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The Joys of Being Irresponsible
Mr. Harkins sat in his sensible chair and typed on his sensible computer. His office wasn’t precisely plain, but it wasn’t interesting. Everything was of strong build, the best quality, and very expensive. But Mr. Harkins didn’t go for the fancy, or the pretty things. He liked the sensible, well built things, things that cost more than many men could handle.
Unlike most men, Mr. Harkins could afford such powerful computers and well made chairs. He hadn’t created the company, but he had encouraged the owner, and helped him finance what he had done. Now he was running the company, while the owner languished in wealth.
He closed his email and rubbed his face tiredly, it had been a rather long night and he still had a ton of work ahead of him. A sigh rolled into the warm, office air (sensible air no doubt) Mr. Harkins moved his hand to his sensible phone. He called up his secretary, his secretary… that made him smile.
But Emily didn’t pick up. He frowned and tried again. Mr. Harkins punched the button for a third time in a rather frenzied manner. Still, nothing. She must be in the restroom, he thought to himself.
Another sigh fell onto the desk. Mr. Harkins opened a Word document and started skimming the report. A soft chuckle made his blood run cold. He knew that voice. Mr. Harkins didn’t want to see him. Maybe it was just another ghost, it wasn’t like they didn’t haunt his nightmares. Why would it be odd for them to join his day-to-day goings?
Something deep in his soul got the better of him, and his head rose. He hadn’t been mistaken.
“Hello Mr. Harkins, I slipped the pretty girl at the front desk a little something. She should be puking in the bathroom for long enough. We won’t be disturbed.” His voice was just as remembered, as smooth as silk, but still rich.
“Get out of here Lawrence.” He was ashamed of how high his voice sounded, how frightened, compared to him.
“You have nothing to back up such orders. Once you could have, but you gave that up when you left for a ‘normal life’.” Harkins bristled at the sadness in Lawrence’s deep, trusting eyes. You don’t trust people when you aren’t trust worthy. And what right to do you have to care about what I do? You can’t be sad! You have no F***ing right!
“I’m quite comfortable with a normal life thank you… what happened to your eye?” Harkins cursed himself for asking, but his curiosity had been too strong.
Lawrence smiled that secret smile of his, Harkins ground his teeth in rage as Lawrence spoke, “I’d be fine if you had been there. Which brings me to my point-“
“No. I’m not joining up again. I’m content where I am.” Harkins’ tone was sharp, and, he hoped, authoritative.
“No, I will not li-“
“Nate’s dead.” The sadness overflowed and trickled down Lawrence’s cheek as Harkins fell against the desk.
He stood and continued, “Or as good as. We can’t function without you; our team sucks. So, when we tried to hack their database…” he trailed off for a moment, gazing at a horror only he could see, he shook himself, “we almost made it out when they grabbed him. We were so close James! I was leaping out the window when they grabbed him.”
Lawrence’s dark brown gaze was pleading, “I-I didn’t have time to turn, but I tried. All I achieved was a rough landing. Luckily they didn’t see where I passed out, in a dumpster, or I would be dead now. We didn’t plan well, that was always your specialty. Nate and I were never good at scheming like you.”
James almost didn’t hear Lawrence’s last words, all he could think of was that Nate was dead. He had been the youngest of the brothers and always traipsing after Lawrence and James. Nate had gotten into a fair amount he wasn’t completely ready for as a price. But it wasn’t really his fault was it? They shouldn’t have attempted something they couldn’t handle. He had made it very clear he wasn’t participating in these childish, and sometimes down right criminal, games anymore.
“I’m sorry Lawry, but I’m staying here.” His words wavered slightly.
“Are you happy?” Lawrence’s tone was almost accusatory.
“I find my current life style very pleasant-“
“But are you happy?” Lawry pressed. James felt himself slipping off his resolution, “Does this bring you joy or ecstasy? Or is it just ok?”
“It doesn’t bring me ecstasy or joy or happiness. It isn’t half as fun as what I used to do… but I can’t go back. I’m a law abiding adult now. I-I have to be responsible.”
“WHY?” Lawrence’s sudden shout made James jump, “I don’t see why? There’s no reason! Just because you’re older, closer to death via old age, doesn’t mean you should be more responsible! If anything, logic shows you should be even crazier! You have much less to lose. Less time too.”
James didn’t know if it was Lawry’s ability to talk his way out of almost anything or actual sense, but he didn’t care. He couldn’t take the warm, clean smelling air, the damn computer or his receptionist. Who cared about sensibility? Where was the theatricality? The fun? The whole idea of being an adult in a high-ranking job was that you gained more freedom. If anything, his position limited him. He had no time; someone was always after him for help or something. He didn’t even like his job a little now that he thought about it!
Lawry slid the window open. The cold night air tasted of adventure. James drank it in. It was a terrible thirst really, for something out of the norm. Adrenaline joined the blood pumping through his veins.
“After you brother.”