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The Wrong Guy
A submission for IronAge Media's prompt "The Missive."
They had the wrong guy. There had been a message on his table, it was burning now, that said his wife and child would pay if he didn’t back down. He didn’t have any family and had never been married. They definitely had the wrong guy. He wasn’t even doing anything other than wasting his life on cigarettes and whisky in this place. No, this didn’t pertain to him. But now it might.
He saw her sitting across from him, flashing him a smile. He went over and sat down. Both were still a moment, drinking their drinks, waiting for the other to begin. He had known her a while from frequenting this place and was acquainted with her quite well in his opinion.
“You see any one put a note on my table?” he asked.
“Honestly,” she said, flashing an unpleasant smile, “you of all people should know information like that doesn’t come free, now, does it?” She lit herself a new cigarette, watching him.
“And I thought we were close enough that we were past this.”
Her smile now became very warm and charming, and she looked as if she might laugh. “And how close do you think we are?”
“What would you say?” he countered. He wondered if maybe he should ask someone else. She would not be asking for money. Instead it’d be a favor of some sort. She had gotten him into a fair bit of trouble in the past by asking favors.
She put something in his hand, closing his fingers around it. “Give this to me when you get back,” she said with a knowing wink. She then leaned back in her chair, blowing a little ring of smoke into his face. “It was a tall man, long arms and legs, thin face, looked a lot like a monkey. Had a sickly complexion, too. Put something on your table while you were getting a whiskey. He was looking like he’d rather not be seen.”
He thanked her and left. Opening his hand, a small smile crept along his lips. The object was her late mother’s wedding ring. So that was what she wanted.
He knew the man; he had passed by him several times. He might have left that life years ago, but they had threatened some man’s family. Soon, they wouldn’t be bothering anyone. Yes, they definitely had the wrong guy, and they were about to find out.