A Fresh Start


“Somebody should get rid of that piece of garbage,” Frankie said between gulps of his Guinness. “And who the fuck names their kid Chauncey? It automatically makes you an enormous douchebag.”

Tom bobbed his head in agreement. He tried to remain calm, but his heart was beating like a virgin at Hedonism. He didn’t want Frankie to suspect what he had planned. Getting rid of Chauncey was already on his to do list.

Chauncey was the kind of guy you find attached to the boss’ asshole, like a catfish on the glass of a fish tank. A nerdy little backstabber the boss loved and the other employees despised. Chauncey had put the mouth on Tom behind his back to the right people and the manager job that was all but promised to him, ended up going to Chauncey.

“Fucking weasel.” Tom almost hissed the words.

“You can say that again. He’s fucked all of us over at least once,” Frankie said, downing his pint in one swallow. He tossed a five on the bar. “Anyway, I’m outta here. You comin’?”

Tom shook his head. “I’m gonna stay a while longer.”

He put his hand on Tom’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “Don’t worry, pal. Turds like him always get what’s comin’ to them.”

Tom nodded. You have no idea, he thought with a smile.


“Shouldn’t need more than five shots.”

Tom loaded the last round into the chamber of the .38 Special, palming the cylinder closed with a click. He checked himself in the mirror. His hair was done up perfectly. He had on his only suit, a black Hugo Boss he only wore once to his brother’s wedding. He never wore a suit to work, but it was his last day at the office (and on Earth) so he wanted to go out in style.

“You got this.”

Tom took a deep breath and tucked the gun into his waistband. He grabbed the keys from the dish on the counter and headed out the front door. He didn’t bother locking it.


He sat in the parking lot and kept his breathing in check, one hand on the steering wheel, the other on the grip of the .38, his eyes locked on Chauncey’s car in the spot with the sign marked MANAGER.

His whole life up to this point had been filled with disappointment. Regret. Bad decisions. Shitty relationship. The fucking gamut. This would be his final statement; his parting shot.
Tom killed the engine and headed into the building. He was early, and no one was in the elevator with him. Good, he thought. He didn’t want any interactions to maybe change his mind. The doors slid open on his floor and he strode down the hall, gripping the revolver. He put his shoulder to the door and entered the bullpen. A few feet away was Chauncey’s office. The blinds were down.

“Here we go.” Tom slipped the gun free and thumbed the hammer. Then shots rang out. They weren’t his.

Tom dove beneath the closest desk, the gun in his hand shaking violently. When the firing stopped. He stood and made his way toward’s Chauncey’s office. There was blood on the glass. He turned the knob and burst through the door, brandishing the gun like a member of the swat team.

Chauncey was crumpled against the bookshelf with more holes in him than a bodybuilder’s ass cheek, the smell of blood and gunpowder assaulting Tom’s nostrils.

Frankie sat behind the desk, a still smoking beretta in his hand. He smiled.

“Beat you to it, buddy.”

He winked and jammed the gun into his mouth, the top of his head popping upwards like the cork out of a champagne bottle, spraying the windows behind him with skull and brain.

Tom closed the door and sat at his cubicle. Then he called the cops.


Tom admired his new office from behind his desk. The carpets were fresh and the walls were a different color, but underneath that new paint smell he could still get the faint scent of Chauncey’s blood in the pores of the hardwood below. It smelled like a fresh start.

~ fin ~


John Teel is a Union ironworker from Philadelphia. When he isn’t working, he’s spending time with his wife Jamie, their four kids and the ugliest rescue dog you ever laid eyes on.