Saturday, 14 September 2013

16.67 - by Isaac Yu


I received a gun in the mail today.

No FEDEX guy, no slip to sign.

Just a small brown package, around the size of a shoe-box, with Naomi Price on the tag.

It could have been my birthday for all I knew.

Would have made a change of pace.

Inside there was even one of those fake cheery cards. A clown face smiled at me with the words CONGRATULATIONS emblazoned underneath. Written on the inside were the words Spin To Win! in loopy handwriting I didn't recognize. Right under it at the bottom where the signature usually is a bullet was taped on. If it wasn't a gun, I could imagine that I had a secret admirer. The other side of the card, instead of some fake cheery pictures, was a typed note glued over the original. There was a faint outline of a red balloon shining through the black and white note.

It read:

THIS IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO YOUR PROBLEM. THIS IS THE ANTITODE FOR YOUR POISON.

The brown box landed with a soft thud on my bed. Even though I couldn't see it I could feel it watching me. The same way the little white pill bottle watched me every morning. The same way everyone else watched me. Thank Christ my roommate was out, the last thing I needed was her to stir up huge theatrics over nothing. Bawling her eyes out, screaming at the top of her lungs, forcing everyone in the floor to acknowledge my presence. The next day she'd be busy whispering to her friends how she knew I was one of those people, maybe she'd start rumours about why I always wore long sleeve tops. Stupid, vain, shallow, insensitive bitch. Probably out at a frat party, skirt too short, top too revealing, brain too dumb to realize that the dudebro she is talking to just roofie'd her drink. She'd stumble back home the next morning missing her panties, loudly exclaiming to me how "I need to get out more and live" or even worse, "YOLO". Somehow I'd be the problem and I'd be brought to the centre. The quiet girl that just wanted to be left alone. The one no one ever paid any attention to apart from when they're feeling vain or insecure. Then I'm brought up as the sacrificial lamb, the scapegoat, the lightning rod. "Oh my God I'm soooooo fat" they'd titter, flailing their hands around as they fished with such desperate fervour. Then would come the accusatory look, the oh so subtle look in my direction as if to say: hey next to her I'm a supermodel. Frumpy, fat, frigid Naomi. Somehow all my fault. Their eating disorders, their desperate pleas for attention, their rampant sluttiness. I'm the problem, I'm the one without the socially acceptable disorder. I'm the outsider shunted to the corner until they need someone to lynch.

Why couldn't they just leave me alone? What did I do to them that was so horrible and so cruel that demanded this treatment? The sniggers at my expense, always feeling left out, always being made to feel like I don't belong. Then to salt the wounds they'd drag me to the front to knock me down again because hey why not: it's only the fat girl. It's not like she has feelings, she's not skinny enough to warrant them. If she had a heart it'd be buried pretty damn deep under all that FAT. Her only purpose in existing is to make me look better, sound smarter, come off as more elegant and ladylike. Just a big old punching bag to channel all your pent up frustration and self hatred at.

The gun is a lot heavier than it looks. It feels right though, in the grip of my hand. Its weight gives it significance, like I'm holding something far bigger and far more important than what appears. In my left hand I'm holding the scales of justice. Because of what I have in my left hand I am transformed into judge, jury, and executioner. It is beautiful in its own way. A sleek, black, compact little thing with the snub nose pointing out as a natural extension of everything else. Each chamber peering through out into whatever lay beyond.

CLICK.

CLICK.

CLICK.

With each pull of the trigger the chamber switching from one to the other. The little black hammer rising and falling at the precise moment where it'd all end. So much significance all hinging on something so small, a piece of a piece. I rip the bullet free and hold it up to the light. The words on the note ring through in my head.

THIS IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO YOUR PROBLEM. THIS IS THE ANTIDOTE TO YOUR POISON.

All it would take is a single moment.

The bullet chamber swings open without any noise. The greased hinges of a door that leads to nowhere. The key slipped into the lock and the door swings open. Hesitant I flicked the chamber, eyes watching it spin around and around. A roulette wheel where I was betting everything on black. It was just me in my room. No noise from anything else, no other heartbeat, me alone with nothing. The chambers stopped spinning. This was it. I thumbed back the hammer and raised it to my temple. Time rushing through the riverbanks curved and bended. One breath. Then two.

CLICK.

Sweat beaded on my forehead. My breath was ragged, taking great wheezing lungfuls of air. Everything seemed brighter, bathed in the super luminosity of a too close star. It was a few fretful heartbeats before everything returned to normal. The gun started to shake in my left hand. My clever left hand which played music while the right conducted. My slim fingered, elegant hands which seemed so out of place on my body betrayed me. Did I really want to do this?

My mind became smooth and blank. My prescription typed out on top. Zoloft, 60, 25mg pills. One pill in the morning. Swallowed with water. Followed by breakfast. Followed by 8 hours of feeling numb. Like someone crammed cotton balls into every part of my body. One pill in the evening. Dry swallowed before dinner. One pill a day to keep the doctor away, two so I can't hear what they say. No alcohol to be used in conjunction, no alcohol near me anyway. A life living through a latex suit. Everything filtered out and even then it's not helping. All the bright colours toned down. Yes I really did.

Left hand still shaking I spun the chamber with my right. A 1 in 6 chance of it landing on black. A 16.67% of me stepping through the door and seeing if there is anything on the other side. A 16.67% probability of me seeing, of not just seeing but feeling. Something, anything, a 16.67% likelihood of me being alive and breathing. I looked around my too small room. Bisected right down the middle by her presence. Her collage of photos of friends and family and fun. Her clothes which fit, which showed off her slim figure. Her collection of gifts from admirers who stared through me as if I wasn't there. Her things which never felt like they didn't belong. Then there was me on the other side of the wall. Dull, dreary, depressing me. Me with nothing there on my side of the room but the little white bottle sitting on my desk.

CLICK.

This will be the last thing I ever see. Two worlds divided right down the line with me only being able to glimpse the other. The outsider always staring in. My left hand is shaking too much for the gun to be steady. My left hand doesn't want to leave just yet. I spin with my left hand, I conduct with my right.

CLICK.

Three times now nothing. No sharp sudden music, no dull edged silence. Just this damn click. The key catching in the lock and refusing to turn. I can feel beads of sweat carving trails of moisture. Outside the door I can hear the music of others laughing. Just five steps forward and I can join them in their world.

CLICK.

A one in six chance to feel. That's worth something isn't it? A one in six chance to belong. That's worth everything. Stuck here between these whitewashed walls locked in my own little prison. I'm not one of them, I'll never be one of them. The stranger passing through, the missing piece that doesn't quite fit.

CLICK.

My right hand betrays me. Cold steel stutters in my hand. My finger slackens off the trigger and the mounting pressure eases. This could be it. How many times could I cheat the ever vigilant reaper. Five times? Six times? What little luck I had must surely have run out by now. In the quiet of my room I can hear my heartbeat. Once, twice, three times.

CLICK.

The gun slips out of my hand and hits the floor with a dull thud. Without thinking I flinch back, expecting it to go off. Bright lights fade and glare in an oscillating wave. Both left and right refuse to obey me and give into their fear. An involuntary shudder runs down my spine. Did I want to do this? The trembling of my hands answers for me. Laughter drifts in from outside again, only this time it isn't the mean spirited type I had spent too long listening too. A different sort of laughter, one that I could be a part of. The door seems a lot closer now. All it would take is a single step. Gingerly I pick up the gun off the ground. The words on the note gleam in my mind.

THIS IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO YOUR PROBLEM. THIS IS THE ANTIDOTE TO YOUR POISON.

My finger slipped into the trigger without the tell-tale shaking. All the hurtful words and stinging glances. All the things said and left unsaid. None of them could ever compare to what I held in my hand. My right to destroy myself that could never be taken away.

Here I was, a 1 in 6 chance of curing my poison. Maybe the bullet wasn't even real. For all I knew it could be a blank or a dud and yet it would be so easy to tell. Tears welled up and burst at the banks. This would take away everything and give me nothing. Just the whisper of the wind and the serenity of the stars. The little white pill bottle stared out at me and begged me to stay. It promised me an end to pain and an end to being alone. 60 little capsules to make me not feel and a single bullet that promised otherwise. Did I want to do this?

The door opened with a whoosh of air and a sharp shriek.

"OMIGOD NAOMI WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"

Maybe this is the only way it can end.

My finger tightens on the trigger for the last time.

I have become death, the destroyer of worlds.


CLICK.


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