First of all: This happened way back in 2002 and to a colleague to me, who referred the story to me. I have not been able to confirm it. I believe it to be true.
This happens back in a time where there were still a lot of people that thought of IT and programming as the pass-time of nerds and not real work.
I worked at a salt mine call center doing Internet support and had a collegue that ran a development business on the side, trying to build it to support him.
He got an order for a small program from a large power company (revenue around $500 million), by far the largest company around. A price was agreed, a contract drawn (he had lawyers in his extended family that had helped him draw up a good standard contract) and signed by a authorised part in the large power company. He developed the program, delivered it and even got a sign-off that he had delivered to satisfaction.
Then he sent the bill.
And did not get any money.
He contacted the manager who had signed the contract, who said he had authorized the payment, but that it was stuck with his manager.
The higher manager had looked at the bill and basically said “This is not real work, we’re not paying.” The fact that my colleague was 18 and a one-man business (and not even full-time) probably made him think he could get away with it. My colleague send reminders of his invoices but did not get the money. When he finally managed to get through to the higher manager and was told that they would not pay, he threatened action, to which the higher manager replied something “Well, you can try. We have a legal team and a lot of resources.”
My colleague, fuming, did not admit defeat though.
Instead of suing the large power company in civil court (which would have taken time and been expensive), he went the courts and started bankruptcy proceedings against the power company. He knew he had no chance to win, as the company had plenty of assets, but he had his contract and his invoices, which was enough evidence to start bankruptcy proceedings.
The problem for the power company? They traded electricity and heating production certifications and CO2 permissions a lot, as was and is standard among power companies here. And just having bankruptcy proceedings against them affected their credit score, potentially costing them millions in interests and higher pay for certifications and permissions, as other companies and authorities would be less willing to sell to a company with non AAA-credit rating.
My colleague was paid very quickly with the understanding that he would withdraw his bankruptcy request, which he did.
Ex-wife tries to take everything from me, then asks me if I would be kind enough to take some of her clothes to her.
(warning: long story)
This is kind of a two-fer. First, when my ex-wife and I were still married, she got mad at me for “ruining” her clothes by washing them. She told me, “If you can’t separate my clothes properly, I don’t want you washing them at all.” My ex was a really entitled person who had never lived on her own, aside from living with me, she’d only ever lived at home with her parents where everything was done for her. Her mom didn’t cook or clean or do anything, either. They had a maid for that (and still do). When she told me she didn’t want me washing her clothes, I said, “Okay.” She said, “I’ll just do them myself.” She never did. She complained that I didn’t separate her clothes properly, but in a previous discussion, I’d pointed out that she wants me to separate her clothes for her, but she doesn’t even separate her pants from her underwear. She took them off in what I called “fireman style.” She took them off all at once, leaving the pants inside out with the underwear still attached to them, like a fireman’s pants and boots.
My best friend was a girl crammed in my ninth grade locker.
My best friend in the sixth grade was a girl I met in my locker.
I met her in the middle of the term. Never knew how she got into my locker. Strangely enough, the night before I found her, I couldn’t manage to get to sleep. You see, my area was notorious for being loud at night. Disco parties, car alarms going off, that sort of thing. Dad never managed to find much work, and so we were stuck where we were. That night was especially loud. First was the shouting. That didn’t really scare me, but what did get me was the sound of glass shattering. Screaming followed. Then silence. I was too scared to go to sleep, all I could do was huddle under my blanket. I passed out sometime around midnight.
The first thing I did when I woke up that morning was run full pelt down the staircase. Mum and Dad were in the kitchen. Dad was hanging up decorations to get ready for the Christmas season, and Mum was laying on the couch, fast asleep and snoring.
“Don’t wake her up,” my Dad told me. “She’s down with the flu. No lunch today, mate. You know I can’t cook.”
I got to school just in time for the late bell and rushed to my locker. It was tiny, about the size of a torso. Fumbling with the key, I struggled to unlock it. The lock was old, rusty and the complete opposite of pliable. Finally, I got it open and swung it wide open.
She was crammed into the locker. Her necked look broken, her back pushed against the bottom of the locker and her neck twisting up at the corner. Her thighs were on the opposite side to her head, going up the side, and lead to knees that were impossibly broken, bent in a right angle to run along the top of the locker, then broken again in the middle of the tibia in another right angle.
She looked like an irregular shape out of a demented geometry textbook. It made me sick to my stomach to look at her deformed, crippled shape. She didn’t seem in pain. It surprised me more that she was alive. Stiffly, she turned her head to face me, and blinked.
“Hello,” she said.
I looked behind me. Dozens of students passed behind me. None of them seemed to care. I looked back at the locker. Her eyes were still on me, expectant. Her skin was bleached, her hair a solid dead black, like her eyes.
“Do you need help?” I was still in shock.
“No, I’m not the one who does.”
The minutes ticked by as we stared at each other, in a deadlock.
“My name’s Peter,” I whispered.
She just stared.
“Uh, I’m Peter,” I struggled to think of something to say about me. I struggled to latch onto any memory. My mind had become a haze, I couldn’t focus. Usually, I was good at coping under stress. I said the only thing I could think of, “I have a geography test next lesson that I didn’t study for.”
“You… You look nice.” She did. Despite being broken and battered, crammed into my locker, her face was beautiful. Asian, somewhat.
A smile slowly crept on her face.
“Is it okay if I…” I started, gesturing to the locker door.
“No matter,” she replied, the smile disappearing from her face.
I closed the door just as the first bell for lessons rang.
I did my geography test blindly. Didn’t know a single answer. I didn’t go to my locker the rest of the day either, didn’t see her. I couldn’t keep any books there anyway, and my mind was too hazy to remember anything but the present moment.
The next day, Dad was still preparing the Christmas decorations, Mum was still sick. Dad said if her cold kept up we might have to take her to a doctor.
Before the first bell, I went to my locker once again. I slowly tried to insert the key into the lock. It was like trying to fit a thread through a needle. Gingerly, I swung open the door. She was still there.
“Hello,” she said once more.
I tried to ask her questions. Each time I did, she looked at me like I was speaking a different language. She looked confused, like her mind was as hazy as mine. But she was smiling. Not so much that it was noticeable, but a slight joy seemed to play on her lips. In the end, I said goodbye, closed the door and went on my way.
I aced the test.
First break rolled around and I went back to my locker. No one was around. That was alright, though. Some people had started giving me funny looks as I spoke to her, before lessons.
“Did you do that?” I asked.
Her smile grew wider. She nodded vigorously, to the full extent that her broken, twisted neck would allow.
That was the beginning. I’d ask her for small favours, tests and whatnot. No matter what I wrote down on the paper, even outright silly gibberish, it came back replaced with a perfect answer. She liked talking about me. It made her happy, I guess, to know someone outside her tiny space. Besides, she didn’t know anything about herself. As the days went by, her smile grew wider and wider.
The day before Christmas, I asked her for something special. There was another girl, Sarah was her name. She was really pretty, and I think she liked me too. I didn’t have the courage to ask her to be my girlfriend.
When I told my new friend, her smile, which had become so wide, completely disappeared. My gut wrenched at the sight. I wanted to apologise, but she nodded. I hesitantly closed the door and left.
I couldn’t go home just yet. I had to stay on after school… for something. I couldn’t quite remember what. Maybe it was homework? Did I have detention? No, it couldn’t be that, I was an obedient student. My memory had started to struggle as well. That afternoon was just an indecipherable mess in my head.
Christmas morning. I woke up and rushed down the stairs, burst into the living room.
Dad was hanging by a rope slung across the ceiling fan, his skin a pale white, criss-crossed with dark purple veins, his eyes popping out of their sockets. Mum had been thrown on the couch, splayed out, caked in blood and glass fragments, starting to rot as well. The stench of decay invaded my nostrils, overloading my head. Neurons that were never meant to fire did.
I stood still. Then blinked.
Dad was midway through hanging the Christmas decorations. He stopped to stare at me.
“You all right, chap? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
My eyes darted to Mum. Asleep, snoring. My repressed breath slid through my gaping lips.
“I’m sorry, sport. Ol’ Nick didn’t stop by yet. I have to finish up the decorations, see? He’ll have stopped by once you come home.”
I went to school, dismissing what I saw. My head was still acting up, after all. Minor hallucination, see?
I know, school on Christmas? It was a programme that my parents had enrolled me in. Education throughout holidays. We didn’t have television or anything fun at home, and I really did like school. It was just, these days, my head was felt… strange.
I couldn’t stay scared for long, I had to go see my new friend. I couldn’t get the key in the lock fast enough. I threw the door open, and it banged against another locker.
I fell back on the ground and started screaming. Heads turned, more screams erupted from the flow of people behind me. Books were dropped, people stood stock still.
Her neck crooked around the corner, tibia broken, back against the bottom of the locker. A pool of blood which had stagnated within flowed freely to the floor.
I’m still shaking, I can’t believe what happened just now.
I was on the trip to the supermarket from work today on my bus, listening to my ipod and not paying much attention to anything.
As we were stopping at one of the bus stops in Wakefield, a girl in the back started screaming. I took my headphones off, looked back and saw her pointing out the window, and I followed her stare.
Out in an unfenced cul-de-sac were 3 guys. Two of them standing, one of them was on the ground coverd in blood. The taller of the two men had a baseball bat and was about ready to smash it into his head again, when they realised a whole busload of commuters were looking at them. The bus driver started radioing in a 911 call, and then I saw the other man, who hadn’t been doing anything, take a pistol out of his pocket and he shot the guy in the fookin head! The gun sounded really loud in that quiet suburban street.
At this point the whole bus was in shock and glued to the windows of the bus. The two men got into a tinted windowed BMW and sped off. When I came home I was visibly shaken. I told my mum what I had just seen.
Then my mum got scared, she said “You’re moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air.” I whistled for a cab and when it came near, the license plate said “Fresh” and it had dice in the mirror. If anything I could say that this cab was rare but I thought “Nah, forget it, Yo homes, to Bel-Air!” I pulled up to the house about seven or eight and I yelled to the cabby, “Yo homes, smell ya later!” I looked at my kingdom, I was finally there, to sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air.