Breaking Point

A Twisted Tale by Tom J Perrin

“Olsson, what the fuck is that meagre excuse for a report?”

Meet James ‘Jim’ Olsson, a 40 something seemingly stuck in a dead end finance job like many others, and with a complete cunt for a boss. Like millions of others worldwide, Jim’s Monday morning started with a dressing down from a ‘superior’. Jim’s boss is a younger man called Mikey. Mikey hasn’t lost most of his hair, and Mikey also apparently spends a lot more money on his suits than Jim does or can. He hadn’t taken to ‘Olsson’ from the first day that he started working at SJH Finance, a relatively big player in Denver’s financial market. That had been almost 2 years ago now and Jim pondered on a daily basis how he hadn’t kicked the smarmy little fuck to death by now. He could easily overpower him and beat the shit out of him. However, Jim Olsson was a big picture kind of guy and in place of losing his job and becoming blacklisted in the financial world he would instead suffer, smile, nod and pick up his fairly sizable pay check at the end of every month.

Recently, every Monday had started like this. A short walk from his cubicle down the corridor took Jim down the hall to his boss’ plush office. A sofa hugged the wall to the left as you entered, on the right stood a huge bookcase packed full of books on finance, old reports and all other types of stuff. Jim had last week noticed that Mikey had bought in a collection of books by famous French writers such as Georges Perec, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. Pretentious prick was Jim’s first thought. He had overheard his boss brag that they were “for decoration”. The huge oak desk was far too grand for its occupant, who preferred to stand and pace the room most of the time anyway, a putting mat lay alongside the desk, underneath the bookcase, balls were scattered amongst it and a putter leant against the bookcase. The American flag and that of the state of Colorado stood behind the desk, and they were flanked by framed certificates and pictures of the boss shaking hands with some famous people, none of whom Jim could quite place. He wouldn’t ask, he didn’t care enough to. The desk was littered with papers, scattered disorderly across its surface. The apple computer stood grand and silent, a lone Starbucks cup and scattered papers lay on the desk now, and Jim recognised it as the report on market trends he’d turned in late on Friday evening. Mikey was walking methodically around the room, firing verbal bullets at Jim as he paced. Jim felt like a naughty schoolchild who had been sent to see the principal, he sat there head bowed, taking all the abuse on board, nodding like a bad child.

“What the fuck happened? I’ve got to send it off this afternoon and you turn in this pathetic pile of horseshit, are you fucking retarded? You’re trying to get us both fired, because if this is designed to fuck me over, you’re coming down with you pathetic sack of spunk…”

“I-I-I…” Jim stuttered, his childhood stammer from childhood had lessened with time, but came back when he was nervous.

“Don’t you dare stutter in front of me, you baby… You’ve got until midday to take this crap and make it something half way presentable, or so help me God I will fuck your life up, Olsson.”

‘I’ll t-t-t-try’

“Do I scare you Olsson?” A perverse and queer smile came across his face. “You can’t help the stutter can you?  Are you going to cry now? Piss yourself?” He laughed to himself “Fuck off out of my office. The clock is ticking”. He dismissed Jim with a wave of the hand and took his seat again. The headmaster had humiliated the pupil and now took his righteous throne, looking smug as fuck. Jim left the room, looking at his feet.

Back in the solace of his cubicle, Jim took off his thick rimmed specs and put them on the keyboard of his computer. He put his head in his hands and fought back the tears that were welling in his eyes. He looked at the clock that showed 9.30am and wondered how on earth he was going to rewrite the report in two and a half hours when it had taken him the best part of two days to complete.
He knew it wasn’t his best work, and would have been able to concentrate better if he hadn’t been called away from work TWICE last week by the police who had found his daughter skipping school again. He had had to go to the cop shop to pick her up. She had been skipping class a lot lately in favour of “hanging out” with a drop out fuck called Scooter. Jim knew very well what hanging out entailed and he didn’t like it one bit. If he ever came across this Scooter guy, he’d rip him apart for corrupting his daughter.

He didn’t fully have a plan, but walking into the bar where all the Bikers hung out, Jim knew what Scooter looked like, and was ready to scare the shit out of him. He felt the reassuring coldness of his Father’s old gun against his hip. His father was never one to take anything lying down. Jim wasn’t a violent man, but the way his life was going, he had absolutely nothing to lose, he was up shit creek without a paddle and had given up trying to paddle with his hands.

“Jack and Coke, double” Jim said, settling down at the bar, looking out of place in his sports jacket and jeans. He spied the group he sought sitting in the corner, and sipped his drink methodically, waiting for the opportune moment.

He sat and pondered what his life had become.

Jim’s wife of twenty years Valerie was having an affair. He knew that for a fact. Jim used to play golf with an ex-pro called Steve before a back problem had put pay to his ambition to become more than useful at his favourite sport. They had been at it for months, and Jim had caught them one night when he was meant to be in Connecticut on business. The conference had been cancelled so he had headed home after all, only to find Steve and his overnight bag in the hall. He had played it off as if he had come around to check up on Jim and offer him a game at the weekend. Valerie however was wearing matching underwear that night, a pleasure never afforded to Jim over the past six years of marriage. Since then things hadn’t been cool but positively ice cold. Valerie was spending more time away from the house than she was in it. He was just waiting for her to do the right thing and fuck off. At least then he’d be left alone in their spacious Centennial town home. That would be nice. All of this was going through his mind as he sat with watching the group, Scooter seemingly the ringleader.

His moment came after around half an hour of waiting, Scooter ambled towards the toilets on his own. Jim saw off the rest of the drink and followed.

“S’up” Scooter nodded at Jim as he walked into the toilets behind him.

His head smashed into the tiles before he could start pissing. Jim smashed it two or three times before holding it there, the blood seeping down the white tiles. “You ever come near my daughter again you little runt and I will kill you. Nod if you understand.”

Scooter nodded. “…and just in case you think I’m bluffing.” Jim took out his Father’s pistol and whipped Scooter around the back of the head with it. He slipped to the floor. Jim was content.

That lasted about a week before his daughter packed her bags and screamed at Jim from behind the locked door. “He knows who you are, you fucking cretin, where you live and where you work, you’d better watch yourself, he’s going to kill you. They DON’T mess around” As she stormed past him and out to Scooter who was waiting, Jim followed and immediately retreated as Scooter came for him. He tripped over his own feet as he back peddled.

Scooter held him by the cuff of the neck. He smirked at Jim. “Not here, this is too easy, old man. We’ll get you, and that’s a promise.”

Since then his Father’s gun had never left his hip or the ankle holster he bought from the gun store on the outskirts of town. The clunky body of the gun was all too evident through his work suits.

He was paranoid, and scared…

But he was also incredibly fucking angry…and ready.

The report was rewritten with some effort and handed in just after midday, as Olsson took off his glasses and again rubbed his aging face, he knew it was a job well done. He wouldn’t get any sense of gratification from that prick down the hall however, he considered going down the hall and slamming the report down on his oversize desk and telling him to shove his attitude and job up his arse. He wouldn’t, of course. He’d love to see that cunt’s face get smashed in with a hammer, his fingers broken one by one while he screamed and cried like a dog. Mikey Malone was the kind of guy who wouldn’t think twice about stabbing you in the back, to people like Malone you were beneath him, nothing more than a mere spread of dog shit on his Italian leather shoes. Jim only now realised how much he hated everything that his boss was. Before he had been nicely plodding along, now however things were feeling so different. Jim felt belittled, his boss was everything he wanted to be, and at half the fucking age. He was the kind of person to get all the attention that shakes all the hands, and that gets his pick of the women. Jim stared longingly towards his superior’s office, a wave of jealously had just swept over him and there was nothing Jim could do to stem it.

The feeling of hatred towards his boss was intensified as Jim made his way past his Boss’ office toward the toilets, the door was slightly open and Jim saw one of his colleagues sitting on the couch, spread and comfortable. Mikey was putting balls on the mat.

“No, the report is fine; I’m just making him do it again because I can. I’m going to make him sweat.” Jim turned his back now to the door. He headed once again back down the hall and back to his cubicle, the anger simmering away in him.


“It’s not good enough” His blank, expressionless face stared directly at Olsson

“W-w-what do you mean?”

“Are you deaf? This is fucking garbage. You think I can send this in in this state?”

“I d-d-don’t un-un-understand”

“What’s not to understand, this report IS SHIT, you’ll have to do it all again”

“I c-c-can’t… There isn’t enough t-t-time”

“Not my problem” He tossed the report and it landed at Olsson’s feet, the pages scattering across the floor. “Do it again, and make it right this time, 5pm tomorrow.”

Olsson just started at his boss, he couldn’t find the words or even process his thoughts right now. He knew the report was fine; more than fine. Jim knew exactly why his boss was doing this, because humiliating Jim was his favourite fucking sport.

“Time is ticking; don’t you think you should be on your way Olsson?”

“I-I-I-I….”

The Starbucks cup hit him on the shoulder, spraying now ice cold coffee over his white shirt and tie. “Get the fuck out of my office, and fucking get working on that report. Why is that so hard to compute? Are you dumb? Christ, no wonder your wife is fucking someone else. Steve isn’t it? I golf with him occasionally.”

Of course you fucking do, Jim thought to himself.

Olsson bent down to reorganize his papers. Something twitched in his mind, his hands dropped the report and before he knew it his hands were in fists.

“Fuck you” He’d said it before he fully knew what he was saying, no trace of a stammer.

“Getting brave aren’t we Olsson?” Mikey stood up and removed his jacket; he started to round his desk, rolling the sleeves of his shirt as he went. That was when he saw the gun being drawn from Olsson’s ankle holster.

The first shot hit him in the shoulder, rocking him backwards. He staggered against his desk. The second, third, fourth and fifth were scattered around the abdomen. After he had rounded on the body, he pressed the gun against his boss’ temple. “Fuck you”.  He pulled the trigger.

Olsson took a deep breath and ejected the magazine from the gun, replacing it with a fresh supply of bullets drawn from his pocket. Upon turning around, he saw that Mikey’s secretary was standing at the window, watching open mouthed. The bullet struck her in the side as she turned to run away, smashing the glass in the process and flinging her pile of papers into the air as she turned to run. Olsson started for the door. As he returned to his cubicle to retrieve his jacket, he waved the gun around the office.

“If anyone moves, they’re next.” After shrugging on his jacket casually, hyper ware of the silence around him he headed for the exit. At the door, he turned to the stunned office and threw his hands up in the air.

“Everyone has a breaking point” He headed for the elevator.

The woman he shot in between floors didn’t know what has happening, she just felt the butt of the gun in her back, the sound was deafening in such a confined space. The lift stopped on the ground floor, Olsson stepped out over the slumped body, holding the gun limply at his side as he went. The security guard wasn’t hard to deal with; he was old and hadn’t even got up from his desk when Olsson shot him between the eyes. He had one bullet left in his gun when he walked through the revolving doors which had proved the gateway to his own private hell for the majority of the last two years of his life. He took a seat on the bench placed outside the offices, heads were turning towards him from all angles, a woman screamed, and children ran away. Olsson pulled out a cigarette and lighter from his jacket pocket. He hadn’t smoked in twenty years, having promised to give up when he married Valerie. He took his first drag on a cigarette for what seemed like forever. It was the sweetest taste on the world. The tar filling his lungs gave him a new appreciation for smoking, if he ever had the chance again, he would smoke a packet a day and to hell with the consequences. He crossed his legs and slouched back into the bench, the gun resting in his lap the whole time. James ‘Jim’ Olsson was, for the first time in a long while, content.


Tom J Perrin has over fifteen short stories published in various places, as well as publications deals for his first novella (Early 2017) and Children’s Novel (Christmas 2016). Chasing the dream both is short and long forms of writing.

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