I was sitting behind my desk. Yes, the big, wooden desk that all business men (and women) dream of. Well, I like to say it that way. Because I bet you got the impression that I’m the boss of my company didn’t you? I’m not. But hey, wording is everything. I learned this the hard way. You see, my life’s not going so hot right now. Ok, niceties aside, my life is pretty shitty at the moment. Oh, it used to be the great, ideal, “perfect” life you dream of. I had a house in the suburbs, a nice-paying job and a beautiful wife. Hell, I even had a golden retriever.
But then…and there is ALWAYS a “but then”. So, but then, my brother came to me with that crazy idea. One of those bizarre get-rich-quick schemes. You know what I’m talking about. And I guess it didn’t matter that I was happy and the thought of kids had even come up in some conversations between my wife and me. It didn’t matter that I was already making enough money to live very comfortably on. I wanted more. Like always. So I agreed to help my little brother. I had to. It was the big brother thing to do. The main set back was that the “job” was in New York City. We lived in Nevada. But, I told my wife I’d be back every weekend, and I’d call her every night, and not to worry, “We’re going to be rich!” (That’s what my brother said.)
That was two years ago. I now live in New York. I have no wife anymore. And guess what, I am NOT rich. But hey, shit happens, right? At least that’s what Forrest Gump said. You just have to roll with the punches. And my brother was still promising the “big break” was just around the corner. I had given up on that and gotten myself a normal job behind a desk. The big wooden desk that all business men (and women) dream of. Hmm, looks like I’ve made a circle.
On this particular day, on this particular cold, wet, dreary day, I was a nervous wreck. My brother seemed to have gone missing two days earlier. At first I just dismissed it as another one of his many long nights out on the town. He was a lady’s man, and well, he was always off doing his thing. When he wasn’t “working”. I hadn’t really figured out what the job was. But I’m pretty damn sure it’s not legal. That’s why I bailed out a while ago. That and the fact that I didn’t get rich quick. But, since we both live in the same apartment, I noticed quite quickly when he didn’t come home two nights in a row. So, of course I called his cell phone, blah blah blah, all of the usual stuff you would do if you were wondering where your brother was. I left him close to a million voice-mails and then just quit worrying. He was a big boy. He could handle himself. Or so I thought.
Just about ten minutes ago, my secretary let me know in her horridly screechy voice that “You have a call on line one.” Oh fun, dealing with clients. So, I pick up the phone. This was definitely no ordinary business call. It was some guy, who judging by his voice, looked like the main character from The Sopranos. It’s funny how at such an urgent time like this, I could still make that connection. Maybe I do watch too much T.V. Anyway, it was your typical ransom call. This big brute of a guy (and his cronies I’m sure) had my little brother…and they wanted money. How original. They tell me the price and where to meet them. And of course there was the “Tell no one, you hear me?! You betta not call no cops, or Ill kill yo baby brotha, alright?!” Icing on the cake.
I put the phone down and leaned back in my leather chair. The one with nice smooth rollers. The chair that all business men (and women) dream of. Then it hit me. Wait, let me re-phrase that. Then, it HIT me. HOLY SHIT!! They had my little brother! After all that kidding around about his job, and now it was true. Why hadn’t I stopped him when I bailed out? Whoa, too many questions. No answers. And no time. I looked down at my fancy (and fake) Rolex. I had almost 8 hours to get…dear God, that just hit me, too. Two hundred thousand dollars. I am sad to say that my first impression was, why two hundred thousand? It was such an odd number (well, technically it’s even, but I meant weird). I mean, usually it’s one hundred thousand, or five hundred thousand. Hell, this guy should have gone ahead and asked me for two hundred million dollars. I had no where near two hundred thousand dollars. And who would have known my brother was worth two hundred thousand dollars?
I felt sick. If I didn’t some how get these guys their money, there was no doubt in my mind that they would kill my brother. Wait, now I feel really sick. Where’s the trash can?! Phew, that’s better. I’ve got to get this damn tie off. I look at it in my hands. Geez, this is so cheezy! I really wear this? Crap! My brother, right. Well, I couldn’t give them any money. So I needed another plan. I did have a gun. I’m not sure what kind though. It’s black. I had seen it on movies. I think they said something about “a 9”. 9 what, I don’t know. But I did know how to shoot it though. Haha…Oh…There was that time I had accidentally shot it off in the apartment. They called the cops and everything. Made some huge deal about it. I didn’t kill, or even hit anybody. Somehow I had managed to get off. Come to think of it, I think my brother handled that for me.
So, that’s what I’m going to do. Be the hero. I had no other choice. Couldn’t call the police. Didn’t have the money. Plus this would add some excitement to my life. But of course, my brother’s life hung in the balance. I put my hands firmly on the desk. The big wooden desk that all business men (and women) dream of. I got up and walked across my office, leaving my cheezy tie and my old jacket lying on the floor. I walked out the door and told my secretary that I was leaving. Then there was that horridly screechy voice, “Alright”.
I raced out into the cold, dreary day, now wishing I hadn’t left my old coat in that office. I’m glad I left that cheezy tie there. I jumped into my old, used car. I had a Volvo. It was beige, boring. But, everyone in the suburbs had one. I mean, who cares if it was a boring sedan, it was a Volvo! But I had to get rid of it. I am NOT rich.
I speed along, cussing at people and flicking them off whenever possible. Notice I said whenever possible, not necessary. Cussing and shooting birds has become a habit of mine. No, not a habit, a hobby. Yeah, a hobby. Most of these New York jerks need it though. No skin off my back. Was that the saying?…Ah, who cares. Focus, damnit! Oh, here I am, home already.
Through the lobby, up the elevator, get out the keys, open the door, and into my bedroom. I get out the gun from my nightstand. I head back out the door, but stop before I leave my room. I turn. And smile. There it was. A mirror. Ooooh yeah. I raised the gun so I could see it in the mirror along with me. Now I really wish I would have brought that old coat. It would have looked cooler than no coat. But still, I’m glad I left that cheezy tie. I cocked the gun like they do in the movies. The “chick-chick” sound was so cool! I tried to do it again. But it wouldn’t. I probably broke it. Oh well. I looked back in the mirror and got all serious. All business. “So tell me, punk, do you feel lucky?” Was that how he said it? Something tells me no, but I couldn’t think of how he really said it. Oh, who cares, you’re not Clint Eastwood, you’re YOU. So, I say it again. “So tell me, punk, do you feel lucky?” Wow. I looked good. I was no 007 or anything, but for a stressed out business man with no coat, I was cool.
So, I go get back in my car. Still, it was no Volvo. But, I was NOT rich. I drove awhile, flicking people off and cussing. Finally I arrived at the docks. How unoriginal can you get? I mean, why not meet on top of a building, at an airport, maybe at a cafe’? But nooo, it’s at the dock. And I was right. As soon as I pulled up, the guy from The Sopranos comes walking up. Ok, not the real guy, but you know what I mean.
I have to admit, I am nervous. NERVOUS. Maybe this isn’t a good idea. Yep, in fact I’m sure of it now. This is a bad idea. BAD. But, Mr. Soprano yanks open my door. “Come on.” I give him my serious-yet-casual business man nod. I hope he didn’t notice that I almost peed on myself. I reach over and get out “the money”. Ha! It’s really just my empty briefcase. Oh shit. Wait a minute. How unoriginal was that? An empty briefcase? Now this was a horrible idea. HORRIBLE. I get out and “come on”. I’m following Mr. Soprano when I remember that the “9” (maybe it can hold nine bullets?) is just sticking out of the back of my pants. My boring, old, blue pants. So, being the suave genius I am, I just untucked my shirt and covered the gun. I mean, would James Bond go into a deal with his shirt tucked in? Actually, he probably would. Damn. He’d probably even have a coat, too. But not a tie. Especially not a cheezy tie.
So, he lets me into some old wooden room. And, God, it smelled. What exactly did it smell like? Phew! Sweet Jesus, that is horrible! All of the men were staring at me. Whoa. I pull it together and nod at all of them. Mr. Soprano shuts the door and walks around to join the other guys. There are four of them. And there’s my little brother. Tied and gagged. Just like the movies.
“So, you got it?” Man, straight to business. “Yeah,” I sneer. I was a bad-ass. Hell, I was an international bad-ass. I chunk the briefcase on the table. I guess I should mention here that it was a cheap briefcase. I am NOT rich. The briefcase pops open, revealing the non-money. Oops. The Sopranos all look down at the empty briefcase and then back up at me. I think I might have just lost my bowels on myself. I know my heart is pounding like a jack-hammer. Wow. I’ve messed up, I just realized.
“I thought I told you to bring two hundred thousand dollars?!'” There it is again. Two hundred thousand. I couldn’t think of anything to say, except…”Sorry.”
“Sorry?!” I’m pretty sure he was mocking me. But just in case he was serious, I said “Yeah” again. Turns out he was mocking me.
He pulled out his own “9” and shot my brother. Shot him right in the head. I blinked. Then it hit me. Let me re-phrase that. Then, it HIT me. HOLY SHIT! Son of a bitch! God damn! Whatever profanity you can think of, it ran through my head. I only didn’t say it because I was in shock. I heard a siren in the background.
“You called the cops?!”
I don’t know. Did I? I sure don’t remember it if I did. I didn’t care. They had just killed my little brother! Right in front of me! And I couldn’t move. I blinked again. I was numb. Wow. My mind would not wrap around the situation. My brother, the only family I had left was now dead. Was there a point in living? I don’t know. I don’t know anything. Wait, scratch that. I did know ONE thing. The Sopranos were about to pay. I pulled out my gun
Now, I must be honest. I’m not sure why they didn’t react. I like to think that it’s because I was moving with super-human speed like Neo from The Matrix. Damn, Neo had a coat. A really cool one. But, I doubt I was moving too fast to see. Maybe it was because they too were in shock. Only they were surprised to see a boring business man with a “9” of his own. Or maybe they were just dumb as dirt. All I know is that they didn’t move. Oh well. No skin off my back. So, I shot them. All four of them. Not in the head. I’m not that good of a shot. But these guys didn’t miss many meals, so they were an easy target. That and we were standing only feet apart. Wow. I had never even seen a dead person before and now here were five of them. And I killed four of them. The other was my brother. The other was my brother. The other was my brother.
Wow. I was still in shock, I guess. I didn’t feel anything. I was numb. That scared me. But, I knew the feelings and emotions would come later. Welp, here’s later. Sadness, remorse, loneliness, guilt, grief, confusion, anger, disgust, horror, fear. What was that noise? Sirens. Oh, and there is splintering wood. I turn around and there are cops, pointing guns at me. Great. More guns. I believe another “Oh shit” is needed here. Because now that I think about it, here is a room full of dead people, all of them shot mind you, and here I am, holding a gun…a “9”.
Well, I got a free ride in a police car. They cuffed me and took me down town. Just like in the movies. They didn’t waste any time getting me to trial. They didn’t believe my story. But, I didn’t care. I didn’t have anything else to live for anyways. But, I do wish they would let me dress differently. This jumpsuit is very unflattering. I want to wear a nice suite and a nice coat. But not a tie. Especially not a cheezy tie.
Anyway, here I am sitting in the courtroom. The jury is already back. Everything was a blur to me. Supposedly I was on the witness stand for a little while, but I don’t remember it. But, now, I was focused. Now I would get my sentence. The Judge pounded his gavel. Silence fell.
But my mind wandered. Oh, how I wish I could be that Judge. Free. Free to sit behind that desk. That big wooden desk that all Judges (men and women) dream of….
The Big Wooden Desk by W. J. Newsome is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.