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Short Story

I Should Kill For a Living

It’s like a bad taste that needs to be spat out. It needs a good mouthwash and an antiseptic or even poison to get the horrid taste out of my existence. But it prevails. It is a taste that I want to get rid of, but it is not so simple. These people – these bullies of other people, have infiltrated a sanctuary within me, and it has spread like a nasty virus all inside. I want them out!

I have had a shit week, let’s face it. Horrible people exist in this world for one reason only – to kill them. That’s all I can put it down to. How else can we deal with them? Aren’t they sent by God’s grace for us to know what killing can be like to enjoy? Hath he not granted us thus shitheads to kill with pleasure since they are obviously gunning for a gun in the face?

This prick at work, he was a persistent one. I had a feeling he was already too much when he came in and grabbed a sheet off me to view it, demanding that he had to get to know now what he was doing. He was employed the same as me – as a freelance technician – and his demure was overbearing, incessant and demanding. He was a big guy, with a facist haircut (despite the fact that he told me his girlfriend’s grandfather was a member of the Spanish fascist party during the second world war. I wasn’t too sure if he wasn’t admitting to me he was one as well. Franco would’ve loved his looks and strong personality). He had trouble then from the outset with me, as I answered back. I didn’t back down or be drawn into a very long day of obedience to a jerk I instantly disliked.

Standing back for a bit, I allowed him to be rogue and undisciplined until he was satisfied that he knew what he wanted to do. So I gently got the paper back and started writing as I had done before on the sheet the steps I was taking in order to ensure what was happening. He soon took a dislike to that.

“If you number them like that I get confused and I need to write on the sheet the number in order of the speakers.”

“But I need to write down the numbers of the microphones each one is using. Today has a lot of them, and I have been doing this yesterday.”

The Italian who was the only full-time employee in this situation was a dull fellow, with a Roman nose and a physical vibe that was between nonchalant and contempt. His spotted beard was traditionally youthful, and his complexions were mainly of a sour and spoilt look. He did not intervene nor was he intending to support either until he was quizzed by the irate Spaniard if this was acceptable (his view of the situation). The Italian just shrugged his nonchalantness in the favour of the Spaniard, and Franco had felt he had accomplished something and outright winner and a victorious threat was even more presented to me. I was sitting and he was leaning.

The Italian thought he could make a compromise:
“You could get another rundown sheet from the organiser at the front desk.” I pounced on this suggestion for my benefit.

“Since I have been writing on this first, and I am taking charge of this, you can go and get the new sheet. It is only up the top of the stairs where you came in.” I felt relaxed and reassured that this could not be denied. It was then the fact that it was left to the dissatisfied Spaniard to go and seek a paper for himself as I was here for the event the day before, using the same paper to write my own instructions on. He wasn’t happy. He couldn’t dispute that fact. I knew that.

His heavy presence left with a cloud of anger, and I honestly felt angry myself. Not relieved. He came back a few minutes later, and started to write on the sheet his own instruction for his own benefit. He made no other comment, and the day started off quietly between us.

However, soon things did get heated by other events, and soon we were inundated with surgeons wanting their slides to be put on the laptops and then viewed, changed and swapped around. It became hectic and unruly. The Spaniard’s previous idea of us being all delegated to a task was out the window, and I found myself helping out more of his supposed duties than his of mine. During this bout of furious interference from all directions, it was “this is flipping the video! Can you change it?” And another one exaggerating “This is not what I want! The video isn’t playing! It is pathetic.”

During both of these final and demanding folks, I had managed to view both simultaneously and had solved the outstanding issues. The Spaniard to his credit had helped out with some of the media, but he was not about to help any more, and even with my friendly gesture of appreciating the assistance, his cool and ego stance signalled a proud force of magnitude to allow me to drown. The struggle to maintain credit on my behalf by portraying to the clients I knew how to fix their presentations was fading fast, as I started to flounder under the pressure.

But I had a winning streak, and finally concluded that the problems had been rectified. I wasn’t out for credit, but I wasn’t benefitting from a helpful crew.

Explaining the easiest of the two (the video isn’t playing!), I had explained that once played (and waited for them to start) it went well the second time you played it through. Some glitch, some gremlin, some rendering – – who knew? Not me, and I admired. However my senses felt that the Spaniard knew nothing either, but gleefully observed me flapping for an appropriate answer to the frustrated surgeon. The surgeon, American, bald and well groomed, had made an example of my dilemma:

“All I want is this to play. So you are saying we can play this? Will you give me your assurance?”

At that, I knew I would be caught out if I said yes. I don’t let them have it that easy.

Grinning I acknowledged his thought process: “That means I am saying it will work a hundred percent. No, I am not saying that. And I am not taking the full responsibility. It works now, but I would suggest we use your laptop on the lectern first, and then if yours fails during the presentation, we can then use the one on the system here.”

He nodded his approval of me notifying him of how far I am willing to take responsibility for the system, and was happy enough to use his own laptop. It was even time to test it on the lectern since there was a coffee break and he would be one of the next speakers.

Once that was said, I turned my attention on to the first presentation I was attempting to handle, and that the Spaniard had left it to me to deal with despite the room being free of all else except the bald American and the other expected client. I saw to it that the videos were fixed, and then saved it. Unfortunately, the first video still flipped as I had not seen this one, and yet all else was ok. The client, another American ( well groomed as well of course this being an auditorium full of specialists) looked a bit peeved, but would help himself by going back over the video and doing some rearranging himself. He had the sense that I was struggling with so much going on and he just wanted his done.

Once he had accomplished it, we all viewed it and sent it to the saved folder – the one the Spaniard wanted it to be in. But it was titled unfinished due to the rush of me having then attach small lapel microphones to more than five speakers.

The Spaniard, reigning supreme once again at his throne of the presentation palace, was instantly questioning where the file was that I had saved. I pointed it out. I had placed my finger on the screen, explaining that the title was incomplete and that he could update the file name now that he assumed command. His bewilderment was bewildering to me. I pointed it out again. He kept up some sort of “I don’t know where it is”.

Once I left him to it, I had made the final tie clip microphone placed on the bald gentleman whom was now at the podium, and hooking up his laptop. It didn’t work. He looked then foolish and grunted disapprovingly in disbelief, repeating:

“I swear it was working on my laptop before. I swear it was working!”

I knew best not to gloat, and I didn’t feel like it anyway. I was a bit sorry for him as he flustered on his laptop to try and get it to work. It finally did, and we both looked at each other, smiled and laughed at the stress the silly machine and presentation had caused. It was more of a relief than a sorry, but the bald man was apologetic. He was sincere and I was sincere in not even accepting it as it was nothing really.

It was nothing really.

But back in the small room to the side (the one they called the green room even though it was painted cream) the Spaniard was confused even more.

“Where did you save that file? Its not here! I don’t see it.”

And sure enough, as I went to the screen, I could not see it either. It was gone, between the two slides that I had noticed it was before. I was not upset, but felt like it was not me who needed to worry. It was him.

“I showed you where it was. I even pointed it out to you!”

The Spaniard then made the most heinous crime – he lied.

“ You never did! I can’t find it.” He got louder and exclaimed profusely his innocence and my supposed mistake.

His voice rose as he rose himself off the seat and held his arms out wide as if the very file will jump into them.

“I didn’t move it! I can’t find it! Where is it? You said you saved it!” He made the effort to confirm the fault was mine without being overly blameful. I breathed deeply, annoyed more than angry, but I could tell I was heading to the angry part of me where I could do anything – and with this guy, anything could be harmful. Harmful for either of us since he was bigger than me, but bullies are always less able to retaliate someone they actually bully turn the tables on them. My experiences in life has made many adjustments to my behaviour, and I remained (as I thought) calm and concise.

I repeated “I pointed it out to you! I wasn’t even near the laptop last.”

This was a direct shot back at him. His clumsy, piggy looking face showed signs of hostility as he backed even further away from any responsibility.

“You never did!”

“I didn’t even touch the computer! I was out there helping the guy get his laptop working!” And then I let him have it: “You were the last one to touch the laptop!”

He held his arms out wide again. What was this gesture for? Some sort of posturing it seemed to me. Instead of listening any more, I simply told them of my intentions.

“I’ll go and find the guy and ask him to come back.” And out I went.

The Italian stupefied as per usual was respectfully staying out of it. He had done nothing. Perhaps that was a problem more than anything, but at any rate I was pleased that he hadn’t backed the Spaniard up with any insinuating remark directed at me as I had an inkling he didn’t particularly like me after yesterday when I was being a little peeved off with his attitude to running around finding people who I had no idea who they looked like in order to mic them up. The Italian though was at least a bit more understanding, but nevertheless I had a suspicion he was not without blaming me for this incident. But I had proved them one thing – I wasn’t afraid to go out and get the guy back even when the session had started and I had to go in to the room quietly, dodge the cameras that were recording the whole event, and ask politely if he could return to the green-cream room for me to reinstall the presentation.

The American client seemed willing but a slight apprehensive about why it had gone missing, but I had ensured not to blame but to explain a mishap had happened and I was to deal with it. That assumption would have most probably lead the man to believe I was the culprit, but it equally meant that I was protecting the individual (the numbskull Spaniard) of wrong doing. In essence, I made myself look like a rescuer of the situation.

Once back at the room, the Spaniard had already leapt to his feet and greeted us outside the room, arms out wide again and irritatingly loud proclaiming that the situation had been resolved.

“It’s ok, we have found the file.” To me: “We were looking for you so you didn’t have to get this gentlemen, but you were gone. But we found it!”

His “we found it” signalled a resounding I found it proclamation. He smirked, and looked like he was blocking the man from entering the room. His intention was not that, as I could fathom, but at any rate I wanted to irritate the Spaniard more.

“Since I got you out of the room, would you like to see it to make sure?” I asked the client.

“Yes, that would be a good idea.” And he moved a bit forward. But the Spaniard held out his arms and this time was evident that he was blocking him.

“You don’t need to do that. All is ok. We found it.”

“I would like to see it.” He coolly stated. This was a surprise to me that the Spaniard tried to stop him from assessing the material. I felt hugely satisfied that he made a grave error in trying to stop this man. It was a certain thing now that the client had no doubt who made a mistake.

I felt rewarded by the Spaniard’s stupidity and overbearingness. At least someone else was witness to this guy’s aggressiveness and absurdity. The Italian was of no use. And even if he was, this guy was a specialist, a client and a respected peer, and the Spaniard blew it in front of me!

Victory lasts a very short time, especially when you are confronted by an over zealous individual. Egos can be the most enduring aspect of any situation – whether the owner of that ego sees the purpose of being confrontational. And he was.

As soon as the client left (satisfied nothing was wrong) the Spaniard wanted to confirm something to me in front of the Italian.

“Listen man,” be began as a sign of superiority in him calling me man. “I wasn’t blaming you for losing the file, but I hadn’t moved it…” His arms went out wide again, and he looked over his shoulder to the gormless Italian “And neither did you…so…” and he left it hanging.

That so was aimed at me of course.

I just looked up at him as I was sitting filling in my form dutifully and just listened to him to go on more. I waited for him to say something else, but all he did was look down with a shrug of shoulders and the final arm gestured my direction.

“I am not blaming you, but someone had moved it…” He made no effort to look in my direction, as his apparent dismay at me was all to prevalent.

I sat still and looked at him directly. He was still looking down at the laptop. He had finished apparently either blaming or apologising, but either one cause of action negated the other. He looked like a dumb shit with his head shaved around the sides and a waxed down longer crop on top. His black suit really spoke volumes to me of his blackness to be a gangster bully and his passive aggression was something to behold. He was a down and outright vile human being, and I despised him.

“Well, I don’t care who did what, at least it was sorted.” I said. My gown-up attitude would have made him even a little more belittled if I had my way, but I was doubting this attempt now. I doubted anything we did or say to this guy (the client included) would end up with him being apologetic or at the very least not being a brute about how he is innocent. As well documented, innocence is silent, guilty is a bellowed.

I turned my attention to the sheet, to the laptop – to anything else besides his ugly mug, but his bulk had filled more than his fair share of space in the room, and I was angry at the very essence of him being alive.

I felt not a victim but a crusader against the bullies of this world, and he was enemy number one. His Spanish ways had left me with a regret to not liking the country, and that was hugely unfair on my behalf. Country is a place, and this creature was displaced from it. He represented no one or nothing except himself, but he was far the worst bully I had experienced.

And then my phone rang. It set me off wildly in the head. Fucking Niall. The cock of all cocks. Niall the Shit. The agent who was supposed to get me work as a freelancer was in fact giving me grief. I couldn’t answer the call – didn’t he know I was at work? He booked me, the dumb fuck!

This was now getting on top of me regretfully. I already had a week of work that I was not suited to. And I knew the call was about the other day when I worked in a conference centre for a knob by the name of Hugo. He was another dumbfuck but one I could handle (or so I thought). He actually was hard to deal with his passive aggressiveness (something I am all too familiar with as I used this a lot in tactical defence – or so I thought, back when I was younger. I had dropped this attitude, but it was amazing to see how many men use it).

Hugo was a wanker. He had no clue how to manage, and yet his way of showing me what I needed to do was to add to the equipment needed continuously throughout the setup I was doing – a setup I wasn’t supposed to be doing. A setup that was meant to be have been done before I attended the conference as I was told (by Niall the Shit of all people), and that I would be only operating microphones and a few laptops. But this guy wanted me to build the whole setup by myself, adding and taking away equipment as I went.

So I had assumed I would hear about my attitude no doubt, and I left the phone ringing and did not answer. During this time, Spaniard had now remained silent and was watching his phone doing his social media browsing. He was getting his intelligence from other dumbfucked friends no doubt – the continuous saga of what-I-know-is-what-I-am-told-by-other-dumbfucks. News made by the bland and ill informed. The spread of contagious benevolence of an unintelligible army of likes.

I texted Niall the Shit back and told him I could not talk but asked what he wanted. He always texted unless urgent. His urgent though was not urgent but only for him. Niall the Shit for many reasons was a freaky looking, ego centric male who also liked to bully. His stature was not a big presence at all, rather than a little barking dog who was ridiculously unafraid of something bigger and more powerful than itself. But Niall the Shit was an idiot.

Niall the Shit responded his usual unresponsive way, not saying what he wanted but when he wanted to talk to me. After two. So be it. I will wait then to ring, and confirmed it so with a text back, but again added what the call was about. Of course as suspected, no response.

The rest of the morning was subdued, and I was pleasantly pleased to be reading a book. The Italian was most probably the most eager to stay alert to the surroundings as he was full-time and perhaps knew that if he slacked off he would get the sack or some sort of discipline actioned against him. Me on the other hand was content that I was to leave at the end of all of this, and I couldn’t wait.

Finally, Niall the Shit’s turn was to come and after a morning of helping, enhancing and being generally good natured, I mangled to get things done without consorting the Spaniard in any regard. I did my thing and he did his. Hardly we needed to speak, and yet he was a talker. He loved talking to the Italian. He never included me in any conversation, and why would I be included? His interests were dull and unimaginative. He didn’t read (he confessed) and he loved classic cars. He was an audio engineer like myself, and he had bragged during the morning of what he had done. When he heard that I was an engineer too he was surprised, and stunned to know I had no idea of some equipment he sprouted off in conversation. He was in constant competition but I made clear I wasn’t even good at engineering (which I wasn’t) and that I had no idea of equipment. I secretly had no intention of even being an engineer, but I engineered myself into this corner of the market. I had for a long time regretted it.

The Spaniard’s superiority was relentless. He was loud and intimidating. The Italian wasn’t intimidated and observing the two talk I concluded that the regional differences wasn’t that vast when it came to attitudes and culture. Latin was the main grounding of the two, and their individual bravado was evident in their digging at each other’s cities (Italiano was Roman, and the Spaniard’s was Milan). They had common ancestry it seemed and neither of them would be too far from the other when it came to attitudes. Both had there way of alpha male. Both had there own stride which was common. I certainly was left out of this.

Niall the Shit answered the phone in his usual unfriendly style. I just replied to his hello with a direct reflection of him. He paused (what for – for me to ask how was he doing?), and then launched into asking what happened the other day on the job with that Hugo guy. I gave my small detailed story without too much drama or information as I wanted to look like I had no intentions of being drawn into any pathetic-ness. Too late – I was talking to Niall the Shit.

“Michael, you are representing our agency…’” that was the most annoying phrase I have ever heard. I responded hostility back because I certainly always got it from Niall the Shit.

“I am paying you Niall for working there. I could have left early on, but I stayed. But I tell you, Hugo was not helpful at all. I always go to this place and end up doing something different to what I am originally asked to do..” I hadn’t stopped as it was Niall the Shit’s usual way to demand to be heard and demand to be in command of all conversations. He was overbearing, cruel and a hostile BULLY. Another one! I was fed up with them, and yet here they were – all of them in one time all around the city. I would kill them all.

Hugo, Niall the Shit, Spaniard, Italiano, woman on the desk, the doorman, all of the ones on the tube, the man who pushed the other day, the man who made a comment for me pushing to get on to the tube the other week, the ex girlfriends, the kids on their bikes wheeling it down the street, the clients who demanded they were right and I was wrong… in fact, the whole world!

The only ones I wouldn’t kill were the ones I loved, and they were few. My girlfriend was to be by my side as we would gun down the entire block, then blow up the whole borough followed by the city and the colleagues we hated. And I hated these people NOW.

I couldn’t go on with this talk with Niall the Shit. He was after all Niall the Shit. What can be said to Niall the Shit for him to back off, to get down from his high horse? Nothing! He is Niall the Shit.

Spaniard the dumbfuck, Italian the gormless, and all of the worse people who peopled this planet. All of them – I’M GONNA KILL YOU!

And I was left struggling to maintain some decent response to Niall the Shit at that moment as he told me off. A kid telling me off. A bully of a child who was at least half my age telling me off. What is wrong here? What did I get myself into? It was daft and pathetic. Niall the Shit should be dead as far as anything that really mattered to me was concerned. He did not belong in my world or in my sphere of recognition. It is bizarre what I had made for myself. Who I allow into my quarters and who is present in my presence. Somewhere I have to figure out that this all has to stop, and the only way was to kill them all off.

The call ended in some sort of thank-yous (why thank me?) and I was left gasping and hot. Niall the Shit had his way. He was victorious in this.

Going back in to the green-cream-shit room I felt a desire to smash the Spaniard’s head against the table, and crack his neck wide open. He was squirming at the sight of another client’s presentation (they were all surgeons) and this one was showing the opening of an abdomen. I wanted this to be the Spaniard’s guts exposed, and without anaesthetics. I wanted him to be on that tale in this video nasty to have his skin pulled back and all fat exposed. They would show in the video the dying screaming man and his penis pulled down with a large hook. No horror movie could describe accurately the pain they would perform on the Spaniard. The dumbfuck would be barely able to breath through all of the screams he would endure, and finally die. But them we wouldn’t stop. I would be there amongst these surgeons and take an instrument of gleaming steel to slice in and take away organs and tubes. Pulling more at the skin, up over his breast plate to then saw and crack open his chest cavity. Rib spreaders at the ready and a good old sawing off the scalp.

And all the while the Spaniard was sitting there unbeknownst to him how lucky an escape he was having. He wasn’t even aware I was looking at him. He was so self consumed with his squeamish child like behaviour. Grow up and die.

Finally the day came to a close. I was exhausted. The others were too, but did I care? No. I just wanted to go. After packing up what we had to pack up, I told the Italian only that I will get my bag from the room and if I didn’t see him before I left I had wished him a good day. Of course I didn’t mean it. I lied, but I had exhausted all desires as well as any sense of purpose to have them all killed.

To me though, the day was dead. It was killed and me along with it. I had been murdered by all and everyone. It all came back on me. They had got what I wanted – I was defeated and instead of seeing anyone else, I bolted. Left the premises, headed on down the road towards the cramped tube station which would end in me getting off, sweating and finally into my home.

I waited for my love to come home so as to be kept hold of tightly in a loving pair of arms and to wish the world away together.

She finally came to rescue me.

By M.J. Channon

Creative, interested in arts and entertainment. Voice over experience and radio persona of some sorts. Done things and some other stuff with it as well...

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