By P.S. Gifford
Paul Stanton was at breaking point. The truth of the matter in fact was that Paul had been close to breaking point now for several years… Years of being the underdog, years of being passed by for promotion, and years after years of being a sad little yes man. Three decades of persecution had had a marked effect on the once mild mannered docile Paul. He had begun at the insurance company a little over thirty years ago, immediately after graduating college with a more than adequate degree. He always considered that the respectable business of insurance would insure him a relatively reliable and secure livelihood. It was yesterday morning, when the North counties manager, a certain Stanley Witherspoon, unexpectedly paid a visit to the modest sized satellite office situated in the heart of the lush and majestic Derbyshire Dales that something deep, deep, within Paul Stanton finally and irreversibly snapped.
Please allow me to explain…
Paul and Stanley had joined Boyd’s Insurance Company the very same week all those years ago. Stanley represented and looked everything that Paul had always wanted to be, he was tall, muscular, and a roguish boyish charm in both his features and mannerisms and what was worse he had an irresistible charisma. As soon as the flash metallic silver new BMW pulled up outside the run down little office Paul cringed to himself. His secretary on the overhand acted in a complete opposite fashion, quickly racing of to the lavatory, clutching her leopard print purse, to freshen her make-up.
Stanley, as flamboyant as ever barged into the office, the loudness of his yellow linen suit and French blue tie was almost deafening.
“Paulie!” he bellowed as he offered a well manicured hand, sporting yet another new high end watch.
“Mr. Witherspoon, what an unexpected pleasure” Paul answered attempting to analyze why he would be visiting Derby on a Wednesday afternoon; nothing ever happened on a Wednesday afternoon in this part of the world, it was a well known fact.
As Veronica, his red haired bubbly secretary with her freshly made up freckled face, and legs tactfully crossed to maximize her shapely legs ogled Mr. Witherspoon he continued.“Between you and me I don’t have anything to do, I just wanted to test the new company car on these delicious hilly whining roads, and take Veronica to a nice lunch in the pub across the street. She is damned fine isn’t she? And you don’t mind Paulie old chap do you?” As he spoke he flashed Veronica one of those irresistible smiles of his, and Paul could swear that he could actually hear her gushing.Paul Stanton nodded wondering if he meant the car or Veronica was beautiful. But the truth is he did mind. He had been infatuated with the all too shapely Veronica for over a year now, and had almost plucked up enough courage to finally ask her out himself.
Minutes later the two of them were hand in hand, Stanley gushing snake-oilman salesman charm from every well tanned pore, and Veronica giggling and blushing like an infatuated school girl.
Paul sat there for a few minutes in complete silence after they had left, as his mind tried to absorb and comprehend what had just transpired. Suddenly raising clenched fists into the air he yelled out with all the strength his lungs could muster.“Bugger!”
The next thing he realized he was in the back room of the office fumbling in an old drawer and retrieving a pair of wire cutters circa 1912…Back from when the drafty office building he ran had been finished.He purposefully marched out into the cool Wednesday noon air; a wicked grin looking strangely out of place on his normal emotionless flaccid features.Gingerly Paul peered about him, as it was Wednesday, no one was about. He then slyly slipped underneath the shining BMW and moments later clipped the brake line.The he marched back into his office ands sat there relishing the delicious sense of empowerment and freedom he suddenly felt! The hills in this part of the world were notorious, and Stanley was known to push them regularly to the limit in his long history of flash motors. Paul reckoned that the brake fluid would take about three and half minutes to drain, and for Stanley to notice that his brakes were not working, and by that time it would surely be too late!
After an hour Veronica and Stanley emerged from the pub, hand in hand, and marched back into the office. The distinct smell of alcohol abundant on their breath. Paul watched stone faced as they strutted into the office, his features not betraying the excitement he was still experiencing.Veronica handed Paul a sealed envelope and nonchalantly winked at him. Stanley looked at the now bewildered that washed over Paul’s face. ‘What is this all about,’ he thought to himself as he gazed back at Stanley.
“That letter will explain all,” Stanley said grinning almost as if he was reading Paul’s mind “I just need to taker Veronica somewhere. I promise I will get her back in a couple of hours.”
Then as Paul helplessly watched on, horrified, Veronica and Stanley climbed into the BMW and after waving with big smiles on their faces drove off down the quiet street.
“Fine!” Paul yelled out after them. “Leave me here all alone. See if I bloody care, the both of you deserve what is about to happen.”Paul then examined the envelope that they had given him.He sat down at the desk and methodically slipped his Boyd’s letter opener into the Boyd’s monogrammed envelope and slit it open. He read the words slowly out loud.“
We have known each other for over thirty years, and we have seen this company grow in leaps and bounds. I never realized how much I had taken you talents and indeed friendship for granted…Not until your lovely secretary called me this morning. She is secretly in love with you, you know, and she knows that you feel the same about her. You are a lucky man as she is quite the girl. Anyhow, she got me thinking, we have long overlooked you…As you read this Veronica and I are off to set up your new office, for your new promotion to regional manager of the county of Derby, Mr. Price has decided on an early retirement, and trust me he can well afford as naturally the position comes with a hefty pay raise, and investment options. Congratulations.Stanley.P.S. And that BMW I drove up in today isn’t mine, it is in fact your new company car.”
Paul, all in a panic, desperately tried to call Stanley on his mobile- yet it failed to connect. As he sunk into his wobbly office chair, tears filled his eyes, and he gently began to sob.As I mentioned that all transpired yesterday. Today Paul Stanton sits in a drafty prison cell, hysterically laughing and staring at the dusty air-vent. The police officers are making their enquiries into the suspicious and gruesome car crash that took the lives of two people. Their forensic experts quickly determining that the brake lines had been cut. As Paul sat there replaying the scene over and over again in his head he discovered what it felt like to completely lose your mind.