Choices – End

Part 4

Casey felt himself falling through a dark hole again. He wasn’t sure he could take more of this. He believed he would puke or pass out at any moment. But then, that only happened in real life. He didn’t know was real or wasn’t again. It was all a stretch, and everything merged into one another. This time, it was fast, and everything around him swirled. Keeping his vision was difficult, not that he could see anything as darkness took over everything. He was tired in every sense of the word. He needed to feel something solid, not this abyss that eroded his senses and left him useless. There were no walls to feel. It felt as if he was going through a portal often talked about in children magic storybooks. At last, his request was granted, but not in the kindest way.

Casey fell against the desk, bumping into it with his side. The pain shot up through his side. He struggled with his balance until he found a suitable place to sit on the floor. He was in the office, and he was grateful to be. A place he would have abhorred felt like home to him. His brain felt foggy as he struggled to come to terms with what had taken place in the office. The office clock showed that everything had happened in the space of thirty minutes. Thankfully, no one had come inside to see what was going on during those periods. They would have been shocked because he didn’t know what happened himself.

The chirping birds by the window provided a momentary distraction for him, slowly bringing him back into reality and a consciousness of his environment. He felt a stab of jealousy as he looked at the creatures flapping their wings. They weren’t only free; they also had no cause to worry. The birds weren’t bothered about where to sleep or what to wear. They didn’t have to think about the right clothes to wear. They were beautifully created, and nature served them.

Slowly, he considered his life and what had put him in his present situation. The wads of notes drew his gaze like a magnet. He was in a precarious condition. Many things could go wrong if he took the money. The police could be hot on his chase in a matter of days if the money was either the building owner’s or had been reported stolen. He could become a fugitive for real. But then, he knew that what he had just seen was a picture of what his life would be if he decided to escape with the money or left it. The police chase would be a small price to pay for the exotic lifestyle he had seen.

Casey was no seer or prophet. He never believed in such things and would gladly bear the title of being the least religious person in the entire universe. But now, his belief was being threatened and put to test.

On the other hand, he could go without the money, which was the honorable thing to do, but he was tired of the kind of life he lived. What he had seen was worse compared to how he lived at the moment. He wished to have a family, go for cocktails, have expensive dinners, drive luxurious cars, and have people at his beck and call. Who didn’t want that kind of life? He didn’t only desire it; he deserved it as well. It was his right. Casey felt a kind of righteous anger go through him. It wasn’t fair that only a small percentage of society lived the kind of life he had seen. What should he call that- a trance or a vision? Nobody deserved to be poor, especially him. He worked as hard as everyone else, always ensuring that he gave his clients the utmost satisfaction in every job. But then, humans were wicked and merciless. For instance, he had slaved his butt off in the trance, and the client had deemed it fit to pay him meaningless wages.

Now, he would chart the course of his life. Casey recognized that he had a rare opportunity. He wasn’t ready to let it slip through his fingers because of one honorable deed that no one would acknowledge. He would think about the price to pay later. Now, whatever he decided to do with the money would determine how he ended up in society. Which one would it be: Casey, the pauper, or Casey, the billionaire? He knew the one he would choose. The sound of billions caused his stomach to knot, but it was a welcomed reaction. He refused to be at the rung of the ladder any longer. Those at the top should wait for him because they were having a new member. Once he reached that point, there was no going back.

His mind was made up. However, he still had some things to do. He stood up from the floor, finished his cleaning, and wiped the soiled table. His client must be satisfied, so much that he would be the last suspect. Then, he picked up the wads one after the other, knowing he was being melodramatic about the whole thing. The smell of money was intoxicating. It wafted through his nose and pooled in his brain. He got another black bag to repack the notes. Folding the bag well so that it looked small, he tucked it into his jacket. Of course, he felt odd, probably because it was, but Casey banked on a successful operation. He packed his tools and stealthily walked out of the office. He knew no one would pay attention to the cleaning man who walked oddly because there wasn’t a time when he didn’t walk or behave oddly to people. Poverty always made someone look strange. Now, he was bidding it farewell. It had characterized his life enough. The world would witness the transformation that only money could bring. He smiled into the darkness around him, the desire for survival overriding the need to be morally upright.

Choices – Part 3

Part 3

Casey gasped for breath. He felt himself choking as he tried to regain his sense of place and direction. It was happening again- the shift

Everything around him went dark again. He was returning home after the usual stressful routine of each day. The atmosphere matched his emotions and state of mind. The night was dreary and had a mournful feeling to it. Casey trudged along the path, dragging his tired derriere behind him. His body was drenched in a mixture of sweat and the rain that refused to let up. It was all so great! (He thought sarcastically). He should go home, but he would only go and drown himself in sorrow. He was afraid to be by himself during this time. He didn’t trust what he could do.

Casey wasn’t only tired; he was very angry. Left to his weary bones, he would have packed it up and ended everything, but his anger fueled his motions. He walked on familiar terrain, so, his legs carried out an automated function, while his brain focused on the grey areas in his life. Speaking of the grey areas, he had many of them. He found it hard to understand why people chose to be heartless and difficult. He had done a cleaning service, which wasn’t unusual, but the client had done him a great disservice. He had gotten only a stipend compared to the enormous job he had executed.

Casey eventually stopped in front of a rickety building that was his destination. His usual clique was there, each man with his problem. They hardly talked about such depressing things when they were sober. However, once alcohol took its course, their tongues loosened up. He drew out a stool and requested for a bottle of beer with a glass. He didn’t have money, but he could show some class. Using the glass, instead of drinking from the bottle, was a way of depicting that he wasn’t a low-life many assumed he was. He was only unfortunate to have the shorter end of the stick in life. There was no rush as each man cradled his bottle or glass, as the case may be, like a baby.

In for a little fun or insult, depending on how the guy took it, Casey placed his legs on the table. Those legs needed to stretch. Almost as he had guessed, his motions didn’t sit well with the bartender who ordered him to take his filthy legs away from the table. As if that wasn’t enough, he followed his statement with ear-deafening expletives and insults. Casey only grinned at him. He that is on the ground needs not to fear any fall.

The night soon wore away with Casey taking his time with his precious bottles. He tackled them one after the other, but he wasn’t drunk. It would take more than a few green bottles to get him knocked. When he was satisfied, he paid for his drinks, followed by curses and insults as the bartender graciously reminded him of his debt. He would sort those ones out once he had the cash. They knew he was going nowhere, at least, not anytime soon.

He trekked the distance to his house, covering it in no time even though he was only partly functional. He didn’t stay anywhere fancy. A mirthless laugh formed in his throat as the thought of what fancy meant crossed his mind. People like him were not cut out for anything fanciful in life. They only managed with whatever was available, which at times, was nothing. His apartment consisted of a tiny room with an adjoining kitchen. He was glad to be unmarried. At least, he didn’t have to share the small room with a wife and some tiny urchins who never remained small for a long time. He kept a chair and table somewhere for reading, which wasn’t often. During those times, he found a convenient way to fold his bed to provide the necessary space. Once he was done, and it was sleep-time, the chair and table would go back to their original positions.

Casey wasn’t a man with many regrets. Of course, he could have made some better choices in his life, but he had no regrets. His philosophy was that whatever would be, would be. However, starting from this day, he had a regret. He must have lost his mind for not taking those wads of money. He wasn’t only a poor bloke; he was a coward as well. Now, he had to live with the punishment of not taking the money. His punishment was remaining in penury. The one day that his cleaning job had fetched him a great fortune, he had blown it all by leaving the treasure behind. Who on earth made such gullible decisions if not him? He could have rewritten his life’s history and left the pauper category for life, but here he was, entering his apartment like a spy.

Sure enough, the source for his misery and anguish waited at the top of his steps. He was the reason why he crept inside like a robber on a plantation farm. His landlord couldn’t have chosen another time to conduct whatever business he had with him. The morning was there for Pete’s sake, but the other man looked unfazed. He stood against the railing. Casey knew that the relaxed position was only a decoy. His landlord was always tensed about everything, especially when it had to do with his rent. And dealing with someone like him, the man would be double-tensed. Casey couldn’t remember the last time he paid. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to pay, he simply didn’t have the means. He felt a rush of anger again as he thought about the money he had seen. What a waste!

Casey anticipated the man’s move. Sure enough, the landlord pulled him aside to remind him of his gross irresponsibility and his growing bills. He promised to do something about it by the end of the month. Of course, the other man didn’t believe him.

Choices – Part 2

Part 2

The sight that greeted Casey sent an instant message into his brain making him momentarily forget about his throbbing toes. What was a little pain for the pleasure that was before him? He could take care of himself and do more than that with the crispy notes lying on the floor.

The several wads of dollars scattered close to his feet. He instantly lost whatever semblance of control he had over his jaw muscles. He opened and closed his mouth several times like a fish deprived of water. Maybe it was because his mouth was suddenly dry. He desperately needed water, but that was a luxury his clients didn’t think was necessary for him. He provided his water when he was at work, but this time around, he didn’t have his can. Anyway, a bottle of beer would do more justice to his feelings than a pitcher of water.

Casey knew he wasn’t himself, and he wasn’t sure he would recover anytime soon. He reeled from the shock of seeing such large amounts of money. With a quick scan with his eyes he estimated that the treasure ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars. That was way more than anything he had ever come across in his entire miserable life. He could faint right there. For the first time in his life, he was weak. Wow! He couldn’t believe the effect this money had on him. He held on to the side of the desk he had just cleaned to support himself, soiling the point of contact with his dirty hands. Casey didn’t notice that. He understood now what people meant when they talked about swooning. For a big guy like him, that was far away from his imagination.

As if discovering the treasure wasn’t enough, Casey had the strangest feeling. The day was surely one dedicated to unexplainable occurrences. He felt himself shifting into another dimension. His body felt as if he was being lifted, and he saw a different version of himself.

He was dressed in a well-tailored suit with matching accessories. He had a meeting and was running behind schedule. His personal assistant struggled to catch up with heavy breathing, but he wasn’t fazed. As a matter of fact, he was enjoying the attention and smiled to himself. On another day, he would have laughed out loud, but right now, he was getting late for his meeting. Not that anyone would query his late-coming. He liked to put people in their places and on edge by getting to the venue pronto! This was the privilege that only money could afford. People worshipped money and those that had it. He was among the few that commanded such respect.

Casey checked his wristwatch for the umpteenth time. Right on cue, the Limousine he favored for such meetings, especially when he was interested in creating an impression, drove into the special parking space allotted to him. His driver knew that he didn’t like to be kept waiting. This lateness entirely was of Casey’s doing. He had lost track of time while absorbed in his work. On the other hand, his vain side knew that was only an excuse as his personal assistant had reminded him several times about the meeting. He was going to assess many contractors, all vying and dying to pick up the contract of marketing and advertisement of his cleaning company. Let them squirm as they wait for him. It was his time, and the ball was in his court.

His personal assistant managed to get herself inside the limo along with him. She held out some documents to Casey almost as soon as her bum hit the soft leather of the car seat. Casey couldn’t stop the quirk from forming at her reaction. He wasn’t a difficult boss; he was far from it. However, his members of staff knew that he wanted his work done in a specific way and at a particular pace. He took the papers, thoroughly went through them, and appended his signature where it was necessary. With that done and out of the way, he focused on something else, but his personal assistant was obviously not done with him. She informed him of a press conference scheduled to immediately hold after the meeting. She mentioned other things, but Casey’s mind wandered from her. She would repeat them after the meeting, even if he told her he got everything she said. His thoughts soon drowned out her voice.

The meeting was a brief one. Although he tried not to mix his business with sentiments, he awarded the contract to a start-up company. Casey knew what it meant to be poor and struggling. As long as the company did his work well, he had no problems.

The Press Conference was scheduled to hold thirty minutes after the contract meeting. He used the chance to grab something to eat, giving his personal assistant the time off to prepare for the conference. He went with some of his colleagues, enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of the luxurious hotel. He dined in nothing less than a five-star hotel. Any other was below his standards and what society expected from individuals like him. Not that he cared, but it was sometimes nice to enjoy the luxury that came with his position.

The Press badgered him about his humanitarian work. He loved that, but what he loved more was that they acknowledged the success of his cleaning company. It was his pride and source of joy.

“Sir?” One of the pressmen called.

He acknowledged the gentleman with the tilt of his head.

“One last question, sir, before the end of this conference,” the man said, nonverbally seeking his permission to continue his line.

“Ok?” Casey replied.

“How did you come about your wealth?” The man finally threw the dagger.

Casey smiled his answer to the man, preferring not to say a word. Nobody would believe how he made his fortune, and he didn’t want them to. It was his little secret. He cherished it above anything else.

Choices

Part 1

Casey walked into the already dilapidated building and took the stairs to the 4th floor of the building, he hissed as he kicked against some scattered debris on the stairs. He hated his job and all that it represented. He walked dejectedly into the office that looked abandoned and stunk.  He wondered who in the right mind would get a business started in this abandoned building with leakages and moss growing on its walls. He didn’t have to think much farther it was the people like him who were desperate for an income and were mostly trying to make ends meet. It was obvious business was slow because the condition of the office didn’t attract many customers.

He had been hired to clean the office and fix most of its leakages and possibly make the office more presentable. That was his job fixing, mending and cleaning. His friends at the club, the only friends he had, called him fixit. He was known for the patch work he did around the neighborhood and at the end of the day he would drown himself in beer at the club sharing jokes about women and politics.  It was boring and the building was dead being a Sunday. He dropped his tools on one of the tables and took a deep breath. The building was so damaged he was confused as to where to proceed from.

He began his chores by filling the holes on the wall and scrubbing the dirt on the walls. He worked for a while peacefully humming to the tune from Bruno Mars’s ‘lazy song”. By noon he was almost half done with his chores. He locked the office and went down for a cup of coffee in a nearby café. He ordered black coffee with no milk or tea, bland and bitter like he thought his life was. As he sipped his coffee he couldn’t help but imagine what he would do if had even a substantial amount of money to himself. He was definitely not going to waste it partying or journeying around the world but rather invest in a cleaning company to help people like himself and also make success out of it. A lady sitting across him in the café winked at him, he smiled politely and looked away and he was still yet to understand women’s fascination with men in uniforms. He was too busy with work to dwindle with any lady for the time being which was just going to cost him more mental stress and at the same time monetary expenses.

He paid for his coffee and walked out of the café. He was exhausted and he was more determined now more than ever to finish his work so he could retire to his room. He walked into the office and as he cleaned the office his foot hit a plastic bag.  He yelped out in pain and angrily tossed the bag unto the pile of trash he had gathered at a corner of the office. He was done with cleaning and it was quite late in the night. All he had left to do was to dispose of the trash. As he packed the trash into a plastic bag, a plastic bag got stuck on a nail on the wall. He groaned aloud, it was the same bag that he had hit previously; he tugged angrily at the bag hence spilling its content on the floor.

Wads of dollars spilled onto his feet, he stood in shock and the weirdest thing happened. He felt like he shifted into a new dimension where he stood in well-tailored suit and leather shoes with his PA running behind him. He laughed out loud; he was headed to a business meeting, in which he had to decide on the company he was going to contract marketing and advertisement of his cleaning company. His limousine arrived to pick him up with his PA entering along with him. She showed him some documents in need of his signature. As he signed on the documents, she informed him of a press conference that was scheduled to hold immediately after his meeting. He went for the meeting and ended up contracting it to a starting company because he was mostly being compassionate to them being previously poor himself. It was time for the press conference before which he had lunch at a luxurious five star hotel with some of his colleagues at work. The press was asking questions mostly on his humanitarian work and praising his success in his cleaning company. “Sir” one of the press men asked him “one last question before the end of this conference. How did you come about your wealth?”

Casey felt everything darken around him, he found himself walking alone on a dreary night with his tools in hand. He was returning from a tedious day at work, his body drenched in sweat. He was angry, he had gone for a cleaning service and his client had only paid him a stipend compared to the service he had rendered. He walked into his regular club where he sat with his friends slowly sipping on a glass of beer. He stretched his legs on the table and the bartender insulted him and told him to remove his feet.  At the end of the night he paid for his drinks with the bartender reminding of his previous debt he was yet to pay off. He walked home to his apartment, which was mostly a small room with a tiny kitchen blaming him for destroying the money he had found at one of his cleaning jobs. As he walked up the stairs to his apartment he ran into his landlord who pulled him aside reminding him of his irresponsibility and not paying the bills.

He fell down and found himself back in the office with the sounds of birds chirping on the window bringing him back to consciousness. Reality dawned on him; he had found a sum of money that had the possibility of changing his life. Whatever he decided to do with the money was going to determine how he ended up either as a successful man or a man not respected by the society. The trance he had seen was what his life would look like should he decide to use the money or destroy it. He was stuck between doing what was right or wrong. He knew what he had to do with the money, so he picked the plastic bag of money (and?)…