The Explosive Moment

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
The moment Lana walked into the office, she knew she was doomed.

Submitted: February 26, 2016

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Submitted: February 26, 2016

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The Explosive Moment

By Joseph Logsdon

For once in his life, Claude actually knew he was doing something right. The bomb was under his desk, just minutes away from going off. It was so simple, how he planned the whole thing, deliberately and very carefully. Claude clenched the papers in his hand, all of his hatred finally released, after years of frustration and self-doubt. The decades of torment, moments that he wanted to ignore, slowly weighed down on his soul. It seemed that money, of which he had little, ultimately controlled every aspect of his life.

From his office window, Claude silently watched the sun disappear, not one piece of regret within his heart. He would finally receive victory, possibly for the first time in his life. He was a little man, in a world full of big people, all of them seemingly better than him. They had what he wanted: power, success, wealth in all its forms. It wasn’t enough to just be average, to just go to work every week, get paid practically nothing, just for the sake of survival. Claude needed tangible success, something that would truly satisfy him.

The air was thick, with each breath becoming more unsteady and nervous. His fear, on multiple levels, represented the vast insecurity from his childhood, all the ways he had been treated like a loser, going back to when he was first born. The clock was ticking, carefully anticipating the explosive moment. With not a minute to waste, Claude rose from his seat, time being of great importance. He had roughly five minutes, maybe only four, to clear the building. Just one mistake, no matter how small, could potentially lead to death.

Just when Claude thought he was finally in the clear, everything suddenly came apart. The office door, usually closed, suddenly slammed open. Claude found himself against the window, part of him deeply shocked, not just within his own mind, like he wanted to believe, but also within his soul, where there could be no hope of salvation. Her face, lovely to look at, deadly to know, was all that he dared to focus on. She stared at him with suspicious eyes. He couldn’t look away from her, in spite of his best efforts.

“Now, what are you doing here so late? I mean, usually, on nights like this, you can’t wait to get out of here,” she stated, shutting the door behind her.

“Lana, I mean Mrs. Taylor, you don’t control every aspect of my life. If I want to work overtime, then by God, I’m going to work overtime. Do you have a problem with that?”

“Not at all, in fact I welcome it,” Lana replied.

“Speaking of working late, what are you doing here? You’re the boss; you can do anything you want, beyond what most bosses are allowed to do, or can even get away with doing. You know, I’ve thought about this quite a lot, mostly at night, the only time I can truly be alone, with just my thoughts for company. I’ve been working here twenty years, and not once, has anyone, you most of all, showed me any appreciation for my effort. It’s just me, working day after day, most likely until I die,” he moaned.

“Is that who you think I am, some bitch that doesn’t care about you? On the contrary, you’re very good, one of the best we’ve ever had. You know what I think? I think you’re running away from something, in the same way that my father ran away, just when he was managing the company, all by himself, only him and no one else, until I came along, right in time for his funeral, leaving me to manage this shithole myself. Don’t act like you’re the only one with problems, because you’re definitely not. It’s a cold world; the sooner you learn that, the quicker you can actually get ahead,” she hissed.

“Is that what I have to do to get ahead, lie and cheat? You rich people, you’re all alike, in the way that you dress, even in the way you think,” Claude huffed, panic in his voice.

Lana glared at him, anger flowing through her. Almost out of time, Claude glared at the clock, anxiety the only subject of the moment. Apart from her beautiful eyes, there was nothing about Lana that seemed pleasing. She blocked him, his freedom, any hope of achieving happiness. She was a monster, out for more blood than the average animal.

“Why are you looking at the clock?”

“Can’t a man know what time it is?”

“How strange, that you should watch the clock, even though the office closed hours ago. Are you planning something, perhaps something you don’t want me to know? That’s why you panicked, wasn’t it, because you were planning something? It all makes sense: your behavior, the state of your office, the way you grind your teeth together. You’re hiding something, it’s all too clear. What you plan to do, whatever it is, it won’t work. You’ll get what you deserve; I’ll see to that, if not in this life, then in the next,” she hissed.

Claude dashed towards his desk, craziness within every aspect of his eyes. Somehow, through sure luck, Lana had guessed his dangerous intention, and she would have to pay for her mistake. He stood his guard over the desk, sighing, breathing, laughing like a mad man. Lana took a step back, whatever courage she had slowly disappearing, into the darkness of the night, never to be seen or heard from again. Claude’s mind was filled with troubled thoughts, each one more evil than the last. His ability to think, logically and calmly, no longer applied to the situation. He had gone mad, for lack of a better term. There was, inside his voice, a corruption that took control of him, to such a degree that he no longer appeared to be himself.

“You might as well know all of it, now that you have no chance of surviving. In two minutes, perhaps less, you, this building, and myself, will be gone. It’s a fitting ending, if I don’t say so myself, to a rotten existence. You know, I didn’t plan on killing you, not even myself, just so long as I managed to destroy the building. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. I guess, I don’t want to live, is the reason I’m doing this. I was a slave to the company, your father, to you. Death can be a wonderful adventure, to those who know how to die,” he chuckled.

“You’re going to do this awful thing, just because you didn’t catch a fair break? That’s the most childish thing I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot of childish things. The truth is right there, it’s on your face, but unless you confront it, you’ll never conquer anything. That’s a fact of life, you know it is,” she cried.

“I wish, at least once, I could actually feel some kind of happiness. It’s been so long, years in fact, since I’ve smiled. What little I have accomplished, has ultimately amounted to nothing. There is no truth in this world. On my tombstone, it’ll probably say something like, ‘He was a loser, unworthy of love and affection.’ I could’ve been a big man, on top of the world, alongside the greatest people who ever lived. They say you win some, you lose some, though in my case, I always lose. I’m a professional loser, for all intents and purposes,” he sighed.

Lana backed into the corner, inched against the wall with force, her eyes panicked, somehow as if all fear had suddenly entered the room. Claude only watched her, aroused by her terror, part of him thrilled by the endless tension. Lana sighed heavily, what little courage she had all but dead, since she clearly lived in a world full of pain and heartbreak, where courage, any bravery to speak of, always died an unpleasant death. She knew that the clock, in many ways dangerous, was the only thing worth focusing on.

“I’ll give you a promotion, status and everything, with the promise that you spare my life. This doesn’t have to be mentioned to anyone. It’ll be our little secret, just between you and me. I can do a lot for you, you’ve surely guessed, using my power and influence. I mean seriously, why throw everything away, just so you can get a little revenge, when instead, you can build a new future, with me by your side,” she begged.

“Is this some type of joke?”

“I’m not joking, this is serious,” she panted.

“Serious or not, I’m still going through with this. I’m surprised that at this late stage, you haven’t tried to flee, let alone leave the room. Why is that, I wonder?”

“I would die anyway, the time it would actually take to get outside; also, there’s something about this, all of what you’ve done, that I just can’t ignore, however I might try to avoid it. The way I see it, I only have two options: either I run, become the coward I really am, or I can stay, and go down with my company. It’s a hard decision, one of thousands that I’ve had to make,” she cried.

Claude stared at the clock, under the impression that at any moment, the bomb could go off. The look in his eyes, something that could be described as madness, ultimately drove Lana to the point of hysteria. Her head sank into her hands, one of the few places of safety that she actually had left.

“You’re really starting to get to me, just as you’ve always gotten to me, I think for about ten years now, almost always with the same result. It’s about time, I’m sure you would agree, to finally end things. Just a few short seconds from now, this building, everything that your father built, that you helped grow, will be ashes; you should definitely take comfort in that,” he chuckled.

Claude stood still, a great amount of tension in his mind, all of it directed at the weapon under his desk. There was, out of nowhere, a powerful vibration within the floor. Lana puffed, gasping for air, wholeheartedly unable to scream. Suddenly, a sound entered the room, very unlike anything that she had anticipated. High-pitched music began to play, similar to that of a cellphone. The music started slow, then suddenly became faster, a lot faster than the average song. Lana opened her eyes, pure shock on her face. The music then started to dwindle, eventually disappearing altogether.

There was a sudden release of tension in the room. All the anxiety, the ache and worry, suddenly drifted away, into the forgotten memories of time. There was a growing sense, among Lana especially, that something had suddenly changed. Claude reached under his desk, deception in his eyes. He lifted up a simple cellphone, roughly three inches wide. He marched towards Lana, uncontrollable laughter in his voice.

“What’s going on here?”

“It’s quite simple, once you decide to think about it,” Claude chuckled.

“You mean, that bomb under your desk, it was actually a phone?”

“Did you really think I would be crazy enough to kill myself, all for the purpose of getting revenge on you? I have more important things to do, such as a very overdue vacation to Hawaii. You act so high and mighty all the time, I wanted to give you a taste of your own medicine,” he chuckled, walking towards the door.

Lana breathed heavily, on the verge of mental collapse. She shook with great force, to the delight of Claude, who only carefully watched. She huffed and gasped, every sign of a breakdown clearly present.

“You’re fired! Get out of this office, unless you want me to call the police,” she huffed.

“You can’t fire me, I quit,” Claude replied, opening the door.

The End

 

 

 


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