The Prisoner | Nick Lachmund

For the unemployed, the way back is dirty work.

The Prisoner

Nick Lachmund

For the Insufficient Credit Award


The irony of this situation is not lost on me. Not long ago, I was the most profitable employment rating repairer in the state. I found ways for people with criminal records, histories of workplace bullying and consistent absenteeism to get high enough ratings to get jobs. I was the king of my trade. However, the only thing I could never get around was people being sex offenders. If they came to my office, I told them I couldn’t help them. The irony is that no one can help me.

Through the gag I can still hear him screaming from the other room. I wish he’d shut up. An urge to take my hammer and silence him hits me. But I have a job to do. I was always good at getting jobs done. I worked my way up in employment agencies in my twenties and when the government introduced the standardised employment ratings, I saw an opportunity. With my knowledge and skills, I knew that I needed to start my own business. I opened the first employment rating repair business. I made more money than I could have ever dreamed. But it’s all gone now. All because of her.

I check on my prisoner. His eyes widen as I enter the room. The smell of his piss and shit burn my nostrils. He disgusts me. I want to put him out of my misery but I need him. He’s the only one who can help me. Soon, after I have used him, I can end his suffering once and for all.

Her name was Carol. I saw her at a bar one night and couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. She had long auburn hair and deep green eyes. It was like a movie scene; a dumbstruck man staring at a beautiful women trying to find the courage to talk to her. But the courage came and we talked and we ended up in her flat that night. She was the best woman I had been with. I was instantly infatuated with her. We met again and again over the next few weeks. It was always the same; we’d meet at a bar and end up back at her place. I was falling in love. Then the police showed up at my office.

I remove his gag.
‘Please, you don’t have to do this.’
‘Oh, but I do.’
‘What do you want? Is it money?’
‘No,’ I move closer to him and stare into his eyes. ‘I’m going to take you into your office and you’re going to change my employment rating.’
A laugh escapes his lips before he can stop it. His eyes shift to the hammer in my hand.
‘It won’t work.’
‘If I change it, it won’t update on the national database. They have checks in place to make sure we don’t accept bribes and stuff. It won’t work. Please let me go.’
I gag him and leave the room.

I was honest with the police and I was honest when I went to court. It didn’t matter. No one believed me. Carol gave evidence via a videolink and she described me as a predator that took advantage of her. She gave evidence in her school uniform, which made her look very different to the woman I met at the bar. I’m not sure what her motivation was; maybe it was for compensation money, maybe it was for fun. It doesn’t matter why. The result is still the same. She fucked me over in a way that I didn’t think possible. My career and my life were over. I just managed to escape a prison sentence but I became a registered sex offender. My employment rating plummeted.

I re-enter the room and don’t bother to take the gag out. I swing the hammer into the side of his head and his scream, even muffled by the gag, is bone chilling. I quickly swing down onto the top of his skull and feel it give way to the head of my weapon. He gurgles and twitches but I know that he is finished. I drop the hammer and leave the room. No point hanging around. I think of Carol as I run the razor along my wrists. A river of red flows out of me as I close my eyes and lay on my prisoner’s leather couch. I see Carol smiling at me. She looks so beautiful. I reach to take…

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