Do you know what else comes in threes? Your mother!”

Like the most overused record scratch in a movie advertisement, usually during James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good),” it happened. Olive Ledbetter had fallen out of sync with her personal soundtrack, and it was ruining the movie, her life. A plot twist no one could have possibly expected, swarmed in, the like, which no one had ever seen before. So overtly true, it had to be fiction.

Like most Shakespearean tragedies, her plight arrived in three acts.


In the first act, her parents returned from their graves, appropriately decomposed, maggots crawling out of their eye sockets, and smelling thusly. Who could ever have imagined death smelled so putrid? Actually, most people are familiar with ‘the’ corpse stench, but Olive had sheltered herself from such a grim reality.

In the second act, her rotting parents laid down some heavy guilt about her diet, the way she let herself go, spend less, save more, don’t slouch while we share shame on you. Basically, old country parent stuff, but without the physical abuse.

In the third act, Olive could not withstand another second of this stupid reprimanding, so she gouged her eyes out with two Sharpie® markers, in the hope of extinguishing her life.

She prepared herself for the embrace of sweet death. Instead, she remained alive, with the most agonizing pain in her head, mostly her face, specifically, her eyes. Her parents ragged on her about her pathetic suicide attempt for the next eleven hours, even once calling her a dodo Oedipus.

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