On Sunday the 15th of February 2027, on the snowy but sunny streets of Brooklyn, New York, started out as any other day would, with John Briscoe a 6 foot 5 bald but bearded dark skinned man was getting up from bed at 4am, checking on his stock portfolio, checking his emails, and lastly, getting a start on his exercise routine. John was a man of routine, as his father had always said, “A man without a routine is a man with a purpose.” These were words John had come to live his whole life around and it had worked well for him up until this very day, because on this very day, John had missed one thing from his 10-year routine and had done it without thinking twice. At exactly 6am, the sun begins to rise, the birds begin to chirp, and John begins to get ready for a long day at his cushy white-collar job at a prestigious investment bank in the heart of the Big Apple. John had come to love his life and, most especially, had begun to finally feel as though his imposter syndrome was finally gone and he could fully embrace all that life had to offer. John had quit drinking and smoking, and today marked the 1-year anniversary of that decision. John had begun to feel like fighting his demons was easier and he no longer needed to try and escape the pressures that came with his current reality. You see, John had always felt the pressure that he was special and any mistakes he made in life would result in catastrophic consequences for anyone involved on the grace day. This has meant John has tried his absolute best to live a life that is nothing short of perfect. What does “perfection” mean? John, during his teenage years, had always studied hard and gotten the best grades possible. He had always been nice to everyone. He had always been selfless and never had a fight or tried to put anyone down, no matter the consequences. John was, as his mother would always tell her friends at their ladies’ nights and book club meetings, “the kind of man any mother would be proud to call her son”. Being seen as close to perfect was always enough to keep John motivated to keep going until the day he met Martha. Martha, 5 foot 9, a dark haired mixed race bombshell wasn’t just your average woman in finance, she was the finance woman who had grown up in a tough neighborhood and was always keen to get out. Martha had developed a thick skin that had catapulted her to the forefront of every man’s tongue in the city that never sleeps. Some called her a menace, while others called her a savant. No matter what you called her, she didn’t have a care in the world. She could hold her own in any meeting, back whatever statement she made with facts and figures, and was already able to speak her mind. When John first met Martha, his first thought was, “How can one person be so argumentative?” However, as John would soon discover, Martha would be the one to reveal what he had never really tried to do, which was live life for himself.Back to the faithful day in question, John, while carrying on with his morning routine about to leave for work, finally remembers to notice before he leaves the house that he had forgotten the most important part of his routine: waking Martha up for a kiss to say goodbye. Since that summer day in July 2024, when Martha and John moved in together, the one who ever woke up first would always make sure to wake the other up when they planned on leaving the house for work or any other activity that would see them not seeing each other for a period of over 6 hours. A rule they strictly adhere to because they have never wanted to be apart since their first date.A date that, by all accounts, was never going to be forgotten by either, as both hilariously recall it as being the worst experience of their lives. Martha had been the one to ask John out, plan the date, and make sure things went according to plan, as she was aware of John’s need for perfection. The date was supposed to take place at the newly refurbished Refinery Rooftop with a private 3-course meal and wine to fill their bellies. The only problem was that the Refinery Rooftop had been closed that night, and they ended up getting a $3 slice from the corner and talking about the Great Recession of 2023. Any passerby would have easily mistaken them for work colleagues or an old marriage couple so comfortable with each other that they didn’t have a care in the world. The events of that day set in motion the beginning of a beautiful relationship in which both John and Martha never saw themselves ever being in and adapting to each other in ways they could never have imagined. As John leaned in to try and kiss Martha good morning, he realized Martha was cold and she wasn’t as responsive as usual. Sensing something was wrong, he cries out “Angelo, scan Martha for signs of distress” and soon enough, the A.I was embedded in the bed and scanned Martha and realized her breathing was slowed, her body was cold, and her heartbeat was low. Before John could react, Angelo called the paramedic and her symptoms had been sent to make sure the right team was on the way. John begins to panic, unsure of what is wrong, and begins to call out for the fiery woman who meant the world to him but never responded.before he could figure out what was going on, he heard a rush through the door. They were shocked but grateful that it was the paramedics and Angelo had let them in. In complete disbelief, he continues to watch as the love of his life is carted into an ambulance and put on oxygen. He sits by her side and never lets go of her hand for the whole ride to the hospital, which under normal circumstances would be 5 minutes, but thanks to this particularly congested day, it was 8. As John continues with the paramedics, all he can say is, “What is wrong?” And “Please save her life.” Within moments of arriving at the hospital, John was told to wait as the doctors needed to analyze the situation and see what was going on. John continues, “I cannot lose her. Please save her life.” Two nurses are left with John as Martha is lifted away to the body scanner as he cries and seems to be more broken than ever before. The results from the body scanner reveal that Martha was suffering from a rare new variant of the Syslopisis virus. A man-made virus which was used during the ongoing wars in Canada specifically targeted people of a certain white blood count, age, and ability to procreate babies who would be deemed of “superior intelligence”. As doctors rushed against time to give her the only cure possible, the virus continued to cause Martha to slowly lose her life. The problem with this virus is that it was designed to kill you in your sleep without you ever even waking up, and the cure was an adrenaline shot to help you wake up. As the doctors rushed to administer the Proning 345, the wake-up drug, Galileo, the hospital A. I announce “time of death: 8:23 am”. Not wanting to give up, doctors continue to try all forms of CPR and resuscitation techniques, which all prove to be completely useless. Galileo begins his post-mortem corpse analysis and says, “If Proning 345 was administered 2–3 minutes before, it would have been effective in assisting resuscitation efforts.” As doctors put the white sheet to cover Martha’s face, a young doctor breaks the news to John. John breaks down, distraught, and becomes emotionless because his greatest fear has become a reality. The one thing that had always been his form of anxiety had finally come true. The one thing he had feared the most had arrived, and he had no way of dealing with it because the one person who had always reassured him that he would never feel that way was no longer with him. almost cold state, John begs the doctors to say goodbye to Martha one last time, and trying to be compassionate, they allow him to go see her as she lays down cold and lifeless in the bed. As John looks down at the woman he intends to propose to next week, he begins to cry, as if he were an infant who had lost his ability to communicate.As Martha is carted away and John begins to leave the hospital, he begins to ponder what he was meant to do with his life now that his reason for continuing to go on was gone. As John starts to walk home, he enters the closet Bodega, picks up the most expensive bottle of whiskey he could find and pays. Still crying and not sure of how to go on, he sits at a lamppost on the corner of the street in the snow and just lays down and takes his first drink in a year. He sits back up, his tears gushing like a waterfall and his mind racing like an endless stream of consciousness, and calls Martha’s parents in California.When they pick him up and see him a blubbering mess with alcohol in his hands, they ask him, “what happened?” John, not knowing what to say, simply says, “I’m sorry I couldn’t save her.” “Save who?” they ask, “Martha,” he cries.Almost like the wave of the typhoon, both of her parents begin to cry out, and John, sensing he couldn’t be stronger, hangs up and continues to drink. As he drinks, he shouts out “Angelo, get me home and please no driver” and within 2 minutes, a fully autonomous taxi parks up beside him ready to go. He staggers in and lays down in the back, still crying and drinking, till he reaches home. As he gets out and walks up the steps, he is reminded of the fun memories they shared, like how he stumbled on a step while trying to chase Martha after a night out at House of Yes and how she would never get the door open on the first try. As he walks into the house, reminded of the times they shared with a bottle in his hand and an ocean of tears on his face, he looks at the home they once shared and truly felt like he was broken.
Broken follows a man named John Briscoe and the events that happen after the loss of his long time girlfriend. In part 1, we explore the circumstances surrounding her untimely passing.