Thoughts Like Embers by Alex Alm

“No no, shoot!”

 

Alfred Dahler sprinted through the office, papers flying out of his arms like autumn leaves in the wind.

 

“Calm. Positive. Positive thoughts attract positive energy.”

 

The voice spoke softly, but with an automated emptiness. It rang throughout the whole building; quiet enough to speak over, but just loud enough to be annoying. A constant ringing.

 

Sweat beaded on his brow and began to trickle down his face, creating rivers throughout his wrinkles. He was panicked, or something, he didn’t know exactly, he had never felt this way.

 

Calm. Positive energy. That’s how the world worked. If you thought positive, good things came to you. But then how could this be happening? Was someone thinking negative? Was it his fault?

 

Alfred reached his bosses door and vigorously pounded on the large oak frame. There was a slight shuffling of papers, a squeak of a chair rolling out, and a shuffling of feet, like socks dragging across a carpet. They shuffled as he continued to pound.

 

“Mr. Carlson! Mr. Carlson! Please would you hurry to the-”

 

The door opened gently, slowly revealing Mr. Carlson’s big round baldhead. His face had a slight pinkish hue to it and his mouth was strung up in its usual grin. Deep canyon like creases ran throughout his cheeks and emerged from his forehead, signs of a happy man, or at least one that smiled a lot.

 

“Alfred hello,” He said in a warm, positive tone. “You look unkempt, what’s problem?”

 

“They’ve found out sir-”

“Found what out? Please try to be positive and explain to me what’s happened. I can feel your negativity.”

 

Alfred pushed past his boss into the office and hurried to the large wall-sized window. He peered out, checking the busy streets below. Nothing.

 

“Calm.”

 

“They’ve found out about all of our transactions, all of the money we’ve stolen. They know about every single one.”

 

He hopelessly slumped to the floor, head in his hands, the city in the background, a pale blue tint reflected on the floor.

 

Mr. Carlson shuffled across his office over to Alfred Dahler, arms out, grin just as wide as ever.

 

“Alfred, Alfred, its ok.” He said, placing his hand on Alfred’s shoulder. “Just keep thinking positive and only good things can happen. Now why don’t you stand up, put on a smile, and just go home. You can have the rest of the day off, does that sound good?”

 

Alfred Dahler let out a sigh, took in a deep breath and slowly rose to his feet. He put his nose inches from Mr. Carlson’s, both men exchanging gazes; one robotically smooth, the other hard and unforgiving, but at least it was something.

“You don’t understand,” his words thick and weighted, “We ran this economy, and every dollar we said we had was a lie. Now everyone knows they’re broke, we’ve crashed it. And you think positive thoughts will fix this?”

 

Mr. Carlson stood unmoving; his pinkish hue had turned bright red. He was no longer smiling, but only his lips parted, the wrinkles remained, positivity forever etched in his face. He jammed his long bony fingers into Alfred’s chest and his lips began to move, but as he was about to speak he heard a distant scream, and a waft of smoke fancied his nostrils.

 

“You see,” Alfred chuckled and glanced over his left shoulder. People were shouting, and as the orange glow of a car fire washed his face he could see fights breaking out on the streets, “the mobs will kill us before the police even get a chance to arrest us.”

 

“Positive.”

 

Mr. Carlson’s bony fingered turned into two bony fists that clutched bunches of Alfred’s shirt, “It was you! You did this!” He screamed, violently shaking Alfred and slamming him into the window, “You and your damned negativity! How dare you bring those thoughts in here!” The window cracked, and the crack continued to grow with each continuous slam, “Get out! Get out get out get-” The window shattered, turning into snow. Alfred looked down as he fell into the sea of people, an orange glow reflecting from the shards, turning them into embers, bathing his face the whole way.

 

“Positive thoughts attract positive energy.”