Author: Majoki

Francis was helping the elderly lady cross a busy street when the call came. He waited until she’d thanked him with a little pat on the arm and entered the drugstore even though the shelves were almost bare.

His phone was still buzzing. Oscar. He hesitated, but knew that was impolite and so answered. “Hey. Is it on?”

“Good morning, Francis. Kindness always starts with a heartfelt greeting. How is your day going? ”

Francis looked around at the drifts of garbage banked against derelict cars and boarded up storefronts where ragged streeters roamed. Cursing and heavy bass pounded down from broken windows. The neighborhood reeked of urine, streetcamp smoke, and despondency.

“A gracious morning to you, too, Oscar. It’s another bountiful day here in Bel-Air.” He paused as needling sirens wailed from Oscar’s end. “I trust that all is serene in Coral Gables?”

“Peaceful as the dark side of the moon, Francis.”

“Heartfelt greetings aside, is it on?”

Oscar’s answer was light and airy, “Everyone knows nice guys finish last.”

Francis froze. “We’re really going to do this?”

“All is ready. All is right. It’s been a delight, Francis.”

“Same. Same, Oscar…”

Choked of words, Francis ended the call. It was on. All was ready. All was right. But it would not be a delight.

He straightened his suit jacket, tugged his tie tighter, and began walking, faster and faster. Twenty minutes brought him to the target intersection. Literally, a crossroads. Here, it would begin and end for him. A Nice Guy.

At last, it was time to finish. Finish off the greedy egomaniacs and arrogant exploiters who fed off the everyday decency, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness of hard-working folks.

If Francis crossed the road in front of him, there would be no going back. This wasn’t helping some old lady across the street, this was wheeling the Trojan Horse right up to the gates. And he was the nasty surprise.

A Nice Guy.

One of thousands who’d smiled, nodded, and played the role of a mild, easy going, thoughtful, regular nice guy. Until he’d met Oscar and become a Nice Guy. A neo-humanist cabal intent on killing with kindness. He was about to play his part in the most polite apocalypse ever.

All Francis had to do, like thousands of his counterparts, was walk across the street into the fortress-like building where years of being a courteous and compliant employee had finally gained him access to a critical international financial net node. He just had to sit at his desk, log in, and smile infectiously.

That was it. The heuristic-algorithmic malware in his dental implants would worm its way past the firewall and do the rest. Oscar had assured him that he would feel nothing, but the global market system, all fiscal exchange networks, the very foundations of the digital-financial-industrial complex would be struck by viral lightning.

And then a lightening. A numbing darkness dispersed. A crushing weight lifted. Monetary imperialism would crumble under the politest of apologies, the humblest of regrets. Every electronic financial trade and transaction request across the globe would be instantly rejected by the words of the original Nice Guy himself, HAL: “I’m sorry. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”