Short story winner of the Microcosms Flash Fiction competition – Microcosms 164 – on 8/03/2019. The rules required a story in no more than 300 words in response to the following prompts.
Character – Computer Technician/ Location – Office/ Genre – Crime
The story had to be written and submitted within a one day deadline. ‘When Paths Cross’ was the Judge’s choice as the winner.
When Paths Cross
Not all psychopaths are the same. They’re not all axe-murderers. The condition varies with each case. Many hold down jobs, raise families and enjoy a seemingly normal life without anyone guessing that they’re different from other people. You probably know a few without realising it.
The new boss was one. Others in the office never realised. They thought that he was just a bad manager. He lied and cheated. He had favourites, especially amongst the young impressionable women whom he targeted. He identified enemies amongst those who challenged him and bullied them. He had no empathy for those struggling. He stole good ideas and blamed others for his bad ones. And there were lots of bad ones. As a typical psychopath, although towards the middle of the spectrum, he had a distorted view of reality, meaning that he was always right and everyone else was wrong.
Unfortunately, Head Office had no idea. He manipulated them. They thought that his promises to cut overheads, win new contracts, increase prices and profits were marvellous. They ignored experienced senior staff advising that such methods would eventually ruin the business. We lost clients. Good staff left. Existing staff had to double-up on their work. But he would never kill anyone.
I was just a computer technician, too low down to have an opinion. I’d been there a long time and I liked my job. I couldn’t watch him wreck it. I brought him his morning coffee. He assumed that one old hand supported him.
You can obtain most things on the dark web, including drugs that leave no trace in the bloodstream, if you know about computers. The Coroner ruled it as a sudden heart attack. Tragic for one so young.
I washed the cup. As I said, not all psychopaths are the same.
©David Lewis Pogson 2019