On The Loop
Haley finally relaxed and leaned back on her chair as she finished her last stack of folders and neatly placed them beside her desktop that had been perpetually handled by countless employees who she never knew of. She craned her neck to see if her boss was around and leaned back in relief as she could see her talking on the phone from the corners of her eye. She closed her eyes after having worked rigorously for more than twelve hours at a stretch. Being a secretary to her boss was a strenuous job for Haley. From getting her special cup of coffee to organizing her meeting schedules life had become a heinous cycle. But the only thing that held her to this tedious job for seven years was her dream of running an international record label company just like her boss. Haley had always dreamt of working with rock bands and organizing gigs and shows. She had always wanted to produce music. As she sat with her eyes closed she drifted into her imaginations where she could see herself signing rock bands, music producers and directors under her label. A sudden ring on her phone made her jump and her eyes flew open. The voice of her agitated boss caught her on the other side of the line. While she patiently took down the errands that her boss demanded she complete in record time, she wondered about her existence caught between reality and the sustenance of her dreams.
As Haley turned the key to her front door she sighed at the mess she left behind in the house. She turned on the lights and made way towards her only solace; her favourite room in the house. As she pushed open the doors of the room she was welcomed by the feeling of contentment she always felt at the sight of her personal collection of stacks of record labels that lay neatly organized alphabetically on the dark brown tinted shelves. She pulled out one of the records and let it play as she unwound to the music. As soon as she loosened up on the couch she felt her phone vibrate; her screen illuminating in the dark. She saw a familiar message, a rather strange one that had found its way thrice into her mobile. The first time when she received the message she had been rather pleased to have found an amount of ten thousand deposited to her account. She’d thought that it must’ve been someone’s careless mistake. But it drew her curiosity when she had a sum of twenty thousand added to her account again a week later. It was strange how the third time she was sent another deposit from the same anonymous address with an increase of ten thousand to the previous one. Assuming it was her overprotective mother at work again, she decided to clarify the matter the next day.
Although she hated how difficult her boss was most of the time Haley always tried to add a personal touch to all she did. As she handed the special cup of coffee she made an effort to smile and even ask her if she had a goodnight’s sleep. Her boss just frowned making no effort to reciprocate. That day after work, as she switched through the channels something caught her eye. She saw people crowding around the entrance of her company. While the reporter spoke on one side of the TV screen, she could see a stretcher being brought out from the other side. She saw the horrified faces of people who took in the body of her boss now zipped in a body bag.
The next day caught Haley in a storm of paperwork. While the fate of the company hung with the entry of the new owner, she found herself going through the personal papers of her now deceased boss. Nestled among the papers she found slips to bank deposits of the same amount in her name. The newspaper on the floor screamed out death by drug overdose. She thought back to the bottle of cyanide now floating down the river and a cup of coffee made with special care. Guilt would now be her constant company.
© 2017 Deirdre Basumatary