This story is by Kaelin Brynat and was part of our 2018 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Adrian R. Soteria, you have been audited.”
The words came out with no trepidation, as I sat in the stark office of the man who gave me the career and also used me and stole my life. Or was it the “enterprise” he would utter this as he would goad me, presently he was telling me I was the scapegoat for embezzlement.WHOOSH, the last subway train passed as it zipped at a frightening speed, the world appeared to move quickly as I slowed to a halt. I stared at the tracks, the call of the void presented an ugly option. My life was over at thirty-five, the man who mentored me and taught me everything for various years. Betrayed me and now threw me away.
I exited the New York subway as the night was a deep maroon hue, our big apple was alive even when the trains, and buses had stopped. I walked past people, I had a long walk ahead of me, as I passed the blocks. The city lights shined upon my aching soul and I found myself bare, “What was I to do with my life now? Was I to go to jail? Was I to… do?” My mind lost all thoughts, as the night continued I was face to face with a young man. “Give me everything you have!” a command as a tall boy wearing a bandana only his eyes were visible he wore pants and a hoodie that appeared color coordinated in misery. The words didn’t register. “You aint hear me? Give me all you fucking have!” the boy said as his hoodie shielded his combative eyes. As I stared at the gentleman I sighed, “ I don’t have anything.” the very statement sent a tiny pin into my spine. “Soon I will have nothing but the clothes on my back.” I thought as the young man reached behind himself and exposed a obsidian colored gun a tiny .45 a decent piece especially for a robbery such as this. “I said give me everything.” His eyes narrowed as he pointed the gun at me and stepped closer.
I felt a light anxiety, till our eyes met. “My life was over, long before this gentleman could end it” I thought as I smelled the sweat of this young man he was in much need of some deodorant. The intensity of the situation appeared as nerve wracking as it was for me, “Im From New York, you think if I had the money I wouldn’t give it to you? You don’t think I know how this goes.” I was thirty-five I caught pieces of New York when New York was a riot filled land of ruthlessness and anarchy, my life was mild impoverish tiny jewish family that had nothing but the shirts off their backs. Possibly thats what birthed the person I am today, “Adrian R.” The young gun that was taking over the financial district of New York. I was a profitable bachelor 4 years ago before I met Jessica. I was on a meteoric rise and I was planning to take over the world, but It all came crashing down two hours ago.
“Listen, I aint tryna kill you. Give me all you got. Or We gon get Errything you got.” the statement was an interruption. I had an idea to stay quiet and allow him to take my life that’ll be the end of it, long before this audit could claim my existence. Perhaps god was sending me a way out, “You stole money!” the very thought was an odd awakening. I was not a good guy, I had stolen and finally it was my turn to pay the price. “ Know what? Fuck this, you been on them news papers. I know your picture, Ive been watching you for a month now. Now I decided you to be my guaranteed lottery ticket, So run the cash or turn to ash.” This young man was really persistent my suitcase began to be heavy in my hand as my limp shoulders continued to droop.”Yo, Whats in that suitcase? Hand it over.” I lifted it up slowly as he unlocked it and everything fell, I thought almost nothing of it. It was filled with books, paperweights and some pens and pencils. The government had seized my entire office, my laptop was now in their possession.
“Yo where the fuck is the money? Keep Shitting me and your life is forfeit, ya herd me?” As he pressed the gun deeper onto my chest, “Fine, I live just another block from here. Theres some cash for you there” the admission left me flabbergasted as another side of my mind thought “You could died today, and your suffering would end” a voice spoke out. As I took a side step past the young man he instantly concealed his firearm underneath his hoodie sleeve and held it to his body. While his other arm grappled upon my other arm and rested his head on my shoulder. “ This looks odd young man.” I joked, at least my sense of humor was in tact. “A day without laughter is a waste.” a squeak in my mind gave me a light chuckle. “Ayo shut it, Its pride month. If you from New York you know, aint nobody give a fuck about what you doing.” The admission was true, as we started on the block, and walked towards my loft apartment.
He held onto my arm and his head was light upon my shoulder as his other hand moved to offset the balance. His palm was sweaty as his hand interlocked with mine, people passed and would ignore or if they looked at us they would flit to another location to resume their night. The words stuck in my head “Nobody gives a fuck about what you doing.” the words glued themselves to my mind. Each step I thought of my life, I was not the brightest boy. I was the boy that got participation trophies, I was one of the three the dreaded middle child. Everything I strived for was met with failure and mistakes, all the way my early twenties. College was filled with studious debauchery, I had settled on becoming a therapist.Meanwhile gentrification had pushed our rent excessively high, the checks were not cutting it.
I wanted to help those in need, but I needed money.
In-between my second year it was at a boiling point where my parents could no longer support me. One day during my walk into a college campus I had stumbled onto a class, “Future Millionaires of America” I felt as if god had delivered a message and my life was ready for a change. My hope was harvested with the slick words of my old boss Dr. Barnum, a man that had just fired me and tossed me aside. I stole money for him and now I was going to take the fall for him. I gazed over the sky and the buildings and soon looked at the young man his hoodie was black but I soon noticed something on his left shoulder, a dull grass green stain. “What do you need the money for?” I implored when I already knew the answer, “Shut up and hurry up” he spat back. As he squeezed my shoulder and each step was awkward it felt like I was participating in a three-legged race in central park, as I used to as a boy. I was short and my older sister obliged with zeal that we would win if I just matched her speed. My short legs could not keep up, I never could keep up it seems.
The thought sat there as a mirror into my soul, “Where the fuck you live at man, I aint playing with you”he protested as he stopped me mid stride and he whipped his other arm around and placed it at my left pectoral muscle and pressed the steel. His eyes appeared to bore holes in me tension mounted “How old is your baby?” I inquired, instantly his eyes wavered for a moment. “Yo I don’t got no freakin baby man, stop stalling where is the spot?” His eyes menaced but loss the same intensity, as I lifted up my other hand with the brief case and pointed at his left shoulder “Baby food, my sister had a baby a couple months ago. She has the same stains everywhere.” I said and his eyes resigned instantly and the gun left less pressure upon my chest. “ I get it, Lets go to the ATM. I can help you out.” I said. “So you not trying to call the cops on me?” Desperation rolled off his tongue and was in his eyes and his hair was a tangled mess as it poked out of his hoodie, I smiled “You need it more than I ever will.”