…And then, as a thank you to the staff that had just elected him President of the company, George fired each and every one of them. Except, of course, Patricia.
Like an old man visiting his childhood home, the two of them would periodically return to that spot to reminisce. He dreamt dreams swirling with memories of the Nepoleanic upheaval that had occurred years earlier, placing him in charge—the figurative punches thrown on his behalf by the board members who loved him so much, even the physical punches occasionally thrown—all of it was comically similar to what you’d expect in a post-apocalytic piece of fiction. He had cheated, lied, and, of course, killed his way to the top of that company, proving he’d put life on the line for the best of the organization. Unfortunately for the board members, it was their lives he was willing to put out there, not his own.
But returning to this spot, the exact spot in the board room at ProfitCorp Solutions where it had all happened acted as a perfect catalyst for allowing the nostalgia to come rushing back, the feeling as powerful as a drug. Knowing he stood atop the very stretch of linoleum tile that held, just three feet below him now, the body of the former President gave him a rush like no other. So that’s why they returned when they could.
And her, she dreamt too. Of what, I can’t exactly say, as I’m not her. In fact, I’ve never been in her brain, nor the brains any of the other people in this story, except of course one. I have been in the brain of George because I, of course, am George.”
Nelson pressed save, imagining people reading that last line; it was going to blow their fucking minds.
“That twist at the end is some M Night Shyamalan shit,” he thought to himself. “The only people who are going to see that shit coming will be people who read spoilers online, or maybe a really fuckin’ smart kid, like a Chinese one or something.”
Nelson Jadeis, author of six—now seven—bestselling mystery and thriller novels was a better writer than he was a thinker. But, by it the good virtues of God or sheer luck, he was able to translate his slang-riddled, jumbled, offensive, and sometimes racist thoughts down onto paper, where they invariably would become huge hits.
He had a knack for both writing and storytelling, two facts made evident by his place on Time Magazine’s “Best Selling Novelists” lists for two straight years. He finished third in last year’s list, the first time he had been on it. Despite not publishing his first novel until August that year, his third place finish pissed him off. He wanted first, so the next year he got first—and by quite a wide margin.
His novels were often praised by critics who called them “mysterious” and “thrilling,” two particularly flattering complements given the genre he published in. But flattery wasn’t enough for him, nor was the thrill he got out of developing from scratch an exciting storyline. This is precisely why he wanted that top spot on the bestseller list so badly. The more copies he sold, the more endorsement deals he could do, the more speaking engagements he could sign on for, and the more money ultimately in his pockets.
The house he lived in was modest, but large for a single male living on his own. Most of it had been paid off by the profits he had made from his first novel “Say it Aint Snow: A Murder Mystery.” He had insisted he’d put more effort into the titles after sort of phoning in that first one.
Despite living alone, sleeping alone, and almost always eating alone, Nelson wanted more space. He wanted a larger house with a bit of room to it, both inside and out. He sought to live a lavish lifestyle, but largely out of sight of everyone else, choosing to spend money on items only unnecessarily rich people own. He wanted to move, too. Maybe somewhere like the Caribbean, or Hawaii.
“Eh, not Hawaii,” he thought. “Wonder how Beliz is.”
To make it out of the country he’d need this latest novel to sell particularly well. He had blown most of the rest of the money he made from his second novel, “Born to Die: A Murder Mystery,” on a boat. The money from his third, “Whats Up Dock: an Aquatic Murder Mystery,” was spent on a new Mercedes. Proceeds from the fourth, fifth and sixth novels—all with similarly poor names—was all blown in a similar fashion. By opening a checking account, he had saved a little of it. Enough to get by until the paychecks from his just-finished manuscript began pouring in. The publishers were already waiting to accept it get it on shelves as soon as possible where, if history held true, it wouldn’t remain for long before selling out.
This novel was his last, or at least that’s what he had said to himself. But somehow, for some reason, the longing to get back into the game reared its head every time he tried to quit.
“I’ll be done one day,” he thought to himself, his lips curling to a wiry smile.
At that moment, he heard a knock on his door, heavier than what you’d expect from a mailman.
“Open up, police,” the voice said. He was certain by this point that it was not, in fact, the mailman.
“Just a moment,” Nelson called back, closing his laptop and sliding it to the side of his desk. He sighed lightly to himself and shrugged. He had been waiting for this for quite some time—since they found the first body really—so it was bound to happen soon.
Standing, he dusted off his slacks, adjusted his glasses, ensured there were no bits of food in his mustache, and walked towards the door. In a way, he was excited. In fact, he was excited in more than just the one way. He was excited for it to be over. It was a thrilling ride—a mysterious one too—but he almost wanted it to be over. The game was done, and they had won. They had caught up.
Opening the door, Nelson was greeted by two cops, one larger than the other—a trait you’ll find often when comparing two things to one another. Immediately, the two entered the home, the larger one grabbing his wrists and twisting his body around while the smaller one patted him for weapons.
“You’re under arrest,” said the larger one. “For the murders of Enrico Sardinas, Jenna Rozell, Sanja Khan, Carly Rettinger, Ruben Sinclair and Lionel Oldman”
“Finally,” Nelson said. “Finally!”
He wanted this. He wanted to be caught.
The smaller one walked over to the desk, scanning it briefly before his eyes came across the laptop. Opening it, the screen flashed on, displaying the document containing the final draft of Jadeis’s latest novel “Absolute Power: A Murder Mystery.”
“Evan,” the cop said, calling out to the larger officer while simultaneously trying to read what was in front of him. “You’d better call in another one. Just found an unpublished story on his computer. According to the end here, we’re gonna want to start calling around and see if any businesses have complained that their conference room smells like death. I’ll bet we get one ‘yes.'”
The larger officer—Evan, he presumed—looked down at him.
“Guess that brings your total to seven now, eh?” he asked.
He had simply left too many clues in books five and six, he thought to himself. Too many, perhaps, or exactly the right amount.
With his hands handcuffed rather tightly behind him, a lengthy prison sentence surely in his future, and his masochistic dreams finally having come true, Nelson regretted only one thing.
“I wished I had put more effort into the titles,” he said aloud, smiling. “Especially given the effort I put into those storylines.”