Thursday, December 1, 2016

Microstory 464: Floor 22 (Part 2)

Designer: I shouldn’t have to tell you to get back.
Coworker: Hey, man, we’re just talkin’. Everything’s okay.
Designer: And don’t try that thing where you climb up here and tell me that you’ll jump if I jump. Or that you just feel like standing on a ledge. I’m not a sociopath, but I still don’t care about you. If you have a deathwish, that’s fine by me.
Coworker: No, I won’t do that. And don’t freak out. I’m just getting close so we can have a conversation. It’s dangerous for you to twist around like that, and it’s rude for you to not look me in the eyes.
Designer: Okay. Just...don’t try anything.
Coworker: I won’t. Now tell me what the problem is.
Designer: Have you been living under a rock? The company has been having major problems. People have died. And it’s all my fault. I don’t know what I did. My designs should be fine, but they won’t let me back into the system to find out what went wrong.
Coworker: Maybe you don’t need to find out what went wrong, because maybe nothing went wrong.
Designer: What is that supposed to mean?
Coworker: Maybe your designs had nothing to do with it. Maybe it’s someone else’s fault. There’s probably a legal reason they won’t release the designs, but that doesn’t mean they were the cause. Maybe Analion is keeping them from you to protect you. Have you considered that?
Designer: Of course not. Because that would be stupid.
Coworker: It’s possible, but the fact is that you don’t know anything. You don’t know that it’s your fault. You don’t know that anyone blames you. You don’t know that they’re gonna fire you. Killing yourself when you don’t have all the answers is best.
Designer: People have blamed me for it, just not officially. I hear the whispers.
Coworker: Okay, well you show me ten rumors, and I’ll show you nine lies.
Designer: This is the tenth rumor. This is my fault. I know it. I don’t need the designs, or to be fired. I know.
Coworker: Must be nice. Being so well-informed. Perhaps when this whole suicide charade is over, you can tell me who’s gonna win the vector tournament.
Designer: Very funny. And this is not a charade. Nor is it a cry for help. I’m just...waiting for my moment.
Coworker: I say go ahead and jump. Then it’ll be my fault. But don’t worry, you wouldn’t be the first person I’ve killed.
Designer: What do you mean by that? Who did you kill?
Coworker: When I was eight years old, I was full of little else but anger. Most of this anger was directed at my parents. I felt very much that they didn’t care about me, so I decided to test that when we were at the beach one day. I swam out farther than I was allowed to, and started to pretend that I was drowning. I started waving my arms around and crying out for help. Well, help came. My father didn’t hesitate to swim out to me as fast as he could, even though he had a heart condition, and shouldn’t have been in the water so soon after surgery. He was supposed to be relaxing. He had a second heart attack, which he probably could have survived if he hadn’t drowned.
Designer: Oh my God.
Coworker: I can’t tell you to not jump, but I can tell you that I didn’t. My mother and I didn’t speak for years, but now we’re closer than we ever were. The shame never goes away, but you have to ask yourself one question. Should it?

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