Saturday, April 17, 2021

Short Changed by Liz Berg

 It was the kind of night no one should be out in, rain slashing like zips ratcheting down. I hunch my shoulders and trick-track towards the alley.

 He waits under the lamp. This will be as easy as dropping ice cubes into whisky. The slouch of his hat lets the water drip off in front of his nose as he finishes his rollup. The collar of his tightly belted mac is turned up. He sticks the cigarette in his mouth whilst he fumbles in his pocket. He pulls out a lighter and the flame briefly flares against the dark. He turns his head as I approach.

“You got the dough?” he growls.

“You think I would be here, if I didn’t?” I drawl.

He smirks, then reaches into his inside pocket. I dig my stilettos into the tarmac until they bite. I am ready whatever he pulls out. His hand comes out empty. I hiss.

“Quit messing me around. You think I’m here for the company?”

He smirks again. If I didn’t need what he was peddling, I would make sure he grinned on the other side of his face. 

“If you don’t want to play, I’ll say nighty night and move on.” 

His voice rasps, “Don’t be hasty. I was checking you were serious.” He holds out an envelope. 

I snatch it and using my penlight, quickly rifle through the contents.  “Where’s the rest of it? What have you done?”  I reach for his belt and grab him, my penlight reversed and ready to thrust somewhere soft. He gulps.

“Honestly, it wasn’t me. I ain’t responsible.”

 “You won’t mind my doing this, then,” as I peel a couple off the roll I tuck into his pocket.

My heels click clack over the tarmac and out into the night.

© Liz Berg

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