I hung an electric wall-clock to a ceiling joist in the basement of my parent’s house, with the second hand set at a little past 9, slightly less than 15 seconds to the minute. Looped over the second hand was a bit of string; tied to the string was a barbecue skewer, pointy end down. Beneath the clock I had extended two lengths of clothesline, both tied to basement support pillars, and both ending in slip-knot nooses. When I lay with my arms extended, wrists through the nooses, the skewer would be aimed directly at my chest.
I lay down; inserted my left hand in its loop and drew it taut around my wrist; slipped my right hand through its loop and, reaching, plugged the electric chord from the clock into a wall socket before drawing the noose taut.
Then I lay there, appropriately bound, watching the seconds tic away in my home-made deathtrap. Alas, I had only thirty seconds at the most before the deadly implement would plunge into my heart; not nearly enough time to properly savor the feeling of helplessness, of impending doom, the cold indifference of the mechanism to the warm, beating heart lying beneath its sharpened point.
When the second hand got to a little after 15 seconds past, the skewer dropped, point-down and arrow-straight. At the last moment, I squirmed to the side, taking the skewer in the biceps of my right arm. It left a nasty dent, but did not break the skin.
In the end, I was exhilarated by my oh-too-brief brush with mechanized catastrophe, but I was paradoxically disappointed with the ease with which I avoided my fate – the bonds should have held me more firmly in place. The skewer should have been sharper.
And, of course, I should have had a longer period for contemplation of the foolishness of my actions, the hopelessness of my situation. Because that's where the action really is, after all; the "oh-shit" instant, the moment after you have set in motion the means of your own destruction, when there is nothing you can do to recall your own foolish, glorious action.
This was my first self-administered deathtrap. I immediately set about designing other, more fiendish and more sure ways of becoming my own personal super-villain. I'll never escape me now, bwa-hah-hah-hah!
And you know what? One of these days, one of my diabolical devices just might work.