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A Simple Man

What happens when a simple man snaps.

By Ellis L GrimshawPublished 2 years ago 6 min read

"Honey, don't worry." Harold says inspecting the barrel of his gun. He pretends he's listening to his wife as she asks him the same thing she asked before he left for work. He fumbles as he tries to pull back the hammer dropping the gun to the desk.

He stops what he's doing and goes silent.

His wife coughs before she calls out his name.

"Sorry I dropped my stapler," he lies pushing the gun into his drawer. He quickly shifts the phone from one side of his head to the other and looks around his office.

He didn't know that his wife was growing concerned over his behaviour. He'd become to impulsive to notice the glaces and questions of whether or not he was okay.

To him they were just background noise. He was engaged to another reality. One where he and his healthy family would travel the world. He would entertain folks with his talents and his wife would continue her paintings. In this reality he didn't even know if he'd taken his medication that morning.

He listens as his wife goes over her routine, he zones in and out of the conversation. His mind drifting to more pressing thoughts.

"Have you heard anything from your doctor's?" Harold asks.

His heart sinks, another defeat.

"I know, I am going to speak to him. I am due that bonus" he whispers leaning on his chair to look at the distant office. He'd said this before, it was almost as though he could hear his Wife roll her eyes.

"No, I've told you I'm not borrowing it from your dad." Like bashing his head against a wall he goes over the same argument in his mind.

Until of course he sees an opportunity developing before his eyes.

"Nancy I got go," Harold says putting the phone down. In his haste he misses her final words having cut her off.

He runs swiftly to the office and knocks patiently on the door.

"Come in," his boss says, Harold wastes no time entering the office. But stands in front of his boss like a deer caught in the gaze of headlights. "What can I do for you, Leonard?"

Harold tugs at his shirt nervously, he feels like a ball of vomit is forming in his mouth. His mind was racing of all the things he could ask for in the moment but he was more concerned in why his boss would ever forget his name. He'd been there for 7 years.

7 long years of turning up and working hard. He took pride in his work. A man of simple tastes who tried to please everyone.

And yet his boss couldn't get his name right.

Harold was losing hope.

"It's Harold, I need to get a payment advance this month." His boss leans back in his chair and sighs. The boss was a fair man, he had a family and was able to empathise with Harold based on his own issues.

But the higher ups had been sniffing, rumours that a manager had been filling his pockets with money in noticed by the corporate behemoth.

"Sorry, it's been a rough day. It's the third time this year, I can't it's against policy." The boss says earnestly, Harold lunges awkwardly towards his boss and raises his hand to him.

Harold was becoming more and more consumed by despiration. He would do anything, even bend his morals for just one more lifeline.

"I'm desperate I need this, I can pay you..." Harold starts but is interrupted by another employee.

"It's not about that and you know, if I could I'd give it you out of my own pocket. But as also know Helena is due to give birth any day now" the boss says lowering his posture. This is subconscious of course but it's clear to Harold.

"You've gotta help us," he begs, getting on his knees. In his reality Harold would have walked out without any problems and so he couldn't understand why his pleas had been rejected.

The boss saw this downtrodden pup and wanted to offer all he could to make sure he got what he needed.

Perhaps he could provide some aid without the judgement of his senior peers.

"Harold stand up, I'll look into it but I can't prom..." The boss says but is interrupted when his door swings open.

"Boss, I have Deacon Finances on the phone seems urgent," the employee says he looks at Harold and sneers. "Pervert" The employee spits at Harold.

Oh yes the quiet and reserved Harold had an enemy. Benson, the office loud mouth. Harold hated him, a difference of opinion that blossomed into a seething feud.

Benson was unaware of Harold's reality nor did he really care. He'd made a judgement on Harold the moment he laid eyes on him.

"Benson! Harold I'll pick this up with you..." But Harold is already heading to his desk.

The boss looks at Benson and turns red. He'd heard the rumours, even partook in some of the more innocent of jokes. Yet he knew that things had gotten much worse. He tried to control the rumours that nipped at Harold's heels, he tried to find out the source. He had hoped he could fix the damage. However it had been to no avail, the rumours had been sowed.

"He's shagging a disabled girl, it's funny" Benson laughs like a child laughing at their own joke. It's funny how the truth gets warped to fit a certain reality.

"You maybe my Nephew but say shit like that again and I'll fire you on the spot!" The boss says, he had no intention of letting his spoilt brat of a nephew into his team, and had it not been for his brother in law probably never would. "Never should have hired you, you always were a little cunt" he rants as a montage of arrogance plays in the boss' mind. Memories of a spoilt birthday for his daughter at the hands of his nephew.

The bitterness was old but the foul taste the boss got from each interaction was fresh.

"Oh lay off, what's the worst that could happen. The guy's a freak, no one in the office likes him. And besides it's not like he'll shoo..." Benson doesn't get to finish his last words but even if he had they would not be heard over the sound of a single gun shot.

A loud pop and then nothing.

It takes the boss a moment to process what had just happened. In his head everything is stood still, a moment in time captured like photograph. But then the illusion is shattered when Benson's body falls onto the boss' neatly prepared desk.

It's only as the last moments of life twitch out of existence in his nephew's body does the boss even realise he's wearing his nephew's brains. He goes to gasp but sensation of warm blood stops him in his tracks.

It's then he notices the calm and smiling Harold and how calmly he holds the gun with his finger on the trigger despite foreign blood dripping from his face.

Harold leans in closely to his Boss and smiles as the gun takes aim at the boss's head.

"Perhaps you'd be willing to reconsider that payment advance" Harold giggles pulling back the hammer...




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