Andrew Choi

They say that when a person dies, his life flashes before his eyes. Well, my life hasn’t flashed before my eyes. I’m not dead yet.

I’m trying to think of all the possible reasons why this could or would have happened to me, and the only thing I could think of is that Gary is an ungrateful little prick. What’s his problem with me! I was the closest thing to a friend he’s ever had, and here he is showing gratitude by stabbing me in the back… literally.

I think it was three times he stabbed me. That’s how it feels. Whatever the real reason was, he really wanted me dead. And that’s what I don’t get. I was the nicest guy in the world to him and he lures me into a trap and kicks me down a freaking ravine to die. The audacity. He must have really thought he killed me; he didn’t even take my phone. Perfect for me. Unfortunate for him; I’ll get my revenge.

“Hello, 911? I’ve been stabbed and throw down a ravine—I need an ambulance. Grunts. I’m a few meters away from the top of the Smoker’s Hill. You know, where all the potheads go to smoke. Gasps. Hurry. I’ve been stabbed three times, I hurt all over, and I’m bleeding very badly. Yeah, it’s someone I know—his name is Gary, Gary Grayson. No, ow, gasps, I don’t know exactly when it happened, just hurry. Fuck, what do you think he stabbed me with? Shit, looks like he stole my wallet, too. JUST. HURRY. Yes, the ravine by Smoker’s Hill. Hurry–” Beep.

Fifteen minutes he says… I think I can get to the top by then. And if I can’t they’ll come get me.

I’m trying to remember the first time I even met Gary. I remember I couldn’t remember his name the first several times even though I had him saved on my phone. But I don’t remember anything beyond that. The boring little shit. I was always surprised when he showed up at my house even though I was expecting him, because I could never remember his plain-ass face. But he’s just a customer, and I’m just a merchant. I was never really obligated to remember his face anyway.

Dammit, I think some of my ribs broke when I fell. Makes sense, actually. It’d be weird if I rolled down all those rocks and bumps, and hit a tree and walk out of this completely unfazed. And I’ve got blood everywhere, too. My ass is getting warm from the blood trickling down. It’s not a great feeling.

Oh yeah, I remember. That run-of-the-mill prick got connected through Tim. I guess I should’ve noticed in Tim’s tone that he didn’t really like Gary, but I wanted the money and I told Tim that I wanted the connection. I guess that’s how this got started.

All I remember was he wasn’t very memorable. He never made a lasting impression. Most of all, everything about him seemed so… fuzzy and gray. If he were in my profession, he’d have been the best. No one would remember him, and no one would recognize him in public. He’d have been the perfect salesman.

Ow, my leg… it doesn’t feel like a break, but still hurts. But I don’t think I sprained it either… I’ll have to ask when the paramedics get here.

He was a steady buyer. The shithead used to come once a week, just the standard dime bag. And then he started coming more frequently and got smart enough to size up to sacks. I guess even he knew his life was boring. But at this point, he’s just a good customer: I welcomed him every time, as long as I was getting my money, and I guess he mistook that as friendship. How was I supposed to know it would end up like this?

Look at all this blood. Look at all this blood. That bastard is going to pay. If he thinks he’s going to get away with attempted murder, he’s got another thing coming. I don’t die that easy.

Conversations with him were the hardest things to ever deal with. He always gave awkward one-word answers with those unbearably short awkward pauses that seemed to last for days.

“Hey, Gary. How’ve you been?”

“Good.” Unless they were in any particular rush, people normally follow up with a story or two.

“And how’s work?”

“It’s ok.”

But like in any good business, customer service is key. You can’t just turn away a loyal customer after taking his money. No—you have to make small talk to make him feel at home no matter how boring he is, so he can bring in other customers by word of mouth. But the fucker didn’t have any friends, but by the time I got to know that, it was too late.

I think my first mistake, if I would even call it that, was making small talk about his non-existent friends. I just wanted more customers. I don’t really care about the boring prick’s friends. I don’t care how he gets along with his buddy-buddies. I wouldn’t care even if I were paid. Well, actually, I did care, which is why I asked him about it. It turns out the loser doesn’t have any friends outside his study groups or whatever. I showed some interest but I guess he took that as an offer from me to be his friend.

The more frequently he came, the more I tried to get to know the people around him so I could expand my customer base. That involved asking the prick about his family and other acquaintances. Well, what I found out was basically he’s pretty much all alone. His “friends” all thought he was boring, his family doesn’t really like him, and because of he was so forgettable, he doesn’t have many acquaintances. I actually felt a little sorry for the bastard; I was all he had. I was actually really surprised to find he had a girlfriend throughout all his boredom. I think she had name… She was probably some dumb bitch who was just as if not more boring than Gary.

Why the hell are there so many pebbles on this ravine anyway? Who the hell places pebbles on a ravine? Who is looking at how fancy the ravine is? People stabbed and left to die like me? I can barely keep balance as it is, and I have to crawl on this shit. If I had a dime for each time I slipped on these pebbles…

One thing that made me feel especially sorry for him is that he knew how boring he was and could do nothing about it. Of course, I could have told him to get a hobby and develop himself as a human being but then I’d be encouraging a habit other than smoking and I would lose a customer—and a steady customer at that. It’s not my responsibility to make him a good person. I’m not his fucking mom. Whatever the hell he did with his life was his choice and his problem. He wants to come to my house more frequently to smoke more? As long as I got paid, I didn’t care.

And rain. It always has to rain during times like this… I didn’t even ask what else could go wrong. And I wonder what on earth I could have done to deserve this. This will speed up my bleeding. I better hurry.

One time in the middle of a conversation he even asked me, “Do you think I’m boring?”

Dammit, Gary. What the hell was I supposed to say to that? Of course I told him no. And because of that he’d go on about how he appreciates that I don’t find him boring, because everyone else did and spill his ever-boring guts in front of me. In actuality, I was always waiting to get him out of my door. And now that I think about it, he always lingered and took his sweet time getting out of my house. I guess he never wanted to leave. He really thought I was his friend. Stupid asshole.

And my other clients didn’t like him either. Any time they came and he was around, they’d feel uneasy. It’s not like he’s disgusting or anything, but just his grayness made him so uncomfortable.

Seventy cents.

I was the first one he called when his girlfriend left him. I don’t blame her. I guess even boring people have their limits. He told me how bad it felt. He’s even boring when he feels like shit:

“I’m really sad right now. My girlfriend just broke up with me.”

“Oh damn, bro. I’m sorry. I thought you two were going strong. (Lie.) What happened?”

“She said she didn’t like me anymore.” No surprises here.

“Did you want some weed to cheer you up?” I couldn’t pass up a good business opportunity.

“I want to be alone.”

Normal people get very detailed, and express some sorrow or something when they are down. He just told me that he feels sad and that he wants some alone time—no emotion, no nothing. Good grief. I was getting sick of him coming to my house all the time. I needed my space, too.

My breaths are getting shorter. I think blood is starting to pool in my lungs. Fuck. I guess all the adrenaline from trying to survive prevents me from feeling pain. And I’m almost at the top. And I’m not dead yet. There’s got to be a reason why I’m not dead yet. It’s as if fate wants me to get revenge on the average-in-every-way piece of shit. I’ll get him yet.

And then he calls me again. He didn’t tell me this time that he was coming over. That was good; I didn’t want him over. But then he told me that he was planning to go to the Smoker’s Hill to kill himself. He said no one really goes there, and since it’s only smokers that go there they wouldn’t care much. Dammit, Gary. I honestly didn’t want to care about his problems, but come on. He said he wanted to kill himself. I like to think I’m a good person. After all, I sell happiness. That’s why people come back to me, because I have happiness. It’s probably why he called me first. He said he wanted to meet me there. What else was I supposed to do?

When I got there, he talks to me about how boring his life was again, and how that was the reason for why his girlfriend broke up with him. I didn’t care. I just didn’t want him to kill himself, for some strange reason. Well, I guess I wouldn’t want to watch someone die, though. He was so boring when talking about his entire life. Dammit, Gary. Just get on with it. Are you going to keep living or not? He went on about how his mom didn’t really like him because he never met her expectations, or that his brother doesn’t call him much. I really didn’t care, but I thought he would actually kill himself if I said anything, so I just kept listening. He talks about what he always wanted to be fun like me and how much he envies my life because I can do whatever I want anytime I wanted because I was in charge of my life. He told me that he wanted a life like mine and how giving up his past life to take on a life like my own would be the best thing for him.

And while I turned around to look at the sunset, the fucker stabbed me in the back. A couple times.

I didn’t think to fight back because it was so sudden. It didn’t even register until he did it a few times more. I tried to fight him then, but the shock was too big. I couldn’t do a thing. He took my wallet and my keys and then he kicked me down the side of the road on the hill into the ravine. I got a good look at his face as I fell. He looked a little scared, but at the same time very bemused, as if this was indeed the best thing that happened to him. I lost consciousness after I rolled a couple times and hit tree. He probably waited until he saw I wasn’t moving and left.

My eyes are getting heavier. I feel a little sleepy. I think all the injuries are finally getting to me. But it’s ok. I’m almost at the top. Just a couple more branches and shrubs left. I’ll be at the top soon and I’ll be able to rest. I’m far from dead.

I’m at the top. Finally. My car is gone and the piece of shit’s Honda Civic is still there. I assume the ass took mine. Mine wasn’t even that good, but I guess it’s a step up from the cliché-ass Civic. Aw man, look at me. I’m a bloody mess. Ribs broken, legs in pain, hands scratched up, three stabs in the back, face badly bruised: I am totally going to hospital treatment and when I get back on my feet, I’m calling my friends and Gary will be history. I’m still alive. It has to mean something. I can’t have survived a cliff fall and crawled to the top to tell a story. You can’t write something like this. My revenged must be fated.

I don’t know whether to lie face down, or face up. I think lying face down would be best so that the blood doesn’t seep out of my back on to the floor. I have to preserve my life as long as possible, despite what the boring and ungrateful prick wants.

Sigh. Then turn my head to the side and lay face down to prevent unnecessary bleeding. Ouch. The rain stings my cuts. I don’t know what to do anymore. I guess I’ll have to bear it. Shit, look at all these cuts on my arm. It’s not right for any human being to have landed in this situation. I’ll just close my eyes and wait for the ambulance to arrive. Sigh

Sirens. I hear sirens. The ambulance is finally here. I’ll wake up and I try to get myself back up to be more visible. Never mind, they’ll see me. I’m the only guy here. The paramedics sure are fast, but rough. If all ends well, then I’ll finally be able to get my revenge on Gary.

Oh man. Ambulance feels so warm compared to the rainy outdoors. It’s a good feeling. I’ll finally get healed. After I regain consciousness I’ll call my lawyer. He’ll tell me what I can do. Maybe I’ll send him to hell on earth with all those other motherfuckers who commit atrocious crimes. Shithead… This case will be so simple. All evidence points to Gary, and he won’t even know what hit him.

All I can think now is about how comfortable the ambulance is. The paramedics have done a good job stopping my bleeding. It stings a little bit, but at least I’m completely safe now. I won’t die yet. I am still alive. My life hasn’t flashed before my eyes yet.

Shit, childhood.