He was angry. More than angry. A burning hatred of everything he had become. A hatred of all other people, to blame for this situation. He reached for a bottle to block it out. Vodka did not burn anymore. He could not smell the alcohol anymore.

He sat back and let the glow extinguish the self loathing. The booze helped to block out the shame. It was the only thing that made sense. The only thing that did not judge.

His father’s voice invaded his thoughts, “Trust is everything.” His wife’s voice joined it, “Are you listening to me?” His mother’s voice, “You are killing yourself. You are killing your wife. You are killing me.”

He poured more vodka over the voices, until they drowned.   He was in the banking system. Money keeps them quiet. Money keeps people happy. Just one more time, he could flip this one. No one would notice. The money was his anyway, on paper. He had not been able to pay his staff from the office account for months. Fake invoices had hidden it from the other part of the firm. The shame, the shame, the shame. He had to keep it secret. He had to keep up the veneer. The veneer, which was daily corroded by vodka.

Now what was he going to spend it on to cheer himself up. He worked so hard, he deserved it.