My name is Paul Madsen, the year is 2023, and I’m a software maintenance tech for the US federal government. I work in the new Personnel Department that was created after the massive cuts to government in 2017. I live alone with my dog, Lilly, I have dinner with my foster mother once a month, and I’m an active supporter of Transitions, a foundation that helps foster children who age out of the system. My life was simple, but lonely, until I was assigned the creation of the replacement database, a trove of information that proved irresistible to me.
Yet it wasn’t just access to the information that set me off in a completely new direction. It was the concomitant attention of a beautiful co-worker named Camille. She flirted with me and gave me a glimmer of hope. You really can’t blame me for falling for her. Any guy would. But I started to think I had a chance with her…if only I could make a few changes.
Those changes involved cosmetic surgery, a prohibitively expensive luxury for a federal tech guy. Improving my looks was something I always wanted but never thought I could afford. Then suddenly I had access to valuable information, and I realized I knew how to sell and manipulate that data. Camille gave me a strong motivation to make it happen. So I went for it.
The arrangements seemed harmless enough in the beginning. I picked employees who needed to be fired anyway, and I sold their jobs to someone who wanted the pay raise and the high-end med card. Sending the emails and meeting the targets for the cash drops were the most terrifying and exciting things I’ve ever done.
The cash bought me a new face: a nose job, a chin implant, and caps on my teeth. You should see me now. I don’t cringe when I look in the mirror any more. But there aren’t many mirrors in prison, so my new face won’t mean much if I get caught. For right now, I like the way I look and people notice me, but I’m not sure I like who’ve I’ve become.
I worry that I’m going to regret all of it. (Except the sex with Camille.) I never meant to hurt anyone. Along the way to getting what I wanted, I experienced some painful personal setbacks. I didn’t realize how much the grief had changed me until it was too late. I hope you’ll read my story and understand how I got here…and not hate me for it.
The Give Away
1 e-copy of the book
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