At one time my peers dubbed me the Lord of Wall Street. I was the consummate wheeler and dealer. I was a genius with finances and a suave negotiator. I was the economy. My achievements were legendary and their influence on others weren’t lost on me. I could command attention anywhere I went. Presidents bowed before me. Kings and Queens saluted me. I was on top of the world. But, often all the other predators of the business world turn their savage sights on the man at the top. He becomes the number one target, the man to beat. In order to be the king of the hill you have to topple the previous king. It’s the nature of the business world, of the highly competitive culture of commerce. I was ready for all of that. I was ruthless in my tactics and merciless in my strategies to stay on top of the vast hill, nay the mountain I had created for myself.
But, never let it be said that I was deluded in my triumphs. Napoleon warned that the most dangerous moment in a battle is after the victory, when minds become lax, and attitudes too relaxed. I was determined to heed the advice of the Corsican and keep my focus. I wouldn’t be dethroned so easily.
Even the great General himself lost his footing. Napoleon was defeated once and for all at Waterloo, after staging a daring comeback to power. His final demise was due to a miscalculation. His time had come. His support had weakened. France was ready for another type of ruler. My time, like the Corsican’s, was up, and little did I know how soon that would be.
I was in my penthouse apartment in an exclusive apartment building owned by my multi-national conglomerate. It was a state of the art building, with alarm systems that make the people at Fort Knox jealous. I was secure in my tower, protected by a quarter mile of concrete and steel. I was enjoying a quiet moment, rare in my business, to recuperate from a string of hard fought deals with a few Middle Eastern oil companies. I had a snifter of brandy by my side and a cigar in my mouth. I was enjoying the high life.
While in my most relaxed moment in months I felt a sudden sharp pain in my chest. It started out in one location, and then it moved swiftly to my neck and arm. I was no fool. My hard living made me a prime candidate for this sort of thing, and I had had a few scares in the past three years, but nothing as intense as this. The moment of my final demise was staring me in the face. How ironic that it would happen while I was alone in my penthouse apartment.
I grasped at my heart and made my way to the phone near my kitchen. I picked up the receiver, but there was no dial tone. Damn it! I cursed. I went to my office to find my cell phone. It was on my desk. I picked it up but I couldn’t get a signal. That was curious, my apartment was specifically wired to receive clear signals, it was necessary for my business. Certain that I was being toyed with by the Fates I went to the front door of my apartment and rang the door man. A strange voice came over the speaker. It was deep, eerie and not at all comforting.
Must be all that wheeling and dealing finally getting to you. The voice said.
Who is that? I demanded. The voice didn’t respond.
I went over to my living room chair and sat down; I’d have to wait out the pain, and try to contact my secretary through email. While sitting in my chair the pain became more intense. I thought I was at death’s door and expected to see the tunnel of light. But instead I felt something moving in my chest. I heard a muffled voice, coming from inside of me. It’s quite a mess in here. It said. Let’s see what the outside looks like. Suddenly the queerest feeling came over me, and then an enormous hand emerged from my mouth. I was terrified. I thought I was going mad. The hand was attached to an arm, and it reached out and grabbed hold of the side of the chair. Another arm shot out from my mouth and grabbed on to the other side of my chair. The arms pulled and a head popped out of my mouth. It was horrid. A fiendish feline face crawled its way between my jaws and turned to look at me. It winked, and then the rest of its monstrous body emerged from my gaping maw. There, standing in front of me, covered in my own saliva and bile, was a giant of a man, with the face of a cat. The creature had a cigar in its mouth and was wearing the most garish outfit I had ever seen, black and red striped trousers, a black shirt with red polka dots and black hat with a red flower sticking out of red band. I was completely paralyzed with fear and horror that this thing had come from inside of me. I had to be going mad.
You’re not mad, at least not in the way you think old boy. The creature said as it shook all the saliva and bile from it by twisting back and forth rapidly. I’m certainly not a sign of your madness, but I just might save you from yourself. The creature said.
What are you? I was finally able to get out of my mouth.
I’m not a WHAT you insufferable twit. I’m a WHO, and who I am is Shamus.
Where did you come from?
Well that’s a new one. I don’t usually get asked that question. And if you really must know, I came from a place beyond your imagination. I know that doesn’t clarify matters, but it’s all you’re getting out of me. Shamus puffed on his cigar. Now, you’re a drinker, you must have some Scotch lying around here.
I pointed to my bar. Shamus sauntered over and poured himself some Scotch. He took a sip. Most delightful. Do you mind if I have another. I was too stunned to answer or refuse. No. Excellent. He poured another glass full and guzzled the whole thing. That hits the spot. You don’t know what spending time in a man’s gullet does to a cat. You know you really should do something about that body of yours. It’s a complete wreck in there.
What’s going on here? This makes no sense. I muttered.
So don’t you have any manners Mr. Moneybags, aren’t you going to ask me to have a seat?
Do you want to sit down? I asked waving to the couch.
No thanks. Shamus said. It’s just nice to be asked. The giant cat looked around the apartment, touching everything, and even dropping a few things. You really have nice digs here. This must have cost you a pretty penny.
So what? I asked.
How much did this place cost you?
The apartment or the whole building?
The whole kit and caboodle.
Millions of dollars.
Well ladeeedaaaa. Aren’t we high and mighty. Did the booze come with that?
Not exactly. What do you want from me? Are you here to extort money?
Do I look like someone who has to extort money from a pea-brained baboon like you?
Why are you here?
Shamus puffed on his cigar. I’m here for you of course.
For me? What do you mean?
You’re a businessman, right Tweedle Dumb?
Well, I have business to conduct with you.
What sort of business?
Well that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Or I should say it’s the 400 million dollar question. Shamus removed his hat. On his head was a book. He took it and thumbed through the pages. A few minutes later he tossed the book aside and paced back and forth.
What’s the matter? I asked.
You’re a special case. You’ve got something important to do my boy, but I don’t think you can handle it.
What is it?
That’s not my department. I’m just here to make sure you do it.
I don’t understand.
Of course not. Your little monkey brain isn’t capable of understanding. That’s why I’m here.
You’re making no sense. I said.
Wrong. I’m the only one making sense. You’re just not up to speed.
Well get me up to speed. I don’t like being kept in the dark.
Oh old boy, you’re in the dark. You’re deep in it, and I don’t know if you can get out of it.
What are you saying?
I’m saying you might be a lost cause.
What? A lost cause? Why?
Look around you, your ensconced in luxury. You’re a high priest of comfort, the Pope of Pomp. I don’t know if you can be helped.
Helped? What’s going on here Shamus? Why would I need help? This is complete garbage. I’m calling security.
They can’t help you.
And why not?
Because as long as I’m here they’re not.
Go ahead call them.
I will. I went to the intercom at the door. I buzzed for security but there was no answer. I tried several more times. But still there was no response. What have you done to the?
I don’t think you’d understand if I told you. It involves wormholes and other nifty things like that. It’s a trick my dear old mother taught me. It comes in handy when you have to deal with over the hill, self-important billionaire twits like you.
How dare you?
How dare I what?
I’m a respected businessman.
That seems like an oxymoron. Businessmen aren’t respected, they’re placated. You’ve got the money, so you get all the attention.
Not true. My employees love me.
Spoken like a true megalomaniac. Of course they “love” you; you’re the hand that feeds them.
You’re a parasite.
I build things.
And destroy things.
I create jobs.
I make America great.
If you mean by greatness the centralization of wealth into the hands of the few so that the many must struggle to exist, then yes, you do make America great?
Yes it is.
It’s funny how the American dream for some is a nightmare for so many others here and throughout the world.
Are you some sort of socialist? A communist?
Old boy, I’m beyond your petty definitions and categorizations.
Well, what do you want me to do?
I don’t want you to do anything.
Then what’s the point of you being here.
I told you, I don’t know if there is a point. You’re so deep into your own delusion that I don’t think you can find your way out of it.
That’s right. You’ve got yourself convinced that building skyscrapers and making obscene fortunes is the meaning of life.
You really are a moron, aren’t you? There are people out there who can’t even feed themselves, because the wealth of the world is centralized into the hands of people like you. You’re rapaciousness is the undoing of your civilization.
If they want what I have they can work hard to get it.
Wake up you pernicious primate, you didn’t work hard to get what you have. You used a system that’s designed to put people into debt so you can make a fortune. You take advantage of people. You stole from them.
Stole? I did no such thing.
You and your multi-national corporation feed off the labor of people around the world. You drain them of their lives, and instead of sharing the profits with the ones who made you rich, you hoard it.
You are a socialist.
And you are a lame brain. You’re infected with a sickness and I don’t think any cure will work for you.
Sir, I think you should leave.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sayonara monkey-boy. Enjoy what’s left of your pathetic life. Shamus snapped his fingers and disappeared.
Suddenly the pain in my chest returned, worse than before, and I fell to the floor clasping my chest. And that’s where you find me now, in the last moments of my wretched life, wishing I had listened to a talking cat.