Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. The fact that this sentiment can be so smugly expressed, and simply defined as “Murphy’s law” gnaws away at me while I sit on the bus in silent fury. Of course I woke up two hours late. Of course it’s fuckin’ lashing rain. Of course the bus is twenty minutes late. Of course I’m soaking wet right through, and of course there’s a fuckin’ junkie smoking heroin in the seat right behind me. But hey, it’s Murphy’s law.
As the sickeningly sweet smell of heroin wafts up my nostrils I begin to question why the fuck is there even a junkie on the bus at this hour of the morning.
But then I guess questioning the validity of a spritely morning junk fiend isn’t in keeping with the whimsical nature of Murphy’s Law.
“What the fuck are ya looking at ye little pox bottle?”
There can only be one person she’s talking to. The fact I wasn’t even looking at her holds about as much weight as a burst condom. Equally after your girlfriend announces she’s pregnant from the aforementioned condom it’s as if saying “but I wore protection” will somehow appease. Nothing I say will have the desired effect.
“You fuckin’ heard me ye prick. Think you’re fuckin better than me cause ya wear a bleedin suit?”
I turn around hoping to appease her when it hits me. I feel it slowly oozing down my forehead and quickly search in my pockets for a tissue or anything close, but nothing. Out of sheer desperation I resort to wiping my face with my just dry cleaned sleeve, which reveals the disgusting greenish yellow phlegm spit ball in all its repugnant glory.
“Not so fuckin’ jumped up now are ye ya little bollix.”
Of course no one says anything. Of course no one helps. Of course I’m too scared to react in case that vile disease bag scratches me with her nails, and inflicts me with HIV. But hey, it’s Murphy’s Law.
Oh so you finally decided to join us. I guessed you must have gone on another three week holiday,” Donal says.
“Great so I suppose you started my morning work for me then?”
“I haven’t had a chance yet.”
“I thought as much.”
He continues to talk but my attention is immediately drawn to my desk by an envelope with the only too familiar handwriting. I open it up and scan the first paragraph; a heartfelt plea to rekindle our relationship. What relationship? Jesus. She’d have about as much luck finding it in the lost and found.
I try to login but my account is conveniently locked out-a step even too far for Murphy’s Law.
I pick up the phone and ring the help desk and of course I’m greeted by Joanne.
“Hello Helpdesk, Joanne speaking.”
“Hi Joanne, my password is mysteriously locked out. Could you reset it for me please?”
Yeah sure no problem. So how are you anyway?”
“I’ve been better,” the irony of which makes me smile.
“I see. Okay your password has been reset now.”
“Great thanks, I’ll talk to you later.”
“Hold on, did you get my letter?”
God give me strength.
“Yes Joanne I did, and no I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“I don’t know why you insist on fighting it-you know we’re meant for each other.”
“Joanne I really don’t have time for this right now.”
“Is it because Matt doesn’t approve?”
“Goodbye Joanne,” I say hanging up before she has the opportunity to respond.
“Anthony given that you finally decided to join us today I’d appreciate if you actually did some work now, instead of wasting precious time on personal calls,” Roseanne shouts over from her desk.
“Actually Roseanne I was on to IT trying to get my password reset.”
“And yet you still always find time to debate the finer points…”
I close my eyes-biting down hard-to uncover my happy place, which on this occasion is Roseanne bent over a burning furnace while being raped by a satanic half horse half man (who quite oddly reminds me of George from Seinfeld).
Checking through my email a meeting request from Evelyn instantly pops up. The appointment was for ten o’ clock this morning, and as the meeting requests provides no further information I phone Evelyn.
“Hi Evelyn, sorry I’m only getting to your meeting request now.”
“It doesn’t matter. Can you meet me now? It’s important.”
Okay but you’ll have to run it through by Roseanne first.”
“Right well I’ll see you down in the small boardroom in a couple of minutes then.”
I sit waiting for Evelyn to get to the point as she tiptoes around whatever it is she really called the meeting for. Normally I’d find this situation extremely frustrating but patience is most definitely a virtue I have in abundance right now. Regardless of whatever the meeting’s outcome, I’ve already won one vital battle-that prick Donal has been straddled with covering my workload.
“And how was your first day back?” Evelyn says.
“Eventful to say the least.”
“Well about that Anthony. It’s my understanding that you’ve a meeting with a review panel later this afternoon?”
“Disciplinary panel.” I highlight not wanting it to escape her attention.
“Right. Well about that Anthony. I am aware a few complications have arisen as of late, and I just wanted to remind you that a disciplinary panel is no place to air your dirty laundry.”
“Dirty laundry?”
I’m not prepared to let her off the hook here. I want her to squirm, I need validation.
“The work night out in Messers.”
“Oh that night,” I say as if she just re-jogged my memory. “What about that night?”
“It never happened as far as the disciplinary panel is concerned.”
“Which part? The sexual harassment from Roseanne? Or the part where I brought you back to mine and fucked you?”
I’ve sworn thousands of times before but never has the word sounded so cold and held so much weight. Evelyn’s face is aghast as she struggles to compose herself.
“Really? That sounds like something I certainly should remember yet I have absolutely no recollection of it ever happening. However, I do vaguely recall someone being very drunk and sexually harassing me in the back of a taxi cab. Who the person involved is entirely up to you…”
“You cold-hearted bitch. What happened between me and you is no one else’s business, but Roseanne’s fair game. Ever since that night she’s made my life hell, and for what? Because she can’t keep her busy hands to herself!”
“Come on Anthony use your head here. Roseanne’s due to become a director any day soon. How do you think collaborating with you against her is going to serve me?”
“So that’s it Evelyn? Grope, molest, rape, pillage, whatever…who cares as long as there’s a euro at the end of it.”
I watch as the righteous indignation broods within her before adding “you filthy corporate whore”.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you. You mention my name and I’ll hang you myself.”
“Fuck it Evelyn I have more self respect than that. So what if I lose my job, dragging you and Roseanne down with me will be worth it.”
“You mean the same Roseanne who witnessed you sexually harass me as I pleaded through floods of tears for you to stop?”
“Two can play that game Evelyn. I wasn’t the only one out that night. I’m sure my good friend Ludovico will be more than happy to back up my claims.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure of that. I told him he’ll be promoted to assistant manager by the end of the month.”
Every fabric of security and self assurance I had has been wiped away by that one crushing statement. Without Ludo I’m everything they say I am; a breast groping, incompetent fraudster, who knows no boundaries.”
I’m the renegade cop who has pined his entire life’s work on one case, only to find out-at the last second-that his crucial case defining evidence is inadmissible in court. A few potential dramatic parting words swirl in my head, but what’s the point? She’s already won.

Back at my desk I’m not sure who I’m maddest at; Evelyn for stitching me up, or me for not seeing it. I try to login but my PC informs me my account is locked out-Joanne.
“Hello Helpdesk, Joanne speaking.”
“My account is locked out again.”
Okay just a few seconds.”
“We really need to talk.”
“No Joanne you really need to listen; there is no you and me.”
There’s a pause for a few seconds.
Okay I have reset your password. Your new password is prick1 with a capital P,” she says and hangs up.
“Is that another personal phone call?” Roseanne bellows.
“No Roseanne, I just rang IT for a password reset.”
Well it didn’t sound that way to me. You’re already way behind.”
“I’m waiting for Donal to get back so I can find out what needs to be done.”
“And why would you need Donal to do that?”
“Because Donal was meant to be covering me while I was gone.”
“Is he aware of this?”
“Roseanne, Evelyn rang and told you I was required for a meeting. You know my work needed to be covered off.”
“But did you ask Donal?”
I watch Anthony as he launches over the small petition separating them, knocking the contents off Roseanne’s desk, while sending her flying back off her chair. His first punch connects so perfectly that I actually hear a crisp pop from her eye socket. He grabs the first thing that comes to his hand, which happens to be a stapler, and continues to pummel her face. The first wave of attack is so audible that it seems to reverberate around the whole room. No sooner is one fist retracting back, does another connect with her face. Whenever Roseanne tries to scream blood bubbles gargle in her throat, and out her mouth in equal measures. The more he punches the fainter each smack becomes, as his soggy fists rain down blow, after blow, until the sound is nothing more than a blunt squish.
A mob cautiously descends upon Anthony but like the rats they are-try to reason with him. Reason with him as he beats her, slowly and more methodically. Reason with him as he pulls Roseanne’s floppy head up by the neck of her polo shirt, while extending his arm back before landing a punch with such ferocious raw power that her cheek literally crumbles under the force. Reason with Anthony when he’s so tired, that he has to resort to kicking her in the stomach in between grabbing breathers, his hands on his legs.
Eventually, when Anthony’s had enough, he puts his hands up and walks away; the crowd casually parting for his exit, and only checking on Roseanne’s status when he’s finally out of sight.

The rain from this morning has gotten so bad that already most of this morning’s carnage has been washed from my fists. I stare into the Liffey contemplating what to do even though there’s nothing to contemplate; I have to do it, I have no choice. Roseanne will no doubt live to fight another day, but my life is over. There’s no way I can come back from this. Even if I do avoid jail time there’s no way I’ll be able to live with the persecution. The name Anthony Thompson will always be synonymous with insanity. How can I possibly look my mother and sister in the eye after beating up a woman to within an inch of her life? And if they somehow find it in their hearts to forgive me there’s no way anyone else will. I remember the Anabel’s murder and the furor that caused, and not only was I privately educated, but I work in funds. The media will have a field day. I’ll become the poster boy villain the recession craves, something finally tangible to put to the months of pent up rage. “The bankers” everyone blames, but who no one knows, will at long last have a face. Articles will appear in every tabloid-some true, most false-detailing my excessive ways and wants. Friends I’ve never met will sell stereotypical exclusives. I’ll be the new Gordon Gecko.
I can’t see anything and the river is so tumultuous and choppy that I’m unsure if I’m upside down. Everything is black. The first thing to strike me is how violent drowning actually is. I always expected it to be cinematic, and tranquil. I thought I’d peacefully float to the bottom of the river, while chronologically reviewing the good parts of my life, however, as the raging river floods my lungs and nose it’s anything but.
Gone are the first bikes rides, Holy communion paydays, broken bones, split heads, bad haircuts, new schools, new friends, magic kisses, drinking in the park, lost virginity, match-winning goals, sun holidays, snowboarding in France, partying with my friends, finishing school, and pay cheque excitement. All are now replaced by overwhelming fear and darkness.
The more I try to breathe the closer I am to death. All I can taste is the rank pollution as it takes over my lungs, and I don’t want this to be the last taste I ever experience. I flail my arms and kick my legs manically in a vain attempt to try to
swim. Please God don’t let me die here. Things can be different I think as endless possibilities race through my mind; I could move abroad, setup a business, maybe even start my own family. Please God I’m only 24. I have my whole life ahead of me.
I continue to struggle.

Previous Chapter.

From the beginning.

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