"The only thing pain can wring from a soul that has abandoned resistance and from a mind that has lost its hate is sorrow."
—Yi Munyol: Han Pyongt’ae
Our Twisted Hero
The woman hands me a loaded gun, and I'm touched, instantly, as if she's given me a bouquet of roses or the keys to a Mercedes. We're sitting in the middle of her bed, an island surrounded by a sea of books and papers and stuff. Bracing myself for the tidal wave that doesn't come, I close my eyes, squeezing them tight, finger on the trigger, hoping the signals don't cross in my mind so that I'm squeezing the trigger and poking my eye with the free hand. "Please don't fire it," she says turgidly, and I laugh. I've got it now; I can do anything I want.
Which of us is more mad—the one in temporary possession or the one who handed it to her, knowing full well that we always return to the scenes of our crimes? I picture Bonny & Clyde, Badlands, Thelma & Louise, and all the other two-against-an-existential-world-of-nothingness flicks. "There's always tomorrow," she says, filling me with a tantalizing fear, the kind marketed by amusement park owners and drug dealers. Hefting the weight of the tiny relic a moment longer, I smile and hand it back, surmising that it’s all about trust. Telling her so, she ejects the cartridge and hands me one of the two hollow point bullets contained therein. A souvenir she calls it. I call it love. Either one can save your life or rip through your heart, but you’re luckiest just to be grazed.
She’s been unlucky several times, and now she’s dead inside. Me, I’m only unlucky now that I’m in love with her. I guess it fits, though. We’re both crazy, but I’m just crazy in love whereas she’s mad and wants revenge. Because I’m smitten, I’m gonna help her. So here we go—out to kill Cupid.
I tried explaining to her that Cupid is an imaginary construct like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but she asked me why he doesn’t appear at shopping malls with long lines of children. I thought she was joking, so I snickered, but when I noted the look on her face I quickly pretended it was just a tickle in my throat. She poured me a glass of water, and then we sat at the table where she laid out her plan.