Maggie from https://fromcavewalls.wordpress.com/2020/08/09/a-writing-challenge-opposites/ is doing a writing challenge based on the above photograph. The idea is to find inspiration for two completely different emotions from the same picture, and write two short stories. I thought I would try it, as I rarely do blog challenges.
Walking across to the car at the usual time, Scott felt his phone vibrating in his jacket pocket. He had been in a meeting until finishing time, and it was only polite to have turned off the ringer. He smiled as he looked at the screen and saw the picture of his lovely wife come up above her name. No doubt she would be in Mario’s convenience store, and calling him to ask what flavour ice cream he wanted after dinner, or whether they should have some white wine later this evening.
Swiping up the green buton, he smiled as he spoke. “Hi, honey. If you’re asking, I will have chocolate chip, and it’s a yes to wine too”.
There was a pause, and he didn’t recognise the voice that replied.
“Sir, this is Officer Martinez of Metro Division, who am I speaking to please?” Scott felt a chill run up his back.
“Why have you got my wife’s phone? Oh, I am Scott Andersen, and you are using my wife’s phone. Annie’s phone”.
The pause that followed made Scott’s heart beat faster, too fast.
“Sir, I have to tell you that there was an armed robbery at a convenience store. The owner was shot and killed, along with a young woman, presumably a customer. She’s around twenty five years old, five feet-two, short blonde hair, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. They took her purse, so we have no I.D. I found this phone in her back pocket. Your number was first in the list of recent calls. Does that sound like your wife sir?”
Scott tried to reply, but couldn’t speak through the tears. He didn’t think he would ever be able to speak again.
As the concrete started to set around his legs and feet, Kevin was surprised by how hot it felt. Uncomfortably hot in fact. The man sitting across from him was leaning back in the captain’s chair, a smirk on face. “So you thought we weren’t serious? You thought you could take us for fools? Look where that got you, Kevin”.
It had started out the way most of those things do. Too much on credit cards, an expensive car he couldn’t afford, and a luxury apartment too fancy for one guy on his own. Kevin liked to impress people, make them think he was somebody. Hand-made suits, the right watch on his wrist, and the right girl on his arm. But it all cost money, money he didn’t earn as a realtor, especially when the bottom had dropped out of the housing market.
But he knew someone. Someone connected. He had sold him a house, a very expensive house with its own lake frontage and private boat dock. It was obvious the guy wasn’t kosher, but he didn’t care, as he made the sale and got the commission. Mr Anzorov was an American citizen, but only God knew how he managed that. After he signed the house purchase papers, he shook Kevin’s hand. “Come and see me if there’s anything I can do for you, Kevin”.
So Kevin went to see him, and asked for a loan of twenty thousand dollars. Anzorov handed the money over without hesitation, then spoke quietly. “So here you are. You understand that you now owe me forty thousand dollars, Kevin? No paperwork, just a handshake. You have six months to pay me back the forty thousand, or you won’t like what happens. Please take me seriously, Kevin”. Kevin nodded, but already knew he had no intention of taking him seriously.
So what was he going to do? Some old Russian guy with a big house and a clothes-hanger trophy wife. He could hardly go to the authorities, or through the courts. He was bound to have some skeletons in his cupboards. Kevin forgot about Anzorov, and enjoyed spending the money. He even had a nice vacation down in Grand Cayman. The six months passed, then nine months, and Kevin smiled to himself when he heard nothing.
Two men approached him as he left the office on his way to show a house. One opened his coat and showed him a gun in his waistband, and the other grabbed his arm in a friendly gesture and walked him over to a minivan parked nearby. When they sat him down in Mr Anzorov’s home office and placed his lower legs into a large container, he was sure it was a joke. Then he was sure it was just a scare. Then when they started to mix the concrete in the container, he was no longer sure about anything.
As the tears flowed, all he could think about was the lake, and that private boat dock.