Have you ever noticed that sometimes, when you put yourself out there with all the right intentions–trying to help people who genuinely deserve help–strange forces work against you? Often, the hand extended to rescue the victim is slippery. Occasionally, it triggers an avalanche.
Beth files for divorce and gets the papers from the attorney that would allow John to sell his interest in the restaurant to her. Naturally, when she presents the papers, he foolishly remains indignant and spiteful. Pity.
The set up is simple: Beth’s husband, like most men, is easily led around by his penis. The plan is infallible: Place lovely bait near John, wait for him to bite, trap the rat by his tail, and keep him squirming until he can buy himself free by letting go of Beth’s restaurant.
My teammates in this little exercise include Ronnie, who knows how to follow without being seen, and twist an arm, when necessary. In blue, I have my friend Rick–guns and badges are mighty persuaders. The bait is Claire, a young prostitute, who owes Rick a favor.
John frequents one of the seedier establishments in town, and all it takes is a smile from Claire to bring him sniffing. It amazes me that men don’t suspect anything when women out of their league approach them. The blind ego foolishly assumes the attention is well-deserved.
In minutes, John buys her a drink and falls into our trap. Claire flirts; she’s a pro. A few drinks later, they’re in his Cadillac behind the club, sparking a pipe. Rick and Ronnie stand by. John slides over to the passenger seat. Claire straddles him. As soon as her panties hit the floor mat, my men make their move.
Claire is only seventeen (twenty-two, actually, but seventeen is a more useful number). She’s intoxicated, and what’s that scent? Ah, contraband. This won’t end well for John … unless, that is, he comes up with, say, fifty-thousand reasons for my men to look the other way.
“What’s that? Oh, no way to get that kind of money, John? Tsk, tsk. Statutory rape, solicitation, possession, drugging a minor–hope you like metal toilets, buddy. Ah, I see. You have an idea, do you? Get the money from the wife? My, my. There’s a wife involved? Well, that’s not good. I doubt she’ll be signing any checks when she finds out about our young friend here. Tell you what, pal, we’ll hang onto your driver’s license and give you 48 hours to come up with the funds. Meanwhile, we’ll deliver missy back to her parents, and hope her father doesn’t find out what this bad man did to his little girl. That would be tragic. Gosh, let’s hope he doesn’t have a shotgun. Good thing he doesn’t know where to find you. Oh, that’s right, it says right here on your license where to find you. We’ll try to keep that secret between us, for now.”
Worked like a charm.
John crawled back to Beth begging for the money. She did as I told, and required him to sign the business over. They made two stops: one to the notary to have his signature witnessed, the next to the bank to get him the money. John’s a decent liar. He told Beth he needed the money to pay a gambling debt. Beth, I’m sure, suspected I was behind it all. She didn’t care. Whatever got him away from her baby is worth it, especially if she never knew the details.
John contacted Rick and met him on the river overpass. A few hours later I got the call.
“Doc, we have a problem.”
“Did he show?”
“With the money?”
“So, what’s the problem?”
“He jumped off the bridge with the fucking money.”
“They’re fishing him out as we speak.”
“Oh, very much so. He was whacked out of his mind when he showed up–crying and ranting. I should have shot him. Would have saved his sorry ass.”
“Where’s the money?”
“Floating down there right next to him. No way for me to get my hands on it.”
“That’s OK. I’m sure they’ll figure out where it came from and return it. Have they notified Beth?”
“No. They’re pulling his body out now. They don’t have an ID yet. What should we do?”
“Jesus. Just play your role calmly. Don’t worry about the money. I’ll take care of it.”
“I know, man. Did you know this guy was so unstable?”
“Never met him.”
“You’re going to have some damage control to do when you see Beth.”
“I’m not sure how she’ll react to this. She pretty much hates him.”
“Isn’t she going to suspect you had a hand in this?”
“She’ll probably think you tossed him off the bridge.”
“Nah, I’m covered. There will be no signs of struggle and I’m sitting here at Duke’s with plenty of witnesses. Did anyone see you two speaking?”
“I don’t think so. A few cars drove by, but it’s dark up here. I told the chief I’m investigating the jump site. It’s a clear suicide.”
“All right. Do your thing. I’ll wait for Beth’s call and act surprised when she tells me.”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Diagnosis: Sucks losing the money, but at least it will go back to Beth and she’ll be free. I actually feel sorry for that scumbag John.
Treatment: All depends on Beth’s reaction and how suspicious she is of my involvement.
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