Author's note: Like you can see, this story is told through two people, Cora and Layla. They take turns and narrate the story. Enjoy! :)
The last meal I had was… five days ago? I can’t remember. The days just pass by along in a haze. It’s been a week since I went to work. At least I think it was.
All I ever do now is drink and sleep. I’m headed back to my house now. The cold empty mansion seems uninviting as I pull up into the driveway. Drunkenly, I stumbled into the doors and crashed onto the nearest sofa clutching the big bottle of beer.
The curtains are draped with a layer of dust and the whole house smells like beer. It’s comforting, I think. I take in the heavy smell of the beer that lingers in the air, washing out every other scent and memories.
I never used to be like this. I used to have everything. I was the kind of person everyone yearned to be. Huge mansion, head of a best selling company, loads of money, perfect family…
At least I had a perfect family. Ever since my parents and my beloved younger brother died in that car accident, life hasn’t been the same. I felt I’d fallen into a hole that I couldn’t climb out of. I still do. I used to try. I used to try to move on, to get out of that big hole I’d fallen into. But then I’d realized, I was never going to get out of it.
Then I stopped trying, and this is what happened. Days pass by without even me noticing it. Just me and my beers. I can’t even sleep.
Those evil nightmares just creep into my head and before I know it, I wake up in a pool of sweat with tears flowing down.
I typed furiously away at my computer. It was mid day already and I still haven't even gotten halfway through my stack of work!
If I'm going to get that promotion, I better work hard! Not that anyone was going to get a promotion any soon. The boss hadn’t been at work for about two weeks now.
There’s some rumor going about. Something about a car accident. Not that I’m interested.
Mum was really pleased when I got the job in this company. It’s supposed to be a really branded top notch company. When there was a slot open, my mum pushed me to try for it and I got it!
My work’s actually interesting and I enjoy it. Not like some other people in the office I could mention.
Anyways, while I was in the middle of this really complicated case and I was really immersed into it when I heard this booming voice that startled me out of everything I was doing.
“GET YOUR BUTTS OVER HERE NOW PEOPLE!”
Yup, that was Whitney. She’s supposed to be acting as our boss seeing as our real boss has disappeared.
She was the boss’s assistant so she was made boss. She’s so bossy. No one can stand her. Anyways, back to the situation.
Everyone slowly got up and headed to the front of the office where we group for meetings. I was seriously annoyed by then.
I really wanted to go up and shout in her face but I couldn’t. I was considered the newbie.
“Seriously? You took one and a half minutes just to bring your butts here? I expected better. It’s not like you're a group of old people,” Whitney scolded. “Now, to business. You know our boss? Well I managed to persuade her to come in two days!” she announced excitedly.
I was confused. Okay, the real boss was finally coming but what was the big deal? Then I found out.
“Y'all seriously don’t know what day it is in two days?” She asked, waiting for an answer. Getting none, she sighed and continued. “It’s the first of April! And the first of April is April Fool day! We’re going to prank the boss!” She squealed in excitement.
Then she got a huge response. Everyone cheered in joy. It had been weeks since anything fun had happened.
I was excited as well. A prank on the boss! Whitney had some good ideas sometimes. I used to be the master pranker with my siblings when I was young. We’re going to get the boss good.
I just agreed to the worst thing ever. I was heading to the pub to get a drink. That was one of the short periods where I was actually not drunk. When my phone rang, I was shocked. I hadn’t got a single phone call in days.
After recovering from that surprise, I slowly held the phone to my ears gently as if it would harm me.
“Hello?” I asked, uncertainly.
“Hello boss! You remember me? Your assistant? Whitney? Well, I was thinking you’ve taken an awful long break. Maybe could you just pop into the office for a while on the first of April?”
I groaned silently. My head is still a bit dizzy from having a crying session earlier. My job. I completely forgot. And was it April already? I could have sworn it was March.
“Um. fine. Sure. I’ll be there. Whatever.”
“Cool, see you then!” she replied in her cheery voice.
Ugh, cheery voices. No one at the moment deserved to be happy. That voice filled me with scorn and dislike.
Suddenly, a fury rose over me. Who was she to tell me to come or not? I was NOT going to work. Furious, I snatched the phone and jammed her number.
The annoying word ‘not online’ filled me with so much rage that I speeded along not caring about the two policemen behind me.
“Ten bottles.” I demanded banging the money on the counter. At the corner of my eye, I could see a crowd of drunk people in a fight. I’d better get out of here quickly.
“Oh oh, someone’s in a mood.” the bartender said cheekily.
“I’m NOT in the mood for this Barry. Hurry up.” I shouted.
“Fine, fine keep your hair on!” he said, passing me the ten bottles and taking the money.
Reaching the familiar place I couldn’t call home, I flopped onto the sofa and worked my way through four bottles.
Minute by minute, the more I drank, the more my mind became blank. This feeling was nice. It blocked out everything. It made my mind hazy.
Soon, my mind fell to sleep, nightmares flooded in but I couldn’t awake. I couldn’t. Trapped in my nightmare, I screamed and sobbed out aloud until I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and passed out onto the floor.
Whitney has it all planned out. Most of us thought it was mean, but she convinced us it was fine.
There were many arguments on what to fool her on. The most popular ones were to convince the boss that the business broke down, but Whitney overruled that idea with hers.
She convinced us all to play her prank. We all knew by then that her parents were in a coma in a car accident and Whitney wanted to fool her that her parents woke up in the hospital. We all thought that was horribly mean, but she said the boss had gotten over it and would laugh it over with us. So we agreed.
Turned out, Whitney isn’t as horrible as I thought. Her ideas are actually pretty good. There’s a tiny part of me that hopes the boss will single me out and probably give me a promotion. I can’t wait until the boss comes! It’s already the 31st of March. We’re playing the prank tomorrow!
I woke up at ten in the morning today. I’ve never woken up so early before. I wake up and see the sun actually shining brightly today. For a fraction of a second, I feel like I’m back to the old days. Waking up with a family downstairs. Waking up to see my cheeky brother and beloved parents.
Then reality rushes in. My parents are dead. My brother is dead. My life isn’t worth living. I don’t want to live in reality anymore. I want to live in a dream and never wake up because there, I can have everything I once had. But I can’t even dream. I have nightmares instead. I feel like the whole world is against me.
The usual gloom and depression settles over me as I remember I have to go to the office. It’s been so long that I’ve forgotten the way there. I’d better use google to lead me there. Most of me wanted to stay home just to spite that Whitney. Why did I choose her as my assistant? I don't know.
Wrenching my closet open, I stare at the clothes. I can’t even remember the last time I took a bath. Maybe it was the day of the funeral… no I must not think about that. It’s just going to make things worse.
I reach to the back of the closet where my old office clothes were. It’s wrapped with dust but ! can’t be bothered. Brushing off the worse of it, I lay it on the bed to wear. After that I head into the shower.
Switching it on, I feel the cold water touch my warm hard skiing for the first time in a long time. It feels refreshing… like a rebirth. Maybe I can have another go at trying life again. Maybe, just maybe…
After drenching myself in perfume to knock out most of the bad smell, I turn the keys into the ignition and head for my office.
Today is the day! The whole company’s been here at eight anxiously waiting for the boss’s arrival. We all prepared for the trick and those who couldn’t act for toffee were put at the back. I was put in the front! Duh, seeing as I’m a good actor.
We’ve been here for four hours already. Waiting and waiting. Whitney gave us the day off to prepare for this prank but most people had already gone back to their work while waiting. Not me. I’m going to put full mind, soul, and heart into this prank!
Right now Whitney’s parading around the office giving advice to other people about the prank. Most people just ignore it. I feel that Whitney and I are the only people who are actually interested. Whatever, the prank is going to work amazingly!
I just hope the boss will laugh when she knows it is a prank. There’s a tiny part of me that feels she might not be too happy..
It’s been another hour now and Whitney’s seen a car pull up! So did I. It’s a shiny new Tesla! It’s the boss’s car. I’m so jealous of her, I wish from the bottom of my heart I could be her. She’s so lucky!
Whitney’s gathering everyone to the front of the office. We’re all excited, me included. We could hear heels walking up the stairs. She’s here!
Every step I trudged up the office left me with an ache in my heart. This place has memories too. I remember it clearly as if it was just yesterday…
Sitting in my big chair typing away and bringing in new clients. Just another busy Monday. The phone call rings. Thinking it was another client. Picking up the phone ready to hear the clients complaints. Instead, I received the most devastating news I would ever receive. Then rushing out of the office to the hospital just to be told it was too late…
I made my mind to leave as soon as possible and angrily wiped away the tears that dared to trickle down. Slowly, I pushed the door open expecting the usual bustle in the office.
I was puzzled. Why were all my employees looking at me with bright eyes? There was one employee who looked especially happy but I noticed a slight falter in her face. After having only myself for company, I felt really uncomfortable.
“Um, what’s the big news? Aren’t you all supposed to be working?” I asked politely, completely forgetting I was boss.
“Boss, didn’t you hear the good news?” Whitney said excitedly. Before I could reply, another employee interrupted.
“Your parents are alive! They’re recovering from the hospital! They woke up!” she said with a beam on her face
I was stunned. This was WAY too much to process. My head only caught the words parents alive. Everything else was blocked. Completely believing them, I shouted out aloud “Oh my gosh! I have to go to the hospital now!”
Oh my gosh! We got the boss good! Whitney made it clear that SHE was going to say the punch line, but I thought since I’m the better actor I’d better say it. The boss was completely stunned! She didn’t speak for so long until I seriously thought I should repeat it.
We had all prepared this little drama for SO long but in the end I got to say the punch line. Ha! Anyways, she totally believed us! She just shouted out aloud “I gotta get to the hospital!” She’s so gullible! This trick is working so well.
Rushing to the door I heard a huge cheer from behind. What was that? Were they cheering for my parents? That was kind. But the better I listened to it, I realized it was laughter. Then, I finally heard the words that destroyed my hope forever.
My heart and hope shattered into tiny pieces. How could I have been so stupid? My parents were dead. I BURIED THEM. My mind hasn't gotten over them and just believed the good news because it knew I wanted it so badly. How could my own employees do this to me?
Suddenly, a new kind of feeling took over. Anger. It made my face turn a deep red. I always had this bad temper in me but it hadn’t risen in years. It’s finally coming back. The fury crept slowly around my whole body. My focus turned blurry as the anger reached its fullness.
“HOW DARE YOU! MY PARENTS ARE DEAD. I BURIED THEM. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD THIS WAS FOR ME? HAVE YOU EVER HAD A LOVED ONE DIE? I THOUGHT I FINALLY WOULD GET OVER THEM. BUT NOW I KNOW I WILL NEVER. DID YOU EVER CONSIDER YOURSELF IN MY POSITION? THAT HURT SO BADLY. HURT THAT I HOPE YOU WILL KNOW TOO. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I’VE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH MY MIND AND HEART THESE LAST FEW WEEKS? EVERYDAY IT’S JUST A STRUGGLE TO WAKE UP AND FACE LIFE KNOWING I DON’T HAVE A FAMILY WAITING FOR ME. THIS IS OVER. I’M RESTARTING. GET OUT OF HERE. EVERYONE OF YOU, BECAUSE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU ARE FIRED. GET OUT. GET OUT!” I screamed letting out all the anger out of me for the first time since the accident.
Ever heard the saying an eye for an eye? Well it’s not really a saying. I guess that’s what happened. We ruined her hopes and she destroyed my career.
Never knew the boss had a really bad temper. It never showed before. I guess she’s taking her parent’s death really seriously.
I’m living with my mum now. She keeps saying it’s our fault and we can’t just make fun of people like that and that no wonder the boss fired us. Well, I see that side now. Except that it’s too late.
Mum’s helping me apply for new jobs now. Too bad I lost my last one. The work and pay was amazing, but it all got ruined. Just because of a prank that went wrong.
My mind is hazy about what happened in the office. All I remember are people laughing and the word “APRIL FOOLS” echoing in my ear.
Most of my tempers had been like that. I don’t know how long I shouted. All I know is that I fired every single one of them. I don’t regret it at all.
As I said, I’m restarting. I’m living a new life now. I don’t need a business anymore. I’ve got enough money in the bank for a lifetime. I need to take care and treat myself.
My whole life, it was always about others. Now, I’m making time for myself. I thought by drinking beer and doing nothing I was taking the pain away.
My employees made me realize I was destroying myself. But not anymore. Starting tomorrow, I’m a new person.