Mental Breakdown by Christian Mike Simmons
In his quiet neighborhood of Newton, New Jersey, Adam Solomon began his day at his computer. He rifled through his emails in search of his next big fiction article. Most of the emails he received overnight appeared to be uninteresting. Approaching his last few emails, he came across a news article that caught his eye.
“Pedestrian Killed in a Hit-and-Run.”
As he read further, he noticed that the person was killed while on his cell phone and crossing the street on the way home from work. The man was wearing a navy blue suit and lived in the same neighborhood as Adam did. Toward the end of the article, the victim’s name was mentioned. Adam Solomon.
Shocked at first, then, after coming to his senses, figuring it was some kind of error, Adam finished his emails and began to get ready for work. He put on his navy blue suit, grabbed his briefcase, and headed out the door.
Adam lived a couple blocks away from his office at Simmons Syndications. Once inside, he went straight to work on an article that a client of his needed the next day. No matter how deep into the article he was, Adam could not shake off what he had read in the news article at home.
“Couldn’t be talking about me. Could it? ” Adam thought to himself. “I will be more cautious. That is all” Adam reasoned.
The day ended with Adam finishing the article ahead of schedule and emailing it back to his client. Satisfied that he did a job well done, he returned home. He never gave another thought to the article he had read.
As he walked home, Adam looked both ways before entering the street. So far so good. He quickly crossed the first street and made it to the other side safely.
“Humph. That was easy. Maybe the article was referring to someone who had my business card.” Adam thought to himself.
His cell phone rang as he approached the street that separated him from his house. He answered it, phone cut off. When he reached the center of the street, a car came barreling down the street. Quickly, Adam dove back to the sidewalk to avoid the speeding car.
“Wow. That was close.” Suddenly, Adam remembered the article about an incident just like this one except the person died.
Thoughts began rushing into Adam’s mind like an upset truck. Thoughts of how close that car came to killing him and how strange that article he read seemed to have predicted it.
For the remainder of the evening, Adam avoided his computer. He cleaned, watched television, read and went to bed.
“No news is good news.” He figured.
The next morning, Adam went to his computer like he did every morning. He gave no thought of the article and chalked it up to coincidence. Today was a day to be happy. Pay day has finally arrived. He went to his computer like he did every morning and he caught another article.
“Local Man Killed in Bank Robbery.”
He read on further that the victim was killed while attempting to calm a woman down. When the thief heard the soothing conversation, he shot the victim between the eyes and the victim died instantly. As he read further, the victim’s name was Adam Solomon.
“This has got to be some kind of joke. Seriously? I guess I will have to cash my check elsewhere.”
The remainder of the day went as usual. Answering clients, finishing projects, and heading for home.
On the way back home, he remembered he had a check to cash. He also remembered the article of impending doom. So, instead of going to the bank that he always went to, he decided to go several miles out of his way, and go to a different bank.
Upon entering the bank, everything looked normal. Not a single thing awkward or suggesting that any danger was about to happen. He met a beautiful young woman at the register and began to have a conversation with her. Then suddenly, a group of men wearing ski masks came in with pistols ablaze. Shocked, everyone hit the floor. Including Adam Solomon.
“All right this is a robbery!!” One of the men yelled. “Shut your mouths, do as we say, and no one visits the morgue today. Feet first.”
The woman whom he had such a delightful conversation with earlier, was crying hysterically as the men bagged up as much money as they could. Adam recalled the article he had read about the hysterical woman and the end result and chose to remain silent. Before leaving the bank, the armed men noticed the woman crying hysterically. They each looked at each other, looked at the woman, and shot her between the eyes, killing her instantly. After killing the woman, no one else made a sound as the men escaped.
After the police arrived and interviewed everyone at the bank, the patrons were allowed to return home. Shaken and traumatized by the events, Adam ran home and hid in his room for days.
A week later, Adam felt like his old self again and started his morning ritual all over again. He quickly glanced over his emails hoping not to find another news article concerning Adam Solomon. These articles had taken their toll on him. Fortunately, there were no news articles of doom.
The following day, Adam woke up feeling reenergized. No more articles, and no more stress. He walked over to his computer, turned it on and noticed he only had one untitled email. Curious about the contents, he decided to open the email.
“Local Man Impaled in Construction Mishap.”
He read further and learned that the building that stood on the same street as his job at Simmons Syndications, required reconstruction and the victim was impaled by a falling steel pole due to a malfunctioning crane. The victim’s name was Adam Solomon.
“Not again!!!” Adam screamed.
Rushing out of the house, he left his front door wide open. Out of breath, he finally made it to work.
“Did you see today’s news articles on the web?” Adam asked as he rushed up to the first person he saw.
“No. Why what was it?” The man responded.
“Never mind.” Adam replied as he found someone else to ask.
“Did you see today’s news articles on the web?” Adam asked gripping the woman’s coat sleeve.
“No and get off me!” The woman replied trying to get Adam from hanging on to her.
“This is impossible!!” Adam shouted. “There has to be someone here that saw the news article on the web today!!!”
Having heard the commotion, Adam’s boss quickly ran out of his office to investigate. Looking down the hall he saw Adam acting hysterically. Not knowing what was the matter, he went to Adam.
“Perhaps you need to take some time off to rest.” His boss said consolingly.
“Yea. You are right. Maybe just the pressures in finding new articles. I need a vacation.”
After leaving his office, Adam stood outside, took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. He took in the sights and the smells around him. All of a sudden, without warning came a sound of a chain breaking. Adam looked up, and found a steel pipe falling.
“This is just my…”
Before he could finish his thought, Adam was impaled through the mouth by the steel bar.
The next day, his home computer had another news article that was titled:
“Check and Mate.” But that was about a local chess tournament.”