Listen to the Money

Submitted into Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt


Drama Fiction Funny

Las Cruces, NM

June 9, 1996, 1:47 PM

Red: So, let's say you get two choices: both of them lead to riches, but the amount is different for each and the way you get your wealth over time is different too. One path gets you $1,000 every hour on the hour, and the other path is worth $500 every 20 minutes. Which path are you taking?

Darrell: A thousand every hour vs half that in a third of the time...

Rosanna: Is there a time limit?

Red: The time limit is when you die, so choose wisely.

Luna: Oh good grief, it's another one of these? Red, baby, you can't trust these idiots with money.

Red: Don't say that. You've got to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Rosanna: Doing the math, the ideal path to take is the $500 route, right?

Red: Okay, and why do you say that?

Darrell: It builds up faster than collecting a thousand every hour. After a day, a thousand turns into $24,000. In a week it's $168,000 and in a year that'll swell up to $8.7 million. But halve that and divide the time you get that into thirds, it becomes $1,500 every hour; $36,000 every day; $252,000 every week, and $13.1 million every year. The second path is the most desirable.

Luna: Okay then. You can trust them with money.

Red: Yeah, I'm shocked. Most of the whiteys I question like this, always pick the first one. You're one of the few who didn't. Guess I should've used a tougher question then.

Luna: Yeah, you should've.

Darrell: Mind if I ask why you're asking us this? Also, is there a caveat?

Red: Those two questions are kind of disjointed, but no there was no caveat. The money you collect is yours for good. As for why we're asking you this, first of all: I like these kinds of questions. I used to do this with my Marines all the time in Kuwait.

Rosanna: Wait, you were a Marine?

Darrell: [to Rosanna] Seems you found another one of your kind, Rosie. [to Red] But seriously, you're a Marine?

Red: Oh yes. My men used to call me War Chief and I think it's a fitting name.

Rosanna: Rank and MOS?

Red: First Lieutenant. I was an intelligence officer.

Rosanna: Shit, you outrank me. I was a Lance Corporal.

Red: No way, you're a Jarhead too? Oh crap, we're getting off topic. The reason I asked you two about that was because I wanted to know something: you said you had to meet someone in California, right?

Darrell: Yes, our boss, Mr. Kool, has a friend who's waiting for us in Palo Alto.

Luna: And he trusts you two enough to meet his friend on the other side of the country?

Rosanna: We're already all the way in New Mexico. We left from Florida three days ago.

Darrell: We're fully aware of what we're doing and what might happen to us on our way back.

Red: That's a lot of trust he has for just two people. Not that I'm calling your abilities into question, but who exactly is waiting for you in Palo Alto?

Rosanna: To be honest, we have no idea. He just showed us a picture of some old guy and said to talk to him.

Darrell: Yeah. The cook for Abbey and Co. is switching hands and we're supposed to hand him over to that friend of his.

Luna: And you have no idea why?

Rosanna: Look, we're on a need-to-know basis. We don't ask for further information unless it's important.

Red: Yeah, I'm familiar with that. The thing about that is more often than not, the devil is in the details, and I don't want to doubt your boss or whatever but there's got to be a reason that the guy who's cooking your sugar is changing hands and now of all times.

Luna: Are the Feds on him? Is this part of a run-around strategy? What role do you guys play in this?

Red: It's also kind of strange that you're making a damn long trek from Florida to California. The other side of the country, if that wasn't obvious enough.

Darrell: Well, it's not like we haven't asked that ourselves. It's not uncommon for us to cross state lines some days, but this is the first time we're going this far. This is my first time leaving the South.

Rosanna: He's right. Our last orders were vague. We don't even have a way to call our boss.

Luna: Not even a work cell phone? If I didn't know any better, I'd say sending you this far west is his way of getting rid of you two. I've got a long distance card. We can go to the nearest payphone.

Rosanna: Alright. [to Darrell] Are you coming?

Darrell: Sure thing. I need to make a call myself.

Luna: [to Red] We'll be back, amor.

Red: Alright, I'll see you all when you get back.

[Darrell, Luna and Rosanna take Red's car to the closest payphone from the house. Rosanna uses the payphone first.]

Rosanna: Come on, jefe, pick up.

Kool: (answering machine) You have reached the offices of Abbey and Co. Unfortunately, the owner is unavailable. Please leave your message and I'll contact you however possible.

Rosanna: Are you kidding me?

Answering machine: Please leave your message at the tone. *beep*

Rosanna: Mierda... Mr. Kool, it's Rosanna. We're in New Mexico right now. We have something we want to ask you when we get back to Florida.

[Rosanna hangs up the phone and turns to Darrell and Luna.]

Darrell: What the hell happened?

Rosanna: He's not there. Who were you going to call?

Darrell: Some old friends.

[Darrell picks up the phone.]

Arthur: Hello? Who's this?

Darrell: Hey, Arthur. Remember me? Darrell from Florida?

Arthur: Yep, I remember: tall, blond, fancy fedora with a feather in it.

Darrell: Hey, you remembered! Okay, I don't have a lot of time. Rosie and I are in New Mexico, so we're close to our destination but we have some concerns about Mr. Kool. This is going to be a monumental favor to ask, but do you think you and Christine can go to the office in Florida and talk with him?

Arthur: I need to know what I'm talking to him about first before I try anything, Darrell. What's the issue?

Darrell: Ah, that's right. We didn't think it was important for you to know this at the time, but do you remember when we said that we needed to go further west to California for something?

Arthur: Yes, I remember that.

Darrell: The thing we needed to take was a person, one of Abbey and Co.'s many chefs if you catch my drift. We're supposed to hand him off to a friend of Kool's in the next few hours or days depending on when we get to California, but we weren't given a lot of details as to why we're meeting him so far away.

Arthur: And you want us to find out why this friend of Mr. Kool's isn't closer to where we're based, right?

Darrell: Exactly, my friend. Can you do it? We'd go ourselves, but by the time we reach our destination and head back it might be too late. We're already a day behind schedule.

Arthur: You should know, Christine and I are putting ourselves at a considerable risk by doing this. I'll see what I can do. If Mr. Kool is absent or won't give me any answers, I'll talk to Mr. Tucker as well.

Darrell: Arthur, I can't thank you enough for this. We'll find a way to repay you.

Arthur: I'm holding you to that.

[Darrell and Arthur hang up. Darrell turns to Rosanna and Luna.]

Rosanna: You called in a favor? Do you think it'll help?

Darrell: I'm betting on it. [to Luna] You and Red brought up some interesting points. Mr. Kool isn't telling us everything. Arthur said he'll talk to Tucker if he can't find Kool.

Rosanna: Good call. The minute we're done with the handoff, we're going back to Florida.

Luna: Are you guys flying back this time?

Darrell: It'll be faster, but it'll cost at least $200 to go from California to Florida.

Rosanna: Getting the car on the plane is more than double that. I think it'll ring us at... $700 or so?

Darrell: Oh, Jesus... I don't even think I have that much on me. Alright, we'll go back to Red's house, grab our stuff, head to Palo Alto, do the deed, head to the bank and grab the next flight back to Florida. Alright, it's... [looks at watch] a little bit past two o'clock, so it should take us another day or so to do all that and then get back to Florida. I'm desperately hoping Arthur and Christine are on the case right now. Alright, let's go.

January 12, 2021 19:45

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