I was in a gang. The leader, actually. We were small, and based in Arizona. We had a good reputation and fought only when necessary. Our main thing was drugs, and we were good at our trade. We never did anything too crazy until That Night.
We decided to rob a convenience store. This was a big deal, something we could get in a lot of trouble for, but we needed the money. We had just gotten a high stakes deal for some rare drug. We couldn’t let this slip by. So we planned for that night.
“Taemin, you do it,” I heard one of my gang mates say. I was the one chosen to commit the crime. I thought I was prepared. I’ve seen stuff like this before. That’s why I’m the leader. We left once it was completely dark. We eventually pulled up in front of a 7-Eleven and I got out of the car. I walked around the store, pretending to be interested in the items. I looked calm. I acted calm. I was calm. In that moment, I wasn’t worried at all, I was just ready to get this over with. So I quietly pulled out my pistol and approached the cashier.
I walked up to her without a care in my mind. I nonchalantly put my gun to her forehead and threw a bag on the counter. She quickly got the message and began filling the bag. After she finished, I grabbed the bag and walked away, the gun always pointed at her. I got in the car, and before I could take a breath, one of my mates said, “take her.”
And with that, I was back in the store. With the same nonchalant attitude and gun to her head, I lead the cashier into the car. Once she tied and mouth sealed, we drove off.
It looked like we were rich. Stacks of dollars covered our table. My mates were laughing and joking as they threw money about the room. I, on the other hand, was lost in thought. My mind kept going back to those few moments in the store. My pistol, the money, and the girl’s surprised and frightened face. At that time, I didn’t pay much attention to those thoughts, and continued with my agenda. I called the drug dealer to make a date to pick up these rare drugs. After that was done, we decided to go walk around Flagstaff. Before leaving, I tried to leave those haunting thoughts with her. When I looked at her, I momentarily saw myself tied in a trunk of a car. I looked in her eyes and took a deep breath before turning away towards the door.
We enjoyed ourselves in Flagstaff, we walked, talked, and burned some of that cash. But that was cut short after we heard sirens and men yelling. We knew we got recognized. We immediately began to run. After a while, I found a place we could hide. I sprinted towards a wall and when I looked back, the police had gotten them. They were fighting back, but it was no use. They were done for. I was done for. Without my gang, I’m nothing. I walked away, not caring who saw me.
But life goes on. Two days later, I walked to the meeting place, thoughts muddled with images of That Night, my gang mates, and that girl. We quickly made the deal on top a bridge, and went about our own ways. I walked back to my car and examined the contents of the case. I almost immediately took the drug. I needed an escape. I needed to get away from this world I created for myself. But that drug, that infernal drug, did the exact opposite. As I was driving through the deserts that cover the Arizona landscape, I kept seeing myself as her. Suddenly, I was the one at home bound by the wrist and ankles. I was the one who had a gun pointed at me. I was the one who was kidnapped. I was the one who was scared.
But I also saw my gang mates and the money we stole flying in the air. I saw was myself bound up in the back of my car in the middle of the desert. All the these images danced about my brain in no sensible order.
Then everything went black.
I woke up, and saw that my car was destroyed after hitting a tree. For a moment I just tried to get myself together, and call someone to help me out. As I pulled out my phone, I also grabbed my pistol. And everything came flooding back. The robbery, the arrests, and the girl. I saw her and her eyes, staring back to me, helpless. I lost it. I couldn’t understand it. Why was I in a gang? Why do I have gun? Why did I kidnap someone? All these thoughts flooded my mind, and I broke down. I didn’t see why I was alive. Look at all the horrible things I’ve done. I shouldn’t be alive.
I grabbed a can of gas from my trunk and jumped on top of my car. I calmly doused it in the gasoline. I pulled the lighter from out of my pocket and ignited it. I took a deep breath before I dropped the lighter with that same nonchalant attitude as before.
This little story was based of the MV for Taemin’s Press Your Number.