Paying The Price – a David Western Short Story
‘I got this for you,’ my wife says, handing me the gun. ‘I’ve got a feeling you’re going to need it. Or are you going to chicken out on me now?’
I take it from her and turn it over in my hand. Shiny grey and light to hold, it’s not what I wanted really – I’ve never had much luck with one. But she has dared me to use it and there was no way I can back down after that. I place it gently, carefully down in front of me.
‘I’m not quitting,’ I say. ‘I’m still in with a chance.’
‘Oh well, good luck, big boy.’ She knows my history too well and says it with a sarcastic sneer.
‘Just take my money but stop the talking. I only started doing this to keep you happy and fit in with your plans,’ I say bitterly through gritted teeth. I think I’ve always known it would end like this but, like the mug I am, I’ve tried to play her at her own game and I’m failing.
‘I love it when you get angry, you loser,’ she taunts as I toss a few notes at her. It’s a lot for me but nowhere near as much as the big wad she uses to fan herself. Slowly she counts the money out loud. It’s all there, every pound I owe her.
‘Don’t you trust me or what?’ I hiss. ‘For God’s sake, Angie.’
She just chuckles and blinks her eyelashes at me. ‘Actually, no, I don’t cos this wouldn’t be the first time you’ve short-changed me, would it, Ian?’
‘I don’t have the foggiest what you’re on about, baby. Just go, if you have the guts,’ I throw back at her.
‘It’ll all be over soon, baby,’ she says coldly, leaning into my face. ‘Rex needs to go for a walk.’ Rex is definitely too macho a name for that the silly little thing. She picks him up and strokes his back, then kisses his nose.
‘You disgust me sometimes,’ I tell her. ‘Put him back down, for goodness’ sake.’
She laughs at me and makes a big show of putting him down and telling him: ‘Mummy loves her little Rexy-Wexy. Yes, she does. Her good luck charm, aren’t you?’
Sitting opposite me, Marty ‘The Banker’ looks embarrassed and laughs nervously: ‘Bloody hell, what’s the matter with you two? Why does it always have to be this way? All this aggression.’ He is shaking and we just watch him, waiting for him to make his move. I see him silently count to five as he pushes his hat forward. He looks at us both and lets out a long breath. He thinks he is safe – for now.
I look down and can see the streets of London spread out before me.
‘Your go, Ian. Stop at my hotel on Park Lane or Mayfair, please. I dare you,’ Angie says as I pick up the dice.
I hate Monopoly.
David Western says:
I’ve lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for over 30 years; working for a national bank until my early retirement in 2014. Prior to arriving in Pembrokeshire, I’d led a rather nomadic life, thanks to my father serving in the RAF, and my banking career. I’m married to Sandra, (a Mumbles, Swansea, girl) and am a father and a grandfather. Shortly after retiring I revived a lifelong passion for writing by attending local Creative Writing classes. The result has been a book of short stories, plays and poems for family and friends, and my debut novel, Gertie’s War. Some further examples of short stories are available on my website: www.davepw.co.uk