And to this day, she still can't breathe.
rating: +45+x

WARNING:

THIS TALE'S CONTENT INCLUDES ADDICTION AND SELF-HARM.


The worst thing I ever saw? That's easy.

After I finished up with SCP-245, I didn't have a job, and I bounced around a bit while the higher ups tried to figure out what to do with me. For about a year in '07 I was working in human resources at Site-88.

We worked at an adjunct site in Bay Minette, with the daycare department. There were HR guys onsite as well, obviously, but we handled the bulk of the paperwork and processing offsite. HR has to deal with families more often than not, and childcare is a pretty great benefit for employees, so it worked out.

There was this one woman, I always remembered her because she had this haughty stance every time she came in. Puffed out her chest, came in to demand this or that and drop her kids off. She had two of them, an adorable 6 year old girl and 9 year old boy. She was never rude, but she was definitely proud and a little demanding.

Her husband was an MTF Agent at Site-88. He was 53, two years off optional retirement and seven off mandatory reassignment. I only met him a few times, at company functions, but it was like he was leaking sunshine out of his ears every time. Loud, boisterous, but never a bully. He'd been with the Foundation for almost 30 years, and he'd kept his good nature the entire time. No one ever had a bad thing to say about the guy.

Then he got reassigned to 110 Montauk. It wasn't a punishment, it was just a matter of accounting. My boss always used to call it that when a critical project was short on people. "Just a matter of accounting". Like that made it better. I remember the moment the guy got told, I saw it through the window. He didn't argue, or anything. He did shrink a little. I was used to seeing that. HR had that effect on people.

He came back a month later after a full course of amnestics but it was like he'd left something behind. I talked to him at the July 4th company event. He was with his MTF buddies and they were laughing about an old mission. The spark was definitely gone. If that was all… I think he might've been fine.

A month later he took a bullet to the knee in a firefight with the Insurgency. They stuck him on desk duty during his recovery and prescribed Percocet for the pain. Nobody thought too much of it. The guy was a drinker but nothing serious. And besides, he had a family. Even if it was unlikely, the guy was gonna work as hard as he could to get back into the field.

The problem with treating addiction like a moral failing is that you can't see how a "good man" could end up strung out on pills. We got better, because of stuff like this, but it was the mid-2000s and we just weren't there yet.

He failed a drug test two months later for Oxy and Vicoden. He ended up on supervised leave for a few months. And that was literally all we did. No drug treatment programs. No counseling. We just told him to take a couple months off and get his shit together. We also cut him off from the Percocet.

He came back just before Christmas, clean. My boss figured that was the end of it, guy was a good soldier and close to retirement. We'd just keep him chained to a desk until he hit 55 and make his voluntary retirement a bit more forced.

A week later he failed another drug test. Had heroin on him. We put him on leave again, this time without pay. And my boss started talking about how we couldn't keep this guy on the payroll. I believe the word "degenerate" was thrown around more than once.

The guy went home that day and tried to use the roof of his mouth as a pistol silencer.

My boss said the problem had solved itself. Then the guy's wife came in with her kids. I didn't hear what happened until afterward, but because he had violated the terms of his employment, he'd lost his pension, and his life insurance was voided because it was a suicide.

Let me just say that while I disagreed with the policy, I at least understood it. Suicide is serious, and for lack of a better word, contagious. Site-42 lost half a dozen people just last year before they got the situation under control. Back in '07, part of the policy was that if you killed yourself, you family got nothing. It was supposed to be a deterrent.

So there this woman was, standing tall and puffed up, and she just broke. It was like she'd been replaced by a smaller version of herself. She'd just lost her husband, and I would bet she still hadn't processed that, much less the rest. We got the kids out of the room and I stayed with the wife for the rest of the day while she tried to get herself together.

I put in for a transfer the next day.

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