The Thrilling Finale of My Soap Opera, “Decadence”

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11. To recap: Bryan figured out the identity of the serial killer, Sebastien Van Der Miles, one second too late. Now he’s been kidnapped. Meanwhile, Nolan Tracktenberg III has been doing things. Remember him? He’s been in a bunch of these. Kendra’s brother. Cool guy.

“So,” continued Nolan Tracktenberg III to the room of investors, “My tech startup will divest the market through intense divestiture. This has never been done before!”

“That’s all well and good,” screamed a potential investor, “But how can we trust that you’ll follow through on these promises?”

“Through intense group collaboration with the facilitation of conciliatory post-electoral factors!” yelled Nolan back.

The investor was taken aback by this impressive young man. Egg on his face.

“I guess my next question,” the embarrassed investor continued, “Is where do I sign?”

Nolan smiled and flashed his pearly-white teeth to the investors before pulling a large contract out of his pocket and announcing, “Right here, gentlemen!”


Bryan woke up chained to a chair. His vision was blurry. He felt the familiar post-rohypnol hangover. A young Japanese man in a designer suit paced back and forth in front of him.

“Sebastien Van Der Miles,” slurred Bryan, “It was you all along.”

Sebastien let out a nervous chortle and turned back to Bryan.

“Oh good,” Sebastien began, “I thought I’d accidentally killed you.”

“It’ll take more than a roofie to take down this old dog,” growled Bryan, “Was it all you, this entire time? Helga—your mother, Powell—your father, Manuel—your lover, Miles—your brother, Stacy, Kreezy, the King of Europe! All this murder! All this bloodshed!”

Sebastien laughed hysterically and walked to a nearby mirror and snorted a rail of cocaine before strutting back to Bryan and screaming, “POWELL! How else to attract the attention of the great Bryan Mantis—the man who blew up the moon—than taking down America’s foremost shipping magnate. I knew you wouldn’t be able to resist the mystery!”

“But that’s just one person!” barked Bryan back, “Why did you kill Miles? Manuel? WHY DID YOU KILL MY WIFE?!”

Sebastien let out a high-pitched giggle and appeared to convulse in delight before continuing, “Because after I killed Powell I realized, I really realized, I realized I LOVED IT! The power, the rush, the support, the look on Manuel’s face—“

Bryan cut off Sebastien by screaming, “You’re sick!”

“No Bryan. I am alive.”

A deafening silence fell over the room as Sebastien began to pace. He ran to the armoire and grabbed a large knife and held it to Bryan’s neck.

“You know what I would have done differently, Bryan? You know what I would have changed?”

Bryan’s eyes widened and he gritted his teeth but nonetheless asked, “What?”

Sebastien’s eyes widened reciprocally to the size of small discs, he leaned sensually in to Bryan’s ear and screamed, “I would have eaten them.”


The interview laughed casually and leaned to the side and asked, again, “So, Mr. Tracktenberg III. Obviously your tech startup is revolutionary, but is it a game-changer?”

“Total game-changer. People are going to be saying Jesus Christ, Steve Jobs, Nolan Tracktenberg III. Nobody changed the game like the three of us,” Nolan whispered sultrily.

“And just how will this happen?”

“Synergy,” Nolan announced to rapturous applause.


“But why did you want my attention in the first place?” asked Bryan as Sebastien did more cocaine.

“Is it really important?” asked Sebastien casually.

“Look, you’re going to kill me, clearly, just have the decency to let me know!” murmured Bryan deceptively.

Sebastien sprinted back over to Bryan and bellowed, “Look in my eyes Mantis!”

Bryan tried to meet Sebastien’s frantic and clouded gaze and when he looked in Sebastien’s green, Japanese eyes he saw something shocking. He saw himself.

Susan? She… she kept it?” asked Bryan in pure shock.

“That’s right DAD. She kept the baby DAD. Then she left the baby DAD. And now I have some… problems.” screamed Sebastien somewhere in-between fear and trembling.

“I didn’t know. I would have loved you.”

Sebastien laughed whispered gently, “Frankly dear, I don’t give a damn. I just wanted you to know exactly why when I gut you like a naughty fish.”

Sebastien grabbed the knife and stabbed Bryan in the abdomen.


“What separates your tech startup from other tech startups?”

“We’re pivoting to disrupt establish industry and, in doing so, cornering the market!” yelled Nolan Tracktenberg III.

Everyone went crazy.


Sebastien grabbed his knife out of Bryan and stabbed him again. Tears streamed down Sebastien’s face. He was utterly euphoric.

“The next one,” squeed Sebastien through laughs of pleasure, “Goes for your heart!”

Sebastien readied his knife for the killing blow and prepared to end it all when they heard a gentle rustle in the room.

Bryan’s eyed widened and he yelled with joy, “Rupert!”

That’s right, Rupert the turtle sprinted in the room, nodded to Bryan as if to say I’d never leave my best friend behind and gently nipped Sebastien in the back of the ankle, completely incapacitating him.

“Good boy!” yelled Bryan as Rupert undid all his chains. Bryan grabbed his gun from his holster and walked over to Sebastien, who was, by this point, a crying heap in the middle of the floor.

He cocked the gun and was ready to shoot when Rupert nudged Bryan’s arm and shook his head, as if to say Killing him won’t bring Helga back. Don’t let him make you a murderer.

Bryan laughed and holstered the weapon, though not before giving Sebastien a swift kick in the ribs.

“You’re not worth it,” yapwed Bryan through gritted teeth.

“It’s you or me Mantis!” screamed Sebastien through tears, “Even if you lock me away, I’ll find a way out.”

Bryan chuckled heartily, “Haven’t you seen the papers? President-elect Von Puter? That man you killed, Vanderbilt, he was her one true love. You’re never even going to see the inside of a cell.”

The entire CIA streamed into the basement Sebastien had kidnapped Bryan to and turned to Bryan and said, “Thank you for your help, Mr. Mantis. We can take it from here. Thank you, too, Rupert. President Obama is going to see that you’re both awarded a Medal of Valour.”

The CIA saluted Bryan and Rupert as they left the room, together and alive.


Bryan and Rupert walked together to the grave. It read: HELGA MATTERHORN VAN DER MILES MANTIS. Right beside it were additional graves for Amy, Bryan’s first wife, and Dexter, with whom Amy was pregnant.

Bryan put down his badge and his gun. It was over.

“I hope I made you proud,” Bryan whispered glumly to the graves.

Rupert cuddled up to Bryan, as if to say You know you did.

A single tear rolled down Bryan’s cheek as he continued, “I know you’ll all always be with me.”

That was true. He felt their presence every second of every day and he knew, with that confidence, he was able to move into the exciting opportunity of new tomorrow, whatever that may be.

Bryan held Rupert in his arms and the two best friends looked up the sky.

The sun was coming up.


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