027 - The Man Who Didn’t Come Home

Pushed to the edge of the precipice, he chose the ultimate get out clause.

Image by Dion Tavenier

Pushed to the edge of the precipice, he chose the ultimate get out clause.

Welcome to the Editor’s Journal; A daily thought on writing, the creative process, art, work, the world and how it all goes together. Every morning I rise early, I sit here in the quiet of my kitchen and I write whatever’s prominent. I have a bunch of article ideas saved, so I’ll either pull from them or write something new. I also write at larrygmaguire.com. I hope you enjoy the read.

Michael was admitted to A&E two weeks ago, unconscious. He was discovered by a passer-by slumped in a park bench on her way home from work.

To an ordinary eye he might not have represented anything unusual given that drunks regularly hang out in the park. But Catherine was not an ordinary eye, she was an off duty nurse and something didn’t feel right about this man.

His clothes were not that of a drunk, either was his face. She got off her bike and approached Michael, tried to get his attention, checked his vitals and so on.

He was alive but unconscious.

She called the paramedics and 30 mins later he was in the ICU on life support. The medical team discovered an empty container of Benzodiazepines in his jacket pocket and toxicology results confirmed extremely high levels of the antidepressant in his blood.

The ICU team did everything they could for Michael, but 5 days later he died. He left a wife and three young children behind.

The Back Story

The park bench where Michael was found is about 15 mins walk from the courthouse. He had attended a sitting of the court that day.

Banks were chasing Michael hard for cash he didn’t have. He did everything he knew to keep the pressure he was under from his family and friends. Nobody knew, not even his brother with whom he was very close.

Michael had it all planned in advance.

He’d take his mother’s antidepressants, she could always get more from her GP. She was forgetful and regularly lost her treatment. Besides, the doctors dish out these things like candyfloss at a fairground.

If the hearing didn’t go well he’d down the lot. He just needed to make sure he took enough that the job would be done right. A couple months dose in one go was bound to do the trick.

If he checked out then his debt would go with him and he’d spare his wife and children the indignity and shame of losing their home.

He’s also spare himself the embarrassment of failure. He loved his family but sticking around for the aftermath of this judgement just wasn’t worth that love.

Not An Uncommon Story

Banking organisations are ruthless in their pursuit of people. Sole trader or corporate entity, it doesn’t matter — they’ll come after you with every weapon at their disposal.

They use shady tactics too. Tactics that skirt the boundaries of the law, and even go beyond the law to pressure the individual to pay. I know this, I’ve spoken to legal people who have told me how they operate.

They don’t care about the person behind the number on the screen, all they see is the money the need to recover.

The individuals in these businesses, the clerks, the account managers, the senior managers, the legal professionals etc. justify their actions to themselves by hiding behind the machine.

They distance themselves from the reality of their unscrupulous and immoral behaviour by telling themselves they’re just doing their job, doing what they are told to do.

The job is more important than the people they push to the edge. They are robots in the machine.

Michael was an ordinary guy who took a chance to make a better life for himself and his family. It didn’t work out like so many deals during the boom years up to 2008.

I know how Michael must have felt. I’ve been in these dark places under pressure from these people.

I feel for his family now - his brother who didn’t know of his difficulty, and his wife who is left alone to raise her kids. His kids who have no Dad.

This machine is broken. It think it’s time we fixed it.

I’ve changed the names and some pronouns here and I’ve not mentioned the location either. But this story can be told the world over. It’s not unique but it is tragic and unnecessary. Banks chase people to the point of death and the legal system facilitates it. They are in cahoots and have been since the birth of these systems. The systems are built so that the big players win and if ordinary people die for them to get their poundage then so be it. I try not to form judgement of people because I know all people are inherently good, but the ones who work in these organisations and carry out the functions of these systems are facilitating the misery of their fellow human beings and I don’t fucking understand how they can do it. They are spineless creatures who set aside their humanity and conscience for the sake of a pay check. I really don’t know what to say…

It’s sad.

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Like Some More of This Kind of Thing?

Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write about art, creativity, business & marketing. When I’m not doing that I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.