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You don't write because you want people to like you; you write because you want people to listen.


March 15, 2016

PROMPT: Open Prompt

Jack slowly slipped into his khaki pants and buttoned up his blue dress shirt, slipped a belt through the stretched loops, then tucked his shirt into the rim of his pants. He picked out a gross looking tan tie and fastened it around his neck. He did this every morning, then when he got home he would un-do it and lounge around in some pajama pants like none of the day had even happened.
Every day was the very same—except for Sundays of course. Jack had Sundays off. When he wasn’t working, the only thing he did differently was avoid getting dressed. He wasn’t married, of course. If he was, perhaps he would have been held to a higher standard of living.
But as I said before, he was not—therefore he was not.
When he would go to work in the mornings, he would slick back his hair and check himself in the mirror to make sure there weren’t any stray hairs falling about. Every day he got home, his hair would be flopping every which way, like he had experienced some sort of tornado on the way home from his office.
Jack was a mess, of course. Everyone knew this. By day, he was one of the best lawyers in northern Florida. By night, he was one beer away from being an alcoholic. People around his neighborhood knew. They could always hear the bottles being smashed inside his house.
I could hear it too, in a sense. I could hear the glasses shattering in his mind. His head was filled with empty bottles and forsaken dreams that he tried every night to drown out. His heart was an empty bottle or kerosene filled with burnt out matches that had one been a burning flame of hope.
But now the bottle was bone dry. The kerosene had drained a long time ago and left him feeling empty inside. Years went by where he felt like his chest was a gaping black hole, and the oxygen he needed to keep the fire going never reached his lungs.
He was hopelessly hopeless. Why? It wasn’t any of his circumstances that made him this way. He was a wife and kids away from the American dream! He lived in a magnificent house that was all too big for one man to be living alone in. He had three shiny sports cars, two house keepers that he never spoke to, and one huge bank account.
Everyone knew he was unhappy. You could see it his eyes when he was staring off into space. You could hear it his voice whenever someone asked him a question about his life.
One day, Jack didn’t show up for work. No one at the office knew why he didn’t show up (but he owned the place, so no one cared enough to ask). His black Mustang convertible stayed parked in the driveway all day. No one heard bottles smashing that night.
The next day was the same. He didn’t leave the house, he didn’t show up to work, and there were no smashed bottles. This was the case for a week. Finally, one of the neighbors had the nerve to knock on his door. No one answered it. They knocked again, but there was still no answer. They twisted the knob, but the door was locked. Odd.
Soon they gave up. They figured he would come out eventually. Maybe he was just sick. Another week passed, and still no one saw any signs of good old Jack. He never came out of the house. He may have gone on vacation, but no one at work knew where he was. His favorite car remained parked in the driveway. People began to talk.
This got the attention of the police, and then finally they began knocking on the young bachelor's door. When he didn’t answer, they took matters in their own hands and opened up the door. Everything looked fine, I'd guess. Well, except for the shards of glass that were laying on the floor, piled up against the wall. The officers went upstairs and disappeared from the sight of the doorway.
About twenty minutes later, there were more cars showing up. Several black SUV's pulled into the driveway, along with an ambulance and a firetruck. Three more police cars showed up a few minutes later, along with a silver Buick.
Soon, people began to gather around the house. They stood behind the yellow tape and gazed up at the tall brick mansion and wondered what could possibly be going on inside. Little did they know that lying upstairs on his bedroom floor was the corpse of Jack Boweman. In his forehead would be a single bullet hole that would be covered in dried blood. Around his body would be even more dried blood. In the air would be the stench of death.
As his body was removed from the scene, people began to talk even more. Some said suicide, but that couldn’t have been possible. There was no gun present. There was also the fact that, while Jack's life was empty, he was quite full of himself. It wasn’t suicide.
Some people started to say that it was the house keepers. That seemed more plausible, but anyone who knew his house keepers knew that they loved him. He paid them quite a handsome salary, after all. They were his only friends. Now, let me back track. "Friends" isn't exactly a good word for it.
They were only his friends because, like all of Jack Boweman's friends, he paid them to be there. Jack was horrible at making friends unless there was money involved. I supposed that's why he had to be rich, so that he could have friends. As for the maids, their grief came from their loss of their $155,000/year salary.
Other than that, no one had a thing to say. The door was locked, after all. After the ambulance left, so did the audience. They felt no remorse. Like I said, the only reason any of his so called "friends" would be sad is because their free lunches and expensive birthday gifts died with him.
Of course, the news would cover his death a few dozen times over the next couple of weeks. They would cover his funeral, any progress the police made, and show any arrests that were made on the case. I'm sure there were a few people that would have liked to take credit for putting a bullet in Mr. Bowman's brain if it didn’t mean that they would be locked up for the rest of their lives.
The Vice President of his company was one of those people. He was one of Jack's closest "friends" with a salary of 500,000/year. Despite the fact that Jack treated him like the biggest commodity they had, Edgar Waltman stayed on the job. Of course, with a salary like his, who could blame him?
When Jack died, Waltman stayed quiet. He was given the company and all of Jack's money—so I suppose sticking with it payed off for the guy. He silently packed up Jack's office and moved himself in. Life at the office continued on as usual. Everyone took a day off for the funeral, but other than that, it was like nothing had ever happened.
Good old Edgar seemed almost happy. Who could blame him, either? The way he was treated before was enough to drive a man out of his own mind. Enough to kill him? No, but the police kept their eyes open anyway.
Another one of those men was his neighbor, Tim Davis. Tim probably hated Jack more than he hated his ex-wife (which was a lot). He would complain to the police and everyone else about the noise in Jack's house almost every other night. The man was nearly fed up. The police searched Tim's house after the murder, to which Tim said, "So now you do something? It's almost like all those times I called you about him, you were busy. Not busy now, are you?"
They arrested him after that. Nobody really thought that Tim killed Jack. He wasn’t capable of killing Jack. Tim was a scrawny little Asian man and he didn’t have a violent bone in his body. Of course, if I heard bottles smashing every night for a year, I would go crazy as well—crazy enough to kill him, though, not in the slightest.
There was one more person that would have owned up to the murder, and that was Liza Turner. Jack and Liza used to be in love. Back in 97', they were engaged. I guess Jack got sick of her, though, because four months into their engagement he started seeing another woman. Liza was devastated, naturally. That was two years ago, though. And was she psycho enough to kill him? I don’t think so. She was a kind natured woman. Break ups can do a number on the kindest of us, though. Maybe the police would interview her next.
Those three were his closest friends, and coincidentally they were also the three people that hated him the most. If you had known Jack, you would understand it. Since you don't, I'll explain it to you: Jack Boweman was a cold-hearted slime. He was a rich snob if you've ever seen one, and he was the worst of them. Many people that knew him would have claimed that he was the devil himself.
To those that liked him, if there was such a person, he may have been somewhat pleasant. But the reason he was rich is because people were afraid. The man was a fighter. That's why people hated him, because he was a backstabber. He shoved himself into your back and dug his knife around until you bled out. He wormed his way into everything. He wasn’t famous, he was infamous.
Four suspects had been arrested, and none of them make sense. The police were at a standstill. All of the suspects were not guilty, and they were all released. They had hit a dead end. After three months of searching for the killer, people stopped caring. The world wasn’t worse without him. That's what everyone thought. Everyone felt a little bit guilty. They all still talked occasionally. The police ruled it a suicide, but everyone in the town knew better.
No one knew who did it, though. No one cared enough to figure it out. I don’t think if they knew that they would tell the police anyway. They cleaned out his house and put it up for sale right away. The office was renamed to fit the new President, and soon everything that ever carried the name of Jack Boweman was gone forever.
His name died with him.
Now if you would look around, you wouldn’t know he ever existed. Everyone is happy—at least they say that they are. It seems as though everyone has forgotten everything to do with Jack. Everyone seems to be okay with not knowing, and that was because it was him. If it had been little Jimmy, people would have given relentless efforts to find the killer. But it wasn’t. It was the killer himself.
Jack was a serial killer and his sole weapon was his voice. He cut people down and slit their throats with his bank account. He made slaves out of us all. He made this town his. No one man should have all of that power.
I know you're probably wondering, what do I have to do with any of this? What did he ever do to me, right? He just did to me what he did to everyone else. I referred to his heart earlier as an empty bottle of kerosene filled with burnt out matches. The reason for this was not because of burnt out dreams or hopeless endeavors, it was because he dumped the kerosene on us until he had none. He lit all of us on fire and then stored the fireless matches in the empty bottle.
He burned me, just like the rest.
I told you that his three best friends were the people that hated him most, but there was a fourth. See, I hated him. He took me and crushed me under his shoe. He trampled me and left me in his dust. It was enough to drive me mad. Mad enough to kill him?
Well, Yes. 


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