18 June 2010

short story - FaceBook game causes workplace murder

      "Facebook Game Cause of Workplace Murder!" I heard the cops say as they hauled me, handcuffed, out of the building. I was dazed and splattered with blood! All because of a stupid game.
      If only I'd never begun to play Bejeweled Blitz on FaceBook. That's what started this. That, and a perky - but not very smart - cleaning woman from work also played.
      First we’d joke about our scores; a fine relationship since mine were usually much higher. But then she began outranking me; often as top winner in the weekly online tourney. That hurt. She was just a cleaning woman; I was a top engineer. It became embarrassing.
      I became obsessed, playing late into the night until I got the "new high score". This affected my performance at work, but I bested her.
      But when a revamped version of the game came online, I couldn't get the hang of it. She teased me. "I see you got 9,600 to my 384,900," she'd cheerily call out.
      It went from bad to worse. My supervisor called me after some diagrams I'd drawn were faulty. He warned me to deal with what it was that troubled me. He asked if I needed counseling. I said nothing. I couldn't talk about it.
      I avoided going past her work area. Then one weekend a snowstorm came and shut everything down for four days. I thought 'surely, in a marathon session I could finally top her score'.
      It didn't work. It was four days, barely sleeping, playing almost non-stop but never scored over 97,000. The cleaning woman? She topped 500,000 points, all in less than a minute's time.
      Defeated, I finally quit and got a couple of hours restless sleep. I actually felt I wanted to die.
      I woke up late, angry. Angry that a janitor, a woman no less, could persistently out-score me. The Weather Channel gave gale wind warnings as I left for work. I did not heed them.
      Once off the bus, I stumbled. As I fell I felt the wind rush by me, razor sharp and merciless. I saw her then. I thought my life would flash before my eyes but all I could see was her face. I turned to face my doom, I wouldn’t die like this. Not like this… if I couldn't beat her at Bejeweled, I would have to kill her.
      Once inside, I crept up behind her while she filled the mop pail. With a big plumber's wrench I slammed it down across the back of her head, again and again and again.
      Only too late I realized what I had done. I was mortified, but relieved. For the first time in weeks, I stood up a little taller.
      I knew what to do next. I will plead insanity! The tale so weird I'm sure I could get off. And this was Connecticut, in New England, "Blue State" country. Land of winter cabin fever. Surely folks here would be understanding. My nightmare was over.
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS: What the protagonist in this tale does not yet know most people found NGRI are likely to spend two to three times longer incarcerated, than had they said they were guilty of the crime. And in Connecticut if someone successfully pleads "Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity" they are placed under the purview of an agency that is like a combination Parole and mental health court review Board, known as the PSRB (or Psychiatric Security Review Board.

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