Career Options


For October and the haunted holiday it brings, I thought it would be fun to tell some creepy tales. Keep coming back for more frights all month long.

Here’s my fourth original story, entitled Career Options:

Death. No one wants to face it, but it’s coming. For me, it’s coming real soon.

Most sane people who are told they have less than a month to live would behave differently. They’d apologize to those they’ve wronged. Commit their last testament to paper. Square it up with the good Lord above. They’d spend quality time with loved ones. I decided to take an alternate route.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to kill someone. I wouldn’t say it was a life goal or anything, but I can’t deny the urge. Most who are drawn to these inclinations would smother a puppy as a child or join the military as an adult, but few become real killers. I hit a bird once with my car and became an accountant, but now that my life was over, all bets were off.

I was confused at the news, sure, but the nurse on the phone was an idiot. She told me I was in shock, that the doctor had been through this with me, that I was already told. I must have rattled her when I yelled in frustration, and she blurted out what she was convinced I already knew. “You’re terminal!” When I responded with silence, she gave me the details. “Cancer…Inoperable…Weeks left.”

It was one bump. The doctor didn’t seem concerned. He said the test was likely going to be fine. “Weeks left.” I didn’t call my wife. I didn’t cry. I just got up from my desk and walked to the breakroom where Denise was cleaning up the monthly birthday cake. She loaned me the cake server with some reluctance. I had asked politely, but I suppose it’s a strange thing to borrow when there’s no cake left to slice, or maybe it was her personal property. That’s more likely considering it was quality metal when every other utensil in the office was cheap plastic. Accountants.

I know it’s cliché to kill your boss. He’s not even a bad guy, but it felt natural. It felt good. When the world seemed out of my hands, I stabbed a man to prove there was something still in my control. I watched the shock and blood drain from his face as he faded away so that I wouldn’t have to hear people’s sympathies or claims to God’s plan as I waited to die. Murder is the most Godlike act a human can perform, and I decided to perform it all damned day.

I’m not sure when it is officially defined a “spree,” but I think clearing the office got me well on my way. I left my car in the parking lot and walked to the gas station. That bitch at the counter sneered at me every time I came in. Maybe it was typical teenage disgust with the world stuff, but when I broke her legs she stopped sneering. I set the place alight with a cheap Bic and took some jerky and a Monster. I’ll need to keep my energy up for the walk home.

The cyclist was easy. A well timed shove into traffic. The old woman was one foot in the grave already and a burden to someone, probably. Another cyclist. Bonus four car pileup. My neighbor with the perfect lawn was obvious. I borrowed his shears for the job and sprayed him with weed killer. I laughed. He didn’t get the joke.

When I got to the house, there was a woman at the door. I recognized her from somewhere. She seemed concerned over the amount of blood on my face.

“Mister Williams?”

“I hope you’re not here to sell me something. Not the best day.”

I could hear sirens off in the distance. I hope those drag racing kids are finally getting caught.

She started crying. “Mister Williams, I made a mistake. There was another Joseph Williams. You called so soon after he left that I thought…we’re supposed to ask for date of birth, but I’m new and…”

“What do you want lady?” One of the bricks we skirted around the birch tree was broken. It had been that way for awhile but I never got around to replacing it. I picked up the big piece of it. Sirens were closer now. Almost my neighborhood. Maybe a fire?

“Your test. The other Joseph Williams…” I lifted the brick high over my head. Nothing wrong with a little theatrics in your work. She lifted her hands and yelled.

“You’re not going to die!”

“Huh?” I lowered my arm.

“You’re fine. The lump. It’s benign.”

Cars were screeching to a stop behind us. I could see the red and blue light dancing across the siding of our house. I wanted stone, but we couldn’t afford it. Accountant.

I chuckled. “Well that’s a relief.”

She smiled, but it looked fake. I hate insincere kindnesses. Someone was yelling. This neighborhood used to be quiet. I raised the brick again and brought it down on her head. Some pops sounded and I couldn’t breath and I guess I fell on the lawn. I have a grass allergy, so I rolled on my back and watched the clouds. Think it’s going to rain.

I hope that idiot nurse dies with me. If I’m one kill short of a spree, I’m going to be pissed.

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