A brief report in a national newspaper several years ago triggered the writing of The Fall.
The story below is an embellished account of an unfortunate domestic occurrence in Italy, that beautiful country where passions burn as fiercely as the sun.
I've changed the location and added pizza as a nod to the story's Italian origin.
When Robert Frobisher hurled himself from his third-floor balcony, he wanted to die. He wasn’t seeking revenge but he got it, along with two broken legs and a dislocated pelvis.
The day had started well for Robert. He’d kissed his lovely wife, Paula, slipped behind the wheel of his red Porche Boxter and roared away from his luxury ocean-front apartment to begin another day of financial shenanigans at Morton Whitworth, a leading firm of tax consultants.
One phone-call can change your life and the call Robert answered mid-morning changed his.
Truly sorry, Bob.
It’s been great, but, hey, ‘Corporate Downsizing’ and all that.
C’mon, cheer up, man. Shit happens!
Minutes later, Robert Frobisher was climbing back into the red Porche, which seemed suddenly less a status symbol, more a quagmire of exorbitant repayments.
The drive home was a blur, as Robert replayed the conversation with Walt Whitworth, muttering the things he ought to have told the old bastard. Dread crushed him like a great fist as he thought of the gigantic mortgage he could no longer pay and wondered how he’d break the news to Paula. Paula, his heart’s desire: sexy, vivacious, but not, he reflected, tolerant of failure. What the Hell could he tell her?
Arriving home, Robert took the elevator to his third-floor apartment and turned to stone. There was Paula, his perfect Paula, half-naked in the arms of a pizza delivery man. Uttering a howl of disbelief, Robert launched himself at the couple, who popped apart like two halves of a cracker, Pizza Man making a bee-line for the stairs.
Robert, never a violent man, felt his whole body convulse. It was as though every drop of blood in his sixteen-stone frame had turned to ice. Job, car, mortgage and now this. What was the bloody point? Something in him snapped. The door to the balcony stood open: beyond it, endlessly, the wide blue sea. All at once, Death seemed his perfect friend. Charging the balcony rail, Robert Frobisher jumped.
Pizza Man, exiting the apartment block, paused to fasten the zip on his jeans. Damn close call, he thought, as Robert landed on him like a meteor.