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The desert sun baked my face and blinded me. I squinted and could see birds circling over my head. Maybe the birds knew how this was going to end for me, and they were watching and wishing me farewell. I hoped not. The cliff behind me created a drop of 300 feet, and the only thing between me and the ground below was Brock’s fist of balled up, cotton tee-shirt at my chest. Two other cronies were standing behind him at the car. They were talking about football like it was any other day, like they had seen this a million times. Then Brock talked to me in a tone that suggested we were still friends, and still working together for the same soulless bastard.
“I don’t think this will hurt a bit,” Brock said, “fall this long, and you’ll die instantly.”
“I guess so,” I said, as if I was grateful.
“I tried to warn you before,” Brock said, “never break another man’s piggy bank.”
“I guess your right,” I said. I thought about how the free fall might feel before hitting the ground. I wasn’t sure if I would panic, or if I would have some kind of revelation about my pathetic life, like a moment of divine inspiration or something.
“Don’t be scared,” Brock said, “all cowards go to hell.”
I laughed. “We’re both cowards,” I said, “and a lot worse. We’re living parasites, like life-sized leeches.”
“I never really thought of it that way,” Brock said, “I was just doing what I had to. I have to live, just like everyone else.”
I looked Brock in the face and it seemed I was seeing him for what he was for the first time: a cold-blooded sociopath.
“Let me go,” I said. He released and I grabbed his arm. We both fell, to sleep on the rocks below.