The Suicide Inspector
“The State believes in the perfectibility of even its most wayward Citizens.” But as long as the State has an interest in our narrator’s perfection, he can be no hero.
As a uniformed Inspector of Suicides, his fifty-first job assignment is a great honor—for it is his duty to report on the circumstances of every Citizen’s death in writing for the official record of the State. Since murder has been eradicated, along with all the rest of the prior century’s ills, expiration can only come voluntarily. Of this there can be no doubt.
“Self-terminants” are therefore commended, as Citizen Heroes, for their part in maintaining the tidy security of a world free from inconvenience and the unexpected. In this devilish satire, which recalls both Philip K. Dick’s fiction and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, Steinfeld holds up a funhouse mirror to the realities of the contemporary job market to chilling effect.
J. J. Steinfeld is a Canadian fiction writer, poet, and playwright who lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. In addition to several collections of poetry and short stories, he is the author of the novels Our Hero in the Cradle of Confederation (Pottersfield Press) and Word Burials (Crossing Chaos Enigmatic Ink). His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals internationally, and over forty of his one-act plays, as well as a handful of full-length plays, have been performed in Canada and the United States.
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