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Malcolm- The Fall

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Malcolm looked unto his empire. His kingdom. A colony rivaling great Rome or Persia at their peaks. With great walls of money and wealth. Expendable employees taking place of villagers. But the power was exactly the same. He could cure hunger in a small country in a week, or destroy one in a day. The power was his food and the money his drink. The commanding force his maid and the fortune his mistress. It was at this point, of course, that he lost everything. Not a luxury automobile, not a beautiful woman, and not a single cent was saved. Malcolm looked unto his empire: the city that built him. The view of New York was beautiful from atop the penthouse balcony. The blood on his collar was drying. It filled his nostrils and in a way comforted him. The blood on his shoes was the last he had of his empire. The remaining scrap of memory that the society had left him. For it was the society that destroyed him. Or was it him? His childhood? Malcolm had been told by too many therapists and relatives and his own parents whose faults it was, and it was rarely the same people. Malcolm liked to think he was just never meant to be an important role in the universe. He looked down 53 stories. The people looked arrogant and rushed even from the tops of their heads. Malcolm closed his eyes, he took in a deep breath, and- "MALCOLM!"


He opened his eyes and before he could turn around, two arms pulled him off the ledge. It was Jennifer. Her blonde hair flowed onto his chest as he looked up at her with with love and hate. Hate for stopping his suicide and love in the way he's always loved her, ever since he met her in that California bar.



"So how long are you here for?" The overweight bar patron asked Malcolm before sipping on his Bud Light.

"Just for the weekend, I have my first day of an internship at Wilton-Madrigal Monday morning." Malcolm recieved the usual blank and confused stare when he mentioned the little-known financial business to people. However, this particular wide-eyed annoyance was too drunk to ask further, and went back to his drink. Now, in a typical scenario, Malcolm would look up and see Jennifer walking in. Time would slow as a soft light illuminated the darkness around her. Or, he would accidentally spill his drink on her, or vice versa. The ordinary and boring truth is this: Jennifer sat next to Malcolm at a bar in California because it was the last seat. They talked until the sun came up because Malcolm asked if she wanted any of the peanuts near his arm. They exchanged numbers and promised to meet again because Malcolm and Jennifer had made a connection that night that few people experience. That is the ordinary, boring truth.



Jennifer picked Malcolm up and propped him against the wall. The bright summer sun shone onto his face, bringing him back to reality.

"...so much to live for." Malcolm came out of his daze to find Jennifer giving him a pep talk on the downsides to killing oneself. Malcolm didn't care about anything but one question.

"Jennifer, why not me?" He realized it was a stupid question. A question an unattractive high school girl may ask Mr. Right, or someone who accidentally kills a kid with their car may ask God. Malcolm was usually above stupid questions. But not today. Today, only the truth mattered. Jennifer looked at the floor, then back at him with those big, brown eyes.

"Because Malcolm loves Malcolm, then me." She didn't avert her stare. His heart ached as the words left her mouth. He should have expected her answer to be about his greed. As if he didn't know? As if an alcoholic doesn't realize he's destroying his families life? Do ordinary people think that those with serious problems go on oblivious to their ailment? How could she be so condescending, so stupid, so naive as to think he was unaware of his sickness!



"Malcolm, make a choice. You or me." Malcolm picked up his suitcase and coat as he headed for the door. Jennifer stayed at the opposite end of the hall.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" He blared back.

"You know."

"Jen, I don't have time for your stupid riddles, I'm going just for the meeting. I'll be back before Wednesday." He slammed the door behind him without a hug, kiss, goodbye, or nod. Malcolm left his bride in the hotel room, one month after their wedding, to attend a meeting he was not invited to. His plan was to sit in and 'be seen' by all the hot shots. Jennifer silently sobbed into her hands as Malcolm hailed a taxi.



Malcolm abruptly got up and walked into the kitchen.

"You know I have to call the police. Or an ambulance or whoever you call for attempted suicide." She tried changing subjects. As she walked into the kitchen, Malcolm ran his finger up the length of the steak knife.

"Jennifer, I could do it right now. Or yesterday, or anytime I wanted. Why do you think now?" Jennifer did not successfully hide her fear.

"Malcolm...put the knife d-"

"Jennifer! Give me an answer!" Jennifer looked shocked. She cleared the hair out of her face and thought.

"I think because you lost the case." As she said it, he heard the gavel slam.



Bam!



"So why not yesterday? That was the day of the trial." Malcolm persisted.

"I don't know, because they repossessed all your stuff today?"

"No. Today, because its a special day." He decided to give her a hint. She looked at her watch for the date and looked up pale as a ghost.

"Say it." Malcolm demanded.

Jennifer shook her head.

"Say it, Jennifer."

Another shake.

"Say it!"

"Our wedding anniversary!" She cried out and fell to the floor in heaping sobs.



Bam!



The gavel again. The universal sound of law. Malcolm closed his eyes and dropped the knife. He knew he'd lose some money after his encounter with Sonny White, but all of it?



Bam!



Sonny didn't get Malcolm's money, but the man was probably smiling now. 6 feet under, he was grinning that cockey grin.



"Okay Malcolm, you've got the CEO of Schnell Automotive in 20, meet me up there in 10 to go over points." John passed Malcolm a folder with the major importances of the German engine company. Malcolm looked very the points. Frederick Vornamen, CEO for 16 years and devoted husb- "Malcolm?"

Malcolm looked up. A short man walked to Malcolm with that 'I can buy your family and you know it' look about him (a fake look at that). "Malcolm! It is you! It's been a while, huh?" Malcolm looked deeper into the eyes of the man and had absolutely no idea who he was.

"I'm sorry, I'm not quite sure where you know me from." Malcolm tried to not sound so rushed.

"I'm sure you don't! When we met you had a couple gallons of alcohol in your body! We went to college together, man!" Malcolm still did not recognize the face, but did see the man wasn't making it up for whatever reason. The man genuinely remembered Malcolm's drunk self.

"Ah, hello Mr..."

"Sonny." They shook hands. "Sonny White."

"Well Mr. White, I have a meeting in a few minutes so I should get g-"

"Oh no no dont let me keep you, I just wanted to ask one quick thing, then I'm gone."

"Alright what is it?" Sonny opened a folder he was holding and turned it for Malcolm to read. After a brief scanning, Malcolm new exactly what it was. He looked up at Sonny. Was this guy serious?

"These are predictions for the market over the next 10 years."

"Not predictions, actualities. The market WILL follow this pattern I swear!" Malcolm sighed.

"Sonny, how did you happen across this information?" Sonny beamed in excitement to tell Malcolm of his genius.

"You see, I devised a complex algorithm that, if followed-"

"Just stop right there, Mr. White." Sonny seemed a bit disappointed he didn't get to finish, but still expecting a million dollar offer for this brilliant equation.

"Please, call me Sonny we're just a year's difference in age!"

Malcolm looked straight into Sonny's eyes. Sure, Malcolm was 22 and Sonny 21, but the two were years apart mentally. Malcolm looked at Sonny until they both knew who was boss here.

"Mr. White. I have heard this pitch multiple times. There is no math problem that can predict if the president of a company falls fatally ill and his stock drops because of lack of faith in the new president; or rise due to publicity. The market is made of up companies run by people. People who make choices, mistakes, lie, cheat, and play dirty. It can't be calculated. Thank you for stopping by." Malcolm pushed past Sonny and before he was free, he heard the worst noise imaginable: begging.

"Please. I'm begging you, I have had no job for the past 2 months. My wife's got a baby on the way and we just got eviction notice. The only reason Mary, Mary's my wife, doesn't leave me is because of the kid. To be honest, this was my sales pitch. I'm good with the market you can tell. Just give me a chance." Malcolm looked down once the man was finished. After some time he turned and looked back up into this desperate man's eyes. He took two steps closer, and spoke definitively:

"Sonny, this company was built by men who hire only the best. They don't take in pity cases, and they don't consider a math problem predicting 10 years of an ever-changing economy 'good with the market'. You want a job here? You get your MBA, intern here for a summer or two, then maybe, just maybe, we'll interview you. After that, you sit at a desk and send out memos that you're going for a coffee run until you start to see a pattern in one particular day of trading. You go home, follow it up, do weeks of research, then you pitch it to the real traders. If they like it, and it works, congratulations, you're only about one year away from being just like them. If not, you go back to pushing pencils. So no, Sonny, I won't give you a change. Tell your wife that instead of going through what everyone else here had to go through, you showed me an algorithm." Malcolm checked his watch. "I'm almost late. See yourself out." Malcolm turned and walked away. Sonny took about five minutes to build up the nerve to move a muscle. Sonny saw himself out. He walked out of the building a stunned puppy, bumping into hurried important people. He went home and told his wife excactly what Malcolm told him to. He didn't get a job for another month, until a Burger Town hired him, and he manned the drive-thru window, all the while loathing the man who denied him his opportunity.



Bam!



Malcolm bent down and picked Jennifer's head up. He looked her in the eyes. He put one hand on her neck as a tear rolled down her cheek.

"You never asked if I was innocent or not." Malcolm realized out loud. Jennifer put her hand on his arm.

"I never needed to." Her shaky voice was more of a comfort than anything.

"But I lost everything, so it doesn't matter if I did it or not." Jennifer had the look on her face a person trying to get a child to understand something obvious might have.

"Malcolm, of course it does. It means everything. You know in your heart you didn't do it, does all the stuff get in the way of what your heart tells you?" Malcolm looked at her, then the floor. He knew she wasn't just talking about him being innocent when she said 'what your heart tells you'.



Bam!



"This court is now in session. Calling the case of White versus- excuse me!" Malcolm and his lawyer looked up from their discussion. "Mr. Malcolm, are you finished?"

"Yes, Your Honor. I apologize." Judge Harper straightened her gavel to the left of her and cleared her throat.

"Are both sides ready?"

"Ready Your Honor." Both lawyers said simultaneously. After various testimonies from bosses, co-workers, and IT personnel, the big moment came. Malcolm and Sonny at the stand.

"Mr. White, first of all I'd like to ask: are their any personal motives for your accusations against my client?" Sonny at this time looked directly at Malcolm.

"None that clouded my reason."

"So there were personal motives?"

"Several." Sonny's lawyer hardly shook his head. "Again, none that would bring me to a false accusation." Sonny saved himself.

"For those of us in the court unfamiliar with the specific charges, can you enlighten us?"

"Gladly. Malcolm, for the past four years, has been swaying various parties say in the financial market toward his benefit."

"In short, insider trading, yes?"

"In short."

"How many counts do you hold, Mr. White?"

"Several."

"That's not a number."

Sonny looked at his lawyer, who was stone-faced.

"Twelve online conversations, no doubt more in person."

"Online through email?"

"Yes."

"How did you obtain this knowledge? With your current employment you don't exactly have access to the tools necessary to find all this out." Sonny looked at the lawyer.

"Current employment?" He gritted his teeth.

"Yes, in referring to your window-side responsibilities at the Burger Town. Now they make a good burger, but last time I ordered from the drive-thru they weren't exactly on state-of-the-art technology in there. At least as far as I could tell."

Sonny did not answer.

The judge was not a patient woman. "Mr. White, answer the question."

"I'm good with a computer." Sonny said through clenched teeth.

"No further questions, your honor.

Surprisingly, Sonny's lawyer had no questions for his own defendant, no doubt he was holding out for the big fish.

Malcolm. He swore in and took the stage. John Kern, Sonny's attorney at law, slowly walked to the stand. He paced in front of Malcolm for some time. Judge Harper was not one for theatrics.

"Mr. Kern, address the witness, if you please."

"Very well, Your Honor." He looked directly into Malcolm's eyes. "Did you do it?" Everyone laughed. One of the most juvenile opening questions that a lawyer could inquire. Even Malcolm broke his seriousness a little.

"No sir, I did not." John smiled. Like that was the answer he was looking for. He presented a piece of paper to Malcolm and asked him to read it. Malcolm cleared his throat. "Dear Mr. Simmons, due to your involvement in biochemical technology, my stock has dropped nine points in two days. I would like to remind you of the documents I posess, and implore you reconsider your involvement in certain areas. Thank you."

"Now, who was that email sent to?"

"It says Tim Simmons."

"Who was it sent from?"

"I wouldn't know, I didn't write it."

"The address." The judge chimed in. Malcolm sighed.

"It's my email address."

"For those of us not in the financial line of employment, who is Tim Simmons?"

"He's the CEO of Chemlogic, the largest manufacturer of run-off chemical-based medicine in the country."

"Go on."

"Well, it means when a company makes products that create hazardous waste, he modifies it and makes medicine with it."

"So a man with a company that serves a great purpose, really."

"Yes."

"Read his reply, please."

"My apologies, Malcolm. Upon reviewing our new undertaking in biochemical technology, I realized it is a useless gesture. Thank you for saving me from a serious loss of money."

"To what documents were you referring to in the initial email?"

"How would I know? I didn't write it!" Malcolm was loosing his temper. His lawyer mouthed a 'calm down' and Malcolm composed himself.

"Where is Tim Simmons today?" Mr. Kern asked Malcolm. It struck Malcolm as odd that Sonny would go through all this trouble to set him up, then not bring Tim as a witness.

"I don't know."

"He was found dead in his apartment shortly after your accusation was announced in the media. Suicide. In his note, he stated he couldn't face what was to come. Anything to say?" Malcolm's mouth was dry with rage. He looked at Sonny.

"You would kill a man to destroy me?" Malcolm was at Sonny before the bariff could even move. He hit Sonny hard across the face. The bariff restrained him but Malcolm resisted. He was slammed on the table face first, and he felt blood gush from his nose. He turned his head to look at Sonny as Malcolm was restrained. The blood from his nose ran down his cheek onto his collar. It was warm and thick as it dripped off his chin and onto his shoes. Once Malcolm was calmed down, the court took a break. When they came back, Malcolm assured the judge he could keep his temper down. They re-visited the suicide, and Malcolm again felt hot with anger.

"Tim wouldn't have done that. Someone killed him." He felt the hate.

"Calm yourself." The judge commanded.

"No Malcolm, it was a definite suicide. But if anyone killed him, it was you." Malcolm looked at Mr. Kern.

"That's right, upon your arrest, we obtained a warrant that allowed us to search your emails, web activity, office, etc. Among your transcripts of meetings with CEO's to 'negotiate the market', we found the documents you referred to." He tossed a folder on the table in front of the judge. "Pictures. Seventy-two graphic pictures taken by an exotic dancer by the name of Sylvia Grace. Mrs. Grace could not be reached for this trial." The judge kept a stern face while flipping through the pictures. Mr. Kern continued. "Tim Simmons said he could face what was to come. Alcohol, sex, and drugs. A man with thirty-two years of marriage, too. Well, that certainly is good leverage." Malcolm knew at this point it was over. They had signed reports of his 'illegal transactions' and the pictures were enough of a distraction from the insider trading to make Malcolm seem like a bad enough guy to do anything for power. No one even bothered to ask why the other CEO's were never called as witness's. The jury found him guilty, and the judge stood.

"Due to the verdict found by today's jury as 'guilty', you are hereby sentenced to three years in federal prison and any assets related to the company Wilton-Madrigal will be seized." That was everything. "Dismissed."



Bam!



Malcolm sat in his last piece of furniture. A white lawn chair. He had to be gone from the apartment by the end of the day or he would be taken by force. Jennifer sat by him. He looked at her. Their time together was over, Malcolm knew that. A mystifying, complex time lost even to the both of them.

"It's going to be okay." She smiled a small smile. He looked out at the sunset.

"You know, I was never happy with all the money. Cliche, I know, but its the truth. Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that. The time we spent together, that was necessary for you to have the ability to talk me from killing myself now. I got caught up in the money, and you deserved better than me."

"I know, that's why I left." Malcolm laughed.

"I know. I just...I want to thank you."

"Your welcome." She put her head on his shoulder and they looked out at the sunset. He had to be gone by tomorrow. He looked out at the pink and orange and listened to the stillness. He chose to go on His life would be determined by this day, not the day before. By Jennifer, not Sonny. He put his arm around his friend. He had to be gone by tomorrow, but tomorrow was a long way away.



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