Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)
By Larry Elliott
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He counted silently as each number lit then extinguished.
His mind said yawn, but that would be lack of self-control.
Soon it would be over. This snail pace was excruciating, though not so much as the tripe pumped for music over a concealed speaker overhead and out of reach. He bridled an urge to silence it.
Self-control. He wished he could control the sweating.
The car stopped and two young men strode in, loud, laughing, obnoxious.
He hated them. Though he had never met them he knew their kind- a spoiled generation overindulging on mommy and daddy’s plump bank accounts.
Philip fingered the cold steel appliance of justice secreted within the borrowed blazer pocket. Disgust rose like sour bile in his throat, constricting his air supply. He should do them both here, now, and grant the world two less parasites.
Philip jerked, unprepared for the sudden stop. Self-control, you idiot! He silently rebuked himself. So preoccupied with the two swines façade he failed to notice they had pressed a button. That type of futility yields failure. A fee he could not afford.
They stepped into the hallway and the taller turned to Philip then whispered something as both again burst into asinine laughter. They were laughing at him.
The urge to follow was insufferable. He concentrated his thoughts to the pre-planned task at hand.
Ding. Another delay. A middle aged man and woman entered.
They smiled and silently turned to face the front. He relaxed. They did not select a floor. He tensed again.
“Which floor?” Philip reached toward the panel.
“Same as you it appears, the twentieth floor. Thank you, Mister... Newman.” The man read the name from the stolen security badge then smiled and extended his hand. “My name is Sam Carter, my wife Deborah. You must work for Mister Jameson? We have an appointment. I hear the entire top floor is his office.”
“Yes.” Philip ignored the handshake. Sweating palms would bring attention to his apprehension. He had a serious problem. Walter Jameson and his son were supposed to be alone in their top floor office. What to do? Self-control. Do not panic. Philip calmed himself. Think.
“Mister Jameson is out. I am securing his office since no one will be returning today.” Philip lied.
“That’s Odd.” The intruders exchanged perplexed expressions. “He asked us up, just a minute ago, from the information desk phone.”
The man and woman now stared at the pistol in Philips hand. It loomed ominously in spite of the peculiar homemade silencer.
“I am sorry. I did not plan on this. Jameson’s schedule was clear for this afternoon. I really do regret this turn of events. I have nothing against you.”
“What does this mean? I don’t understand.” The man spoke.
“Jameson’s son killed my wife. Jameson then used his affluence and influences to ensure his son received a mere slap on the wrist. I intend to see justice done. It is just your bad luck to be in the wrong place today.”
“I do not believe in luck, Mister… Newman. I do believe in justice and I believe that God is justice.”
“Don’t speak to me of God, Mister Carter. Where was God when my wife was crushed by a drunken teenager? Where was God when the court let the monster go free? Where is the justice in that, Mister Carter? Tell me, please.” Philip growled as spittle flew. The loss of his wife was horrendous, but it served to reveal his purpose in life; to rid the world of malevolent people, one at a time. How fitting for the first to be the scum responsible for her death.
“We’re on our way to tell Jameson’s son that we forgive him. Our daughter was on that same bus, coming home to visit from college. She died, too.” Sam placed an arm around his wife’s shoulders.
The elevator jerked to a halt.
“What’s going on?” Philip asked nobody.
“We’ve stopped. I’ll call for help.” Sam reached for the emergency phone.
“No!” Philip shouted.
They began to move again- down.
“We would like to pray for you, Mister Newman.” Sam and his wife held hands and closed their eyes.
“Stop that!” Philip squeezed the trigger.
Click. It misfired.
The elevator stopped and the doors swished open. Philip quickly disappeared into the nearest stairwell.
Sam pushed the top floor button.
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