The alarm clock yelled at the pathetic man to wake the hell up. Arlen's body exploded up in fits as he tossed himself and fell face first from the right side of his bed; his body couldn't handle such shocks as he sucked in air in droves. Arlen began to groan in sadness before he got up and allowed the wailing alarm to calm down.
His body sank back into reluctance and lethargy. Energy was slipping back fast and he felt no motivation to go through the day's activities, a lack of sleep was the main reason to this. He cursed the alarm which had evilly taunted him to get up. With a heavy heart, Arlen when to his bathroom to wash his face, he looked into the mirror to find the sad excuse which is himself. He was only twenty six this year and his sandy brown hair had already begun to recede back into his scalp. His face felt wasted and shrunken, it looked old and dowdy. His stubble was all over the place, buried under the sea of fat. The man then stared at his midsection as his belly pouted back. Arlen groaned and stared at himself with negativity, after all this was the face and body of a loser.
Arlen dressed up in his office clothes and got out of his apartment frantically. He was careful of how he handled his briefcase. Of all the luck he had he was being held gun-point by a robber around midnight as he was working the dead shift. As the robber took his briefcase, a couple of policemen saw the incident and immediately gave chase. While running, he tossed Arlen's briefcase to the ground and accidentally stepped on it as he was making his escape; breaking the exterior of the case. The night then ended with another hour of interviews from an officer named Vincent Halter in the police station which meant a very tired Arlen. The man made a mental note to buy a new one later after work.
Arlen had brought a coffee from starbucks and proceeded to his company quickly as he was running late. Before he knew it, he slammed hard onto the glass panel. Most of the coffee he was carrying exploded and stained his clothes everywhere. Everyone stared in horror as the glass panel was painted with a vibrant brown. Arlen groaned and sucked in air. It was hot coffee he was carrying and it was boiling him everywhere. The cleaner next to him was exclaiming loudly in Spanish and it didn't suggest anything that was concerning Arlen's well-being. Arlen then sulked as he walked to his cubicle, hearing quiet commotions and giggles along the way.
He set everything onto the table when his supervisor burst into his workplace to see Arlen soaked to the skin with coffee.
"What in the world happened to you?" Tony narrowed his eyes at him, shaking his head.
"Well I was walking…" Arlen tried to explain what had happened.
"No, no, no what happened? I don't care what you did; I want to know what happened." His boss rushed his words.
"I spilled coffee all over me." Arlen was frank about this.
"What? Where?" The supervisor's eyes were stern, how could he mess up something as simple as this?
"I…accidentally slammed into the glass panel outside." Arlen said sheepishly as he gave a pathetic chuckle. Tony however was not accommodating at all.
"Dude, how can you mess up a simple thing like that? How long have you been in this office and you still do not know where the doors are. You're fucking incredible." Tony yelled in disbelieve. Arlen's heart was heavy. He tried to say something.
"What are you going to do? We have business associates coming in an hour's time. I don't care; you have to think of something to solve this. I don't want you to come to the meeting smelling like starbucks." Tony's eyes were still narrow; his hands were on his hips as he took a second to address the situation.
"I'll tell you what you can do, you better buy something quick. Go to the closest department store, buy a new set of clothes and make sure it's decent for the love of god." Tony rushed his words as he stomped out of Arlen's cubicle. All the sad man could do was to sigh.
After his trip to the department store, Arlen got a new suit which and was about to head back to the office when he spotted a little girl crying.
"I…I'm lost." The inconsolable girl said, trying to breathe and talk at the same time. Arlen asked her name; it was Kelly, Arlen introduced himself.
"Well Kelly, I supposed I could bring you to the police station. They should know what to do with you. The girl was shocked.
"Police station, what have I done wrong, I'm just lost and I want my mummy!" The girl wailed and it made Arlen uneasy.
"No you're lost so the police will know what to do with you and you can be with mummy as soon as possible." Arlen unknowingly raised his voice in front of the already scared girl which caused her to wail even louder. Arlen clicked his tongue before he groaned out loud. Kelly doesn't like the police; trying to find her mother would take a long time and leaving her here isn't going to help at all. So the best solution he could think of now was to bring Kelly back to the office and drop her to the police station once he was done with the meeting. Arlen grabbed hold of Kelly's hand as the girl stared at him with sniffles.
"Where are we going Mister?" Kelly said.
"To my office, I need to get there fast and I can't leave you here. I'll help you find you mother after I'm done is that ok with you." Arlen said as the girl stopped crying and nodded. Just as there were about to cross the road, someone was screaming at the top of her voice.
"My baby!" A woman yelled as both the girl and the man looked at the direction of the woman.
"Mummy!" Kelly was a mixture of emotions as the girl broke off from Arlen's hand and ran to her mother. Both mother and daughter embraced for a second before her mother got Kelly out of the way. She stomped towards the frightened man.
"How dare you kidnap my daughter? You no good loser; I'm going to teach you a lesson." The woman screamed at Arlen as she readied her handbag and smacked Arlen everywhere.
"Hey what the hell woman? Stop doing that." Arlen exclaimed, shielding himself from the continuous onslaughts of her handbag. He wondered if she had a ton of bricks hiding in her bag because every impact really hurt.
"Don't you what the hell me, I saw you taking my child across the road. If you're not kidnapping my child then are you doing then?" The mother was still hitting him hard.
Sean the policeman was patrolling the streets when he saw the commotion. He then came up to them with curiosity.
"What seems to be the problem?" The policeman asked them.
"Nothing, there's really no problem." Arlen coughed.
"Officer, this man tried to kidnap my daughter in broad daylight." The mother said to the officer firmly. The policeman was stunned as he turned towards the still crying girl and tried to console her.
"There, there little girl; is this true. Did the bad uncle swipe you?" The policeman was patting her but it was not doing anything at all to console her. Kelly stared at the officer's stern face and immediately got frightened again. She then burst into a new set tears and it was louder than before. The officer was taken aback, he thought the girl's crying had simply state that she was being kidnapped. He gave a glare at Arlen before he dashed towards Arlen. All Arlen could do was to stare at the raging bull with a pair of stupid eyes.
The officer tackled Arlen so hard that the air was punched out of him before both men fell onto the ground. Arlen was turning crazy but Sean had years of experience dealing with felons like him. He sat on Arlen's back while he presented his handcuffs. Sean got a dazed Arlen up before slamming the weary man into the brick wall, more air got knocked out of Arlen.
"You sir are under arrest for kidnapping a child." He snarled at Arlen, slapping the handcuffs on his hands. Arlen was too confused and dazed to be arguing.
"You again?" Officer Vincent said to Arlen in a surprised tone as Sean pushed the man into the interrogation room and sat him down facing Vincent, this was the second time he seen him in the same day.
"This is ridiculous." Arlen lamented.
"All right then let's begin." Vincent rolled his eyes awkwardly as he stared at his documents.
The interrogation lasted for another fifteen minutes. Arlen was patient in explaining his actions and it's obvious that it was running out.
"I cannot believe this; this has got to be a misunderstanding sir." Arlen said to him who was interrogating him. "I had told you umpteen times I was bringing the girl to my office because she was crying a lot and she doesn't want to go to this place." Arlen threw his arms at an unfazed officer in the interrogation room. "And I can't afford to waste any more time, I have a very important meeting which will happen any time soon." Arlen said again. He was on the verge of raising his voice. Vincent bunched his hands together and allowed his chin to rest on them. His head turned towards Sean and Kelly.
"Is he telling the truth?" Sean asked the girl one more time. The girl was now calm.
"Yes he is, he wanted to bring me back to his workplace so that I can be safe and then he'll find my mummy for me." Kelly said.
"But you cried when I asked if he abducted you. I thought he did." Sean said to her sheepishly
"Your face scared me Mister Policeman." Kelly said innocently.
"Yeah Sean has a pretty scary face" Vincent burst out laughing while Arlen didn't find it funny at all as he face-palmed.
"So this man's innocent isn't it little girl?" Vincent asked her, pointing his finger at Arlen. Kelly's lips were firmly shut. She nodded her head and didn't say a word. Vincent looked at Arlen expectantly, "Kids can never lie, and having her here is enough proof that you're innocent. You're free to go Mr De Cortez. You can find your things at the reception; just tell the staff there that Vincent Halter allowed you to leave. We're sorry for the inconvenience caused for you." Vincent said. Sean tried to say something but it was ignored.
"Thank you so much for being this understanding sir." Arlen said quickly as he got up. He bided the girl a farewell before he left the room with haste.
Sean was looking at the door close when his supervisor cleared his throat. "You have a lot of explaining to do Officer Sean." Vincent said as he crossed his arms and tapped his foot at his bumbling colleague. Sean could only nod.
Arlen got back but it was too late but the meeting had already started. Tony was there and he wasn't happy.
"Where the hell are you, how can you take more than an hour to buy some clothes."
"Sorry I was caught with something huge, I got back here as soon as possible. I'm sorry."
"You're always saying sorry, when would you learn not to make any mistakes."
"You got the wrong idea I was…" Arlen said.
"I don't care, get into your new clothes and go to the meeting room, be snappy I don't want any mistakes from now on you hear me." Tony said as he walked off. Arlen sighed as he walked into the washroom to change.
Arlen was at the meeting room five minutes later with his briefcase. The client was already there and her eyes were hard. Her hands rested on the tables and she was fumbling around. She was moody and the atmosphere was dead.
Tony saw Arlen and he brighten up. "Ah Arlen, you're here already. We can start our meeting now Ms Wilson."
"Finally I've been waiting for five minutes." The lady said as she lamented, Sally was an impatient woman. Because of this, it already gave her a bad impression. The meeting started as Tony explained on their proposal. How they are going to have a joint collaboration with Sally's company however Sally wasn't impressed at all.
He nudged Arlen to prepare his proposals as the man got up and opened his briefcase for the first time today. The inside of the briefcase was filled with coffee as the liquid has seeped into his broken case. He tried to switch on his laptop but it was fried. His heart skipped a beat, there was nothing else to do. Only he had the slides for the presentation and no one else had it. He approached Tony with distress.
"Tony, something happened to my laptop, it's fried." Arlen said helplessly. Tony felt like the world had stopped spinning.
"Are you shitting me, all the slides are in your fucking laptop and it's now fried?" Tony had raised his voice at Arlen who has started to withdraw. Arlen wanted to say something.
"What the hell man, how are we going to present anything now? Tell me." Tony's reaction was getting out of hand as he unknowingly forced his hands of Arlen. The frightened man got pushed back a few steps.
"What great teamwork huh?" Sally muttered sarcastically. She got up to present her own opinions.
"I am not here to waste time gentlemen. If you want to fight; take it outside, I want some information right now.
"I'm afraid you have to give us more time, it's just that my colleague has destroyed his laptop." Tony said with fear. Sally then smirked at him.
"And why should I wait? Like I said my time is money and it's not to be wasted. If you want to waste my time, I would be glad to do business elsewhere, thank you for your understanding." With that, Sally stomped off while Tony freaked out. He was trying to coax Sally into reconsidering her decisions. Everyone left the room; Arlen wanted to go so that he can voice something to solve the current problem but Tony glared at him.
"You have done enough damage, wait in the room." Tony bit his lip and slammed the door behind Arlen. Arlen took a seat and slunk down, the day was escalating from bad to worse. His heart stung back hard and he felt a tear almost coming out. He was a loser; he couldn't even do a simple job of doing a presentation without messing it up.
Five minutes past and the door opened. Tony was negative. "See me in my office right now." He said, slamming the door again.
"Do you know what proposal you just fucked up? It was close to ten million dollars." Tony bit his words at Arlen. The man didn't say a word.
"You are a useless person who can't even do a single fucking thing right in this company." There was still no response from Arlen. His tears started to bead out.
"Ever since you came onboard, it's mistake after mistake and I have been tolerant about your fuck ups since day one because I am always a patient man."
Please no more. Arlen begged Tony in his mind. It was too much for him to hear.
"But you failed and failed miserably this time." Tony's words were silent yet cutting at the same time. Arlen couldn't take it anymore as he shook his head hopelessly.
"Tony…" He said.
"If you can't even do a simple thing in this office, that what's the point of keeping you here?" Tony growled before he delivered his next sentence.
"You're fired; I don't ever want to see you ever again in this company. Grab you're things and get out of here, now!" Tony blared his words at Arlen without hearing what Arlen had to say. Arlen groaned helplessly as he tried to plea for another chance but his supervisor pushed Arlen out of his office while everyone stared at the man.
Arlen was crying inconsolably. He packed up his things from a cardboard box the Spanish cleaner gave him. While packing up, he saw something; it was a black thumbdrive that was carrying all the information of that failed presentation and it was lying on his desk all this time. He picked it up before his mind turned insane with rage, his hand gripping the device with force.
If Tony could allow him to speak for once for all these years without him interrupting, Arlen would have simply said that he had a thumbdrive and all he needed was an extra computer or laptop so that the presentation could proceed. This was such a simple solution to a simple problem but he never got the chance to say anything because his supervisor was too busy scolding and interrupting him whenever possible.
Arlen would have told Tony that this meeting was doomed from the start and that Sally Wilson was a horrible client whom the bitch just flat out lied when she agreed into collaborating with this company; seeing her eagerness to mock her clients and leave as soon as a minor mistake was up.
Arlen would have also told Tony that he's the one whose covering up for everyone's ass. He was a humble man who never once complained or demanded a fucking raise even though he was always being picked on and used by his other colleagues for their personal gains.
Arlen would have told Tony that he was the one who worked the hardest in the company; even to the point of staying till midnight to perfect this presentation for the next day because he knew the only thing Tony could do was to talk shit in front of everybody. And by doing his, Arlen had risked his life being held at gun-point in the streets at the silence of the night.
If only Arlen had the guts to say this, he would be the one who will be quitting this fucking god forsaken job right in front of his face…unfortunately Tony got to him first. He left his grip off from his drive and sighed, the rage inside him dissipated immediately.
What's the point now? Arlen sniffled as he dropped his thumbdrive into his box full of his personal items and he got out of there with his box on one arm and his coffee swamped briefcase on the other hand. No one was sad for his departure, no one sympathised with him. For the lonely man whose life was never perfect or fair; he left his company in a depressive state. Sadness plagued him; his whole world was now dark from the injustice.
Arlen sat on a wooden bench on the way home, he guess he doesn't need to buy a new briefcase anymore. It was a really bad day and he couldn't help but to cry again as it was too much for him to handle.
Amidst the sadness, he felt a little tap on his shoulder. He got into attention and looked to his right, it was Kelly and she was sitting next to the man without him knowing.
"It's you." Arlen said as he forced a smile, it's not good to cry in front of children. Kelly gave him a finger wave.
"Where are you going? Are you moving house?" Kelly said.
"No, I'm just packing up. I brought all these things from a yard sale and I'm wanted to decorate my house." Arlen answered her. But then he thought of something again.
"Wait…are you lost again?" Arlen asked Kelly in fear.
"No I'm not, my mum's there." Kelly said as she pointed to her mother. Her mother looked at Arlen and blushed before she looked away. Arlen smiled at the girl but before he knew it, Kelly hugged him. This affection felt wonderful. Arlen couldn't remember when he was being showed love and affection.
"Thank you so much Mr Arlen for being with me when I needed it, I'm easily frightened and you're there for me when I needed it."
"You're an amazing person and I like you Mr Arlen!" Kelly said with innocence. Although she was just thanking Arlen, the man felt amazed. Never was he been called "amazing" by anyone and for once he felt great. He was always been called "useless" and "dumb" from his peers but this was a breath of fresh air. Even though this praise was from a little girl, it was enough for Arlen to appreciate and cheer up. He gave a warm smile to her.
"You know what; my mum told me something," Kelly said to the attentive man. "She told me to always follow my dreams and not to let other people weigh you down. Every dream a person has would be stupid to others but as long as you believe in it, no amount of people can oppose with what you do."
"That's kind of cool." Arlen said as he heard every word of what Kelly had said.
"I wanted to be an astronaut because I want to fly in space and meet aliens but you know people say I can't because I'm just a little girl, well I'll show them when I grow up. I'll catch my own aliens one day…so how about you?" Kelly asked Arlen. He took a second to answer her question.
"I want to make this city a better place." Arlen said genuinely. Kelly thought about it.
"Oh so you wish to be mayor am I right?" Arlen then blushed, he never thought about running for mayor, after all he was only a lonely young man living in the middle of the city.
"So work for it Arlen! I want to see you become a mayor to this city ten to twenty years later do I make myself clear? I have faith in you that you could do it" Kelly said firmly, Arlen then nodded tentatively.
Her mother called out to Kelly, it was time for her to leave. Kelly jumped out of the bench and ran towards her mother. "Bye Mr Arlen, and have a nice day." Kelly yelled at him as she swung her hands at Arlen. The man could only give a gentle wave.
Arlen was still sitting on the bench as he thought about Kelly's words. This was the first time someone had given this loser some hope, this special feeling was beyond description for him. For some reason a motivation had sparked in him.
"Then I'll be a mayor to this city, to prove it to Kelly and myself." Arlen muttered. He got up smiling and went home a new man.