Channels

George was asked in a way that wasn’t really asking to shuffle some company profits into the offshore account of a shadow firm. The company that employed him was to loan an unfeasibly large sum to a little known firm based in the British Virgin Islands. Then, George was to assign the rights to collect the repayment of the loan to another firm, for the conspicuous sum of $1. This firm would do the same for another offshore company, who would do the same for another, who would do the same for another, making the money difficult to trace, and by which point, the deed would have passed through so many hands that George’s fingerprint would be undecipherable.
George tended to do as he was told – a lingering trait from an unextraordinary childhood in which an underachieving father impressed his professional shortcomings on his son – but the task in question tested George’s obedient nature. His father was a policeman, whose upholding of the law surpassed vocational obligation to strangle every aspect of his life, so for George, swimming against the constitutional current was a cause for great concern. It gnawed at his sanity, while his lack of imagination meant that he could not envisage a future outside of the company building in which he presently sat.
As a man of protocol, George handed in his formal resignation and waited the four weeks it gave him before adding that he didn’t want to live anymore, it was bad for his health. The morning of his last day, George kissed his son’s forehead with a tenderness that comes only with doleful acceptance. A consequence of his own childhood, perhaps, George rarely pressured his son to do anything that he didn’t want to. Primary school was, for George’s boy, a close-knit series of paroxysms, which only took place at school thanks to the enduring will of his mother, Judith, who, borne from a premature fear of dying alone, married George when she was twenty-seven, convincing herself of the value of dependability.
Midway through George’s last paid month as a conscious entity, Judith realised that something was wrong. Her husband no longer paused for casual conversation between mouthfuls of food. He seemed to move self-consciously, like he never had before, as though he carried himself on his shoulders. His immaculate posture had slumped; his stiff upper lip sagged. She asked what the matter was but George just sank further into himself.
From his son’s bedroom, down the stairs and into the kitchen, he stroked his wife’s hair as she ate her morning cereal, and pecked her on the cheek. This warmed her bones. She knew that her husband’s glumness was temporary.
After his final shift, George took his stubborn little body to the top floor and stepped off, falling fourteen stories to a pavement covered with those tiny pieces of gravel, which embedded themselves in his knees and face and arms. A jiffy later, George’s knees and face and arms lost all convention.
Such an event troubled the CEO, who suddenly had to find a talented and corruptible accountant either somewhere in the company or from an accessible outsource post. Fortunately for him, under his roof was an employee of similar stature to George who had indebted himself and his family to online gambling. The new instrument, Hugh, channelled the money as the CEO saw fit. The penultimate link in a suspicious chain of transactions was an anonymous company based in Seychelles, which was affiliated with a confectionery business owned by the CEO.

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