Walking into my father’s office was always nerve-racking. Even when I was a young child that only stood to his hip I would always feel nervous taking a step through the massive oak doors on the very top-level of his empire. Today was the first day walking up to his office as one of his employees. The top floor was a giant pent office. Walking out of the elevator I was in a large lobby decorated with luxurious chairs and coffee tables surrounded by exotic plants.
Entering into the only door I stepped up to the massive desk that literally had several steps for the secretary to walk up to her platform. My father liked to rule with fear from the beginning.
“Hello,” A sweet angelic voice spoke up from behind me. “Sorry, it’s my first day. I got lost making a delivery.”
She pushed back her curled auburn hair and shook my hand.
“I–um, I’m here to see the boss.”
“Do you have an appointment.” She walked up to her post.
“Maybe I should have made one.” I joked but she just nodded her head looking at her ledger. This wasn’t unusual. He no longer kept photos in his office, nor did he ever talk about family.
“I can’t fit you in today. Dr. Bailey is retiring for the night.”
“I’ll just wait in the lobby.”
“I’m sorry but Dr. Bailey doesn’t like to be bothered outside of an appointment.”
The tall double doors that reached up to the ceiling opened mechanically. The secretary with stealth grabbed his coat and hat then ran down to meet him before he walked out of the door.
“Angela, I see you have met my son. He is new to the building as well. Started in research and development as Dr. Stinsons intern yesterday.”
“Of course, your son.” She smiled and winked at me. “We were just getting to know each other.”
“Before I leave,” my father paused, “Michael let me show you something.”
For too long I had heard that phrasing all my life. That was code for my dad finding something appeasing for me to stay busy with as he did the one last thing he felt couldn’t wait till tomorrow. I nodded to the secretary and followed. The heavy doors closed behind and he walked me over to his fish tank. A large massive tank that took up an entire wall.
“Got a new edition to the family.” He spoke.
I bit my tongue and nodded as he pointed to a rather large sting ray.
“He’s a bit of a loner but he’s the boss of the tank. How about you give him a name while I call back an investor.”
Nodding my head again I stared at the collection of exotic fish that I had named for him since the day I could start speaking. There was Barney because back then he was the man and this fish was a combination of purple, pink, and green. Then there was banana which made no sense because the fish was black. Bobo, Taz, Bugs, Spotty and Twiddle because I was young and learning new words. Then there was my more serious fish as I tried to impress my father: Shakespeare, Edison, and Nixon.
“Sir, I understand.” A woman’s voice spoke loudly in my ear as if she was speaking into it. I tilted my head, holding my ears. The sounds became muffled. Taking my hands off I felt relived that I heard nothing. I had to be imagining things.
“Agent 98, from here on out communication is only warranted by emergency. I expect to see a dead body before that happens.”
I ran into the hallway, pressed the button to open up the doors and ran up the stairs of the secretaries desk. Opening the closet door behind I found her making copies listening to music on her headphones. This was getting really weird.
Throughout the car ride and dinner dad prattled on about his fish and how he found it. He excepted the name Sting and talked about how next time he would prefer to catch his own fish. Sounded like he might be disappearing for a week soon. That meant some peace to myself. At night when all was quiet I disabled the alarm system and took a step on to the roof. Somehow I had imagined myself to fall off this roof only to find that I had not slipped off the ledge several nights ago. It was a very real intense imagination that caused my heart to pound throughout the night. A fall like that would have led to my death being this high up.
Everyday before that day I could always rely on two things: that my life would always be safe and boring. Now all of a sudden things were happening to me that I couldn’t explain. If it was my imagination perhaps I needed to see a shrink. On the other hand, if it wasn’t then I could end up in my fathers lab of research and development. I could only imagine Dr. Stinson prodding inside my body instead of a rats.
Right now I felt daring. What would happen if I jumped. If I was correct and the world made since then I would plummet to my death and not have to go through the agony of a lifetime of being like my father. If I was right then maybe something incredible would happen. Shaking my head and stepping away I realized how suicidal I sounded. This is probably how it starts. The depression my mother had could be genetic and perhaps this was how she felt before…
The sound of a window opening caused me to slip off the roof, I fell and it was too late for me to grab anything. Everything that was happening was terrifying and extremely slow paced. Something miraculous happened again. When I blinked I was back on top of the roof, standing. The shingles that I had reached for were missing. Looking ahead I saw Skylar leaning out of her window. My eyes focused on her as if she was only a few feet away. She looked as terrified as I felt.