I am embarking on an A-Z challenge, this one featuring short pieces of fiction. Today’s letter is E for Easy Money.
The shrill clamor of the phone ringing sounded like the fire alarm at my old high school. It hadn’t rung even a dozen times, before I picked it up...off the floor...and tried to speak. When it became obvious that I couldn’t get more than a squawk or two into the mouthpiece, the caller said, “Fine. I’ll call you back in five.”
The second time I was ready. “E.Z. Munnie here. Do you realize that it is only one-thirty in the afternoon? This better be good.”
“Easy, baby. Of course it’s good. Would I ever call you if it were bad? I got a job for you. Can you get over here pronto?”
“If by pronto, you mean after breakfast, then sure, I can get over there. Where’s there?” Was I supposed to know everything?
“What do you mean, ‘Where’s there?’ Haven’t I kept your bank account well-stocked for the past two years? You ought to know where all that bread is coming from by now.” Why was he yelling?
“Monty? Is that you? Why didn’t you say so? Give me just long enough to figure out where I parked last night. Say two hours.” That ought to be long enough for me to figure out up from down.
“Easy, Buddy! Now. Your car is up on your front lawn. Don’t you remember last night?” He’d turned up the volume.
“Last night? Oh, last night. It’s all coming back to me Were you with me when I parked? How come I don’t remember that?”
“Talk to Jack. He’ll straighten you out.”
Straighten me out? Jack? That’s why I was on the front lawn in the first place. “OK, I’m on my way.”
By the time I got to Monty’s place, I had gotten most of my memory back. Unfortunately. “What’s the job?”
“It’s a bank job. Are you up for the task?”
“Whatever you say. Do I get some help? Can I pick my accomplices?” I didn’t want any novices on this job.
“Hey, I leave those details to you. Just make sure they’re pros. This involves some serious difficulties, and you don’t need rookies bungling the job. We’re talking big bucks, here, E.Z., but it won’t be easy. You’ll need to get in and out of there, lickety-split. And you’ll need gloves.”
Big bucks, huh? I’m all ears. “What about the guards? Will we need to take them out?”
“Nah. The guards know what’s goin’ on. They have orders to do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
“Really? An inside job?” This should be interesting. I wasn’t used to cooperative guards.
“But timing is crucial, as usual. You can’t be dilly-dallying around. The bank vice-president will be keeping a close watch on you.”
“Even the bank vice-president is in on it?” This was something new. I’d heard of bank managers and guards being in on a caper, but the vice-president?
“Yeah. Why wouldn’t she be? White-washing is her specialty, and she’s taken a keen interest in this job. She wants it done professionally.”
“Well, I am the Pro from Dover. How much are we expected to net?” I was already counting my stacks.
“How would I know? You’ll be paid by the hour, as usual.”
“Paid by the hour? To do a bank job?” What the heck was going on?
“Yeah, otherwise you might be inclined to homestead the job.”
“Wait a minute. Can you be more precise? What, exactly is the job?” I was seriously confused.
“What else would it be? You‘ll be painting the new president’s office, and it needs to be done without spilling paint all over the carpet. And it needs to be done by closing tomorrow.”
“Oh. How exciting for me.” Where did I put the rest of that Jack Daniel’s?