Friday, July 3, 2020

The Commute

The Commute     

     On a normal day the commuter train ride from his home to the office seemed to last forever. His office job was an hour’s ride from his home and was excruciatingly dull. He always tried reading a book or the newspaper but found it difficult to keep his mind off the drudgery of the commute. He was a victim of routine. In the morning his wife would drop him off at the station. With a kiss goodbye and his lunch in hand he would wait for the train that would take him to his office.

     Day after day he crunched numbers, entering data that meant nothing to him; just names and numbers. At the end of the day he would make his way to the station as always. He always caught the same commuter train at the same time. He saw the same commuter’s every day. He knew their faces and even smiled at one or two on occasion but, for the most part, they were strangers. On most days he would stare out the window at the same old scene rushing by or try to nap to help relieve the stress of his workday.

     But, on Thursdays everything changed. Thursdays were always different. Thursdays were the day when he left his regular job early and went to work at the job he loved most. His skills as a CPA allowed him to do free lance work and make a lot of money outside of his regular job. The side work wasn’t stable enough to do it full time and offered none of the benefits that his corporate position did. He’d arranged to be able to leave his office early on Thursdays a long time ago. He explained to his employers that he needed the time to be able to pursue work outside of his office. He was a valuable employee and they quickly agreed.

     The work he did at his office was his vocation; what most people would have considered his career. However, on Thursdays, he pursued an interest that was his true avocation.

     He could make as much money in a day as he made in a week at his regular job. He got paid on Friday’s just like every other employee in his office. That was the paycheck he brought home to his wife. It paid the bills and allowed for extravagances like the new pool they put in last summer.

      But the money he made on Thursdays. That was his money. Money he made meeting new clients for discrete, anonymous business encounters. From his office in the middle of the city he could travel a hundred miles or more by commuter train and meet clients close to where they lived.

     The text message he received in response to the ad he posted in the business services section in the local paper caught his attention. The man that responded seemed eager to meet and was close. An hour’s ride on the commuter line north. It was important that he be able to meet, conduct his business and make it back to his home where his wife would pick him up on time. He was never late.

     As usual, the client he was to meet was someone who wanted everything about his services to remain confidential. Hiding assets, dodging taxes, finding loopholes, using his talents to open offshore bank accounts, these were all the sort of things he excelled at. Helping to hide his client’s money was one way he made money for himself; money that was always paid in cash.

     His client was a very wealthy man. He needed to setup some offshore accounts that couldn’t be traced back to him. Even more important, his wife and family must never know or be able to track his funds. Discretion was of the utmost importance. Once he met the client in the restaurant or lounge they would discuss the work and the details were agreed to. Then they would move to a local hotel where he could access the internet over their connection anonymously. The room would already be rented by the client under a false name.

     When they got to the room he would setup his laptop and start the process of moving the funds to the numbered accounts that his client had secured while the client relaxed with a few drinks. He was always amazed at how easily the clients trusted him. He was a stranger but they gave him the sort of information that they would never share with their wives or children or business partners. They gave him the keys that allowed him to open doors into their lives that they ordinarily kept locked.

     He always assured them that once he was done and the security was set they would be the only one who could access the accounts. The pass code they created would be the only way anyone could gain entry. Once he was done no one on earth would be able to find the treasure he had buried.

     As he worked at his computer and his client relaxed thinking about how clever they were by hiring a practiced and discrete specialist, he would do more than just move their money, he would take possession under their very noses. But the best part of his work would come after the business was finished.

     Over all the years of working as an accountant one thing had become crystal clear. He hated numbers. He hated figures, and totals. If it wasn’t for the money he would have taken up his Thursday practice full time. Sadly, dealing with all the illegal circumstances made doing it too often too risky. He loved his wife and family. So he kept regular job and kept his family happy and removed from his side job.

     On Thursdays he became the businessman he always wanted to be. He was the boss. He controlled the hours, the time and place where he would work. He picked his clients. The very thought of having to deal with the same things he had to deal with in his office when he met his “private” customers enraged him. He hated the way his clients gloated and looked at their greed as something they were proud of. They thought they were deceiving the government and the IRS. To him there was more to it than that. They were robbing their own families and friends of their share of the inheritance that should be theirs.

     They were stealing from the wives that loved and supported them. They were depriving the children that depended on them for support and the means to build a future. Most of his clients were ugly, narcissists, men whose entire lives were built on lies. His hate for working for them, his hate for numbers, and his disgust all that was involved became an incalculable total; one that always resulted in a sum of anger that overtook him and resulted in a rage that possessed him.

     Once his work was done, then the fun would begin. He would have them sit at the computer to look at the accounts and verify everything was as they wanted. He would show them where and how to enter their secret code that would transfer the money. They never knew that when they entered their “secret” pass code all the money would go to accounts that he controlled. They would never know what happened. They would never know who stole the money since the fact that they kept everything anonymous meant he was anonymous as well.

     He would excuse himself and go to the other side of the room to give them the privacy they both needed. He would open his briefcase and reach for the most important business tool he carried. Even as his rage came to a boil all he did was smile as the client finished their part of the job. He was good at suppressing his anger. His customers never saw him coming.

     He would push the ice pick deep into the back of their neck just at the brain stem. Usually that was all it took to kill them. If he had the time he enjoyed dismembering them in the tub as well. If he didn’t have much time he would just pace the room with a drink in hand randomly stabbing the corpse as creatively as possible. He always liked to give the police and coroner something to puzzle over.

     Once the rage subsided it was time for him to relax with a drink as he waited until it was time to leave and catch the train for the commute back home.

     He didn’t want to be late and keep his wife and kids waiting, Tonight was movie night.