She hadn't meant to kill three people. She hadn't even meant to harm or frighten three people but there it was. The carpet color was where it all began to go wrong. The office buildings hadn't been updated properly since the 1950s. She'd been chipping away at it a little bit with the leftover funds every year taking it from ghastly grey dungeon to a place that people would actually want to work. New furniture that didn't leave you with a sore back and aching wrists from improperly placed keyboards. More power outlets. Wifi that actually worked (she'd never seen her employees so happy as the day that they weren't all scrabbling to tether their multiple devices to the network).
The improvements hadn't gone smoothly though. The building was under multiple safety code violations which made the contractors difficult to work with. They always wanted to add more and more expensive things to the budget. Surely the fire sprinklers should be coming out of the building owner's budget. Then there were electrical problems and structural problems. But changing mundane things like those things didn't make for happy employees. Tangible comforts did, and so that was what she pushed for.
The latest round of renovations had been exasperating. The carpet installations had been delayed half a dozen times. The new blinds for the conference room had been lost on a UPS truck somewhere in Pennsylvania. And the project manager she had been relying on simply stopped returning calls. Hearing that the carpet had finally shown up was a pleasant surprise that made her a little less hellbent on getting home to a migraine pill and a cold beer. But it was the wrong color. The wrong fucking color. How hard did this have to be?
"Why didn't you text me?"
Her right hand employee was surlier and more tired than usual and appeared to be assing off on some website transcribing War and Peace for all she knew.
"It's the same carpet."
"It's NOT. It's lighter. Much lighter. Come here and look."
They stood on the offending slightly-too-brown squares in the conference room where the apologetic carpet installer had already been raked over the coals.
"Maybe the rest of it's just dirty."
"Don't be silly it can't be that dirty."
She didn't know why she bothered. All she had wanted to do was make a change. Make an impact. She wanted to use these last two years before she retired to achieve what she had dreamed of for thirty-five years of workforce drudgery: being a boss that people would remember as really getting something done. And every irritating simpleton she was working with had to argue with her or try to impede things.
"So the carpet's the wrong color and this thing...this damn thing is still here," she grumbled yanking on the tattered old window blind. The din was resounding and she would have stared in wide-eyed shock if she hadn't had to snap her eyes shut from the cloud of dust that now permeated the room. Her right hand employee was doubled over coughing and the carpet installer was completely coated in debris. The window blind had finally given way after forty or so years of use and had come crashing to the floor, bringing a small cascade of ceiling tiles with it, several of which cracked as they hit the floor.
She fulfilled her dream that day, but not in the way she had expected. She would be remembered as the boss that made an impact, mostly by the families of the carpet installer and her right hand employee whose lungs had now been permeated with a twisting fibrous miasma of asbestos.