The Victory of an Odd Jobs Guy

A large man in a grey suit dropped from the sky and landed butter-side down on the lawn. With more curiosity than surprise, Sean let the event interrupt his view of the sunset, and the enjoyment of his raspberry-chocolate gelato.

Sean's gleaming and efficient new Nikes stepped back from the stream of fluid that began to seep from the body. The dude made more mess than Sean would have expected, considering that his fall terminated on such a lush, quality piece of green.

He thought of the overripe tomato he'd dropped onto his tiled kitchen floor a few days back. This former human being was no longer recognizable, but Sean could make a guess as to where he'd come from. The body must have fallen quite a distance. Sean felt himself smile.

Popping the tenderloin of sugar-cone into his mouth, he craned his head up at the smoked glass tower of misery. About eight floors up, two fair heads leaned out of a window and looked down, then up again. Sean gave them a victory sign.

Curious, he bounced up and down on the lawn, testing its loft. Excellent, in his considered opinion. Upwards of ninety blades per square inch. Glancing down again at the widening pool of blood and bile, he applied some quick engineering. To generate that kind of impact, the fella must have been at least ten floors up. Hmmm. That would be not I.T., but Marketing or maybe R&D.

He considered the variables. Those marketing guys tended to be stayers. He'd watched them strut out to their cars each afternoon, their smiles still wide and tight, their shells still thick. Tough nuts to crack. Nah, this one had to be R&D.

He sat down on the bench and rested one ankle on one tanned knee. Taking a Palm from his back pocket, he did some calculating. A satisfied glow spread through his being as pink light stained the horizon.

After a few minutes, two ├╝ber-groomed guys left the building. Sean got to his feet and stretched. Nodding at the deflated suit on the lawn, he said, "If I'm not mistaken, you boys owe me some fat cash. 'Bout two grand a piece. That is Mr. Krieger, no?"

"It is. Was." Nolan scowled, as the wail of a siren grew louder. "I don't know how you do it, kid. I figured we had Krieger at least until November."

"I told you he wouldn't make his three month review."

"We're gonna get it back one of these days, bro," said Lepp. "You'll screw up. I just hope you haven't spent it all in one place."

The ambulance pulled up but the paramedics took their time with the gurney when they saw the extent of the damage. A cop parked right behind them. He ambled out of the car, notebook ready and thirsty for details. "One of you guys call in about the jumper?"

"I did," said Nolan. "He's James Krieger, employed at Star Tech Enterprises for the past seven weeks."

"Star Tech, Star Tech. Hey, didn't this same firm have another jumper last month?"

"No way," said Sean. "Stecyk didn't jump. He swung." He knew that, no mistake. He'd scored extra by forecasting the means to Stecyk's end.

"Oh, right," said the cop. "I remember now. Used the cord from his PC, right? Tough business, I guess."

Sean allowed himself a smirk. "These two are in HR." He nodded at Nolan and Lepp. "They have one hell of a time staffing the place. A smart guy can measure the toilet morale and teeth-grinding stress, just watching employees clock in and out. Man, the despair in that building."

"And you?" The uniform looked down at Sean's Vuarnets, Rolex, tan. "Your daddy own the company?"

"Shit no," said Sean. "I'm just maintenance. For the entire industrial park. But my job's a day at the beach compared to that poor fucker." He looked down at Krieger.

"Maintenance?" The cop shook his head. "I did some gardening and odd jobs back when I was a kid. It must pay a lot better these days."

"Well now," said Sean, with a grin at the HR boys. "It can pay all right. You've just got to count more on the odds, man. And less on the job."

As he walked towards the parking lot he consulted the Palm again. His next horse was Gurko in Accounting, due through the gate no later than Friday.

About the author:

Debbra Mikaelsen lives in Vancouver, Canada, but wanders occasionally to England, Bellingham, and Bulgaria. She has published fiction in a handful of magazines and has just completed a novel. She is hopeless at gardening and maintenance, and to date has never gambled on corporate morale.