The Fallen

Climbing to the top, a treacherous and demanding task that stole years of my life. In the end the view seems meaningless as I reflect on what I had lost along the way. My only wish, my one desire, is to not fall down.

The box felt heavy in my arms. The corridor I loved walking down was hell to me. People glanced up amidst phone calls, if I was even granted that courtesy. Quickening my pace, I ran into Pete coming out of the photocopying room. Unable to avoid the confrontation he slapped me good heartedly on the back. "Brian, sorry to see you go mate." His words dripping with fake sincerity. He turned his back to me and continued along the hall. Taking a deep breath I did the same.

With barely one step into the foyer, Susie charged at me, wrapping her stick thin frame around my body. Widening her eyes, she immediately let go of me. "This would constitute as sexual harassment wouldn't it? I can't believe I just hugged the boss in the middle of the –" she cut off realising what she said. I… I am so sorry Brian. I never would have thought you, of all people, would be fired."

"It's alright Susie." A small smile reached my lips. I'm glad to know someone will miss me.

"Here!" she said as the shoved flowers at me. Politely thanking her, I entered the recently opened elevator and stared. Stared at the life I so wholeheartedly embraced as it closed before my eyes.

Leaning against the metal wall, I watched the luminescent numbers tick down slowly.

39… 38… 37…

Closing my eyes, I could not bare to see more. I had lost everything! How could it be? Years of struggle and hard work have come crashing down all because of one man.

"Maverick?"

I looked up at the man shuffling before my desk. His usual bright, cocky self had paled and grown sickly white. Wringing his hands together so even they appeared smaller. Timidly he looked up to face me and uttered the words, "Brian man, I screwed up!"

Nowhere in my spacious office did I have a mirror, but I too knew my face went pale. Remove the 'man' and I think that sentence would be the most dreaded among businessmen. And yet it was happening to me.

Etching nail marks into the great wooden table, I listened to his tale of events that would ultimately lead us both to our downfall. That long, hard downfall. Bad investments, falling stocks, the Intech competition, a failed merger. Each crisis pounded its wound into my chest till the point where I couldn't breathe. How could it have gotten so bad? But the more important question, how could I have not noticed?

Across from me stood the man that I had trusted so much. And yet he was responsible for each setback. I could not face him. The horrible bile rose up in my throat, threatening to spill. With the only ounce of strength I contained I asked, "How much?"

It felt as though the world had stopped in expectation of his answer. As silence lingered in the room I prayed it would not be so bad. I faithfully begged God that the sum was retrievable. "Six million"… No such luck.

Breathing raged, the splinters from the desk began to draw blood. Maverick, who greatly resembled a week old corpse, lifted his head to try and remedy the situation. "We've only got one option. I can take another two million from the company and invest it into Groven Corporations. The stocks are at peaks and there's a chance all six grand will be returned."

His words barely resonated in my ears. Find me a thesaurus and all words under shocked were what I was feeling right now. I stared down at the metal plaque on the corner of my desk. The name screamed out at me. This is what I had always hoped for, what I had worked so diligently for, and I wasn't about to see it fade.

It took another five weeks to secure the $2 000 000 and convert it into stock. 68 hours after the investment was made, Groven Corp plummeted. A major dismissal occurred throughout the department in a weak attempt to save the company. Shortly after, an investigation into the business' financial history uncovered our involvement. Maverick was sentenced to five years in prison for larceny. However my participation, although late as it was, was enough to fire me completely.

So here I was, tucked into the corner of the elevator, holding the box of items that carried me to the very top and back down again. The twelve years I spent dedicated to one goal is now worthless. The laborious work involved in getting to the top, was definitely not to be repeated, yet when finally succeeding, victory did not taste as sweet.

stand, climb, and fall
you carry the weight
can't carry it all

I did not look forward to the effort I would have to make again, and I have no pleasant memories of the efforts made in the past. So here I was, stuck in what seemed like an endless tunnel, both dark and lonely.

and I'm at the end of myself
anything you want
when nothing seems to satisfy me
take anything you want

Even the usual elevator music seemed to mock me. One stupid decision ruined me entirely. It objectified my own morals and led me to complete self-annihilation. Typical of me to accomplish that in less than a month. Opening my eyes, I watched silently as the numbers continued to fall.

2 1 G

Hello, my name is Brian Montgomery. At thirty-six years old, I have no wife, no kids and as of twenty minutes ago, no job. Currently, my main goal in life is to not break down.

Game Over