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Corey Atherley

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Jack In The Box
By Corey Atherley
Monday, May 28, 2012

Rated "R" by the Author.

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Jack Hopper-a Wall Street businessman-is under house arrest and left to rot and self-destruct. Between locked doors, tightened spaces and walls that close in, there is absolutely no escape out of the confines of his unbalanced mind; and his worse enemy is not the justice system more so than his shadow.


Friday, 8th, August 1997

It’s been thirty days now and I’ve got this monitor on my leg like an imbedded tattoo. I’ve thrown it out into the street numerous times, but wishful thinking isn’t for whack jobs like me. Wishful thinking will get you nowhere fast especially- when a cop watching over me- drives by and sees the leg device lying about. He then locks it back on my leg. “You are your own worse enemy, Jack.” he said to me.           

 Yesterday morning, I grabbed my phone near my bed, uncertain if it was tapped; however, I dialed a private number. In seconds, I was automatically directed to an answering machine, recorded by a woman with an oriental accent. The woman’s voice sounded like ‘Elmo’ on acid but it didn't bother me much. She was Uncle Max’s bombshell fiancée named Ling; a real estate agent for Century 21. I left Ling a message in fluent Mandarin telling her that I needed a radio from my uncle, and after that, I hung up the phone thinking ‘he’s the only family I’ve got left’. So now I have a mini Toshiba boom box that I placed on my window panel, turning the FM dial to an Aerosmith song. This radio would be the last act of kindness as I looked down at an irrigation truck and a bulldozer digging a massive hole into the street.

   The fact of the matter is that the feds broke into my house while I was closing a deal in New Delhi with my assistant William Rappaport. And the only possessions of mine left intact were my tailored suits because I would need them to appear in federal court facing numerous charges. I'm weeks away from trading my five bedroom house for a prison cell, but those crooked cops had already donated my assets to high societal auctions and charities in Upper Eastside, Manhattan; so it really doesn't matter. It cuts really deep when you've only got two things left to entertain you from depression and psychopathy: a radio and a journal.

   I don't even consider this a house anymore. It's a box. It's hell on earth. It's a place where I'm locked in bondage and undersized by the government. It's a place where I'm forced to look at the stripped floors and walls reminding me that I've been robbed as vicious as a milk bottle stolen from a baby. And each morning well into the afternoon I’m forced to endure the delightful sound of drilling behind my house. It wasn't long before the goddamn bulldozer resounded loud enough that I was forced to block out my eardrums with ear mugs. I then blasted the radio all the way up to surround sound, playing a song that I loved- "Another One Bite’s The Dust" by Freddy Mercury and those other guys.

   I stared the whole time at the bulldozer plummeting claws deep into the earth and construction workers gathering like an assembly line with their black and pale faces baked under the sun. They pulled out their shovels yelling commands at each other in what would have to be a team effort to rectify the crisis. Suddenly, I turned down the radio and looked disgustfully at a newspaper on my bed. I was on the front cover under the headline, “Nightmare on Wall Street”. Thanks to protestors, media outlets and late night comedians downsizing my existence, I didn’t even deserve to make more babies. And I felt the same way as I sunk further into depression.

28th, September 1997 - 1:00 AM

It was ineluctable that these five months of confinement would be discomforting. I woke up in the middle of the night in cold sweat as ravaging, gripping hunger took over; sharp pain in my abdomen as if I'd been gutted by a bowling ball. I remember grabbing the last cup of Ramen noodles out of my kitchen cupboard hoping that somehow what it lacked in taste and quality would make up as a wholesome dinner. But I was painfully surprised.

  To suppress the pain, I counted up to 100 with deep breaths that I learned from my friend; one hell of a fabulous physician named Deepak Chopra. And as I held my stomach, I walked towards my window to observe the tarred up hole surrounded by forensic tape and the distant lighthouse overlooking the gated neighborhood. Along with my stomach ache, I cringed just staring at the haunted hole in the ground.

Friday, 31st, October 1997

When I woke up today, the sunlight brightened my house showing how empty and immaculate it was for the first time since I moved in. I remembered the day I had bought this house with my ex-wife. I was 27 years old and I had just settled into my career on Wall Street as the new president of Hopper Baby Foods Corporation.

   After eating a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, I walked back into my room and adjusted my radio to searing high volume. This time I was enthralled by Madonna's "Express Yourself" when she chants during the intro: "Do you believe in love?!!"  "No."  I thought to myself, but I danced butt naked anyway, recalling my privileged days on Wall Street getting laid and frequenting every nightclub in Manhattan. There were moments when I opened my window and observed those construction workers using gigantic ladders to climb down into the tunnel. I wanted them to see who they were dealing with and to be just as annoyed with my loud music as I was of their inconsiderate drilling. While tugging my large cock, I yelled "hey, look at me!!" several times to those oblivious knuckleheads who kept on avoiding my taunts. Even as the song ended, I exposed my bare white ass against the window, wiggling to the hypnotic bass pounding rhythm. Still, the jerk offs were too busy digging. All of a sudden I spotted the construction site manager strutting up and down the street carrying a clipboard in his hands as if he was a salesman. I wasn't sure who this guy was, but he could've been an undercover cop in a tank top for all I was concerned.

  A loud knock on my door sufficed, making my heart leap out of my chest. To make matters worse it was the construction manager who was going from door to door carrying a clipboard. In the wake of my scandal, I cringed just imagining what he wanted from me as I unlocked the second bolt on my door, opened my security gate and let him through. However, my worrying ceased when I had a good look at him. He was a handsomely tall, blue eyed young man in jeans and a muscle shirt accentuating his ripped upper body. As he displayed a courteous, toothy smile, it turned out that he wanted me to fill out a survey whether or not I thought construction workers were underpaid. With pleasure, I took the clipboard from his hands, filled out the survey and signed: “John ‘Jack’ Hopper. He then gave me a wink and a smile and said: “Thanks buddy! Sorry for the inconvenience.”

  As he proceeded to walk away, he then turned to me and asked, “Wait a sec! Are you Jack Hopper?  I used to eat ‘Hopper baby food’ products all the time as a baby boy!”

  I was shocked by the unashamed gleefulness of this man in which my heart nearly exploded. I said: “Actually, my father was the founder of the family business. I took over for him for many years, but now you can see where that got me…under house arrest. You see: young folks like you may not realize that house arrest is a chance to tame a beast, keep it under surveillance and calm down its behavior. To make my point concise: the police are afraid to put me in prison too soon because I’ll fuck up people’s minds; I’ll gnaw on my inmates when I get hungry.”

  The horrified construction guy lowered his eyes at the electric bracelet wrapped around my ankle to which he then said: “Well, who gives a fuck! I’m still honored to meet you.”

 I then shook the guy’s hand which felt like sharp sandpaper.

 “What about the water pipes?” I asked as he strutted away. Suddenly his gleeful expression disappeared. “Don’t drink tap water for at least forty-eight hours, because all ya gonna get is brown sewage.” he said. “We just installed new pipes to redirect and clear out sewage water, so things should be back to normal-say- by Friday. If not, call the mayor’s office and my crew workers and I will rectify the situation. Alright, buddy? ”           

  I was still flabbergasted when he suggested I should “call the mayor’s office”. But I slightly smiled and said: “Thank you…..what’s your name?”

  He tilted his hat, winked at me and said: “Kenny, sir; Kenneth O’ Connor.”

 “Thank you, Kenny.”

 “Not a problem sir; Happy Halloween!” 

31st, October, 9:30 PM

Usually Five Towns is live with festivities during the autumn season. There's even a married couple down the street who used to throw their lavish fundraisers: a brain surgeon and his gold digging wife. I'm no longer on their guest list. But tonight, as I looked out of my bedroom window, staring at parents chaperoning their spoiled rotten children up and down the street, all I heard on my side of the street was mating crickets. There’s no doubt in my mind that everyone is avoiding me like a plague. They’re unable to go about their daily lives while I’m still living in their lives. For one thing: my house and my empty driveway are the first things they encounter when they walk out of their doors. Some could even be sleeping pretty knowing that I’m living under house arrest with brown contaminated water. But I could care less about those self-righteous, money hungry pricks.

    While observing children of millionaires walking around in fancy costumes, I suddenly reflected back to being a freshman at Yale. My philosophy professor showed me a photo of the Dalai Lama before I asked: “why is 'Charlie Chan' wearing a robe?” And it was all thanks to my parents who raised me to be a White Anglo Saxon Protestant.

   Suddenly, I stopped daydreaming. Halloween has officially begun, and my doorbell was pressed so many times that it made my heart leap out of my chest. I didn’t wish to give these children of entrepreneurs more to be greedy about. To top it all off, I had no candy to give! I shook out a Bill Blass suit to uncover a bottle of Tic Tacs I hadn't eaten ever since I investigated my factory workers in Florida.

  As I walked downstairs with the monitor on my leg, I opened the door, I opened my security gate, and my unwanted fan club greeted: TRICK OR TREEEEAT!!!! I really didn’t know what to make of the group that consisted of teenagers; punks, jocks, geeks and unattractive social climbers dying to meet me and tell all of their super cool friends at school. No way in hell would parents ever allow their kids under the age of twenty one anywhere near my house; especially during the night.

    Under a street light I examined a young man dressed as Batman and another kid who distinguished himself dressed as a boy scout with a big penis. All I knew was that in a split second they handed their bags out to me like a bunch of homeless beggars and I nervously retreated by saying “No candy tonight, guys!” I donated my Tic Tacs to an odd little girl dressed as a psychopathic nurse with blood (or ketchup?) all over her scrubs who wanted my autograph. Needless to say, I said “hell no” to the autograph. I then slammed my door before hearing disgruntled hisses and some attention-seeking asshole mentioning "page 6" of The New York Times that showed photos of my secretary (Carla Brown) nude and duck taped.

Jack Hopper.

Monday, 10th, November, 1997

Whenever I twist the bathroom faucet to take a shower, or I twist the kitchen faucet to prepare morning coffee, I’m outraged staring at the brown water. I’m more outraged than the previous day, the previous week, and the previous month ever since that dickhead construction worker, Kenny, told me to call the mayor’s office to rectify the disaster! As angry as I was, all I could think about was the way he kissed up to me like a prepubescent schoolboy, telling me what I needed to hear so that he wouldn’t have to face me ever again. He then advised me to call the mayor’s office despite my house arrest prohibiting me from calling Jesus Christ to bail me out of my misery!

   Eventually I decided: ‘the hell with it’ and I mixed the brown polluted water into my coffee pot with the sugar, concentrated milk and coffee mix already prepared. After closing the lid on the pot and heating the coffee until it produced an acrid stench of human waste, I grabbed the pot, opened the lid, and gulped down the burning, funky liquid into my body. After my mouth was burned by the hot beverage and I burped an after taste of animal droppings: THAT WAS WHEN I HAD ENOUGH OF MY MISERY. I then smashed the coffee pot onto the street next to a shook up neighbor.

Monday, 10th, November- 6:05 PM

As it is dinner time, my hunger pains have worsened to the point of no return. Just hours ago I drove myself to insanity finding anything edible around my house. I looked in my refrigerator which needed to be defrosted as much as a caveman needed a makeover. I couldn’t even convince myself there was something to eat except an expired can of mayonnaise that I couldn't spit out fast enough before I vomited. I had eaten the last of everything; including the last box of Frosted Flakes I ate last week. But I refused to waste myself for the government like some Sudanese refugee. If I had to hunt down a fucking pigeon or a squirrel in my backyard, I would’ve done so.

  As I went through my cabinets like a mad man, images in my mind surfaced: the mansion in Saratoga, New York where I spent my luxurious childhood, the smiling faces of my fellow white neighbors, the limo that took me to school everyday and the Polish housemaid who cooked, cleaned, and let me rub her breasts. Now, it was down to the wire. I tore my kitchen apart with an empty stomach, rushed upstairs to my closets grabbing shirts, blazers, trousers, shoes, overcoats, sports coats and fedora hats. The American dream was good as dead and I struggled to face that inconvenient truth when I shook out all of my clothes hoping to drop money or at least a stick of chewing gum to no avail. I sat down on my bed to cry uncontrollably until I couldn't breathe which I knew for sure was a panic attack. I buried my face in my pillow drenching the fabric with my tears; the tears of a former powerhouse who used to hire shoe shiners. My manhood was undoubtedly tarnished as I whimpered like a sissy creating echoes throughout the house. I couldn't go anywhere to eat because I was under house arrest. I damn sure wasn't gonna ask any of my resentful neighbors for a bottle of clean water. And I didn't have the balls to write to my parents, my ex wife or my estranged fifteen year old son. 

  On an empty stomach, I remembered the look of inner peace in my dad's eyes as he examined my mother, my older sister and myself grieving around his hospital bed. Of course, no crisis would’ve been complete without my goddamn mother weeping until her face turned as red as a chili pepper. Thus, I sighed under my breath wondering how long we were gonna keep up with this pathetic and pretentious "crying game." It turned out that my dad made a miraculous recovery that day as if anyone gave a fuck; as long as he made out his will. The doctors were able to succeed the chemotherapy, but for the most part I was speechless and worried. My father was now conscious enough to think about his client investments and the one person suitable to take over his operation. It was a bitter battle over who was more significant. I thought about my two paternal uncles, Maximilian and Thomas, or even my hateful mother. I was the Joker in the deck. But that still didn't stop me from pursuing what was rightfully mines. 

   When we returned home from the hospital where my father was kept in the ER, the first thing my mother did was grab me by the elbow as I proceeded to go upstairs into my room. With the coldest, greediest and most salacious and peevish look I've ever seen from a woman, she suddenly screamed at me, “You wouldn't be content until all of us are dead, wouldn’t you?! Well I’m here to set you straight: I'm the wife and the mother! And I don't care if that unfaithful prick (your father) dies while crapping in his underwear! I will be the one to run his company!" And that was that.

    Pulsating sirens woke me up to see the piles of shit thrown everywhere in my room, and I deduced while coping with stomach pain. Number one: it was strange for the ambulance to show up in a place that is ranked #5 on the Forbes list of America’s ‘safest white areas’. Number two: maybe it hasn’t occurred to me that this town will never be safe as long as I'm around. 

    From the corner of my right eye I looked over and saw eggs smashing against my window; yolk pouring down like bird shit. The vandalizing was then followed by “get outta this town, you cock sucka!” and other vile threats that are too hurtful to write in this journal. As I thrust open my window with sheer outrage, I looked down at the mob of resentful neighbors holding a large sign that read: JACK THE RIPPER. I then spotted the gray haired woman in the crowd who looked vaguely familiar when I smashed a coffee pot earlier this morning. She was being wheeled into the ambulance van after nearly dying when the glass cut her feet and the hot coffee produced second degree burns under her peachy, wrinkled flesh. The mob ringleaders were mostly big, brawny tough guys trying to climb over my security gate like idiots. And the vandal was none other than the brain surgeon who lived down the street, holding a dozen brown eggs in his hands as I dodged every one of them. 'You burned her you CREEP!!!!!' he shouted at me. As we locked our vicious eyes at each other, two frustrated paramedics grabbed him from behind and slammed him onto the ground. The ‘old Jack Hopper’ would've gone outside and severed his head. But I'm a redeemable man now; no longer the bearer of a black heart and a toxic mind.

   Meanwhile, a group of women kept throwing hard rocks at me chanting: 'LOSER!! LOSER!!' provoking me to shout sexist profanities at them and shut my window. As I wiped blood from my nose where those fucking rocks hit me in the face, I finally understood. No matter how much I hid my face from the public, and no matter how defeated and apologetic I was for all the victimizing I've committed in my past, it just wasn't enough.

Monday, 24th, November, 1997

I took a Schick razor out of my bathroom cabinet and sliced a portion of my right arm. I had a glass of brown polluted water to go with the feast. I was pleasantly surprised how delicious my flesh turned out as I deep fried the substance and added my vomit as a soup base. But I was hungry. At my lowest point. I thanked God for making my life fortunate while I nearly bled to death.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jack Hopper.

Saturday, 13th, December, 1997

Last night, I heard ultrasonic noises. From where, I didn't know. But as I looked under my bed, I was confronted by Mother Nature at her finest. It was busy nibbling on dry, crusted vomit I spat out months ago but never cleaned up. It looked at me. It hissed at me. It revealed sharp yellow incisors, wiggling its long tail and tracing my human odor with its pink ears and broad nose. Suddenly, the startled furry creature scurried so fast out of my room I was unable to keep up with my heart rate.

  I gave up trying to make sense of why this was happening to me, screaming: “Fuck you!!!!!!” and I kept shivering in sweat while pissing through my pajamas. In a state of panic, I followed the loud "Chirp! Chirp! Chirp! Chirp!" downstairs until I intruded on a family having a picnic. It wasn’t long before dozens of other Norway rats jolted from underneath my oven, sink and refrigerator, making their parasitic presence before me. All I can say is this: what I’ve witnessed while standing there shitting a load in my underwear was the most unspeakable thing I’ve ever seen in all of my thirty six years on this planet! And I hoped in the back of my jaded mind that after ‘Mr. Furry’ and his family was done slurping the vomit on my kitchen floor.... I wouldn’t be next.

  With a one track mind, I got the fuck out of my house. I pried the lock on my leg device and threw it in the snow. I had enough. It was a do-or-die, fight-or-flight moment and I didn’t care about getting arrested more so than knocking on death's door. The neighborhood was sound asleep, so I trudged barefoot through snow to the back of my house. I discovered the cemented hole in the backwoods. While using my finger to measure the pit yards away from my basement window I discovered how the rats were getting in until a sudden police siren resounded in the distance frightening me enough to drop and roll until I reached my window. I moaned in excruciating pain, covered in frigid snow, trying to fight reoccurring hunger but ended up vomiting mucus all over the place. I kept staring at the full moon in the wintry sky while choking on my vomit, unable to move every injured muscle in my body. I lied in the snow until memories of being bullied in boarding school sparked flames in my gut. I then opened my basement window with a resilient mindset, falling inside the grisly dark room and feeling a sharp needle ram up my ass. And then I heard the rats: “SKEEET, SKEEET!!”

    Nothing was going to stop me as I turned on the chandelier on my ceiling. Gothic spider webs as big as sheets hung from just about everywhere. There were no trace of those grotesque rats, but surely they ran off like the nocturnal beasts they were as soon as I turned on the light. Somehow they crawled into my basement through a water pipe connecting the tunnel, but I went practically nuts unable to find any hole. I desperately wanted to dust, mop, buff, reorganize and re-sanitize. But it’s hard to do anything when you’re bleeding from the neck down.

    My health deteriorated as I moved old appliances and threw out unwanted Christmas gifts from my former in-laws. I then found my handyman tool belt that my father gave me on my 30th birthday; starting my life as a married man. As a former Yale championed fencer, I locked a vault of trophies that the IRS never touched. And I nearly collapsed over a dusty lawnmower. As I struggled to reposition the goddamn machine while throwing up more mucus, I came across my wedding photos buried underneath. Anger consumed me because of how promising they looked as I smiled from ear to ear with young exuberance, dressed in a neatly pressed tuxedo. I was probably in my mid-twenties with full hair. I actually did resemble Michael J. Fox. And the lady standing next to me was my ex-wife Tingsley; a supermodel who looked stunning in her pure white reception gown. I wanted her to fill my life with abundant joy. I wanted her to turn a schmuck into a man. But the whore cheated and left me in a mansion full of rats; one of which crept out from nowhere. And the sad fucking part was that I had no energy left in me to scream and run, so I became the predator as always. I cornered the large rat as it faced its ultimate fate and sunk into it like a watermelon.

Wednesday, 17th December, 1997

Tonight, I’m praying for things to get back to normal. I turned on my stereo in which the DJ announced “heavy late night blizzard making its way to Long Island.” And I prepared myself for the worse with no heat and brown water. However, I stacked up on rat meat, skunks and mice droppings packaged in my freezer to cure my hunger. Instantly, I got up and switched the station to Rush Limbaugh who was interviewing special guests on his radio show.

 Thursday, 25th December, 1997- 1:35 PM

To this day, I’m still not clear what happened last Wednesday. But all I knew was that I was listening to Rush Limbaugh while eating mice droppings. And the topics of his show ranged from reformed addicts traumatized by the 1980's crack epidemic to ‘Jack Hopper's Victims’. My assistant manager Kelly was the special guest. And she practically begged to leave while Rush kept pushing her to dish out my offenses.

  “Listen sweetheart”, Rush pleaded, “I just want America and the whole world to know about this 'Gordon Gekko-ish' nutcase, so we can wipe vermin like this guy off the face of the earth.”

   Much to my dismay (as I remember) Rush then played the sympathy card: “I just can’t even imagine being a woman in your position who refuses to come forward! Many law-abiding citizens (including myself) are attached to this case because we are scratching our heads wondering what the BEEP!! Now I want you to cooperate with me young lady, because I wanna help you.”

  There was a long, dramatic pause and I heard Rush saying something like: “It’s okay. Don’t cry, honey.” My stomach turned once again, and the glob of shit I ate slowly began to rise up like a tidal wave. My fate was sealed when the mechanically dubbed voice finally denounced me to the world.

  'Jack used sex as bribery, manipulation and power”, said the weepy voice. “Sometimes he used sex as a weapon. One time, he even confided in me that his favorite book was A Clockwork Orange because he also had this raw obsession with torture and violence just like the main character of the book. It made Jack feel.....quote on quote, ‘horny, vital and dominantly masculine.”

   Then she said: “One time, I asked Jack for an upwardly mobile position since I’ve been with the company for years. Before Jack became president, his father Harry hired me to be the executive manager….but as a woman I was still underpaid. Unfortunately…my problems didn’t mean BEEP to Jack who just laughed at me. And as if he had kicked me when I was down, he did this.....awkward…..thing! He took off his shoes, put his feet on his desk and ordered me to lick his feet to get what I want from him!”

  “Or to get what he wants from you!” Rush points out. “Did you really lick his feet?!! That’s disgusting!!”

  “No, but I’ve witnessed some of my other female colleagues in lower job positions giving him……….”

  If my memory serves me correct, I cried hysterically while searching around my kitchen for anything sharp...anything to end my life with. Then Rush asked Kelly: “Give him what? Are you saying that Jack was not only a psycho but a rapist?”

 “Yes. While Jack was on vacationKelly continued, “I visited his beach house on Martha’s Vineyard to hand in my resignation when I saw Carla Brown-who was in a hopeless marriage with her husband-if I may add. It looked as if Jack and Carla were having an affair or it could’ve been rape. I had a camera in my pocketbook. I was so horrified I took pictures and ran away.”                                                           

 “Who’s Carla Brown?” Rush interrupted.

  “She was the human resources receptionist.” said the voice. “She was kneeling on the floor, wrapped in duck tape all around her body like an S&M sex slave so that she couldn’t resist or attempt to escape.”

  “Escape what?”

  “Jack stuck his penis in her mouth.”

  I tore the whole kitchen apart. I had found nothing lethal until it had occurred to me I was under suicide watch and the Feds confiscated all of my knives. I grabbed a dish towel and wrapped it tightly around my neck; pressing firmly against my Adam’s apple.

Jack Hopper.                                                            

Thursday, 25th December- 3:00 PM

To pick up where I left off, the fucking interview was endless. My employee had a meltdown leading to several commercial breaks. And then Rush starts ranting:

“Now we all know that Hopper Baby Foods is a factory based company and there was a factory located down in Miami, employed mostly of illegal immigrants. The factory is now shut down by the government but still remains the center of great controversy in which you are apart of. The Wall Street Journal declared that you were involved in some type of a hazing to dress up like ancient Roman soldiers and torture the factory workers. And on January 30th, 1996, you (along with your boss) were caught by a human rights activist dressed undercover as one of the factory workers. You were then indicted. Care to explain any of this?”

 There was an even bigger pause from Kelly; a pause meaning she was scared to rat me out. But by the time I’d hit the floor gagging, coughing out blood and grinding my teeth while crushing my esophagus, I had heard: “It was all Jack’s idea! Jack had accused the factory workers of stealing, so he said they had to be punished. At the time, Jack invited me to a bar for his birthday party, which was December 30th. He got intoxicated with his circle of 'big shots' including my former employee: William Rappaport. William was promoted to be Jack’s administrative financial assistant and ‘bodyguard’ or something.”

 “Were you jealous?” Rush suddenly asked.

 “You know what, Rush? I’m not gonna say I wasn’t. I’ve always wanted a top billing position in Jack’s firm. But no job was worth selling my soul. That night at the bar, Jack had promised me a spot in the firm….only if I had forced the factory workers to strip naked and cut off their...….…”

25th December- 8:00 PM 

Dear Journal,

Days passed. But I’m thankful I finally opened my eyes today. The kitchen was left the way it was. And life went on during my brief time in the spiritual realm, pleading to God for another chance. Funnily enough, I had NO idea what happened that night I was listening to the radio, because I had committed suicide by the time the interview was over; and apparently, to no success.

    I woke up out of my coma this morning, observing the dish rag around my neck; guilty that I had miraculously and undeservedly cheated death. I also noticed the dinner plate of mice droppings smashed on the floor. Cabinets were torn apart. Draws were broken. In one corner of the room, a mouse that came from the construction pit, nibbled on my vomit. Needless to say, I fried the little bastard and stored it in my freezer for dinner. And then suddenly I heard my security gate buzzer even though I didn’t bother answering. The NYPD tapped into my phone conversations with my aunt, translating every word from Mandarin into English. Then they interrogated my uncle for ‘smuggling’. Now they’re banning my visitors so that I’ll have no contact to the outside world whatsoever. So I just didn’t bother getting up.

  After a while, however, I was curious. I crawled into my living room like a wounded dog. I opened my door to the enchanting tune of Christmas bells in the distance, cheering me up somewhat. But my heart skipped a beat when I spotted a bundle of mail buried in snow. There were a bunch of threats from women’s rights and human rights organizations that I threw over my security gate. Then there was a Christmas card (with a sliver pen) from my buddy Bill Gates and a special issue of Time magazine chronicling 20th century criminals (including Jack Hopper.) There were letters from my son Christopher, my ex-wife and my lawyer. And there was a brown box from my mother that I opened like a frantic little boy. Inside there was a bag of luscious chocolate pretzels which I would’ve eaten to cure four months of hunger. But ever since I strangled myself, I could barely swallow, propelling me to toss the candy to a hungry squirrel. I then read mom’s neatly written letter with her lipstick stamped on the bottom. I took a moment to press the scented lipstick against my nose. “Get well, John.” She wrote. “I’m sorry it had to end like this. You used to be such a good boy with instilled morals….but your family forgives you. And we will always love you. 

Merry Christmas! Love, Mom.”  

Saturday, 27th December, 1997

Those letters really struck a nerve with me, because I was up throughout the whole night reading them over and over like replaying a video. And the image of my family surrounding the Christmas tree while laughing, debating politics and eating real food sparked a rise in my stomach to puke all over my bed. To my family, I’m now a distant memory.

   What hurts me the most is that I've been a prisoner in my own home trying to reform myself for the past four months. But it won’t mean shit during my final trial. People will always paint this image of me as a nouveau mental case. And it’s tough to swallow because it’s the truth. Tomorrow is the last day of my house arrest before being placed in a correctional facility or pitied enough to be placed into an asylum, but at this stage of my post-criminal life do I really give a fuck? From a practical standpoint, I’m going to be taken out of this box and dumped into another box.

  On a positive note, the water is no longer running sewage; it’s crystal clear and beautiful as if God has given me my last gift; a beverage. Once again I could hear hungry scavenging rodents inside of my walls, as if they were anticipating to eat the remains of my soul; but what the fuck. I should start charging them rent and make money off of them like the bloodsucking Wall Street prototype I am and always was. Now I’m gonna jump in the shower to wash away my blood and tears.

Jack Hopper.




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