“Die, Alright!” by The Hives from Veni Vidi Vicious
The boy kept talking. He wouldn’t stop. Angry words but randomly arranged. No sense of order. It was overwhelming. All Parker could understand was that the boy was angry.
He had never met the boy before the moment he wandered into his office. Sweaty, confused looking. Head bleeding. Pockets literally overstuffed with dollars. A trail of greenbacks and blood spatter in his wake.
Parker wondered how the kid could have gotten this far. Past security and co-workers. The obvious conclusion kept reasserting itself, turning his stomach. Surely the boy couldn’t have…not all of them, right? His thoughts briefly drifted to Gretchen on the second floor. Poor sweet Gretchen. He had slept with her…five times? Six, maybe. He liked her. She was great. But she wanted more and he wasn’t ready to end a marriage that was comfortable. So they had ended things. That was two years ago. But he still thought about her now and then, made sure she got the notice she deserved for being a good employee. Said hi to her when he saw, sent her anonymous gifts for her birthday, Hanukkah, and then a random bouquet once or twice a year. It was silly, but he was a sentimentalist. And perhaps felt a little guilty he was too cowardly to really go for it with her. Maybe, he briefly hoped, maybe the boy had just taken the elevator to the fourth floor and everyone on the second and third was blissfully unaware of this…cash heavy gun toting maniac.
Thoughts of Gretchen inevitably lead to thoughts of his wife. The kids. He felt his throat tighten. Christ…if this kid—
He stopped himself. No. It wasn’t going to happen like that. No, he insisted.
The boy was raging, spittle spraying here and there. Parker could not understand it, really, but he got that the boy was angry. And that he thought Parker was important. Like President of the company important. Not Department Manager important which is what Parker really was which was also not really important at all. But the boy did not seem to get that and Parker expected there was not much advantage to explaining it.
He tried to see over the boy’s shoulder. Around his side, perhaps. Tried to see if his team was there. Was ok. He had no idea. He hadn’t heard anything. Maybe…maybe they were all out? Sometimes they’d all head down to the street because there was a new food truck or leave en masse when some vendor was giving out pens in the fifth floor conference room. Maybe that’s where they were. His throat closed tight again and he prayed a little. He was terrible about going to Shul but thought maybe G_d would take circumstances into consideration in this one case. He wasn’t praying for himself after all and extreme situations and all that.
He prayed for them, for Gretchen, for Todd the security guard downstairs that always called him Paul, for his kids and his wife. He prayed for them all. Then took a deep breath. Gestured to the green and white couch in the corner. The one thing he took from his mom’s house when they had to put her into the home because the Alzheimer’s was too much. He breathed deep again, gestured again, finally, spoke.
“I’m Parker Bloomfield. Please grab a seat and tell me how I can help you. Our customers are very important to us and I want to make sure you leave here happy.”