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Johnny Steel was the man everyone aspired to be. He was the head of a fortune five hundred company and had an annual seven figure salary. Two million dollars a year to be exact. He was occasionally dating a sexy twenty five year old administrative assistant at his office that has blonde hair and blue eyes. Johnny wore a pressed Brioni suit each day of the week and drove a red 2008 Porsche GT2, a limited edition model which hadn’t even been released to the general public yet. The best part about Johnny was that he was only 30. In 2006 Forbes listed Johnny as the most successful business man in the world for his age group.
You see the special part about Johnny is that he is now dead. Yep, at the age of thirty Johnny died. He decided to kill himself two months ago on his birthday, August 15th to be exact. Why would Johnny kill himself? He had all that money and fame one would say. Who would throw that all away and chose death? Well Johnny Steel did.
You see Johnny had a drug problem. A HUGE drug problem. He spent over a fourth of his yearly salary to purchase cocaine. That’s $500,000. More than some people earn in a decade.
Johnny was so rich he never knew who to trust with all his money. He rarely talked with anyone outside the business world. When he dated a young woman it was mostly for pleasure because he could never be sure if she was after his money or if she actually liked him. So to combat his loneliness, Johnny would spend his nights alone, snorting cocaine.
Johnny’s problem was kept pretty quiet until the police publicly stated that the cause of his death was a drug over dose. Johnny didn’t have any family because his parent’s had died in a fatal car crash when he was only ten. Johnny was an orphan who never talked about his parent’s death because it rarely came up in everyday business conversation and he did not have any close friends.
Early in life Johnny Steel was driven to become the best person he could be. The only way he knew how to do that was get straight A’s in school. Something he did all the way through college. But with straight A’s came sacrifice. Johnny would stay up late to study rather than go to a party on campus. He rarely got to know anyone and was quite distant from even his dorm roommate.
Once you get to the business world academic grades mean absolutely nothing. Yes, Johnny made a lot of money but he had no friends and without companionship in life Johnny didn’t go very far. Once he was out of college there seemed to be less opportunity for social interaction. It was harder to find people that he liked and want to get to know.
On weekends Johnny would dress in jeans and a plain t-shirt and go to distant suburbs (for he lived in downtown Chicago) and he would try and meet people who might know his face from television or perhaps a magazine article. But the fact is that it looks quite suspicious to see a twenty something year old man walking the streets looking for a friend. Yes, occasionally he would meet some nice people in a bar but they would always say goodnight and go back to their “perfect lives” while Johnny would head back to his tenth story downtown apartment.
The day of Johnny’s death started out like any other day. Johnny woke up at precisely 7am and made a ham omelet. He then went to his front door, picked the Daily Herald off the front matt and read it as he got dressed. Johnny only lived about seven blocks from his office but he still drove just to show off his Porsche. When he got to work that day, Johnny checked his email. He received one unlike he had ever gotten before.
Dear Mr. Steel,
I was inquiring about what you do in your free time. I notice you are never in the tabloids for doing anything bad and you never seem to be out in public enough to be photographed by the paparazzi. However, I did notice the other night, while I was sitting in my apartment on the tenth floor that you happen to live in the apartment directly across the courtyard from mine. I usually look out my window to see what other people are doing in their rooms for fun. I mostly see people making dinner, watching TV or using their exercise equipment. But the other day I happened to see you snorting what appeared to be a white drug. I was so startled that I had to take a picture to make sure that’s what I saw. I think it would be terrible if a picture of you snorting drugs suddenly showed up in the news paper or supermarket tabloids and your public image was ruined. I propose we make a deal. If you give me ten million dollars by tomorrow I’ll pretend like I never saw a thing. If you don’t, I’ll send the photos directly to the Daily Herald.
Johnny didn’t know what to do; he had never experienced anything like this before. He jumped out of his chair, palms sweating and bolted through the door of his office and headed right for the elevator. It raised attention with fellow office staff as Steel came to work at 9 and was leaving at 9:15 when he typically put in a full day of work and on most nights left about eleven o’ clock. Jan, the admin who Johnny was dating asked “Johnny are you all right?” He hurriedly replied “Yeah, I’m fine” just before the elevator doors closed behind him.
Johnny left his car at work that day with a note on the passengers seat that read
“I always loved my work I just couldn’t take the stress, all the loneliness”
When a cleaning lady entered Johnny’s apartment that afternoon she found Johnny sprawled out on his bathroom floor, arms hanging over the toilet bowl. There was a line of cocaine on the toilet seat cover. He was naked. Investigators did not see any signs of foul play or forced entry so homicide was immediately ruled out. The time of death was established at 10:15 am, just enough time for Johnny to leave the office and get in one last taste of his favorite pal, cocaine.
The next day Johnny Steel’s picture was on the front page of the Daily Herald, the headline read
“Enough grief to kill a man”