All Stories, General Fiction

Shrodinger’s Choice By Hugh Cron



Two men walked towards the elevator. The older man took out two key cards and gave one to his son.

“I promised you that I would take you into the tower when you reached twenty-five.”

“I was fed up asking.”

“Dennis, you have worked hard over the last eight years. I am proud of how quick you have picked up on the businesses I run, sorry, we run. You are my son and my partner and I had to make sure that you would be able to handle what you are about to see.”

His father stepped back and Dennis swiped his card.

“You also need to punch in a number, it is easy remembered, it’s a thousand.”

Dennis typed in the number and the door opened. They stepped in and the lift began to move upwards. There were no floor numbers.

“Only you and I have keys to the entry door. And only you and I have cards and the number for the elevator. No-one can ever breach this building, not from here.”

Dennis tried to hide his excitement from his father. He had seen the tower many times, it was there all through his childhood and his curiosity had caused tantrums but his father stood firm.

The doors opened and they were in a white corridor with a stainless steel door facing them. Beside that there was a leather couch and a small bar with Brandy and Malt and one very old dusty bottle of champagne.

“Malt or Brandy? We have not yet had reason to open the champagne.”

“Brandy please dad.”

The man poured out two large measures and pointed to the couch. They both sat.

“Cheers Dennis, and here is to you taking over.”

They clinked glasses.

“Now a few things that you need to know before we open the door. Firstly we are thirty feet up from the room below us. We open that door and walk onto a caged balcony. The wall all around is stainless steel. No-one can get near to us. Everyone else enters from the door down below.”

Dennis’ heart was beating faster.

“Now listen to what I have to say and don’t interrupt. Do you understand?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. I have made a lot of money. I have done very well for us as a family and to be truthful, your children and their children are all set up for life. So, I wanted to give something back. I decided twenty years ago on an idea to help the less fortunate. Resources, logistics and personnel, I will go into later. Anyway, I decided I would give our homeless a chance for a few days or weeks at a better life. There are fifty volunteers each year and they can leave the room with a grand each. I know it isn’t much, but it is food and shelter for a while, or even a deposit if they can sort themselves out with a private let, it would be up to them. They are also told if they use their heads, there is more money to be made.”

The old man took a sip of his drink. Dennis did the same but knew not to question.

“All they have to do is enter the room and stay in there for an hour. They are advised to climb up the monkey bars that are attached to the wall. Oh, there are fifty, one for each of them. They are not even that high, about twelve feet. Attached to the wall at the top is an envelope with a grand in it. And beside it there is a hunting knife. Now that is how they can make more money. The knives are valued at over two hundred pounds each. So they could all climb up, get their envelope and take the knife with them to be sold. Twelve hundred pounds for an hours work. It is easy and everyone could be happy.”

Dennis took another sip of his drink and waited for his father to speak.

“Well? What do you think?”

“I think I know why the champagne hasn’t been opened.”

His father smiled and gestured for Dennis to open the door.


Hugh Cron

8 thoughts on “Shrodinger’s Choice By Hugh Cron”

    1. Thanks so much Vic. When I look through all stories and all comments, I am so happy to see you here. You are not only an excellent writer, you are a very generous contributor.
      Your continual support is much appreciated.


  1. Creepy, unsettling, weird, disturbing…the list goes on. But of course I would have to add enjoyable, well-written, thought provoking and clever. Nicely done Hugh – up there with your best I’d say 🙂


    1. I have always liked weird. It is so much more blatant than ‘Individual’. As I have said to Tobias, this was one of those stories that evolved. I don’t know if it is laziness but there is something so satisfying when the story tells you what to write.
      Thank you so much for those very generous adjectives…Or attributes??? (Especially the weird!)
      All the very best my friend.


    1. Thanks so much June. It is sad that it is an understanding on some humans and greed that wrote this story. Although, I chose a specific group, I reckon the same could have been written for anyone. I was being a bit easier on the acceptance of the act as desperation was considered and not just greed.
      So happy to hear from you!


  2. Great story, Hugh. One of my favourites of yours. The understated story – keeping the title in mind – works so effectively in this (and your others!). Sadistic and creepy from the POV of the characters and cynical from a meta-perspective. What does this piece say about humanity? Very interesting!
    ATVB my friend


    1. ‘Sadistic and creepy’, I think my mother used those words to describe me once. She still wonders where her budgie went!!
      Thank you Tobias. This was one of those stories that evolved. I started up with an act of kindness and sharing but when I began to think of some of the more realistic and nasty traits of human nature, the rest wrote itself.
      All the very best my friend. Thanks as always.

      Liked by 1 person

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