Chapter 1

Written by: Ray Stone

A large red neon announced ‘Embassy Motel’ for several seconds before fading out then back again as ‘Vacancies’ in green. Outside across the almost empty lot a constant stream of night traffic rumbled past on the interstate out of Baltimore. The noise made it impossible to sleep.

Robert Wilson lay on his back watching smoke from his cigarette curl upwards through alternating beams of red and green light filtering through dirty venetian blinds. In the distance the wail of a police siren added to his discomfort. The muggy air didn’t help and neither did the fan in the corner that rhythmically clicked as it swung from side to side. He reached across to the bedside table and snatched a tissue from the little complimentary box and wiped his forehead.

“You alright, Robert? This friggin heat is too much.”

Jack’s gravelly voice came from the armchair over in the corner next to the window.

Robert blew smoke and swung his legs over the side of the bed. Stabbing the butt out in the bent metal ashtray, he looked in Jack’s direction and nodded. “Sure is. I just can’t sleep.”

It wasn’t just the heat. There were ten million other reasons keeping him awake.

He was overjoyed at the prospect of wealth while sitting in the back of Jack's old Plymouth Fury as they joined the traffic out of Jersey. That was until he realized the lottery people would want plenty of publicity complete with a mug shot. That posed a problem for him and an invitation for any hit man wanting to collect the price on his head.

Fredericksburg, a small town on the highway fifty miles south of DC was home to twenty-six thousand. Site of two Civil War battles, it enjoyed tourism during the summer and was Robert’s new home. A small house in the Virginian countryside beckoned, but ten million was going to end all that unless he forfeited the money or came up with a plan.

“Let me ask you something, Jack,” said Robert, yawning. “If I told you how you could get your hands on a million bucks legally, would you be interested?”

There was silence, then. “Okay….I’m listening.”

“I won ten big one’s on that scratch card.”

There was a low whistle. “Jee-zus, Robert. What a way to start your new life.”

Robert unscrewed the cap off the Jim Beam and poured two generous measures. Handing one tumbler to Jack, he said, “You need to claim and bank the win and transfer it to an account in my new name.” He looked across at Jack. “I can trust you, right? I mean, you keep one million.”

Jack sat forward. “Well, Robert, let’s see if we can’t sort this out. You gotta’ understand, we need to go back to Baltimore and claim at a Seven Eleven. Don’t wanna’ do that back in New York city.” He stroked his chin. “Then I’ll want three million. ….That’ll keep my mouth shut about your new address.”

Ray Stone (MT)

Comments

Leave it to you--a bent cop! Damn Ray, I can't find a thing wrong with it. I know the area you are talking about, or I did 40 years ago. This is so realistic I can't believe it. Greed, corruption and a license for larceny--the only thing left is a murder. Remember, "It is not a story until somebody dies!" Could it be the burned out, bent cop? Could it be the man who no longer exists? And who is that guy in the 1965 VW who is sitting on the hill above the hotel with binoculars?
Interesting! Story is thrilling so far but Mrellan if you think a dead body will make it even more spicy than it certainly can be arranged :-).
I like the description of the men and the town. The way Jack puts the proposal to Robert is very well done. I could see Jack drawing Robert into his confidence.....oh yes this could go any number of ways.....