Boss Citadel was not in the brightest of moods. He gritted his teeth with every push of the button, sucking in his cheeks futily like a baby rejecting a pacifier. Every fucking channel. Every. Fucking. Channel.
“What the fuck do I buy 150 channels for if they are all going to show the same fucking thing!?”He yelled to no one in particular. Ms Citadel had long retreated into her quarters to escape the rage of her husband. “Huh!?” He switched off the large plasma screen that hung on the wall and threw the remote at Ms Citadel’s door. “Stupid bitch,” he mumbled to himself, mildly sedated.
The day had not begun well for Boss. He woke with a rage headache pounding at his temples. This occurred whenever he went to bed angry. Last night Sally the maid had the night off and Boss was desperate for a head job so he resorted to the unthinkable and asked his wife. The cunt of a woman had answered “Only if you do me first.” Boss winced just at the memory of the thought of it. Bitch has probably got scales down there by now. Needless to say his failure to release the valve was having severe repercussions.
Boss had received news of the train disaster not long after he had woken up that morning. It was all he needed. It had been so long since he had killed someone. Money didn’t cut it anymore but the Walter Wallace snore-fest was snailing its way around the country at record profits. Boss was keen to advance to phase two of the plan but his analysts had informed him that the national tour would likely spark demand for an international equivalent. How many times can the kid tell you he likes find-a-word puzzles before you realise he’s full of it?
To deal with the train crisis Boss had reassigned Whisker (or Whisky as he kept insisting) and Chips. They could drop their Walter tail and find out what’s going on. Mark was head of CitaRail (a token gesture of kindness to appease the memory of their dear mother Myrtle), but he was well beyond his comfort zone whenever a decision had to be made. Boss thought he should call his brother to reassure but eventually decided a message should suffice – This better not be your fault.
Now the news spouted some shit about Walter Wallace that was sure to send his darling status (and phase one) into overload. Every channel; same story. Even the porn channel seemed to take time for a news break. Then an idea struck him. He could simply call one of the lesser cable channels that he owned and tell them to put on something decent or he would shut them down. He reached for his cell just as it rang.
“Fuck.” He looked at the screen: Whisker. “Fuck. What?” he said without humour.
“Boss we have a situation.”
“There’s been a breach of protocol. Chips apprehended a suspect but unforeseen circumstances allowed him to escape; injured, shot. He is in hospital and declaring a Citadel Inc agent tried to kill him.”
Boss was frozen still. His rage unable to conjure itself under the numbing shock. He looked up at the TV screen, which had fallen into a blur in the peripheral of his earlier frustration, and the headline stories came into focus:
Citadel Inc agent accused of attempted murder. Victim in hospital with suspected bullet wounds.
“Boss.” Whisker’s voice was much too calm.
“You fucking idiots! You useless fucks! Why the fuck would you shoot a civilian?”
“Boss. We are requesting permission to finish the job; silence the suspect before he gets out of the surgery room.” A glimmer of hope sparked in Boss’s soul. The chance to authorise a kill. Finally! Whisker continued, “We are at the hospital now. Time is crucial.”
“Do it. Finish the job.” Boss said coolly, but he wanted it to sound cooler. “Kill the ki-” Whisker had already hung up.
Boss simmered a little, but still had the rush of blood surging through him. He now had something worth watching on TV and every channel was showing it. He recovered the remote from the floor at his wife’s door and sat back down, putting his chair into full recline. “This is going to be sweet,” he said to himself, “should only take a few minutes to kill, then a few more for the news to leak.”
A voice in the back of his head was trying to be heard but he waved it away. “They are professionals. It will look like an accident.” He turned up the volume to a level that would piss off Ms Citadel and block out that annoying voice. His phone rang again. “God damn it!” he looked at the screen: Smithwaite. “What do you want?” he said into the receiver. He could barely hear the reply. “Fuck, hold on.” He turned down the volume.
“I take it you have heard the news then?” Smithwaite had that smarmy accent to his voice, as if he was remembering at a personal joke while he spoke.
“Yes I’ve heard. The situation has been assessed and won’t be a situation for much longer.”
“So the robots are going in for seconds?”
“Chips and Whisker,” Brian continued. Boss remained silent. If the prick already knew everything then why did he have to call? “It’s just...don’t you think that suspicions will be further raised if the attempted murderee is suddenly murdered?”
“You think I didn’t think of that?” Boss said, his face beginning to flush with a self righteous fury. “What other option is there?” he said childishly. He wanted to know what Brian’s agenda was but was angry that he had blurted it out so obviously.
“Well the boy is a bit of a wild one. Just because he says it, doesn’t mean the people have to believe him. But they will most certainly listen to him either way. Do you catch my drift?"
“Yes I catch your drift,” Boss replied quickly, still catching Smithwaite’s drift even as he spoke.
“We exploit the boy; he promotes Walter Wallace; and your trigger happy henchman avoid the off switch. It’s win win...win.” Brian finished.
Boss felt sick for no good reason. He hated talking to Smithwaite, especially in these situations where he was right. “Alright. Call it off, then.”
“Well you’re going to have to do that one, sir. The hounds don’t heel to me.”
“Fuck. Alright. I’ll do it. Just fuck off now, would you.” He hung up the phone and looked at the TV screen almost hoping to see Chips rush past, gunning down the masses. He scrolled through his call history and hit the call button on Whisker. It rang several times with no answer. Whisker always answers immediately; Boss secretly hoped that he was too l-
“Call it off.”
“I said call it off you fucking morons!” He threw the phone at Ms Citadel’s door. “Fuck!” He looked back at the massive TV screen; more Walter Wallace garbage; more shit about someone called “Hippy Flip” and his website called BullCit. He needed to watch something else. He needed to call up- “FUCK!” His phone was across the room again. He dragged himself off the couch and picked it up, kicking his wife’s door as he did so.
His ringtone sounded again. “Who the fuck is it this time?” Sammy, the screen flashed with his name. “Jesus Christ, I don’t need this.” He hung up the phone and began looking for the number for Channel 101. Sammy called again, interrupting his search. “I said no.” Boss said in mock cuteness, dismissing the call again.
He managed to search his phone for the number for Channel 101 and press call. Sammy must have got the point. The phone on the other end rang and rang. Five rings; six; seven. “If no one answers then someone’s getting fired. I’ll shut down the fucking station!” Suddenly his phone began vibrating. He looked at the screen:
“Ricky Talk – Call Waiting. Accept?”
“No.” He said in his mock cute voice, pressing the end call button. The phone went back to its home screen. Boss stared blankly.”What the fuck happened?” the cuteness in his voice straining. He called again and the line answered straight away.
“Boss. I’m so sorry we missed your call. What can we do for you?” a young man at the other end spoke.
“First tell me your name.”
“Darren Edgars, sir.”
“OK Darren you can do two things: You can change the programming to something other than Walter Wallace news and then you have to fire one person from your office, and if you don’t fire anyone then you are fired.”
His phone flashed with the call waiting of Ricky. Boss knew what to do this time; he dismissed the call with the reject button. The screen went back to his call with Dean Ebert or some shit. “Oh shit, shit, shit!” Dean’s voice came through shrill.
“Hey fuckstick, I’m still here. You better be changing the programming quick.”
He hung up, picked up the remote and turned to Channel 101. The station was on standby...good.
His phone rang again: Mark. Normally he would shut down his brother’s calls but he felt like toying with the buffoon. “Hello brother,” he said sweetly, mockness and cuteness soaring.
“Simon I got....I got bad news, Simon.”
“I’ve heard all the bad news that I could possibly take in one day. Tell me what happened.”
“Uhhh,” Mark was clearly thrown by Boss’s sweet talk, “I did an interview...about the trains...and I kind of suggested that there was a...”
“It’s OK Mark, get it out,” Boss was enjoying his brother’s weakness.
“Terrorism.” Mark said suddenly.
It took a while for it to sink in. “Terrorism?” Boss said like a kid at a spelling bee unsure of the word he was about to attempt.
“I suggested that the train disaster could have been an act of terrorism,” Mark said, using it in a sentence.
“Wha- Why...the fuck...would you do that!” Boss was dumbfounded. “You fuck! You stupid son of a cunt.”
“I’m sorry, Simon, I didn’t mean it. It was just...I don’t know. I don’t know...” Mark was almost sobbing. The stupid fuck was almost crying and Boss felt a stir of sympathy from the dregs of brotherly love staining the pit of his heart.
“Mark.” He said sternly, “Stop crying. Fuck. Just tell me was it a terrorist act?”
“I don’t know,” Mark sniffed pathetically, “the techie said maybe and now that kid got shot.”
“God damn it.” Boss hung up. How the fuck had this happened. He looked up at the TV as Marciano Donnabocelli: A true gangster’s paradise started playing on Channel 101. He changed the channel and watched in subdued anger at the interview between Mark and Nancy Hardwick. That fucking idiot and that conniving bitch. His rage had a new flare to it; he didn’t want to just kill anyone now, he wanted to kill Nancy Hardwick. Surprisingly he didn’t want to kill Mark - he wanted to kick him in the balls but not kill him.
Boss felt the need for action. Now was the time to talk with Tank. And just as he thought it his phone buzzd again. “Sammy. We-” Boss said.
“-We need to talk.”
“- Not now. I’m coming over.”
“I- just- Fucking little cunt!” Boss was suddenly gritting his teeth again. He raised his arm to throw the phone at his wife’s door and then lowered it again. “Fuck it.” He said, all his rage and excitement suddenly washing away like the long reaching wave at the turn of the tide.
He switched the TV to Channel 101 and watched his favourite mob movie.