Gerard was troubled. He hadn’t heard from Devin in a while. He thought that perhaps Devin had learned of the death – and the true cause of the death – and was secluding himself away while he thought. Gerard thought of Devin as a sort of rodent, in a way; he had a lot of similar characteristics with the order of Rodentia.
He had tried sending him letters, emails, and – the most horrid – instant messages, but all to no avail. He got no response from Devin.
No matter. He would continue the plan without him; Devin had played most all of the roles that he was needed for at this point, and if he had decided to not interact with Gerard anymore, it was his loss.
He had been keeping in correspondence with Jem. Jem was gathering information from other people who were used as test subjects.
Originally, this role would’ve been played by Michael, but at the amount of offense Michael had taken at what Gerard had done, which was justified, in a way, though Gerard had hoped that Michael would at least see the greater good that needed to be reached, and still do what he needed to do. But he didn’t, and that was why Jem had been brought into everything. It wasn’t ideal, but it was what had to be done.
He randomly clicked around on the company website, ending up on the small page that was the “About Me” for Gerard. He had seen it many times before, and his eyes lazily drifted across the page.
Then they saw something they hadn’t seen before, and he sat up straight, reading it again.
Under “Job Position”, it said “CEO”.
He squinted at the page, refreshed it, read it again and again, rubbed his eyes to make sure they weren’t deceiving him. They weren’t.
He sat back in his chair, struggling to breathe with the weight of what this all could mean. It must’ve been part of Clyde’s plan, he had no doubt of that. But if something like this could happen without his knowing, then what else could Clyde have done?
Devin’s scarcity alarmed Gerard more, now. The time for action had come, and he’d have to pick up the pace immediately.
An instant messaging window popped up on his screen, saying it was from Devin.
Gerard was sure this wasn’t Devin, but he asked anyway. “Devin?”
“Guess again. I’m sure you’ll get it right, this time.”
“What do you want?”
“I simply want to talk things over with you, Gerard. I would like to give you an idea of what all is going to be happening soon. I’m sure you’ve gotten the news of your… promotion?”
“Yes, I just learned of it right now. Your doing, I assume?”
“What is all this for, Clyde?”
“To learn about that, you’ll have to come talk with me. How about sometime tonight, after Mind Pharmaceuticals has been closed. Ah, I know, how about that testing room where you killed someone. A foolish move, that. I can’t imagine what you were thinking by doing it.”
Gerard smiled. It would seem that Jem’s importance still was unknown to Clyde. This was something he could use to his advantage.
“It was a necessary test, that was all.”
“Midnight, testing room four?”
“See you then, Gerard. Perhaps tonight will be the end of things. Perhaps it won’t.”
“I dearly hope it will,” Gerard said.
“Oh, one last thing. Being the CEO has certain perks, one of which is a very nicely sized office, which you’ll find in room 241. Hope you enjoy it. And I left you a gift in there, on the desk. You don’t need to bring it tonight – I won’t bring one myself – but you have already killed once for the plan – why not once more to put an end to things? Again, it’s your choice, but you may want to be prepared tonight.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“I look forward to our meeting, Gerard.”
‘Devin’ then logged out of his account. Damn, Gerard had meant to ask Clyde about Devin, not that he could’ve trusted whatever Clyde said in response. Oh well. From what he had said, it sounded like tonight would be quite the event.
Gerard left his office and navigated to where Jem’s cell was, bringing a small bag of tripe with him. He needed Jem’s help tonight, and thought the tripe would sweeten the deal for him.
Once he arrived at the cell, he knocked on the entrance. Jem was within, reading a book and smoking. Gerard pulled back from the smell; ironic as it was given the amount of paper he burned, he abhorred the smell of smoke.
“You really aren’t supposed to be smoking in here,” Gerard said.
Jem looked up at him. “What’re you gonna do about it?”
Gerard shook his head slightly and passed the bag of tripe through the bars. “This is three doses. I got it ready for you myself, as I think Clyde killed Devin.”
Jem’s eyes widened at that, though Gerard wasn’t sure what specific bit of information he had reacted to. The amount of tripe, he was sure. Jem had never liked Devin, thinking him the weakest link in the chain of their group.
“I’m giving you a large amount because I want you to be very helpful tonight. At midnight, I’m meeting up with Clyde. I want you to come and help things along a bit. This could be ‘the end’, and I’m sure it won’t be easy.”
Jem nodded. “Got it.”
“I’ll come by and unlock your cell a few minutes before then and wake you up if you’ve fallen asleep.”
Jem waved the bag. “I’m sure I will be.”
Gerard frowned. “I’d prefer you to be completely ‘with it’ tonight, if you know what I mean.”
Jem nodded. “Yeah, yeah, sure, sure. I mean, it will mostly be out of my system by then anyway.” He smirked at Gerard.
Gerard sighed and started walking away. “Midnight. Be ready to do anything.”
Jem had, of course, found a perfect stashing spot in his new cell already, and inside it was a small cellphone and a few other small but important things that Clyde had covertly given him a day or so before.
He held it in his pocked while he prepared the tripe, then when it buzzed quietly, he took it out and flipped it open. He had received a text from Clyde.
“This is it. Get ready. Midnight tonight. Remember the plan.”
Jem replied with a “k”, then turned off the phone and stashed it away again.
One-fourth – he did want to play it safe tonight – of the tripe was ready, and he consumed it in a few short snorts.
As the ease and anxiolytic bliss flowed over him, he played through the plan in his mind, reviewing every step of it for later tonight. This should be fun.
Desmond was up later than usual. He had felt something stirring in the air, and wanted to be ready to hear of anything as soon it happened.
And soon enough, it did. He received a second email from Clyde. In it was merely written “It’s starting tonight, and should be finished by tomorrow.”
Desmond smiled and closed the email. He and Clyde really needed to catch up once this whole thing was over and done with. He’d like to hear about everything that happened.
He didn’t necessarily agree or condone some things – or anything, even – that Clyde did. But that was how Desmond viewed almost everything in life; he was a non-biased observer of all that happened. He played his small parts in things, it was true, but found the actions of others so much more interesting.
And he was almost as excited to meet this Jem fellow.
Gerard slowly found his way to room 241. When he arrived, he almost forgot the position he was currently in when faced with a sort of glee at his new office and role at Mind Pharmaceuticals. He walked around the large room with the thought of “This all is mine, now” playing through his head.
Then his mind was cleared as he glanced towards the desk and saw a handgun sitting on it. He walked over to it and picked it up. In all practicality, he decision he was making was whether he should dispose of it or keep it, preparing himself for whatever could happen at midnight tonight.
Clyde was right, he’d give him that. He would want to be prepared for anything tonight, and this gun was a good start at it.
He tucked it into a pocket after checking that the safety was on, then patted the area where its cold metal pressed against his leg through the thin fabric of his pocket. It certainly did make him feel prepared.
He glanced at the clock. Somehow, it was already nine o’clock.
He left Mind Pharmaceuticals and walked to a small cafe that was nearby. He sat up at the bar, ordered a cup of coffee, and lit a cigarette.
A man seated a distance to his left, also at the bar, sipping coffee and with an ashtray in front of him, a few butts in it, lifted up his cup and tilted his head to the side as a greeting.
Gerard nodded at him, then sipped his coffee. Tonight was a long night, and he wanted to be plenty ready for it.
Clyde had wanted to stay somewhere within easy access to Mind Pharmaceuticals without actually being in there before the predetermined time, so had chosen a little cafe nearby. He had ordered coffee and lit a cigarette before it had yet arrived. He sat there, mulling over his ideas and plans until they were all one perfect sphere of thought, until a man he recognized stepped through the door and ordered the same thing Clyde had done.
Clyde smirked internally as he realized who it was. It was Gerard, of course, though Gerard wouldn’t notice him. He gave Gerard a sort of informal greeting from across the bar, which Gerard responded to in like manner. Clyde went back to sipping his coffee. As much as he was looking forward to the night ahead, he was even more looking forward to the contents of the small metal box beneath his bed, which he’d partake in later tonight. Before then, though, a carefully timed pill… He checked his clock. It wouldn’t start to take effect for two and a half hours, so he downed it with a gulp of coffee.
Jem was in the midst of bliss, nodding in and out, checking his clock occasionally when he was conscious. The hands slowly moved in their appointed course, slowly making their way to midnight.
He still had about an hour to go, and could already feel the heavy weight of the tripe fading from him, just as he had hoped. He still wanted to feel it plenty while everything was going on, but couldn’t nod off in the midst of it all.
The man who had been seated to Gerard’s left stood up from his stool, paid the bill, and left the cafe around eleven o’clock. Gerard sighed. He wished that damn clock would hurry up already. He had things to do, but he knew leaving early wouldn’t help them along at all.
He instinctively touched the gun in his pocket, to make sure that it was still there. Of course it was, it wasn’t going anywhere. He still felt somewhat divided about bringing it, but nothing could be done now. He thought it was still probably for the best that he did, but…
He went to the bathroom, then returned to the bar, finished his coffee, and paid the bill. The clock now read eleven-thirty.
A rattle at the bars shook Jem out of one final nod-off. Facing him was Clyde.
He nodded at Jem. “Everything’s ready?”
Jem nodded back. “Hey, if you don’t mind me asking, where did you get some of this stuff?”
“I do mind you asking, actually. Remember, once this is over, we aren’t seeing each other again, got it? Gerard will be here momentarily. I actually saw him in a cafe just a moment ago, and he brought the gun. Good. Things would’ve been pretty tricky if he didn’t, but I’m glad to see I had predicted him accurately. Well,” he said, touching his head where the brim of a hat would’ve been, “see you in a few minutes.”
Jem nodded to him again, and Clyde disappeared. Jem went back to laying on his bed, facing the ceiling. He had ‘butterflies in his stomach’, probably half of which was from the tripe, but he was still filled with a nervous excitement at the fact that this all really was happening.
The bars of his cell rattled again and he sat up. Facing him, this time, was Gerard.
“Okay. You ready?”
Gerard unlocked his cell and quietly slid the door back. The two of them made their way towards test room number four. When they arrived, the time was eleven fifty-nine.
They stopped outside the door, both took deep breaths, and Gerard opened the door. The time was exactly twelve o’clock.