who am I? [short story*]

“I saved your life!”

His eyes were wide with something akin to excitement. 

“You pushed me off a building.”

My eyes were narrowed with irritation and extreme discomfort. 

It wasn’t an ideal situation. 

For one, every single muscle in my body was protesting badly even though we’d (luckily) landed on an old mattress. It wasn’t as fun as it looked on TV either. I could taste blood in my mouth and my head was spinning. I was fairly certain that my organs had turned into jelly. 

“Still saved your life.”

This time his eyes were full of mischief and colored by the thrill of our freefall. 

My ‘hero’ was really my dumbass neighbour. The kind of guy that seemed like he was a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic until you had a proper conversation with him. I hung out with him from time to time. Normally, we’d catch a movie and talk. Tonight was the same apart from the fact that someone shot at us, chased us up the fire escape, across the roof and off the roof.

Speaking of that…

I glanced to the right and saw the suspect lying prone on the ground. His neck was twisted at an awkward angle and–

–he was dead

I swallowed hard and winced as my dry throat protested. 

“You’re not a vacuum cleaner repair man are you?” I asked my neighbour, taking great care to raise my eyebrows slowly. I was afraid that I’d hurl if I moved too much.

“No,” he said, mouth upturned slightly, like there was something amusing about all of this. “But you’re not a mail room attendant either.”

He said it like it was a simple fact which made my neck tense uncomfortably. 

This was news to me. 

Just earlier today I’d had the pleasure of delivering mail to all of the unpleasant people that worked in my office building. I wished to high heaven that I wasn’t a mail room attendant but I had six months of paychecks that said I was.

“What do you remember before that?” My neighbour asked me when I pointed that out to him. 

The question was so absurd that I didn’t hesitate to answer. However, when my mouth opened my mind went blank. I’m talking fade to black, Sopranos ending style blank. There was nothing there. I couldn’t remember my last birthday, couldn’t remember my family. All I knew was that I was a mail room attendant. I lived by myself in a one bedroom apartment and I liked to eat whipped cream on its own directly from the can. 

Huh.

“Who is that guy and why was he after you?” I decided to turn the questions back on my neighbour, lest I had this life changing epiphany in front of some kind of psychopath. Maybe he was just messing with me. Or perhaps I’d been a victim of an elaborate kidnapped sprinkled with a liberal dose of brainwashing. I had no idea. 

He smiled and his slightly crooked teeth gleamed in the moonlight. It was somewhat disconcerting but the least of my worries. I shifted slightly and winced as my shoulder protested. I glanced over at the dead guy and wondered why I wasn’t freaking out. Why wasn’t I panicking? This was a completely alien experience yet I wasn’t scared. Bruised and tired maybe, but not scared. It was almost like I’d done this before. 

“It’s not me he was after,” my neighbour answered after a brief silence. “He wanted you.”

Oh.

Well, that was just peachy wasn’t it? I couldn’t remember most of my life and someone had chased me off a roof and attempted to kill me. I wondered who I’d pissed off in a past life.

There was only one question left to ask.

“Who the hell am I?”

*for now

© hiptobesnark [SS] 2017

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