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The Last Week
Well, another Christmas alone. What else could I ask for? Let me blow on this… whatever the hell this is. Is my party hat alright? Perfect. Now this, this a party done right. Right, no one? I knew you’d agree with me. And to end a marvelous evening, the final touch:
‘Happy birthday, Jesus!’
‘Shut the fuck up!’
Oh, right. My building is full of Jews. And not the nice ones.
‘Get back to your goddamn Bar Mitzvah!’
‘And merry Christmas to you too!’
Ah, how much I love my life. It’s… yep, it’s already eleven o’clock. Better get to bed, I don’t want to be late tomorrow for work. It’s a shame they didn’t let me work today. ‘You should spend Christmas with your family and not in front of a monitor.’ I almost yelled to him that the monitor is my family, but he would’ve gotten all sympathetic and pitiful, and I hate that, I really do. Good night, Jesus. Good night, Jews. Good night, world.
The time lapse between Christmas and New Year is a rather confusing time. Nobody knows what to do. The people in offices are asking themselves: ‘What am I doing here? Moreover, what am I supposed to be doing here?’ It is a really weird couple and couple and one of days. I’m so confused I just said that. Anyway, better get going to work. I think the neighbors plan to beat me to death with sticks and stones.
- Politely nod at the receptionist: Check.
- Ascend… stairs… effortless-*cough*-ly: Check.
- Hate on Bob…
‘Damn you, Bob!’
‘I love you, man,’ responds effusively a naïve Bob.
- Hate on Bob: Check.
- Loathe one’s self: Check.
- Have a neat desk: Check.
Believe it or not, this is my daily routine; the loathing is optional, but it is recommended to have at least a mediocre work day. Going to work is actually my favorite part of the day, or the one that sucks the less. I get to hate Bob and meet some coworkers that I don’t hate… entirely.
I really never have considered myself as a negative person, but the universe has an interesting way of bringing you down every day of every week, every week of every month, every month of every year. Without exception, without mistake, it’s almost a law; but when I am at work, it’s different somehow. I don’t know what it is exactly, I can’t seem to point it out. Maybe it’s the fact that I have some sort of purpose while I’m here; that I feel appreciated and maybe, just maybe, even respected… Or maybe it’s because they pay me a boatload of money. Questions, so many questions.
This report seems getting harder and harder to write. I’m out of fresh ideas. As I stated before, it’s a confusing time for everyone. I’m stuck. I’m distracted (thank God) by a door opening and closing. It’s the man who gives me my paychecks, the big man, the boss, however you want to call him. He’s walking toward me. Why is he doing that? The Christmas bonus, maybe.
‘Do you have a minute?’
‘Of course, sir.’
‘Follow me to my office.’
To the office? I’ve been working here for about 5 years, and I don’t remember ever going into his office. This is an unprecedented event. For the first time since the first day of the month, my heart is pounding like crazy. Not sure if it’s due to the excitement or the terror of entering for the first time.
‘Take a seat, please. Want a drink?’
‘I don’t see why not.’
The boss pours 3 seconds of bourbon into an elegant glass. Never been much of a fan a bourbon, to be honest. Too strong. He hands me my glass and as I take a sip, I feel my face changing into an almost abstract look. Thankfully, he didn’t see that.
‘I’ll be straightforward with you: we’re laying you off.’
I didn’t hear that, what he said just now. He probably said something else. I’ll ask him.
‘I’m very sorry. I know you’ve been working with us for half a decade now, but we have to cut people off, and you’re one of them.’
I won’t ask him again, he even said different words and I understood the same thing. He is indeed firing me.
‘I want you to know that it wasn’t me who did this. The orders come from somebody else. I actually fought them; you’re one of our finest employees. I don’t understand why they chose to keep - ’
‘If you say Bob…’
‘It is Bob.’
How can they be doing this to me? Why are they keeping Bob instead of me? What the hell is happening? I better calm down, though.
‘I know it’s not that much of a compensation, but here.’
He hands me an envelope. I open it. My severance payment. My last payment… Jesus Christ.
‘That should be enough for you to last about a year, or so. Again, I’m very-’
‘Who did it?’
Of course he isn’t talking, he’s not gonna give up his boss just like that.
‘I’ll ask again. Who got me fired? Who did it, Grayson?’
‘It was Barnaby, okay? But you can’t do anything, the decision is definitive.’
‘Of course it is. Of course it is.’
My alarm… I forgot to turn it off last night. I won’t fall asleep again, so I might as well get up and do something that isn’t completely worthless. The key word here is “completely”, because I won’t de doing something entirely productive, either. I decide to add my work desk’s things to my home desk. I cleaned my work desk just after spitting in Bob’s coffee but before getting kicked out of the building for kicking Bob after he said his coffee tasted funny. Screw Bob.
It’d been a long time since I had breakfast at a restaurant. It’s nice, you can sympathize with the other useless elements of society, mostly divorced people. I call the waiter an idiot for bringing me warm milk instead of coffee. How hard is it to add two tablespoons of coffee? They pay these people way too much. Of course, when the waiter finally manages to cease, or at least control his stupidity. I don’t drink the coffee. I don’t even want to think about what is in there aside from coffee and milk.
Despite my reluctancy, I decide to stop insulting people and go on to do something a bit more productive: yell at people for money. Well, the step that precedes that, actually. I go to a news stand.
‘Today’s paper, please.’
There’s something about this guy that is bothering me quite a bit. I don’t know what it is, but-
‘I sure won’t give you tomorrow’s.’
There it is.
I give him a dollar an fifty and go back to my apartment as soon as I can. I can’t stand the outside anymore.
The jobs section had many more options 5 years ago, that’s for sure. I got a job two days after finding an ad in the newspaper. Now: fireman, cop, garbage truck driver, stripper… The last one doesn’t sound so bad in comparison. Ah… I should go to bed. There’s not a single reason why I should stay up any longer.
Why hadn’t I thought of this before? I’m a genius! It’s so simple, yet, so effective: I should kill myself. But not in a sad, just-another-sucidal-person-in-New-Year’s-Eve, because I’m gonna do it New Year’s Eve, definitely. No, it’s going to be glorious, it has to be. I’m too sick not to make it almost a formal event. Instead of wedding invitations, I’ll send ‘invicides’. Be careful, front row, you might get splashed.
But that’s too extravagant. I’ve never been that kind of person. I think I’ll do something more elaborate. But what?
I have reached the conclusion that vengeance is the best option. Against who, you ask? Barnaby. That son-of-a-bitch who chose goddamn Bob over me. Screw Bob. My revenge will be against Barnaby, and maybe I’ll add Bob later. I have to think this through thoroughly.
Every three periods, I seem to come up with a great idea. Here it goes:
Step 1: Find my severance check.
Step 2: Go to Barnaby’s office.
Step 3: Simulate a struggle took place.
Step 4: Leave the check on his desk.
Step 5: Throw yourself out of the window.
Step 6: Profit.
Step 7: Burn in hell!
Not a big fan of Step 7, but it’s not like something I can avoid. Or maybe I can. Maybe if I compensate my evilness with good deeds. I’ve never been much of a religious person, but I really don’t want my soul to wander in a very hot and probably dry environment, which will not be good for my phantasmagoric epidermis. It’s settled: Screw Barnaby, maybe Bob, do nice things and kill myself. It’s ironical: the one thing that is motivating me to live right now is my wish to kill myself. The universe has its ways.
I figured, since I´m going to try to clean my soul and all that cathartic stuff, why not have a day where I am an asshole to everyone? Yes, even more that I already am. Let´s see... Oh, I know!
First, I´ll yell offensive things at the neighbors. I´m not sure if Jesus will mind that. I mean, he was Jewish. But, he kind of was killed by Jews... and he founded Christianism... It´s a tricky business, alright. Okay, I´ll insult them in a way that Jesus is not hàppy, but is not ofended either. Brilliant.
Second, I´ll go to the top of the Empire State -which is a perfectly nice place to kill myself, but it´s a cliché- and I´ll probably spit, or throw coins at people, or both, probably.
Third, when the security of the building tries to kick me out, I´ll throw a tantrum, but not a kid´s one, a grown man tantrum; I´ll throw some punches, yell dome things, spit a couple others and, of course, I´ll try to blame another person. If I´m lucky enough, he or she will go down with or instead of me.
And I think I´ll just improvise the rest. Being a panning jerk is not as fun and deranged as being an unpredictable jerk. Unpredictable jerks is the absolute worst class of human being, the scum of the scum, the High Lowness of the underworld... That sounds so cool, I have to try that out. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The day was disappointing, to be honest. My neighbors weren´t home, nobody minded my restless spitting and I tried to cheer myself up by going to the hospital, dressing up as a doctor and giving bad news to all sorts of patients. That was the best part, actually. I managed to convince a kid with a broken knee that he had "esteromonowerocleosis" in the "asketholpoligical" region of the brain. Damn, kids are stupid. Anyway, tomorrow is a good day (literally), so I better go to sleep before karma decides to act up.
It actually wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be. I gave a thousand bucks to a homeless guy. It’s shame he’s probably going to spend it on drugs and booze. He sure seemed happy when I gave him the money, both for the money and probably because he was drunk, high, or both.
I then made a check to the local church. I swear, the moment I stepped in, I could hear all the sculptures, statues, and even Jesus saying: ‘You’re going to hell!’ I wanted to shout that I was doing this to avoid that, but I wasn’t in the mood to yell to inanimate sacred objects today. The father was quite enthusiastic about my “small” contribution. Yeah, like they get that kind of money everyday.
I donated to charity, to an organization with a cool acronym (wonder what ISIS stands for…) and I became the godfather of a kid in Africa, who won’t be to happy to know his godfather killed himself the day he decided to become his sponsor. Hope he doesn’t take it too personal. His name is Valentine Strasser, or something like that.
That ought to shift the balance in my favor. Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow, all this will be over.
With this day, we return to those regular days, where everyone seems concentrated on what they’re doing, or supposed to be doing. The period of confusion is over, and my actions of today will prove it. Focus.
There seems to be some kind of banquet tonight at the office. It seems they forgot to cross out my name from the guest list, because the security guard let me walk right in. Seventeenth floor. The top floor of the building and where the highest operatives of the company work. When I get there, I scan the dim-lighted area briefly, looking for- There it is. That asshole has a silver plaque on his door: Dr. M. Barnaby. You egocentric scumbag.
I let myself in. My heart is pounding yet again. These offices sure have an exciting effect on me. Time to wreck havoc in he- What the hell? Did someone have my exact same idea? Seems a bit too farfetched. Which crazy individual can think the same way as I do? He or she has to be someone absolutely brilliant, someone who is similar to me, intellectually-wise. Wait. There’s someone sitting on the ledge of the building, on the other side of the window (he or she also broke the window, by the way). I approach this admirable individual and- No way. It can be true.
‘Bob! What on earth are you doing here?’
‘Barnaby got me fired. So I messed up his office. And I was planning on throwing myself off the building, until you showed up. What are you doing here? I heard Barnaby decided to keep you instead of me.’
‘As it turns out, Bobby, he did the same shit to me. And I came here to do the same thing as you, but I planned on framing him as well.’
‘Leave the severance money on the table and make it look like he pushed me to get the money. It’s the best I could come up in only one day’s notice.’
‘Nah, I just wanted to wreck his office and then throw myself on his car.’
‘That’s a good plan, too.’
Something is different now.
‘So, who goes first?’
‘No one. I tried to do this because I didn’t really have anything else to live for, but seeing that someone else is in the exact same position as I am… It kind of cheered me up. Besides, why would this jerk deserve our deaths? I say, we go downstairs and we tell everybody what he did. He tried to set us up. Why, I still don’t know. But what do you say, partner?’
‘So we’re not committing suicide?’
‘I mean, if you still want to kill yourself after this, sure. But help me out this one time. For old time’s sake.’
Bob nods and gets back in. He grabs the baseball bat he used to smash Barnaby’s office and we walk to the elevator. If there is something this experience taught me is that you don’t know how much you have in common with a person until you find out he is also trying to kill himself.