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Memory Remover

By Choi Sung Hwan

Lazy Sunday morning, the whole world is tranquil. The birds chirping and the sun is blazing while a man is sitting on a bench alone. He covers his face with his shaking hands. He is seen as he weeps. A gentleman comes to the bench. He is holding a golden cane, wearing glaring watches, putting a neat shirt on his arms. He sits next to the man.

Gentleman says, “What are you doing, dear Mr. Young?”

The man says nothing.

Gentleman says more softly, “You look so sad. Is something wrong?”

The man says, “It’s not your business. Don’t worry about me.”

The Gentleman is embarrassed. He puts his shirt on the bench.

Gentleman says carefully, “I’m sorry, but it is a great pity.”

The man raises his head slowly and then stares at him.

The man says, “Who are you? What’s the problem? Did I do something wrong to you? Why are you disturbing me? I just… I just…”

And then, he drops his head again, and sighs.

The gentleman feels in his bones that he has a tremendous problem. So, he decides to solve his problem. “Tell me the problem. I can help you.”

The man says while his head drops, “I’m… ban.. bankrupt. It’s so unfair. Although I tried to do my best but I failed every time. I’m too ashamed of myself so I can’t face my family.”

The gentleman stays silent for a few moments.

And then says, “I think I can help you. As you can see, I’m the richest in this town. How much money do you need? Once you get recovered, repay that money.”

The man says, “Really? If you can, I have no reason to reject your offer. But now, I don’t need money. I need a job to work.”

The gentleman says, “A job? Well… There is one job you can work right now but…”

The man says urgently, “But what?”

The gentleman says, “It is… No. It isn’t good for you.”

The man says, “Why can’t I do it?”

The gentleman says, “It’s not only you. It’s a hard job. I think you can’t bear it.”

The man hangs his shoulders. “I’m sick of this ‘No, you can’t.’ I’m always a fool who can’t do anything by myself.”

The gentleman looks at him sadly. “I’m really sorry that I let you down.”

The man says, “It’s not your fault. I’m just jerk.”

The gentleman says, “It’s a really, really hard job. Can you bear it?”

The man says, “Oh, goodness. Please do not say ‘Can you?’. I have nothing to lose. Look at me. I’m a penniless person. I can do anything.”

The gentleman says, “Then, I’ll let you know. Because it is so difficult, you would get 1 million dollars at once.”

The man says, “A million dollars? Are you serious?”

The gentleman says, “Yes. Exactly.”

The man suspiciously says, “Then, what is the job?”

The gentleman says, “A memory remover.”

The man laughs a little. “Are you kidding me? That’s not possible. Even if it exists, it’s explicitly illegal and contradicts ethics.”

The gentleman says, “If you don’t want to, you don’t have to do it.”

The man’s face became serious. “Wait. I’m thinking about it.”

A few seconds later, the man says, “How can you prove it to me? If it is real, I would do it.”

The gentleman says, “Okay, if you want. How about taking this money?”

The gentleman holds $10 on his hands and  the man takes it. The man says, “Then what should I do?”

The gentleman says, “You just take this pill.”

The man says, “It looks strange. Is it safe?”

The gentleman says, “If you worry about it being dangerous, I can write a contract for you.”

The man says, “Okay. I will take this pill after you finished writing.”

The gentleman brings out a paper and then writes downs: ‘If it becomes dangerous, I would compensate you for all things you want.’

The man says, “It’s enough.” Then he takes the orange pill.

He swallows it but nothing happens.

The gentleman says, “Are you okay? Can you remember me?”

The man says, “Yes. But, did something happen?”

The gentleman says, “Well. Don’t you remember that you took the pill I gave you?”

The man says, “What? I didn’t. I have never taken any pills from you.”

The gentleman says, “Look at this. It’s a contract before you took the pill.”

He looks at it carefully and then says, “It’s fake. You made this before we meet. Don’t play with me.”

The gentleman laughs and says, “Okay. Then, how did you get that money?”

The man looks at his palm and suddenly becomes surprised. “What is this? I didn’t steal them. Why is it here? Did you give me this?”

The gentleman says, “Yes.”

The man looks at the gentleman doubtfully. “It’s insane. I can’t believe it. What the heck did the pill do?”

The gentleman says, “It’s a memory remover.”

The man says, “What? You deleted some of my memory?”

The gentleman says, “Wait, just calm down. I can restore your memory so calm down.”

The man says, “Okay, okay. Then let me take your memory-restoring pill.”

The gentleman says, “Here it is.”

The man takes the blue pill. “Wow. I can understand what is happening. It’s crazy.”

The gentleman says, “Are you interested in these magic pills?”

The man says, “Not yet. Though I experienced it, there is something suspicious.”

The gentleman says, “What’s that? I think I can help you to believe in it.”

A man says, “No, you don’t have to. Can you give me some pills? I just want to test them more.”

The gentleman says, “No problem. How many pills do you want?”

The man deliberates and then says, “Just two sets. Two blue pills, two orange pills.”

The gentleman says, “I see. It’s so expensive but I’ll give you it for free this time since you have a will to work on the job I offered.”

The man says, “Thanks. If my will becomes clear, I would be here at the same time tomorrow.”

The gentleman says, “Good luck to you.”

The man says, “Thanks.” And then he walks away.

The gentleman abruptly says, “Wait!”

The man turns his body. “Why?”

The gentleman says, “You should be careful. You must not take the memory-removing pill one after the other. Also, you must not stay too long after you take orange pill. If you do so, you can lose your memory.”

The man says, “Okay, thank you for your advice.” Then he keeps walking.

He contemplates the pills while walking. He shakes the tiny glass bottle once. He suddenly feels a subtle chill. It makes his feet move quickly. He doesn’t know how he arrived at his house but he enters. The  atmosphere of the house is heavy. The room is perfectly dark, only the silent room greets him. He is frustrated. He takes off his shoes and puts down the glass bottle. He turns on the light switch. The lights flicker for some time and then turn on. The room is a garbage dump. There are some glass bottles that he for collecting coins. Sadly, there aren’t any coin. He throws it away to his bed. He kicks the ads scattered around the room  and then shouts. “I don’t need them anymore!”

He looks at the pills the gentleman gave. He finds some paper to write down which pill is which. However, he can’t find any paper in the mess. So he has to think about other means to identify which pill is which. He looks around and finds a glass of water.

‘Well, it could be a good idea!’

Since the weather was hot, his throat dried up. He thinks he would drink up the water after taking the orange pill. Then, he doesn’t have to classify the two types of pills. He gets the glass bottle and takes out the pill to drop it in the cup. However, since the water is too clear, it can be seen easily.

“No, no. It can be seen clearly. I could hesitate drinking it since the orange pill would look suspicious enough when I don’t know about it. Find another kind of beverage.”

He picks up the blue pill from the cup. Then he opens the refrigerator. Luckily, there is a bottle of grape juice and he takes it out. He pours the grape juice in the glass. It’s totally cloudy. He let the blue pill fall into the juice.

“It’s totally cloudy. I would drink it without doubt. It will save my memory.”

Everything is ready. He decides to take the orange pill. He picks up that and then slips into his throat.

“I’m too thirsty. Where is the water?”

He finds the glass of grape juice on the table.

“Wow. That’s lucky.” Then he drinks it.

“Wow, what was I doing? After taking the pill, I think I perfectly forgot I took the pill.”

He feels scary a little.

‘It’s enough to test this efficiency. But, would it be okay?’

His head gets more complicated. His head is full of random thoughts. He goes out of his house to make them clear. Suddenly, he just  checks his account balance.

‘I would tell him to do tomorrow. He said a million dollar…’

He reaches the bank. He checks his balance and then says, “What the…”

To his surprise to see a million dollars came into the bankbook. He jumped for joy like a child who getting birthday present. “Un-belie-vable!”

But he immediately realizes something strange.

‘Wait. It’s strange. I certainly said to him it is a just test but why is there a million dollar?’

At that time, he sees the name of remitter, ‘memory remover’.

‘What? It  can’t be… Then, if I take the last pill, it could be double. Try it right now.’

He rushes into his home and grabs up the glass bottle.

‘Would it work…?’ Then he takes the pill cautiously.

“What am I doing?”

He walks to the bed and lies on it.

“I’m so tired of money problem. Everyday is the same. Worthless.”

Then he falls asleep.

The sun rises. The weather is perfect to go on a trip. The road is congested by car mainly going to the work. The children are hanging out on the school playground. The whole world is full energetic.

The man is sitting on the bench with a gloomy face. He just draws a deep breath again and again. The gentleman comes to the bench and says, “Are you okay, Mr. Young?”

The man says nothing. There is only silence.

“You look so sad. Is something wrong?”

“It’s not your business. Don’t worry about me.”

The gentleman waits a moment.

“I’m sorry, but it is a great pity.”

The man raises his head slowly and then stares at him.

“Who are you? What’s the problem? Did I do something wrong with you? Why do you bother me? I just… I just…”

And then, he drops his head again, and sighs.

“Tell me the problem. I think I can help you.” And then he smiles.

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