A man sits at his desk, alone in his cluttered office with no exit. Stacks of manila envelopes and filing cabinets with every other drawer ajar, surround him. Overflowing waste bins sat in the corner filled with coffee cups and fast food wrappers. Bags under his eyes hung as if they were filled with lead, his shirt covered in beige stains, and dust rest on his shoulders. The office was very dimly lit with the only sources of light coming from a small desk lamp and his very old computer screen.
The man flinched, causing dust to fly up from his shoulders. The phones cry filled the room as it reverberated off the walls making it impossible to not hear.
“Hello?” the man grumbled.
“Yeah, Steve. Its Peter, I’ve got an issue up here. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
“Alright, Peter, slow down. What’s wrong?”
“Well, I was doing my regular shift in Quadrant 4, and I was about to cash in this guys soul, but he just…. he isn’t dead.”
“Ok, so the incident didn’t kill him. Good for him. He gets to live another day, you really didn’t need to call me for this, bye.” The man motioned the phone towards its base, fighting a bit with the cord.
“Steve! Steve! Don’t hang up!”
“What, Peter? Just fill out the P-40 form and mark it as a failed incident. It happens all the …”
“No, Steve. This guy just jumped from a 40 story building and bounced off the concrete without a scratch. I’ve never seen anything like it, and you know I’ve been doing this for 200 years…..This guy should be deader than Abe Lincoln.”
“So he just got up and walked away?” The man stood from his chair and began to pace as he continued, dust falling from his body like snowflakes. His joints creaked with every shuffle. “Well, where is he now? What’s his number?”
“Uhhhh, his number is….. 6523187958MUSNYC. He’s just walking around talking to the people that saw the fall. It’s actually getting pretty chaotic up here.”
Steve typed the number into his computer, loud claps with every keystroke. “It looks like his name is Jason McKellum, he’s 33, apparently this is our second attempt to claim his life. The last one he tried to hang himself from a rafter, looks like it broke, and he barely made it…… I’ve got the P-40 filed right here. Give me a minute and I’ll pull it out.”
“Steve, we don’t really have time for that. I need to get this guy out of here now. A crowd is starting to form.”
“Give him the touch, and see if you can’t just bring him down anyways. That way we can sort it out here, he obviously wants to be dead.” Steve laughed a little as he realized this is the longest conversation he has had in over 22 years.
“Already tried, Sport. Didn’t work at all. He just kept walking around. I’m beginning to think he’s an immortal.”
“Immortal, huh. That lucky son of a bitch.” Steve rubbed the back of his head as he recalled his own life, and suicide. “We need to get this guy down here. However you need to do it, just get him down here. See if you can’t just walk him here.”
Steve hung up the phone, and rested his body back into his chair.
“This is unfair! Why wasn’t I immortal!” He shouted upwards. “You keep me in this room, doing busy work for eternity!”
He buried his face in his hands as he began to sob. Tears leak through the cracks like a poorly maintained Dam, falling onto the paper in front of him. Another stack of envelopes appeared in his inbox, along with a tall cup of coffee. He wipes the tears from his eyes, takes a sip of coffee, and returned to his work.
more by ASHTON KNIGHT
Photograph by Carl Nenzen Loven