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The Final Straw

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Another patronizing laugh burst out of Greg’s mouth. “You are so useless, Bradley.”

“Stop calling me that,” yelled Bradley.

Greg rolled his eyes. “Like that will change the truth.”

Steaming, Bradley eyed the heavy ivory statue on his partner’s desk. “I have endured the way you kept mocking and disrespecting me for years. If you ever call me useless again, I swear to God I’ll kill you.”

Greg left his leather chair angrily. “And I’ve endured the continuous losses every time that I rely on you to actually do something for our company. I’ll call you useless as much as I want.”

Bradley snarled and reached for the statue. He put as much force as he could as he struck Greg’s head with the lethal sculpture.

Greg’s eyes widened in horror, staring balefully at his partner’s face, a trickle of blood running down from his head into his beard. Then he fell on the floor, silent as a rock.

Petrified, Bradley gaped at the limp body before him, his face bloodless. He gurgled in shock and stared at the stained weapon in his hand. He gasped and dropped the statue. As it hit the ground, its loud thud yanked him out of his silence.

He staggered backwards, his legs wobbling together. “Oh my God! Oh my God, I killed him.”

Shuddering, he threw himself on Greg’s chair behind the desk, his eyes pinned to the body. “What did I do?” he sobbed, thoughts roiling through his head. Greg was right, he thought. I am useless … a coward, a failure like he always said. He squeezed his eyes shut and hissed, “A murderer!”

An icy feeling took over his stomach as the numbness of shock subsided. He realized not only had he killed his best friend, his partner, but he did it in their office, in the middle of a working day.

Swiftly, he ran to the door and made sure it was locked. He pressed his back against it, wincing, searching for a way out. “I can’t run away. Everyone will know,” he mumbled in panic. “I can’t go to jail.” He banged his head against the door. “I have to do something … fast.”

His gaze dropped to his crime. He gulped. “I’m really sorry, Greg.” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “But I won’t go to jail because of you.”

With shaky steps he returned to Greg’s desk and opened the right drawer. He glanced at the silent pistol inside and recalled how Greg used to laugh at him every time he said he wanted to buy one too, how he told him he would never dare to use it even if someone broke in and threatened his life.

A shiver ran through him as he felt the cold steel against his fingertips. “Here is where you were wrong, Greg.” He fixed his eyes on the pistol. “Here is where you were wrong.” He evened his breath and grabbed the gun.

He took his time feeling its weight. It fit perfectly in his grip. He walked steadily toward Greg’s body and squatted beside it. “This is the only way.”

He took one last look at his friend and wiped the wetness from his cheeks. “This is how I prove to you and everybody else that I’m not a useless coward.” Then he pulled the trigger.

#

Carefully, a CSI bent over to examine Greg’s head trauma. Then he turned to the detective assigned to the case, shaking his head in sorrow as his eyes captured Bradley’s, and said, “He died instantly.”

The detective nodded. “The employees heard a gunshot, but none of them knows what exactly happened.”

“Well, obviously, he shot himself right in the head. He was still holding the gun in his hand.” He examined Greg’s head again. “But this one here is just unconscious. He might suffer from a mild concussion, but he will wake up in no time. They will take him to the hospital now. You can start questioning him when he is up. Maybe, he’ll know why his partner committed suicide right in front of him.”

 

 

 

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