American Contemporary Fiction

Snow began to descent through a darkening sky. MacKenzie opened her fridge door checking to see what she could eat, not too much. Leftover frozen pizza, a half bottle of Coke Zero and that was all. 'Better get to the bank machine soon before that storm kicks in', she thought grumpily. She would be lucky if she had even enough to go to the store for food. Her studio apartment was a shamble's, a pile of dirty laundry rested at the foot of her sofa bed. Her next pay check wasn't until mid-week. MacKenzie was used to living like this for awhile since she'd left Luca six months ago. Her job at Walmart barely supported her. She was free.

She'd grabbed her coat, laced up her boots and walked out into the crisp snowy air bravely. The ATM was three blocks east. She padded through the fresh powder beneath her boots.

"Be careful Mac, gonna get worse before this night ends", said Ophelia as he was locking up his used bookstore. Mac loved going in there to browse and purchase a good sale book or two. It gave her the escape she needed on long cold winter nights. She wasn't up for a converse with him right now. The weather gave her a "I am in hurry" response.

"I know, I am not going far in this." She waved him off and continued her journey. MacKenzie loved her neighborhood. Having now lived here long enough to get to know the locals was a bonus. Working at Walmart at least kept her rent paid, but it was barely enough. She sighed as she clumsily pulled out her bank card through half frozen fingers. She'd forgotten to wear mittens. She rubbed her hands together trying to warm up before inserting her card. Then inputted the PIN number. Flickering lights danced from the ceiling in the dampness of the room. Mackenzie shivered. the leather jacket from the thrift store wasn't warm enough. She began wishing she was having a bowl of warm soup at home. Garbage lay in a small cluster in one of the corners. Dusted scents of lingering mould tingled her nostrils now the heat had warmed her thin body up somewhat. Mostly receipts, kleenexes and masks. Mac was listening to her growling stomach. Food. Sleep. She just wanted to get out of there fast.

"What the fuck?" She exclaimed when she first saw her balance. Her shift at work had already taken its toll - she was in no mood for bank machine games right now. MacKenzie rubbed her eyes, and pulled her cell phone out. Drying off the device first, she then clicked on the phone's flash. It is dark in this shit-hole she thought. I can't see properly. No way I can have that amount in there, Walmart definitely doesn't pay me that kind of money. Where the hell is it from? She was too hungry to figure it all out now. She poked in an amount of two hundred dollars to see if that worked. It did. The bills slid out into the plastic holder. She took them, then took her receipt, lastly pulling out the bank card. She opened the door heading back out into the cold snowy air. First she would grab some takeout then go home and sort this out.

This is not possible.

"Where did this money come from?" She said out loud as she got to Wong's Chinese takeout, ordering enough for a few days. She held the sac with staple's in her arms, embracing the warmth and scent of good cooking. Eat first, then figure this out. Call the bank. She quickly munched through some egg rolls, and chow mien. She barely tasted anything. Okay, stomach full with the remaining food out in front of her, MacKenzie wiped her hands then dialled the customer service phone number. She would get to the bottom of things before sleep. Good thing 24/7 was available. One ring, two rings, third ring home run when someone finally answered.

"Yes, yes hello? I would like to know how an amount was deposited in my account recently? That's right, correct, thank you, yes I will hold." MacKenzie gave the information to the customer service rep. She tapped her fingers while she waited. She didn't want to end up owing somebody that kind of moolah later. It was after 8:30 now but she couldn't relax until she knew the money was hers. All she needed were the cop's at her door. Maybe Luca pulled a heist and wanted to pay her to get back together?

"Yea right, you know full well that's a lie. Luca didn't have the brains to pull something like that off. He hated working. Luca was great at mooching off others who did. MacKenzie shook all that shit out of her tired head. Her hair was a mess, mascara already running dry on her thick eyelashes. She leaned heavily onto her shoulder holding her cell phone half on the arm of her sofa bed. This was going to be a shit long night. That much she figured. Her sore feet fanned side by side on the coffee table. Her once size 6 went to a size 7 after doing stand all day work. She frowned down at them. As if her feet disappointed her. Like her mother?

"Hello, okay so it appears you got the deposit from a Law Firm called Drake & Associates. Your Aunt Mable Bloomsbury passed away and you were on her list of inheritancee's. In other words, congratulations, you won the jackpot." The woman sneered, through the clicky clacky teeth. Mackenzie could hear that unpleasant sound. Well, maybe it was a sneer, MacKenzie couldn't tell. Right now she couldn't care less. Her stomach was doing flips inside out and over.

"Okay, thank you so much, have a nice day." And she hung up the phone. What was she going to do now? This was the question of the year. She'd never had this kind of money before. And she had no inclination that she was going to have that kind of money, not ever in this lifetime. She'd called her friend and colleague Sasha. Teeth were now getting a good scrubbing. Mac brushed and fluffed out her auburn hair then removing the messy eye makeup. She had her bag all ready for a fresh face.

"You will not believe this girlfriend, I just got the jackpot, come on, let's go celebrate." She had the next day off anyway.

"You have to be kidding me? This is a lot of dough. Are you going to stay at the store or go travel?" Sasha spoke through her straw at Wild's Bar later that night. This establishment was a divey joint - but the food was good. Too bad she'd already eaten the Chinese. She did get some chips and burgers to go though, for breakfast. An afterthought as the night wore on into the beginning of early morning. Outside the snow had tapered off to a few flakes. MacKenzie was not caring about the weather right now. Tipsy and tired she only wanted to crawl into bed. Her mind was hazed over from excitement and alcohol.

The bartender was super attentive as Mac gave him large tips. He could spot the spenders right off the bat. These two ladies were here for a good time, he mused as he worked them both. His well tattooed biceps were a help too, the gals loved him. Music blared through the old school coloured lights shadowing the room 80s style. Grease and beer permeated the domain. Bowls of pretzels decorated amongst dirty glasses.

"It's a lot of money now but it won't last if I spend it all will it?" MacKenzie had a lot of thinking to do. It wasn't every day someone got a windfall. Just like that. Mackenzie thought of her old Aunty Mable, but they were not that close. At least not having heard from or about her in a long, long time. She'd been so busy trying to make things work with Luca's and then the harrowing issue of leaving the dude. Well, it had been a rough few years for her. She'd focused on surviving. And getting a job. MacKenzie had no other family really, a few cousins but none of them tried to contact her. This really was a shock to her. She would have to find out more detail about Mable eventually.

"Well, I would like to go South, I have never been to Florida." She said wistfully. And of course she would bring Sasha if they could get the time off. Her new financial status still bothered her to no end. No way she was going to do anything until she got some answers.

"We could go on one of those cruises around you know? Oh my god, this is fantastic, I am so happy for you." Sasha beamed through her red lipstick mouth, eyes big and wide with joy for her friend.



Several months later MacKenzie had moved into a new apartment, and had taken a trip South like she'd dreamed of. Before she left, however, she did do some investigating. She needed more information, she was on a mission to seek truth. Sometimes truth did set you free.

"I need to know about my late Auntie, what happened to her, where she was laid to rest, all of it." She'd explained after hiring a private investigator.

"No problemo, I will be in touch shortly." He wrote down the information she had from the firm. The PI appeared to be in his 30s, had a photo of a woman holding a baby grinning ear to ear.

"My wife, my son. Isnt she pretty?" He smiled noticing how I looked at his desk.

"Y...yes she is. Ok, I will be waiting for your call then." She stood up and shook hands, giving him a retainer.

"All right, here is what we found out. Turns out your aunt died of cancer, 4th stage lungs. She died peacefully in the convent of the Sisters of Holy Hill, well cared for. She was very religious. She got her money after selling the Chateau she'd lived in until her husband died. Your Uncle Jerome Constantino, a restaurant owner who did very well with investments. Your money is legit, your aunt didn't suffer."

"So that's it then? Just a simple story. Well, at least I know more than I did before coming here." She told the PI who was sipping on his coffee. He certainly wasn't one of those stereotype television ones. He was nice, clean and tidy desk. Shaven and smelled of old spice strong enough to tickle her sinuses. MacKenzie was glad she hired him at least she got some answers here.

He placed the file in front of me. My heart felt heavy. It was no longer about the money. It was about my aunt who died alone except for the nuns around her. I wished I had gone to see her, for that I will never feel peace I would have had.

Later on, several years later, she had the opportunity to go and visit her aunt's gravesite.

"If mom wasn't such a cruel person we might have gotten to know each other. Here, I brought you these." She sniffed out and placed a large bouquet of fresh daisies on top of the plot. There. Someone cared. Her uncle's grave lay beside Mable's as well but MacKenzie didn't even know who he was. She only felt empathy and the sadness of her loss. She also felt the peace present around her as well, strong and bold.

August 17, 2022 15:21

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.