Roger Carson woke up with an upset stomach. He took a pill, but couldn’t shake the feeling in his gut away. It’s just one of those days, he thought.
Slowly, the feeling vanished as the day proceeded as any normal would. He felt relieved.
Then the phone rang.
“Shrimp salad and wine,” Carson did not look at the menu.
The waiter turned to Sam who was scanning the menu. “Uh… there’s no price written on this one… so, uh, just bring me whatever costs the most, ‘kay?” he grinned toothily.
“Very well sir,” the waiter bowed and left.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Carson didn’t let his anger show. “You could’ve called me- met me in some bar-”
“You watch a lot of movies for a busy businessman, ya know?” Sam laughed. “And I’m fu**in’ sick of the Chinese takeouts I have on stakeouts… just let me taste some of the fancy food you richies like to eat.”
“What did you want to talk about?”
“Just that it all went according to the plan.”
“What plan? Whose plan? Theirs?” Carson exploded, and then realized people were staring at him and calmed down. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Oh come on! I wanna wait for my order!” Sam complained.
The bar was dimly lit.
“They told me this was the last time,” Carson said, gulping down his whiskey.
“There’s never a last time,” Sam shook his head as a knowing smile crossed his face. “You’re on the hook… once and for all.”
“But I can’t do it anymore!” he held out his empty glass and the bartender filled it. “I’ve already paid almost a million! Any more and I’ll have to tap into the company funds. And Beth will find out!”
“She’s gonna find out even if you don’t pay. Those photos of you with the very flexible Amy will nullify the prenup and-”
“And she’ll get two of the houses, half the shares and alimony, I know, okay?” Carson broke in. “I’ve done the math countless times these past few weeks.”
“I have some news,” Sam told him the next day.
“Good or bad?”
“Depends on how you look at it.”
Sam fished an envelope from his pocket and laid it on the table.
“There are a lot homeless guys near the Central Park. Nobody wants to look at them, especially the richies.”
“Where’s this going?”
“When you told me the drop was scheduled there, I called my contacts and let my ‘feelers’ out.”
“And?” Carson was suddenly excited.
“You see, I figured out who’s blackmailing you,” Sam removed a photo from the envelope and handed it to Carson.
“Yup!” Sam chimed in. “it’s the classic double dip. She cleans you out. Then one day she mysteriously gets the photos… and then she cleans you out again!”
“I’ll be damned. What do I do now?” Carson held his hear in his hands. “The ball’s in her court.”
“Doesn’t mean you can’t hit it,” Sam said conspiratorially, with a born-conman grin on his face. “And I know just the guy for that.”
“Is it done?” Carson asked the masked man.
The Masked Man nodded. “Dead as a stone.” He jerked his head towards the right.
Elizabeth Carson laid on the floor, sprawled, legs splayed, her clothes torn. Blood had pooled near her head.
Roger Carson turned. “What the fuck? Did you rape her too?”
“We played a little,” the Masked Man shrugged. “She looked like she wanted it so-”
His voice was interrupted by the pain that sparked in his chest. Carson had fired two shots and the Masked Man slumped on to the floor with a thud.
“You didn’t learn,” Carson shook his head slowly. “She got that for double crossing me… And so did you.”
Then he fired a bullet into the ceiling and called 911.
“Well, detective, as I explained, when I cam home, the front door was open. I entered, and saw him. My wife Beth was lying on the floor and there was blood everywhere. On instinct I removed my gun –I have a license for that- and fired a warning shot, hoping he’d just run away- I couldn’t watch him near my wife. So I fired the warning shot at the ceiling, but he just turned and aimed a gun at me. But I was faster. I’d already pulled the trigger. That’s all.”
“I have some questions.”
“Not till my lawyer’s present.”
“Very well… I’m so sorry for your loss.”