short stories, writing

doing the right thing is for suckers [short story]


The hero does not know who to trust
~

I walked into the office building the same way I did every day. I grabbed my coffee order and dodged across the street only narrowly escaping being run over. I walked briskly for three minutes before I turned left and carried on for another minute before I skipped up the steps and strolled in. I nodded at the security guard and waited for him to nod back before I headed for the elevator.

If it sounded mundane, that’s because it was. My life, my job, my everything. It was boring. I was an auditor. I spent every day of my life crunching numbers. I made sure that money was being spent accordingly, tracked each single cent. I was supposed to be the person that people wanted looking at their books in order to make every penny count.

Except, for the most part, I was the person they didn’t want looking. My job was to find things, but only things that wouldn’t kick up a huge fuss.

Auditing was one of those grey areas that people tended to skirt along. Transparency was great, but getting away with transgressions was even better. 

There was a running joke that my colleagues used to make.

We find the bodies and we bury them even deeper.

With that in mind, I walked slowly towards the hallway that led to my office. Unbeknownst to everybody in this building, an anonymous email was on its way to the Times.

I wasn’t trying to be a hero. 

Not really. However, when I was faced with ignoring the fact that millions of people stood to lose their savings and pensions, I knew I had to do something. That didn’t make me a hero, it made me human.

I took my place at my desk and logged onto my computer as normal. Even though I’d covered my tracks well, used VPNs, secure servers and a dummy email address, I still wondered.

The memory of Josh from Accounting vanishing out of sight still lingered. He came across some numbers that didn’t add up and he did the right thing.

Unfortunately, the right thing didn’t get people too far in this town.

Doing the right thing was for suckers.

However, it was either I sat on what I’d found and watched as millions of lives were destroyed or actually doing something. 

I chose to do something. 

I chose to make sure that people would be digging through this mess for years instead of shoving it deeper.

The only problem now was that I wasn’t the only one who’d seen the information. At least three or four others must have gone past it, maybe more. Once the news broke my days would be numbered.

The smiles and cordial greetings would evaporate. People would wonder. They would speculate. At least one person would mention me by name.

I looked up at the office and glanced around. I tried to think if I had any allies here, anyone who would have my back.

I came up empty.

In the end, I resigned myself to my fate.

It took three weeks for them to realise it was me.

By then, I was gone.

I’d never get a job in this area again. My life was effectively ruined but I found that it didn’t matter. My life in return for millions of people who stood to lose everything? It didn’t compare.

They called me a hero, but I disputed that notion strongly.

I wasn’t a hero; I was just a sucker with a heart.

© hiptobesnark 2017

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