March 2019 Short Story
Harry shuffled the deck of cards and pushed it across the table. “Deal,” he said.
“One more hand,” I agreed. It was a way to pass the time. More importantly, it was a way to avoid talking about the fact we were in a holding cell – again.
When we started on our trip, we’d underestimated how much money we would need to travel across the star system and back home again. To make up for our lack of funds, we’d been stowing away on richee ships to make it home.
The great thing about richees is that they were so consumed with enjoying themselves and spending their money on luxury space ships that they failed to notice things like a couple of stow aways.
The first time we were caught, the owner of the ship had let us off at the next port and not reported us. That time we were lucky.
This time was different though. We thought for sure that a Galaxy Cruiser S Class would be a richee on a lux cruise seeking entertainment – we were wrong.
“On your feet,” a gruff voice yelled at us from the other side of the Nano wall.
Harry and I both stood up quickly, knocking over the cards.
The voice continued giving orders, “Turn and face the wall. Hands above your heads.”
We of course complied. The people of this cruiser were not kidding when they gave orders. We weren’t on a lux cruise; we had inadvertently stowed away on a drug lord’s ship. He was rich, yes, but he was not easily fooled and paid attention when strangers appeared on his property.
And right now, we were getting his attention.
We were dragged down a hallway and into what appeared to be a conference room. There was one person in there, and he was sitting at the head of the table. It didn’t take a genius to figure this was the guy in charge.
He didn’t waste any time. We were still being thrust into the room when he said, “Tell me why I shouldn’t vent you into space and carry on with my business.”
“Because that would be murder.”
Did Harry just say that out loud? Great! Now we really were going to be killed.
“Please,” I said. “We didn’t mean any disrespect. We just need to get home. We don’t have anything of value that we haven’t already pawned, and we have no talents or skills that would be useful to anyone. We’re just dumb kids. Please. Please don’t kill us.” I didn’t look up the entire time I spoke.
The room was absolutely silent.
Finally, after fighting every urge to peek at him and see if I could gauge his reaction, he spoke, “Put them in lock-up. We’ll drop em later.”
We were returned to our cell. I picked up the cards and shuffled them. Harry righted the table. I pushed the deck of cards across the table to him. “Deal,” I said.
“One more hand,” he agreed.