God, I felt bad about it. How could anyone stoop so low as to steal an old woman’s savings?
Someone who was gonna get their head kicked in…..
I’d had a bad run of luck on the horses, the rent was due and to top it all, Emma dropped the bombshell that she was pregnant. As if I didn’t have enough problems, the last thing we needed was another mouth to feed!
I didn’t have a choice. Emma kept asking for the rent money, how could I tell her that I’d put it all on a sure fire bet and lost?
She’d have my nuts in a vice if she ever found out.
As the days ticked by I began to panic. Sitting in a bar and drowning my sorrows, I saw Tony Benedetti saunter in with a couple of tarts on either side of him. Benedetti’s reputation was fierce, but he was also a loan shark. I needed money and I knew Benedetti would lend it to me – at a price.
The repayments were steep, but I didn’t have a choice. I’d borrowed the $500 for the rent six months ago, the balance of my account with Benedetti stood at twice that now. I was getting myself in deeper, until I could barely keep my head above water with the weekly payments. Emma kept asking for money for baby things, how could I tell her that we didn’t have any?
I came home from work one night and saw a couple of Benedetti’s thugs standing outside my house. The message was clear, Benedetti was getting impatient and wanted a return on his investment – sooner rather than later.
Emma was nearly due, I knew that Benedetti would have no problem with using her to get to me. Maybe that’s what drove me to do what I did.
Mrs Peters had been the last call on my route. She’d been having a problem with her TV aerial, she told me. She was old, nearly blind and definitely more than a little deaf. Her house was full of old trinkets, some worthless and others probably worth a small fortune.
I’d figured out the problem with her TV but told her that I’d need to get into the roof to fix the fault – I knew that was where she kept her savings, in an old toy box that used to be her son’s. He’d died years ago, hit by a car, and her husband had died shortly after. She was alone, she had no family.
But I did, and I had to keep them safe.
I found the stash, stuffing it into my toolbox before telling Mrs Peters that I’d fixed the fault.
She gave me an extra ten dollars, folding my fingers over the bill, telling me to spend it on the baby. She looked at me and smiled and I realised I’d turned into a monster.
I’d sold my soul to save my skin.
A debt I could never repay.
Written in response to Thain in Vain’s Week 30 prompt: A man steals a large sum of money to pay a debt to a loan shark. He saves his ass from a beating, but is haunted by the nature of what has done.