NIGHTMARE: Stalemate By Sam McManus

Word: NIGHTMARE
Word Count 500
Stalemate
By Sam McManus
The shredder finally died on page sixty-nine, having chugged its way along for three minutes straight without benefit of respite, despite powering along for a solid year with no issues whatsoever. A pounding on the office door, like a thudding metronome, continued without cease as IRS agents swarmed the law firm, buzzing bees surrounding a hive.
“You are out of compliance, Mr. Waltham,” a baritone voice called from the other side of the door. It was swiftly followed by the jangling of keys. The door slammed open so quickly it hit the opposite wall and rebounded in the face of the agent who was second in line. It seemed all the agents in the entire suite of offices were suddenly crammed into the small space.
Harrison Waltham III put on his best poker face, in spite of the smoking shredder from which he had hastily retreated, the one that was still stuck halfway through obliterating pages fifty-six through sixty-nine, the final pages of the incriminating evidence that showed his firm was embezzling money. At Reinhart, Ford, and Waltham, their motto was, “If they can’t find it, they can’t prove it,” but the remains of the shredder, and the evidence within, didn’t lie.
“I want a lawyer,” the esteemed man said, settling back into his chair as if it were just another day at the office. Judas Reinhart and Patty Ford weren’t going to hear about him cowering when the shit hit the fan.
“Take your pick,” the agent said, a smirk on his face, waving his hand behind him to the scuttling associates who were being herded like cattle.
It was the nightmare scenario, as outlined his first day at the firm, when his old man was still in charge. Fresh out of law school, Harrison had absolutely no problem with nepotism in the cutthroat enterprise that was business law, even if he hated his father worse than crabs. Because guilt can be a valuable weapon, especially against an absentee parent who still blamed himself for what happened to his wife.
“I want Jackie Abrams,” he said, his right hand in a fist on the desk so he didn’t scream his lungs out. It was an exercise he had learned from his shrink.
“Do what you want, but we will be taking these files now,” the agent replied, the smirk still firmly etched on his face. He was obviously the smartass of the group. The others stood around with arms folded, the intimidation team.
“And you will be hearing from me,” Harrison Waltham said. He knew he was up against it, but bravado always seemed to work in the movies.
“Oh, and before I forget,” said the smirking agent. “That’s called obstruction of justice, what we’ve got here that’s been partially shredded.”
As they filed out with the partial evidence, Harrison Waltham III closed his eyes and hoped when he opened them that the whole thing would have been just a dream. The shredder continued to smoke in the corner.

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