Sweat rolled down my back as I shifted in my seat. Scott had requested this meeting. He was a friend of a friend, although I’d never particularly cared for the guy. He’d always had that shark-in –the-water look about him and apparently, I was the chum.
“What’s this all about Scott?” I asked.
“I think you know that already,” he said, leaning back in his chair. He wasn’t wrong, but I wanted to hear the smug bastard say it.
“Just get to the point or we’re done here,” I said.
He narrowed his eyes and tapped his chin. Sweat trickled down my forehead towards my eyes, but I held his gaze,resisting the urge to wipe my brow.
“Very well,” he replied coolly.”I think I can help with your money problem.”
“I don’t have a money problem.”
He laughed. “I think we both know you do.”
The prick was right. I was in over my head but hearing him say it was worse than the problem itself. I knew nothing about the real estate business. I’d sunk everything I had into a few cheap pieces of property in an area I’d heard was up and coming. I started small, just a couple apartment buildings, but then I partnered with my buddy Jake who’d had success with a similar project a few blocks over. Big mistake. He made a few bad investments and wound-up bankrupt not long after our negotiations. Now I faced a similar fate.
“You’ve got everything tied up in property, Mark. Nothing liquid. Face it. You’re broke,” said Scott. I wanted to string him up by his feet and treat his face like a speed bag.
“So, what do you want? What’s the end game here?” I asked.
Scott pulled out a pen and scribbled on a piece of paper, then slid it across the table to me. I opened it and laughed.
“I think it’s fair, “Scott shrugged.
“Take it or leave it. I think it beats the alternative,” said Scott, smiling.
I tightened my grip around the paper and tossed it in his face.
“No thanks. I’ll roll the dice and see what happens.”
I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and kissed the dice before letting them fly. A pair of twos. Free Parking. I pulled the stack of cash out of the center of the board and rolled again. Snake eyes. I advanced my hat token and drew a “Chance” card. GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL. DO NOT PASS GO. DO NOT COLLECT $200.
I threw the card at Scott and moved past his hotel lined block, then rounded GO and headed straight for jail. Safe. I wiped my brow.
“Maybe my luck’s changing after all, “I said smugly, sliding Scott the dice. “Your turn.”
Jennifer Fox is a western New York native and is currently earning her MFA in Creative Writing at Lindenwood University. She is a staff reader for Thirty West Publishing House and has had work featured in Across the Margin, The Write Launch, Disquiet Arts, and Anti-Heroin Chic.