Secrets and Money

October 2019 short story of the month

“Deal?” he said, extending his hand toward me.

I hesitated then reached out. Frank thought he had the upper hand, and in a sense he did. What he didn’t know was that I’d promised him something that wasn’t mine to give.

I left his office feeling a mix of anxiety and victory. I’d bought us some time, but Frank was volatile. He wouldn’t let it go for long. And then there was the matter of my father’s business. Could Frank really take it from my dad? I held no claim over it, but I’d just bargained it to save my neck. Should I tell my dad about the deal or wait and see what happens?

For now, I was off the hook. If I told my father the truth, he’d probably turn me over to Frank himself. I needed cash, and I needed it fast. I was desperate, and desperate times called for crazy Nick.

When I arrived at Nick’s apartment, he was on the phone but motioned for me to come in anyway.

“Sure. Yep. Sounds good,” Nick was saying to whoever was on the other end of the call. “Next week works for me. Yep. Check ya later.” He pocketed his cell and joined me in the living room.

“You look desperate, man,” he said sinking into the sofa cushion. He propped his feet on the table. His left sock had a hole in the heel and the big toe.

I had doubts about what I was about to ask, but the other option was to tell my dad the truth.

Two days later, cash in hand, I walked into Frank’s and put the money in front of him. Frank’s mouth literally fell open. He didn’t even count it; he just sat there looking at it like it might disappear.

I didn’t say anything, just nodded at him and walked out. Nick and I made a deal. No one was to ever find out how we got the money – no one. We would take that secret to our grave.

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