Morality Under Construction

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
An assistant architect attempts to convince his boss to not commit a serious crime that could severely affect both of their lives.

Submitted: January 25, 2019

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Submitted: January 25, 2019

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Morality Under Construction

The fuel gauge screamed, “Empty”. The glass from the windows laid broken on the gasoline-drenched pavement. The air from the two front tires leaked relentlessly for a long while. The sounds of an ambulance could be heard from a near distance. And throughout all of this, Dustin Lorrell remained motionless in his seat, with his fractured left leg hanging out of his car. As he witnessed the van’s red light getting closer and closer to him, a soft smile appeared on his bloodied face for a moment, only to then disappear along with his consciousness.

It would be reasonable to assume that, hours before, he didn’t plan for any of this to occur.

Dustin worked as the assistant of a successful architect named Jordan Bullock. For a period of six years, both men joined their efforts to design various buildings in Aurora, Illinois. One building, in particular, was a small office owned by an advertising company, which had worked with Jordan on other projects in the past. Jordan was deeply fond of his design for this building, since he based it on the office building that he frequently visited with his father as a kid. He appreciated the simplicity of it, the subtle lighting, and the rare lack of claustrophobic cubicles. The level of meticulous detail and precision used in this design seemed unusual for Dustin, who often spoke with Jordan at length about every miniscule aspect of the building. Eventually, once the building was finished, Jordan sometimes enjoyed walking by it on his way to work, filling himself with pride and satisfaction with each pass.

About a year after the opening of the office building, the advertising company suffered a financial fallout and declared bankruptcy, effectively causing all of its facilities to shut down. As a result of the event, the building was scheduled to become remodeled as a motel.

Dustin was the first to hear the news. Upon entering Jordan’s office, he felt nervous about revealing the current situation of their creation, but ultimately, he reasoned that Jordan would find out eventually either way, so he confronted his boss and notified him of the event. Perhaps more than expected, Jordan reacted with profuse outrage, so much that he decided to take a break for the day.  Dustin was unsure of the impact that this would have on Jordan. After all, it was only one building out of many more that existed because of them.

The next day, as Dustin entered their office, he noticed that Jordan was more composed than previously. It seemed as if he had moved on and managed to occupy himself with something else. However, as it was made clear to Dustin mere minutes later, nothing could be farther from the truth.

“There’s only one way to fix this. I’ve thought about this long and hard since yesterday” said Jordan, while locking the door of the office and looking over his window. “It needs to be done tonight.”

“What do you propose we do?” asked Dustin, in genuine curiosity.

“A friend of mine works in the controlled demolition industry. He has access to explosives that are easily capable of destroying a building such as ours. All we need to do is go there late at night, plant the device on the bottom floor, activate it and drive out of the wreckage. Sounds simple enough?”

Dustin was waiting for a punchline, some sort of indication that this supposed plan was a morbid joke. However, such a relief never arrived. Instead, Dustin replied “How would we ever get away with that? With how much information the FBI has these days, don’t you think they’d track you down easily?”

“Not if I made look like it was someone else’s plan,” said Jordan as he pulled a notebook from his bag. “Here’s a journal containing 47 entries. It ‘belongs’ to an advertising worker named Andrew Fuller, who was of course dismayed by the company’s closure. In fact, it made him so angry as to blow up the whole damn thing! Trust me, it’ll serve as a distraction for the feds and give us time to figure out everything else later.”

For hours, Dustin tried his hardest to convince his boss to drop the plan. He argued it was beyond unnecessary and ridiculous, that the FBI would figure out the journal deception with ease, and that the possibility of human casualties was probable. Even with all of those solid points, Jordan persisted with his vision, his “if I can’t have it, no one else can” mentality shining brighter than ever. He was even threatening to blow up another establishment if Dustin refused to cooperate.

At last, the two men meet outside the advertising building at 1:30 AM. Jordan gets the explosive device out of the trunk of his car and orders Dustin to wait outside and keep a lookout for any witness. As Jordan enters the building, Dustin is tempted to contact the police, but the threat of further violence prevents him from doing so. Eventually, he notices that Jordan is standing on the window of the second floor...with what seems to be a detonator in his hand. After an unsettling period of five seconds, Jordan starts to wave goodbye at Dustin.

Now understanding the true purpose of his boss, Dustin quickly starts the car and drives away, seconds before the building explodes, killing Jordan instantly. The resulting blast creates debris for the road, causing Dustin to swerve with difficulty until his car crashes into a brick wall.

Hours later, Dustin finds himself lying in a hospital bed, with his injured leg on a cast. A doctor sitting alongside him provides a small cup of water, but immediately notifies him that the FBI would like to speak to him after further recovery.

An innocent man’s life being harmed by his trusted employer. A work of architecture being demolished for irrational means. An act of extremist violence motivated by sentimentality. All of this because of a single, solitary building that changed the lives of these two men. In the midst of all the terrorist attacks occurring around the world at a frequent rate, and with much more collateral damage, this event would be quickly forgotten. But as Dustin Lorrell sat in a wheelchair, while waiting to be interrogated in the FBI headquarters, he could feel the flawed construction of the human psyche, imagining morality as a half-finished skyscraper, never quite reaching the clouds.


© Copyright 2019 Victor Garcia. All rights reserved.

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