[ONE SHOT] End of the Road

He is at the point of no return. This is the end of the road for him. In another couple of hours, it will really be THE END. All because of a decision he made. The stupidest decision he has ever made in his entire life.

Right now, all he wants to do is to write everything down. The consequences don’t matter anymore. He just wants to write. So he asked for pen and paper, no food and started writing.

This is his story.

Eight months ago, he had the perfect life that every man wanted. A hot wife, a promising career and mind-blowing sex with the minx that was his secretary. That did not last. Not at all. He got greedy. He wanted more. More money, more power. He started buying stocks, believing more money will naturally bring him more power.

His dream was shattered five months later, when the World Trade Center crashed to the floor and brought the entire world’s economy with it. He lost millions in that one day. US$18.6 million to be exact. His wife left him, her last words to him were full of contempt and disgust. His mistress dumped him, running into the open arms of his supervisor. His company gave him the pink slip. In that one day, he was left with nothing.

He took to sleeping on the streets. What choice did he have? His house had to be mortgaged to pay off the debts. He had nothing to eat, nothing to wear, he couldn’t even bathe. People he knew scurried away when they saw him. People who used to kiss his ass spat on him. He was really in the dumps.

That’s when he met Mouse. Mouse was a fellow squatter, they once fought over the prime sleeping space under the bridge. Mouse won, but had shared the space with him. He was grateful. Mouse told him, over a dinner of scraps and leftover food scoured from the rubbish chutes, that he was once rich and famous. But he went down after making a wrong investment decision and cost his company billions of dollars. He felt as if he met a soul mate. A soul mate in the same predicament as he was. He poured his entire sob story to Mouse, bursting into tears every so often.

Mouse was a great buddy to him, taught him how to scrape for food, how to beg and most importantly, how to fight for the best sleeping spot. He hated his life like this, and yearned to be back in the office building, shouting orders at people and having young female executives wanting to have sex with him just so they can rise up the ranks quickly.

A couple of months after his unfortunate predicament, Mouse came running up to him excitedly, and without saying a word, dragged him along the street, away from the cosy sleeping spot.

“What the hell are you doing? That was the warmest spot to sleep!” he shouted at Mouse.

“Oh shut up! I’m bringing you to meet this guy who can make us rich again,” Mouse hollered impatiently.

He couldn’t believe his ears. Someone who could make him rich again? Could that really be true? Was that believable? Mouse dashed past cars on the busy streets, ducked underneath laundry in a back lane, and turned corners into dark alleys. It was hard to keep up with him. But he managed. About a hundred metres away, he saw Mouse stop beside a parked Mercedes and knocked on the window. He quickly dashed up to join Mouse.

The window rolled down to reveal a posh leather interior and a huge man in a tailored Giorgio Armani suit. He knew how much that cost. He had wanted it for the longest time. But that was before he was bankrupted.

“Boss Yan, I’m Mouse. Remember I said I’m bringing you another man? This is Zhong Ze.” Mouse pushed him forward.

Boss Yan looked at him, deadpanned with eyes full of absolute disdain and scorn that he automatically looked down at his feet in shame.

“Get in the car. Both of you. I may have work for you.”

He looked at Mouse in shock. Did Boss Yan just say what he did? Mouse didn’t answer him, but immediately scrambled into the car, thanks and praises never stopping. He decided to follow Mouse’s lead. He had nothing to lose anyway.

The entire trip was made in silence after Boss Yan told Mouse to shut up. Fifteen minutes seemed like an eternity to him. They dropped off at a dilapidated warehouse and he and Mouse were practically dragged out of the car and shoved into the warehouse. The warehouse interior was dark and smelled of rotten food.

“Mouse, what is going on?” He was starting to get afraid.

The lights suddenly went on at this moment and he saw that Mouse had disappeared. It was only him and Boss Yan in the warehouse.

“I heard you are in debt Mr Zhong. And very serious debt.”

“Yes,” he squeaked.

“I am not a long-winded person so I’ll go straight to the point. I have a proposition to make. A proposition that can possibly earn you US$10 million. I just need you to do one thing for me. Something that you definitely can manage.”

He gawked. US$ 10 million? That would pay off any of his remaining debt and leave him more than enough to start all over again. He was all dizzy from the thought that he could go back to his previous life and how easy it would be, just by doing one thing for Boss Yan. He agreed, without thinking, without any hesitation at all.

“Good. You are to kill this man for me. Simon Cheng of the Cheng Corporation. Everything has been planned out for you. All you have to do is execute the plan and kill him. Simple as that. And you will get your US$ 10 million immediately credited into a newly created bank account. I have to warn you first. Do not try anything funny. I have you watched. If you do not execute the plan you better cover your ass, ’cause I’ll come after you. Dead or alive.”

With that, Boss Yan strutted out of the warehouse. And that is when he saw Mouse, rushing to light the cigar that Boss Yan took out. He felt betrayed. He was targeted right from the beginning! Mouse had entrapped him in this deadly cage! He had to do it. There was no other choice. If he didn’t, he’d die a horrible death, even worse than being caught by the police. But if he succeeded, he would be rich again. He could start all over and be where he was.

In exactly three days, Simon Cheng was to be history. He was the man to ensure that happens. For three days he studied the plan, committing important information to memory and prowled the vicinity of the Cheng building. He needed to make sure he did not get caught. He needed the money.

That faithful Tuesday night, he came to the Cheng building, finding the emergency exit wide open as the plan said it would. Simon Cheng’s office was on the 72nd floor and he was to take the lift from level ten up to the 68th floor and climb the rest of the way up. Every last Tuesday of the month, Cheng worked late to prepare for his the next morning’s board meeting. At about 11pm, his mistress would arrive downstairs and Cheng would pick her up from the main door. That was his chance to enter Cheng’s office without him noticing. He was to crouch at the corner of the room just behind the door, waiting. Waiting for his only chance. Once the two sneaking lovebirds, rather bed-fellows, get into Cheng’s office, they would make a beeline to the sofa bed. Caught up in their passion and fervor, neither would be able to notice him crouched at that small corner. Instructions were to head for the kill and stab him when they are both at their peak of their intercourse. The very moment when he shoots into her.

That very moment seemed to him like an eternity. But he had enough sex to know that Cheng was coming, even without their terribly loud moans, grunts and occasional shouts of pleasure. At the right moment, a bout of energy seized him and he pounced on Cheng, stabbed him in the back and once more in the heart when he fell over on the floor in pain. The mistress started screaming, but he silenced her by slicing her throat. All according to plan.

According to the plan, he is now to run out of the building, running down the entire 72 floors to the ground level, via the stairs. The guards know not to disturb Cheng when they saw him pick up his mistress. It would be another hour at least before they find anything amiss. More than enough time. He was supposed to head to the warehouse after that and burn the clothes that he was wearing over his full-body swimsuit. There should be no skincells or any way his DNA can be found. And he would be free.

What the plan didn’t say, was that he would never be able to obtain the money. Because the very next morning, he woke up to a battalion of police officers and SWAT members surrounding him in the warehouse he was sleeping in. He was caught. Boss Yan had never intended to give him the money. Fragments of evidence were planted in Cheng’s room, leading the police straight to him. Overnight, he became the jealous lover of Cheng’s mistress and a furious ex-employee of Cheng Corporation who was fired on unfair grounds. Documents of his apparent schizophrenia appeared out of nowhere, so did his alleged psychiatrist. All of a sudden he had a history of violence and brutality, he had relatives who said he used to mutilate and kill little animals when he was a kid.

He had told the investigators too many times that everything was a lie. Everything was made up by Boss Yan. He was just a pawn in a huge chess game. He screamed, he shouted. He cried and cried. But all that he did just made the investigators convinced that he was mad. “Totally out of it,” was what he heard one of them describe him as.

So he gave up. He gave it all up and admitted to the crime he was supposed to have masterminded and executed. He agreed with anything and everything that the investigators said. He only wanted this to be over. It was over for him at that point anyway. Nothing he says would have made any difference. It only made it worse.

So here he is. Sitting here, in this cell, with his pen and paper. Writing. Writing everything that happened. Someone will believe him. Someone. Someday. But he will face his death like a man should. It was all his fault anyway. If he hadn’t been so greedy, he wouldn’t have dabbled too much in stocks. If he hadn’t been such a nose-in-the-air freak, he would have had help when he was down. If he hadn’t been so proud, he would have had the guts to start out from the bottom. If he hadn’t.

“Zhong Ze! Its time. The priest here will say a final prayer for you and you are to come with us to the room.”

The guard led a fatherly figure into the cell where he stood, back facing the exit, eyes closed. He has nothing to say anymore, only to give the priest what he had just written.

He then steps out of the cell, following the prison guard to the end of his life.

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