Fractal patterns of light danced on the ceiling above me as the reflected sunlight bounced off the broken glass shards as the vase shattered upon the floor. The tiny fragments of splintered glass and fractal patterns reminded me of the assumption that parallel worlds existed.
Some people believed that were multiple versions of themselves that existed on separate plains of consciousness at any given moment. They also claimed that these separate worlds were always overlapping with each other which in turn created ripple like effects in the real world. I knew things were far more complex than that.
Upon dying if your sin quota was small you would be placed in a constant cycle of rebirth and be stuck in a state of purgatory until you atoned for your sins or committed the greatest sin of them all; murder. If you exceeded your sin quota, then you would finally die and your spirit would leave this realm.
Those of us who had never sinned in our meagre lives would ascend to a higher plain of existence and our souls would be set free. However as I worked in business there was no time for purity or honesty. Every component of my work was corrupted in some way, even the reams of paper we used were in fact stolen.
When my father died I was given complete control of the company he once managed. So here I was, a balding man of 45 years standing over a broken vase on the highest floor of the one of the most successful companies in this derelict city contemplating the very nature of my own existence.
I stepped over the broken vase crumpling the white rose beneath my foot and walked over to the door that led to the staircase. I called out to the woman on the floor beneath me and turned around and went back to my desk. As I sat down I noticed that the cigarette packet on my desk was almost empty. It would be time for a cigarette break soon, so I decided to wait until the mess I had just made was cleaned up.
As Jamie entered my office, I noticed that something was a little off about her demeanour. She cleaned up the broken vase quickly and disposed of the glass in the trash can which was situated next to my desk. I asked her if everything was alright and she nodded meekly before tears streamed down her face. She then proceeded to tell me that she couldn’t see me anymore as her husband had found out about our affair. As she ran out of my office crying, I informed her to take the rest of the day off. I looked at the packet in front of me, I urgently needed a cigarette.
As I reached for the sole remaining cigarette in the packet in front of me, the phone on my desk suddenly burst into life. I sighed and reached over to pick up the handset. A frantic voice greeted me on the other end. It was one of our main providers stating that they couldn’t fill any future quota for us in the future. This was due to the death of the company manager’s daughter who had recently taken part in a trial of one of our new cigarette products. I apologized profusely and then placed the handset back onto the cradle. This day was slowly turning into a nightmare.
I got up from my desk and walked over to the large glass window. Looking out on the city beneath me, I felt a sense of pity for those walking the decrepit streets beneath my gaze. People consumed with tabloid stories of celebrities, people consumed by the addiction to gamble away their life savings on cigarettes or alcohol. They had no choice in their decisions. Daily programming via commercials and billboards littered around the city infected their frontal lobes turning them into walking zombies. Nobody in this day and age could make any decisions of their own; they were all reliant on technology or the advice of others who didn’t have their best interests at heart. I sighed and turned away from the window and strode back over to my desk. I needed to make a call to Jamie and inform her of the passing of her sister, the sister who had just recently taken part in the trial of one of our new cigarette products.
After I made the call, I picked up the cigarette packet and stuffed it into my pocket. I decided that I could have a smoke later, what I needed now was to fill my lungs with fresh air and to fill my belly with the delectable cuisine at the French restaurant that had just opened across the street. It was an exclusive restaurant where only the rich and famous could afford to eat. I was really looking forward to digging into an escargot dish.
Upon entering the restaurant, I was led to a table at the back located in a room reserved only for those whose salaries exceeded the one million dollar per year mark. The benefit of this was twofold, firstly the tables in this room were away from prying eyes, and secondly eating amongst wealthy people was a lot better than sitting with the common folk. At this hour of day, the room was completely empty which made me feel at ease. I really didn’t want to talk to anyone today, especially after the events that had just taken place.
After waiting for about half an hour for my meal and draining a bottle of 2009 Chateau Margaux Balthazar, my plate of escargot arrived. I relished the crunch of this exquisite species as they entered my mouth one by one. The crunchy jelly like texture reminded me of the window that had shattered two months ago after I had shoved one of my former employees through it. The man had been a terrible liar and a rather uninspiring human being. He always came to work reeking of alcohol and was unable to string a coherent sentence together at the best of times. The day of the incident was still fresh in my mind.
This man who shall remain nameless for privacy reasons came to work one morning extremely late. I summoned him to my office and interrogated him. He stated that he was late due to a family emergency. I pressed on further and asked what was so important that he deemed it acceptable to be late. He told me that his sister Jamie had informed him about her dirty little secret, and that he was concocting a plan with her to help her escape from her husband. I asked him if he knew which man she was having an affair with, he pleaded ignorance on this matter, but I knew better.
As he got up to leave from the chair across from my desk and turned around, I picked up a sculpture of a snail that was on my desk and smashed it into the back of his skull. He immediately fell to the floor in a blubbering mess, with blood pouring out of the gaping wound. I sighed as I realized that I would have to replace the Aztec rug that his blood had drenched. I dragged his body over to the glass window and spun him around and looked into his eyes as I pressed his back up against the glass. I didn’t need to say a single word; he knew his time on earth was done. I then placed a boot onto his stomach and pushed him through the glass.
The coroner’s report had claimed his death was the result of the glass being installed incorrectly. I also stated this in my report to the police. One minute he was there, the next minute after leaning on the glass, he was gone.
I took the rug home and burnt it until it was mere ash. As for the snail sculpture, well I took it home that evening and cleaned it religiously and then took it back to my office the next day and placed it back on my desk. Nobody knew that I had murdered one of my staff, I was in the clear.
After I finished my exquisite lunch, I went back to my office. At this stage I felt it was the appropriate time to have a smoke break. The day had been exceedingly taxing on my mental wellbeing and I needed to ease my mind. I decided that I would take in the view from the top of the building while smoking.
As I ascended the stairs, I couldn’t help but think of all the corruption in the city. The company that had installed this staircase was responsible for cutting corners which inevitably led to hundreds of casualties when the Apex tower building caught fire late last year and the stairways collapsed. I had bribed the company stating that I could keep their secret if they installed the stairways in this building correctly. They complied without any fuss.
After I closed the door that led to the top level of the building, I walked over to the safety wall that surrounded the top of the building. I was glad that an extra safety feature had been installed into the wall itself. There had been a rash of suicides in previous months at other corporations after staff had been dismissed. These staff members took it upon themselves to jump off the top of their respective buildings. Those buildings lacked an electric shock system that would be triggered if someone climbed onto the walls. Fortunately this building had that feature installed.
As I looked out across the city, I felt a surge of sorrow. The people in high rise offices buildings working nine to five jobs would never know what it felt like to be me. I controlled the city, from the transport system to the products that they consumed. They would never know their entire existence was orchestrated by a single man. They would never taste true freedom. They would forever be stuck in an endless loop of capitalist consumption.
Suddenly a bright flash accompanied by a loud bang drew my attention to the building situated directly across from me. It seemed as though the task had been completed. My son had killed my wife. She deserved to be murdered. She deserved to be stuck in a state of purgatory.
The previous day, I had finished work early and drove home only to find that there was another car parked in my driveway. I had suspected for many months that my wife was cheating on me but I had no proof. I parked across the street and kept a close eye on my house, as soon as my wife left the house, I exited the car.
Upon entering my home, I was greeted by a man standing at the foot of the stairs that led to the second level. I had seen this man every day for the last five years. This man was always at my beck and call, he was my supervisor. That day he had called in sick, but I knew something was off as soon as I had heard the tone of his voice on the phone. My suspicions had finally been confirmed.
Standing before me, his eyes grew to the size of golf balls; he tried to explain the reason for being there but he kept stumbling over his words. I picked up the baseball bat that was propped up next to the front door and swung it down on his face, taking pleasure in the pain on his face as I hit him again and again until he became unrecognizable. He fell to a bloodied heap by the front door. His three black dogs trundled over to him whimpering as they huddled around their former master. I didn’t kill the dogs, I wasn’t a monster.
As I smoked the cigarette down to the filter, I decided that I had had enough of this city, of this corrupt lifestyle and climbed up onto the wall in front of me. I had turned off the electric shock safety feature before leaving the office for lunch. I then took one final look at the city around me and jumped off the edge and plummeted to my death, I had sinned enough, I would not be coming back.