Funny Suspense Fiction

The Root of all Evil, Money. Really??

“Has the jury reached a verdict?” the sombre baritone voice of Judge Percy Edgeware echoes through the deathly silent courtroom.

“Yes, and no your Honour.”

“I do not recall offering that as an option Mr Foreman. Please explain.” Judge Percy is mildly amused by the response, only mildly. Humour is not his strong suit.

“We, the Jury, believe the accused certainly did the crime. However we do not think it was her fault.”

“Then your verdict is guilty as charged, you cannot have it both ways Mr Foreman.”

“We think the victims had it coming your Honour. Most of us say we would have done the same.”

Judge Percy’s mild amusement has disappeared,

”The Court Officer will clear the Court of all except the Prosecution, Defence, the Accused and the Jury .”

I can see I am going to be late home tonight. My name is Proctor Lovelace I am the Barrister representing the accused, one Penelope Ridgeway who is charged with the murder of her parents. Not to put too fine a point on it, ‘Unlawful Killing’ is the technical term used in Court. Not the easiest assignment I have ever had I admit, considering Penelope has admitted doing the crime. However her defense of doing it for the good of mankind is far better than claiming the devil made her do it.

Penelope is a twenty four year old stunning looking young lady. The combination of long red hair and deep green eyes mesmerizes the male and on occasions the female population. Add to these outstanding features Penelope is the daughter of reputed criminal mastermind Don ‘the Duck’ Ridgeway and Madame Merle, the noted successful brothel Madam. Neither of her parents have ever faced court on any charges. Penelope has been aware of the good money can do in the form of donations and sponsorship , particularly when they relate to high ranking Police and Judges as well as Politicians. The Duck has sponsored the Policeman’s Ball for over ten years proving the worth of what good money can achieve. The closest Penelope has come to being charged with any infringement of the law was when she was stopped by a Traffic constable for speeding. Following her home training, when this situation arises, she took an immediate fancy to the Constable and offered a possible physical interaction to make the ticket go away. The constable was obviously smitten by Penelope’s beauty as well as the handful of money so she agreed. Penelope is a sucker for a woman in uniform.

Obviously her defense has resonated with the Jury. A surprise to many, myself included. I thought she was ‘for the high jump’ to coin a phrase. It will probably be beneficial if I explain how we arrived at this point, I have the time, Judge Percy is going to prattle on for ages about the law and it’s interpretations, he always does when things go a tad pear shaped.

Penny is a lateral thinker who had taken to heart the supposition money is the root of all evil. The problem Penny had was her family has a lot of money. For a lot read ‘buckets full’. To her way of reasoning his meant the house was full of evil and her mother and father were doing the World a favour by gathering as much as possible and keeping it within the home.

There are some exceptions and that is when the money is allowed out to be used for good. Like the time the police thought her father was picking up a shipment of drugs in exchange for a briefcase full of evil, sorry money, The Detective in charge found no evidence of a large shipment of illegal drugs or the actual existence of the briefcase. The small amount of drugs found are for personal use only, according to that particular Detective. He retired soon after to live in the Bahamas. To Penny the money was used for good, allowing a hard working Detective to retire early.

Accusations against her mother Merle were easily explained and dispensed with marked ‘no further action’.  As the owner/operator/participant in the brothel’s operation she is offering employment to some ladies who have limited skills in any other area. In also satisfying her own needs at the ‘office’ this allows The Duck freedom from her desires at home. In doing this she and her employees offers services to both male and female clients who could otherwise be tempted to live out their physical desires to the detriment of other citizens. Her premises also are available to the hard working forces of justice to recover from their day’s labours before going home. One hour limit, others could be waiting. A Public benefactor au supreme is Merle.

All in all Penny is spoiled by never having wanted for anything, with the possible exception of being noticed by her parents. Her father actually caused her outlook on life to change. Perhaps the start was when he actually had to ask who she is on one occasion, claiming his daughter Penelope was only a little girl he hadn’t seen around for some time. The crunch came when, after he was convinced Penelope is in fact that little girl, he suggests she call around some time and they can catch up.

Merle tried to calm her down by offering her a job at the brothel once she found out Penelope was twenty four.

Penelope ran out of the house crying and caught a bus into the city, booking in at the downtown Hotel, the Magistrate. Once a little more composed she dried her eyes and called room service for sandwiches and a bottle of Mumm Champagne in an ice bucket and one chilled glass please. While waiting she opened the drawer next to the bed. There was a book which she took out and without thinking started to read.

From here I will tell you the story as it was told to me. The conversation started a little later.

She was so engrossed in reading the Waiter had to knock three times to get her to answer the door. After he put the bottle in the ice bucket on a table he turned to ask if Penelope wanted him to open it.

He didn’t get the chance to speak. “Do you know about Timothy and money?” Penelope asked.

“I knew a Timothy Patchet once, but he never had any money. Always borrowing and never paying it back. Is it that Timothy?” the waiter jokingly replied

“I don’t think so. No, this Timothy is in this book.”

“I think that is a Bible. First time in twenty years I have ever seen a guest use one. Yes Timothy is a friend of Luke I think.” He tries to be amusing.

“Yes, you know things don’t you? Do you know what he said about money?”

“I think he said it is the root of all evil.” He grins.

“No, that is what everyone says and it is wrong. I thought that was true until I read this. He said worshiping money is the root of evil. It is not the money at all. My parents are evil. I thought they were being good hiding all that money at home, but they were being more and more evil with each extra dollar they made.”

“Your parents have a lot of money hidden at home?” his interest is piqued.

“Yes. They don’t need it, they just worship having i. As I said pure evil. I think I will have to purify the house by taking all the evil away. Could you help me?”

“You want me to help take a lot of money from your parents? That doesn’t make sense.”

“I am twenty four years old. I have spent most of my life believing money is the root of all evil.  I have been living a lie. My father uses money to buy his way out of things. I used to think he was doing good. My mother does the same, offering money or even sex to get out of any trouble. I used to believe she was doing good giving women jobs and helping the police. All she was doing is making sure she doesn’t lose her money. Both are worshiping money. That is evil,  using it to do bad things. You must help me.”

“What are you going to do with the money?”

“I don’t care. Give it to orphans or blind dogs I suppose. You can have it if you want it.”

“Orphans is a good idea but I don’t think a blind dog could use it. I suppose I could take some to help you out.”

“Oh would you? Take as much as you like. Here is the address, meet me there tomorrow night at 9 o’clock.”

That is the crux of the way it built up to Penelope being charged with killing her parents.

The waiter turned up as arranged, Penelope let him in and they quietly made their way into The Duck’s office. The bottom drawer of his filing cabinet was full of banknotes which they started to load into a pillow case. They hadn’t counted on The Duck leaving his mobile phone in his office, so when it rang there was no way out, they were trapped.  Penelope knew there was a gun in the desk draw, she got it out and was pointing it at The Duck when he turned the light on.

He asked who are you? Penelope thought he was talking to her not her waiter friend. She shouted, I’m your daughter and I am taking all your money. Merle heard the commotion and joined The Duck. Her first question was the same one that The Duck had asked “Who are you?”

Once again Penelope thought she was talking to her. By now she was crying, ”I am taking away all your money, it is evil. The way you worship it is evil".

The Duck told her there was much more money in their bedroom. He would give it all to her if she would put the gun down.

That was it, she couldn’t take any more. Offering money to buy their way out of a situation has always worked before for Merle and The Duck. Not this time. Penelope emptied the gun into her parents. Evil begets evil.

Penelope rang the police. She told them exactly what happened.

The waiter has not been seen since. Neither has the pillow case full of banknotes.

I put forward the case for Penelope’s acquittal.  Judge Edgeware was sympathetic but unmoved.  The Jury was dismissed. The Prosecution are uncertain whether a new trial would benefit anyone.

Penelope continues to live in the same house, purged of all its evil money worshipers. The money in the bedroom? Well a girl has to live doesn’t she.

August 17, 2022 04:29

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


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.