Kosuke Takahashi
Fortune Made

Whatever makes you happy will make you smile.
What the hell does that even mean?

Here I was. Charles Sienna Dahls. Office Worker. Age 28. Sitting here in a small time Chinese restaurant reading what was possibly the stupidest message a fortune cookie could offer me. Probably something the writers thought up after a long day and just said Fuck it, let’s wing it.

Ridiculous.

I mean no thought at all.
Whatever makes you happy will make you smile.
How obvious is that? It’s almost like the test they make you take when a kid. Water to Wet. Kill to Death. Pig to Bacon.
I aced that test and yet I still end up with a shitty job, the infallible broken system.

Come to think of it, when was the last time I smiled?
Sipping my bagged tea and playing with stray pieces of rice in the MSG pool of the Sweet and Sour chicken, I pondered, finding solace from the tyranny of the office in small restaurants and stewing in chemicals and cholesterol. Small joys of life I guess. When was I reduced to this? A wrong turn somewhere in life I suppose.

That’s life.

Those goddamned loafers. I could hear his steps a mile away. Maybe he’s fancying himself quiet?

Overtime.

That stupid grin. Sadistic bastard. Was there nothing he would do apart from outright whipping us? Long hours and mediocre pay. We have enough to mourn about without that lardass. Rome wasn’t built in a day y’know. Another stupid grin. I just died a little more inside. My brain cried out for a second as another brain cell took the leap. I ignored it and typed away. Y’know Chuck.... I hate that nickname. You have to work smarter, not harder. I read it in a book. I bet he didn’t get past the back jacket. I didn’t get this job without some brains and some hard work. His father is the president of the company. Yes sir. I said in a calm tone, completely contrary to my thoughts. He leaned on the side of my cubicle door. God does he have nothing to do except torture me? There are over 100 other employees working on this floor alone! Executive manager being only his title and claim to power. I worried that his weight would fold over the cubicle and crush everything in it including me.

On second thought that wouldn’t be too bad.

Y’know what bothers me Chuck?

His long suffering and well tailored pants were not made for a larger man like him?

You do.

Surprise, surprise.

Not to be insulting or anything, he said waving a fleshy arm.

Of course he is.

I try to look after everyone on this floor to the best of my abilities.

Oh is that what he’s doing?

And it just seems like you’re not happy Chuck.

Please say more Mr. Psychiatrist.

I turned in my chair and I gave him a well played puzzled look. Whatever gave you that idea, Sir?

Well Chuck, putting his hands together and horribly fitting into his psychiatric role like he does in his pants, you never seem to smile.

Congratulations Doctor, you made a breakthrough.

You have to enjoy life Chuck. Grow fat and laugh! he said with a chuckle.

I must give him credit, he’s taking his own advice.

I have to see you smile one day Chuck, hell I will make you if it’s the last thing I do. Straightening himself with an almost exaggerated effort he turned to give me a rough slap on the back before leaving. See ya later buddy!

Yeah...later.

A jazz tune floated across the room. Bossa Nova, to be more precise, but who’s listening?

Glass of box wine in my hand.

A luxury if anything.
Sitting on a used couch in my apartment and an Astrud Gilberto record playing lightly in the background, leaning back into cheap economic bliss....

Ah, I almost forgot. My guest of honor. One must not keep one waiting.

Walking with glass in hand I went into my bedroom and looked at the floor.

Hello again....sir.

Tears and blood were forming a nice pool around my bound and gagged boss. Oh he wasn’t dead I assure you but he might as well be.

I’m glad I had the foresight to tarp my bedroom. Blood is so hard on the carpets. Thank God for Martha Stewart. Where would my weekends go without her? I finished my glass and played with the bloodied knife on my desk.

Fresh sweat and tears formed on his piggish face.

That reminds me, I need to go shopping later, I idly said to him.

I hummed along to the record. This was my song. The Girl from Ipanema will be partner for this act.

Good God, I’m enjoying this too much.

I lean over his wriggling jello-like body as I teasingly cut across his expansive stomach. I imagine myself a great surgeon, my room an operating table. His yells, muffled to the rest of the world, just make it so much more delightful. The observers are loving it.

Such a naughty patient.

I cut off his right pinky finger.

Blood blossomed.

What next, what next?

Ah such bliss I thought as the band roared into full swing and my boss matching the falsetto.

After awhile I lost myself in the blood, jazz, and wine. My labor became a blur so full of juicy screams.

I stood up looking at my handiwork. Wiping a bloodstained hand across my sweating face I was proud as any father would be after a hard night’s work.

The gag has come loose but he couldn’t talk. Oh I made sure of that an hour ago. His silly awful grin gone. Tooth by tooth down the drain. All his little toesies and fingers gone making him look like a great bloody baby, mewing and fighting for air in a fruitless struggle for life.

He looked at me.

His face contorted with unknown and unspoken emotions. Mouthing protests to forces greater than his own. He looked at me.

Fighting for his last and dying breath and his eyes starting to cloud over. He looked at me.

I smiled.