Nine lives...That's it

I was your average veterinarian working in the darkest and dirtiest office that the state allowed. I wasn’t exactly careless before, it’s just my life was so average and ordinary and I achieved no heights or had any on the horizon. Recently I hit forty. Half of my life wasted treating dogs that are more likely to bite your hand than shake it.

You get a nasty bite and your job is over. It’s not like I had much work anyway, most of the time it was rather boring since I lived in a neighborhood where you are much more likely to get shot for few dollars than see an animal. If a pet gets sick, the locals would rather shoot it down and be done with it. Why buy another animal when you can pick one of those wild ones on the street.

I remember my father once say, “Hey, Bron, get your degree and start working, do a good job and you’ll get off, leave that hellhole, start a life.”

To hell with that I guess. It was getting so boring at one point that I decided to start working out, you know – keep my hand steady and working. I picked up some street cats up and cut them open, and start checking their anatomy out. At some point, the few clients that I had, noticed the pickled cat brains though. After that, even those few clients I had stopped showing up. Hell, not even a mugger dared look my way. Everyone thought I was crazy.

That was when I got devoted to that little hobby of mine though, got a fancy microscope and started checking how stuff works in the feline brain. Turns out those bastards are kind of lively. OK maybe the whole nine lives thing is kind of too much, but I picked up several tricks during my university days. I figured that with enough tampering, I could make a person’s brain just bring the man back to life – wonder of wonders, exactly nine times.

Of course, had I brought this up in any official environment I would be labeled crazy and my methods would be called sadistic. I may get my place shut down and maybe even a sentence for animal violence. Not like the old days at all… I decided that the best course of action would be try it on myself, problem being that I can’t just operate on my own brain, so I asked my assistant (a lively young fellow) to operate. I told that fool that I found a way to enhance vision by splicing up some feline and human brain centers. I told him to be extra careful because if he missed a cut, I’d go blind. That must’ve been enough to keep the young hothead level handed, he reminded of me when I was young, also with the same expectations to hit high.

The surgery was a success it seemed. The cat died due to complications, but my own body healed up, for the first time in my life I was lucky. It only took couple of weeks to heal. The problem was that I wasn’t exactly willing to test it out. When it comes to being immortal you can only be wrong once. One day, I just had to do it, I got some rat poison and put it into my tea, I stirred it around then drank the whole cup. Pain. I blacked out in excruciating pain. Moments later my eyes opened wide and it felt like I was born again.

I checked my watch, it only took me fifteen minutes to come back from the undertaker. This was huge, I had eight more lives to have fun with. To hit it big I decided to make a name for myself. I put up a bunch of posters all around the city, even the rich and central districts. "A man shall jump from the tallest building around and rise after just fifteen minutes." It raised a lot of commotion initially, but then everyone thought it was a trick and just gathered to see it, somehow, even the mayor was convinced to allow this event. It was so windy on top of that building, everyone looked so small and surprised, there were a lot of firefighters and ambulances.

“This was hitting it huge” I thought as I took a step into the sky.

For the audience it must’ve been quite the view, the man fell for almost ten whole seconds and splattered into the ground like a sac of potatoes. The body even jumped off the pavement a little. Everyone started screaming and shouting, the ambulance ran up and confirmed the death. They just kept standing just as instructed though. Just as fifteen minutes past, the ambulance decided to take me away but then my head popped up and smiled. I stood up and did that “taadaa” thing. Once again I felt like newly born.

The media swallowed me up, this hit all the news, I was on all the “tubes” of the internet. I became the next big thing. The papers even named me “Mr. Immortal”. For the first time in my life I was something. I just had to keep those performances going, this time for money. For a million dollars I was shot down in South Korea, drowned in China for five million, the Japanese cut me up for another five million, the English paid me two million pounds for getting hanged, the French tested rat poison on me again, the Americans even tested a bomb near me for fifty million.

All of those times I just got up after fifteen minutes alive and kicking, smiling even at some points. I gathered an amazing fortune with all those tricks so I decided to retire on a small island while I'm still a hot thing, keep the last life for myself, you can never know what will happen. All those times I died made me realize just how much I should respect my life, and how easily I could lose it. Then the offer came. Those blasted Russians wanted to test some super-gas on me for a billion dollars. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse. I recounted all the times I died: the poison, the fall, the shooting, the drowning, the cutting up, the hanging, the French poison, the bomb – eight, I still had one extra life left…

So I took the deal, they seemed surprised how easily I agreed, they said this thing was super strong, they said that the room will be super contained and not a sound will be heard from within. Not that I cared, I can do my math just fine. At the arranged time I flew to Russia in my private jet and entered the chamber. As the men in uniforms did their countdown, I recounted my deaths again as something kept bugging me, something felt wrong and kept fear burning in my heart. Then I realized – the cat’s brain died during the surgery when the center was transplanted, that’s why the recovery was so sudden and felt so good and left no scars.

I kept punching and kicking the doors, shouting, “Nine Lives! That’s it!” as loud as I could.

Then I collapsed. Recalling my entire life, letting it go through my eyes, the green smoke started pumping in from the vents…