I grew up in Sydney, if you want to know the truth. I was the middle child of five children (two older brothers and two younger sisters). I had a happy childhood right up until the last few years, when my brothers and sisters turned on me.

I guess these feelings of betrayal started when I bid for a contract that I worked very hard for. I worked all my life as a public servant for a government agency. I won’t go into all the details as I do not want to and it’s not important. What is important is this. I am an expert on chairs. I have sat on them from 9 to 5 for the last 20 years, and the chairs I have sat on are very bad. I just knew I could make a better chair than these so called experts knew how to make, so in my spare time, I thought about what kind of chair I would have liked to sit on all these years. It was all I thought about.

I spent the next few years honing my technique, making samples, sketching out designs. I spent another year or two in my garage, banging away and designing the perfect chair. I was very happy with the design. I was thrilled, to tell you the truth. I would get a big government contract and people in every office building would be sitting on my chair. I asked around at work about whether they could use my chair in our office, you know, as a starting off point. They said that Phil (I can’t even mention his last name, so don’t even ask) was the person that I needed to ask, as he was the person that awarded the contracts for all the office furniture.

I handed in my submission to Phil and I waited, and waited, and waited. I felt like I was being followed the whole time I was waiting for Phil to get back to me about my chair. I had an uneasy feeling the whole time. That was until I approached him and asked him about my submission a great deal of time later, and he casually said that another company who bid had been awarded the contract to refit the office, and then he walked off.

Just like that.

I was convinced that there was something not quite right about this or about Phil. I believed he was pretending to be someone that he was not. I was convinced he did some background checks on me. What he was trying to find out I do not know.

I am positive that he had me followed around by a private investigator and that he somehow managed to bug my computer to get all my designs of my chairs and not pay me for them.

This all started because of Phil. If he had just given me the damn contract like I deserved, none of this would have ever happened.

After the divorce, my wife said I was behaving irrationally and wanted me to seek help as she said that I was becoming obsessive (what did she know about it?). She was probably in cahoots with Phil? How else would he know where I was all the time if she did not let him know? She was the only person who knew me and where I was, so it had to be her. We did not have any kids (thank God), so she could not poison their minds against me.

We sold the house and I got half the money. My brothers and sisters were concerned for me; they thought I would not know how to manage my affairs and that I would “waste” my money. In my mind, there was nothing wasteful about trying to uncover Phil as a fraud. I needed hard evidence about who Phil really was, and I was glad for the money and the opportunity to do so.

I went to the police a few times and they did not believe me. I said Phil needed to be put in jail and that he was pretending to be someone he was not and that he was secretly following my every move and I needed to put out a restraining order on him. They said I had no evidence to suggest that Phil was doing anything untoward against me.

They must have been in on it, too. They were obviously covering up for him. I knew it went deep, but I could not believe he had the police in his pocket as well. That was when I knew I had to hire a private investigator of my own to find out more. The money for the sale of the house came through and against the wishes of my brothers and sisters (he must have gotten to them as well he was that good.)

I hired a private investigator.

The private investigator did not turn up much, although he did give me Phil’s wife’s phone number. That was something, although, when I called her, she pretended she did not know who I was and what I was talking about.

She even pretended not to know about my chair designs and why Phil did not give me the contract. I told her that I had not been able to work since I did not get the contract. I worked long and hard on my designs and that there must be something going on. She hung up on me. I must have called her a hundred times, but she did not pick up the damn phone.

I called some of my co-workers to ask them about it, but they told me that they did not know what I was talking about. I don’t know what he had promised them or how much money he had given them, but it was amazing how they stuck to the same story that I did not know what I was talking about, that I was the one making false accusations against him. I do not know how many more times I called Phil’s wife, but the police turned up and said that Phil had put an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) on me and that I was not allowed to call his wife or any of his associates again or I would be in breach of the order and I would go to jail. I could not believe it; he was the one that should be in prison, not me.

I told the police I could not work anymore and make any more money as Phil had bugged my computer and wanted to steal my designs for his own purposes; he did not award me the contract but he was just going to use my designs anyway, as they were better than anyone else’s. They just ignored me, the bastards. I had forgotten that they were already in Phil’s pocket. I called up my brothers and sisters to tell them what was happening to me, and instead of them agreeing with me and trying to help me, they said I was being paranoid and that I sounded frantic and that my accusations against “that man” were baseless.

I attended Libby my little sister’s barbecue one weekend and I tried to talk some sense into her, although her husband John said I was upsetting Libby and grabbed me by the arm and said it was probably a good time for me to leave.

I could not believe it; he had got to them, too. My little sister who I played with and walked to school every day, he turned her against me. I was determined to find out how he did it.

Before I could get any hard evidence against Phil, they had me locked up. I apparently had been held under the Mental Health Act. My “family” had concerns that my actions were erratic and my behaviour was risking my reputation and my financial affairs. It was my damn money, I could spend it any damn way I wanted. The doctors said I had delusional disorder and they put me on Risperidone tablets. They even said that I had a right-sided lacunar infarct (a stroke), but that I had after some neurological testing, no significant impairments.

I told them I was fine and I did not need to be here. They said I had a mental illness and I needed treatment. I refused all treatment except for the pills they made me take. I was feeling fine.

I stopped taking my meds shortly after they discharged me, and that’s when I knew I was right and that I would spend every last dollar I had to prove I was right and that Phil was trying to steal all my designs and get rich off my work. I knew he had bugged my computer and I knew all I had to do was prove it. I moved into a hotel in the inner city and then started going about trying to prove I was not crazy and that Phil was a thief. Firstly, I needed to forensically clean my computer so I tried to get some legal advice, but the people I spoke to were no help at all (they must have been in on the conspiracy). I just could not believe how Phil knew I would go to that particular legal firm; he had obviously bugged my phone, so I smashed it on the wall and began using pay phones instead.

I went to a print shop and printed out flyers telling people what sort of a man Phil was. I started handing them out in front of my hotel and telling anyone who would listen what was happening to me. I was annoyed when I was taken to hospital again against my will by fake police and fake ambulance officers that obviously were in the employ of Phil. I refused to hand over my computer; my designs were in there and they had no right to them.

I refused this time to take their pills and closed my mouth shut when they tried to force some pills in there, and that’s when they held me down. I tried to fight, but there were too many of them and they eventually got me down and gave me an intramuscular sedation that knocked me out.

When I woke up, I was tied to the bed. I told them that this was illegal and that I wanted a copy of the Mental Health Act and that they were holding me against my will and I needed to be outside in the world so I could prove my innocence, as they were the ones that were crazy, not me.

The fake doctor that spoke to me said they were concerned I was a danger to myself and others. Why would I want to kill myself? I said. I would never do that, I just wanted proof that I was a victim of cyberterrorism, that’s all; could they not understand that?

They kept me inside for a very long time. I don’t know for how long, although they kept on injecting me with something that made me sleepy most of the time.

I kept on telling them when I could that I would not kill myself, why would I want to kill myself? They would not listen to me so I had to shout at them: I AM NOT GOING TO KILL MYSELF OR ANYBODY ELSE DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?

That’s when they surrounded my bed again and the fake doctor was about to inject me with a large syringe. I tried to move, but I was still tied down, no, please do not stick that into me, please, no, don’t, why, I AM NOT CRAZY, I AM NOT GOING TO KILL MYSELF. I AM NOT GOING TO KILL MYSELF, I AM NOT GOING TO KILL ANYONE, NO, PLEASE DON’T, PLEASE, DONT, PLEASE, I AM NOT CRAZY, I AM NOT CRAZY, I AM NOT CRAZY.

I am not: the drugs began to work and I can’t remember much else.

After a very long time, they let me walk around and I was very glad they did. I did not want to be tied down to a bed anymore. I knew that Phil had won and that it was no use telling anyone anything as nobody was listening, anyway. I just agreed with whatever they said. I took my medication and told them what I thought they wanted to hear. The fake doctors smiled and wrote on their clipboards and said that I was making excellent progress.

Although I still knew that “my family” was just after my money. It was my money and I knew that I could not tell anyone anything, that I had to keep it to myself or else they would take that away from me, too. It was all I had left.

They did that anyway; they took my money. A fake doctor came into my room one day and said “my family” had submitted a financial order to the courts seizing my assets on the grounds that I was incapable of managing my own affairs and now the state government had power of attorney over my affairs. I could no longer access any of my bank accounts; they had been frozen.

They said if I kept taking my medication and proved to them that I could manage my own affairs, I would be released. I did whatever they told me to do. They let me out of the facility after a very long time and I was very glad they did, although they still did not let me manage my own affairs. I do not know how long I was locked up for, but it must have been a very long time.

My “family” were happy to see me. Even after they put me through this hell, I told them I was very happy to see them. Libby even cried, can you believe that? She even went as far as saying that I could stay with her and John until I could find a place of my own. I said that would be great. John placed his big arm on my shoulder again; this time he had a smile on his face.

I knew where John kept the gun in his room. I told Libby I was going to the bathroom. She hugged me and she told me how much she missed me. I told her I missed her too and that she was my favourite sister; hell, she was my favourite person in the whole world. I then parted the hair out of her eyes and I kissed her forehead; she wiped away another tear.

I looked at her for a very long time and then I walked away.

I went into the bedroom and opened the bottom draw and reached into the far right hand side and very quietly got the gun, a .380 caliber, adequate for my needs. I checked to see if there were any bullets. It was loaded.

I sat on Libby’s bed. I thought about everything that ever happened to me in my entire life. It made me smile. Then I put the gun to my temple and pulled the trigger.