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An odd shape in the formation of an upside-down ‘L’ stained in the wooden ceiling; the first thing Jen laid her stunning green eyes on as she awoke from her deep sleep. She smiled as she laid there for numerous minutes, being grateful for all she has: her palatial 3 story house, her wealth, her impeccably intelligent mind, her attractive appearance and her talent of being able to act modest, but at the same time think she is the best – she likes it that way, it gives her a sense of power and control.
She knew minutes would turn into hours as it was a Saturday morning and she had no intention of leaving her bed and being active. She had had a busy week after winning an award of intelligence and taking part in several interviews for news stations. She wanted a break – a well-deserved break.
She watched her clock as it ticked away on her timber bedside table, waiting for it to hit exactly 12.00. She could’ve sworn each movement of the long hand became slower and slower as it made its way around the circle of roman numerals.
She stood up; out of bed once the clock reached 12. She walked downstairs to fill her stomach with an extravagant brunch. A few moments after she had finished eating, the phone rang in three sets of twos before she picked it up; ring-ring, ring-ring, ring-ring. The sound was piercing to her ears that were still recovering from the sharp sound of the bacon spitting as it cooked.
“Hello, Jennifer Mathers speaking.”
“Hi Jen, I saw your picture in the newspaper yesterday and I recognised your face. You may think you hid yourself well a couple of weeks ago with all of the makeup that you put on as though you were decorating a birthday cake but no, I knew who you were straight away.”
“What’s this? What are you talking about?”
“I have a proposition for you, Jen. From what I know, you are extremely wealthy. How about you use some of that money wisely and give me $30,000. If you don’t, I’ll tell everyone.”
“Tell everyone what? Who are you??”
“Come on Jen, you remember me… Blare Avenue in that old hotel… the creaky bed…”
“Oh. Please… please don’t tell anyone. I’ll do anything.”
“Good Jen, good. I’d hate to ruin your reputation by exposing your night job to the community. Are you going to do what I want, Jen?”
“Excellent, Bring me the money tonight behind the hotel on Blare Avenue. 10 o’clock Jen, 10 o’clock.”
Jen stood there listening to the beeping of the phone after he had hung up, stunned, and not knowing what to do. She stared at the white wall situated in her kitchen, still holding the phone up to her ear, the words repeating themselves, with that sickening, grungy voice, over and over in her head… 10 o’clock Jen… 10 o’clock…
Nightfall came, Jen fearing for what this man will do to her when she turns up without the money. Her heart beats faster with every step she takes towards the corner of the hotel. As she achieves a reasonably close distance to the corner, she sees what she thinks of as death’s shadow – the shadow of the anonymous caller. She doesn’t know what the outcome of this meeting will be – she can only pray.
“Hi Jen, you look different since last time we met…” The man said, only a section of his face visible in the moonlight. “Now then, where’s my money?”
“I’m so sorry but I don’t have it yet - I can’t just get that type of money within 10 hours, I need a couple of days. Please, please just give me until Monday.”
“You’re wearing my patience thin, Jen. Don’t play with me.”
The man scratches his right cheek continuously for 6 or 7 seconds, enough time for Jen to notice a tan line on his wedding finger.
“I’ll give you your money, just give me time.”
He groaned, “Monday, that’s it. Here, I’ll write you down a number, if you have the money earlier, call it and give me a meeting place.”
Jen walked back to her car and sat on her black leather seat for a long while, thinking up a plan where she could turn the tables on this guy, picturing his wedding finger in her head.
Sunday morning, 9.00am, Jen had awoken from a rough sleep full of twisted nightmares about the current situation. She immediately called her friend, Tammy, to see if she was busy that night. Jen then called the man and told him that she could give him half of the money that night in an old alley way next to Mark’s Café at 12 noon. He thought about it and eventually agreed.
The man arrived at the café shortly after Jen, he got his money, and then he left – he left, not knowing that Tammy was tailing him all the way home.
Jen, being very well known through-out her community, paid a visit to the police station and asked a favour of her friend, Sergeant Harry Jupphill, to find out who lives the house address and who owns a car with the registration that Tammy had given her. Jupphill did so without question at his desk. After roughly 10 minutes, he informed her that the car was owned by a Darryl Waters and the house by the same man with a wife and 3 kids.
“Is it possible you could find out a little more about this man, Harry?”
“Oh, anything for you, miss mathers!”
Again, after around 10 minutes, Jupphill told Jen a few of Darryl’s secrets. Jen had a pleasant smile on her face and thanked Jupphill for helping her out. Jen knew exactly what she was going to do and couldn’t wait for her plan to unfold.
Early, Monday morning, Jen and Darryl met up next to the café once again.
“Alright, it’s Monday, give me my money.”
“I don’t have any money here… Darryl.”
“………how do you know my name?”
“Oh, I know quite a lot about you Darryl Waters… I know that you had a gambling addiction and owe some people quite a lot of money… around twenty-five thousand dollars to be exact. You saw my picture in the paper, recognised me, knew I was wealthy and thought I would be a great way to pay back these people. I suppose you wanted an extra five thousand for yourself.”
“Darryl, I won an award of intelligence, you honestly thought you could get away with this?”
“Anyway, wait until I tell your wife and three kids that you cheated on her a couple of weeks ago! I’m sure they’d be thrilled to hear about that!”
“Please… Please don’t do this. I’ll do whatever you want.”
“I want you to write down how you contacted me two weeks ago before we met, where it happened, and what I told you my name was.”
“Why do you want that? Don’t you already know?”
“Just do it. Oh, and I want my fifteen grand back.”
“Okay, okay, whatever you want.”
Jen got the details and the money, dismissed Darryl, and called the number Darryl had written down for her. A woman answered the phone, Jen told her to meet at Mark’s café within the next 30 minutes to receive fifteen thousand dollars.
Every minute Jen waited stretched out longer and longer. All Jen wanted was to see this person, who she has been trying to find for 7 years but has been unable to because the woman was a prostitute and had to keep a low profile in order to stay away from the police. Jen was going to take her in, take care of her, and give her a better life.
20 minutes passed and the woman arrived – Jen’s twin sister walked through the door.