Editor’s Note: This is the third story in the series “Tragedy of The Wolf.” Read Part 1 and Part 2
Old Nan spotted the station wagon among the dense black pines as it trundled along the unmarked road toward her cottage.
“How much do you think he can take?” she asked.
The girl, Sam, didn’t hear the question, or if she did, chose not to respond. Instead, she hefted one of the bulging cellophane bricks in her palm and then wordlessly tossed it back onto the pile on the kitchen table.
The girl had always unnerved her.
“The wolf—you trust him?” said Old Nan.
“Needs the cash.”
Sam’s oversized hoodie hung on her narrow frame. She’s just a child, thought Old Nan; yes, a child unfurling a leather tool belt on the kitchen table.
The station wagon pulled up outside. There was the crank of a handbrake, lumbering footsteps on gravel, and then a polite knock on the front door.
Old Nan patted down her apron and adjusted her hair.
“Be right there.”
“That’s not—” said the wolf looking from Sam to Old Nan, “that’s not what we agreed.”
He wore an old button up shirt and patent leather shoes. A pair of glasses rested on his snout. Tufts of grey fur curled from his open collar.
“Terence,” said Old Nan, “it’s really simple—you do this for us, you get your money.”
“But she never said anything about swallowing!”
Old Nan glanced at Sam and sighed. She turned a large brick in her hand; the white substance glistened like confectionary.
“This is easier and safer than a suitcase,” she said. “Think about your children. Think about the pups.”
The wolf grimaced and chewed his nails.
“I want more money,” he huffed.
“Look,” said Old Nan, “you can do it the easy way, or Sam here can do it for you.” Terence saw the scalpel flash in Sam’s hand. Old Nan had never seen a wolf’s face go pale—how could it, she thought, covered in thick grey fur? But it did. The wolf’s eyes were wide and his lower lip quivered.
Old Nan counted half a dozen bills and tucked it into the wolf’s shirt pocket.
“See? It’s easy,” she said. “You’ll get the rest of it on the other side.”
The ceiling fan whirred; a drain gurgled under the sink.
The wolf sat in silence and then lifted a brick to his lips. It didn’t go down as easily as Old Nan had expected. He drank desperately from a pitcher, choking and gagging until it finally cleared his esophagus, and then he swallowed another one.
And another. And another.
It was all over the evening news: the largest bust in living memory. A cunning plan, foiled. Police believe torn cellophane cause of seizure. Massive amounts of crack-cocaine, commonly known as rock, found in wolf’s stomach. Trafficker taken into custody. No other suspects detained at present. More at eleven o’clock.
Jiksun Cheung is a short fiction writer from Hong Kong. His work is published in SmokeLong Quarterly, Atticus Review, Arsenika, and elsewhere. He was a SmokeLong Quarterly Flash Fiction Award finalist, and has been nominated for Best Microfiction and The Shirley Jackson Award. Find him on Twitter @JiksunCheung and jiksun.com.