Discreet Winner

a Short Story by Kellis

May, 2000



“I am Rolland Janifer, Ms. Hammond, and I want to pay you eleven million dollars.”

The woman in suit and ruffled blouse cocked an eyebrow at him across her mahogany desk.  Her neatly made face expressed interest with a touch of curiosity — and impatience barely held in check.  Her voice was cool and well modulated.  “That’s how you persuaded my secretary to admit you without an appointment, Mr. Janifer.”

“Well, it’s the truth.  Of course, you’ll have to earn it.”

She smiled slightly.  “Earn eleven million dollars?  I’m an attorney, Mr. Janifer, not a baseball player.”

“Yes, you’re a lawyer, the one who got all those girls off.”

She shook her head.  “That suit of yours looks like you bought it off the rack for about $200.  Obviously you’re not O. J.  Who is it can pay me that kind of money?”

“Good guess:  $125 three years ago.  To answer your question, no one yet.”

Yet?  This better not be some kind of speculative scheme!”

“No speculation at all.”  He raised his brief case to his lap, popped the latches, withdrew two sheets of paper and laid them on her desk.  One was the top half of a page from yesterday’s newspaper, including the date.  A heading was circled in red felt-tip.


Weekly Lottery Winning Number

First Prize:  $44,134,957, Weeks Accumulated:  5

Winning Number:  08 13 14 27 39 45

Winning Tickets Sold:  1


The second sheet was blank except at the top, which exhibited a xerox copy of a lottery receipt on which five numbers were printed.  It acknowledged the five dollar payment required and was dated Wednesday of the previous week.  Again one of the numbers was circled in red felt-tip.

It was identical to the winning number in the newspaper.

She took a deep breath and raised her eyes to his.  “Do you have this ticket?”  Her voice had lost its coolness.

“Yes, I do.”

She studied him.  He almost smiled at the calculation visible in her eyes.  She demanded, “What’s the problem?  Did you buy it in partnership with someone else?”

“No.  It’s all mine.”

“Are you on the run from the law?”

“No.”  He grinned deliberately.  “At least, not yet.”

“Don’t want your wife to know about it?”

“You’re getting warmer.”

She grunted.  “No way will you keep this from her!  What do you need me for, Mr. Janifer?  All you have to do is take your ticket downtown to the Lottery Commission and walk out with the first check.  About two-point-two million, isn’t it?  Less taxes, of course.”

“I know exactly what it’s worth, Ms. Hammond.  And I do need you, for two reasons.”

“I’m listening.”

He frowned, choosing his words.  “I watch television now and then.  I see what kind of hoopla they put on for the winners, practically their entire lives trotted out for the curious to see.  You wouldn’t mind that.  It would just be free advertising for you, wouldn’t it?”

The woman snorted.  “I can’t believe you would object to a little exposure if afterwards you collected forty million dollars!”

“Well, I would, and you’d better believe it, if you want your share.”

“My share?  That’s an interesting way to put it.  Why share?”

“Because I propose to give you the ticket and let you collect it for a quarter share of the proceeds.”

“Let me collect it?”

“As if you had bought the ticket.  In fact I expect you to tell the commission that you did buy it!  Because it’s true.  You’ll give me a dollar for it.”

“And who gets the other three-quarter share?”

“I do.”

She leaned back in her chair, studying him, but again calculation supplanted curiosity on her face.

“You’d better tell me why you want your part in this kept so secret.”

He nodded.  “I have a good reason.  Last year I went through a very bitter divorce.  I lost the suit — the court didn’t buy mental cruelty — but my wife liked me no better than I liked her.  She finally agreed to divorce me in exchange for most of our property.  I also had to give her all of my future earnings above a fixed amount.  I thought the amount was generous then, but not now.”

“For the rest of your life?”

“Or until she remarries, which is damned unlikely.  She hates sex.”

The woman’s eyebrows had climbed up her forehead.  “I’m surprised your attorney let you agree to something that punitive!”

He shook his head.  “I had to get away from that woman.  The sight of her was making me sick.”

“Another woman waiting in the wings?”

“Other women.”

“Really?”  She smiled.  “You had two mistresses?”

“Nothing so entangling.  I learned my lesson about long attachments years ago.”

“Do you mean your other women were prostitutes?”

“Not exactly.  They were divorcees living in the same building as our condo.  They let me drop in on them from time to time, and I would decorate the mahogany out of gratitude.  When I could afford it.  My wife ruined that little arrangement.”

“I see.  I think.”  She took a breath.  “So what’s your proposition, Mr. Janifer?”

He latched the briefcase and set it on the floor.  “I want you to do a few things for me, Ms. Hammond:  first, collect the money.  The beginning check should be well over a million.  If it’s not enough I’m sure you know how to take out a loan against the 44 million, or 22 million — whatever it will be after taxes — to be repaid over 20 years as the checks come in from the lottery commission.  Then buy a furnished house on the beach for my exclusive use, secluded, several bathrooms, big enough for parties of a dozen people.  Cheap furniture will do.  I want color without character, like a motel room.  I’m only going to play there, not live there.

“And that brings me to the reason I came to you and not some other lawyer.  You know the working girls that I’ll need in my beach house.  You can send them around to me and answer their questions if they have any.  You can vouch that I’m not a cop.”

Her eyes widened.  She chuckled dryly.  “Are you asking me to be your pimp, Mr. Janifer?”

He studied her thoughtfully.  At last he answered, “I think procuress is the right word.”

Her eyes glared.  “Mr. Janifer, I’ll have you know —”

“For eleven million dollars,” he interjected.

“I don’t care what …”  She released her breath, staring at him.  “Hmm.”

“Also you’ll give me an allowance of a thousand a week plus extra on demand, and pay all the regular bills, including the girls.  You work out the deals with them.”

She shook her head.  “Mr. Janifer, I have represented prostitutes, it’s true, with some success.  But I am not a procuress!”

“For eleven million dollars?”

“Well …”

“It should be an easy sell.  Two or three of them at the time, usually for just one man.  More if I invite friends.”

“Only on weekends?”

“Oh, no.  More often than that.”  He grinned.  “That is, if I can stand the pace.  I’ll be available.  I gave my boss a two week notice yesterday.”

She shook her head slowly back and forth, but her eyes were introspective.

He said, “For eleven million dollars.”

She took a very deep breath.  “Mr. Janifer …”

“Yes, Ms. Hammond.”

“I might be able to help you after all.”

“Only might?”

She straightened her shoulders.  “I believe I can do all you ask.”

“Oh, I’m sure of it!  There’s just this one little catch …”

“Catch, Mr. Janifer?”

“I don’t mean to imply anything at all, and I’m sure you practice only the highest ethics, but after I give you the ticket, Ms. Hammond, what’s to prevent you forgetting I exist?”

“Mr. Janifer!”

He shrugged deprecatingly.  “I know, I know.  I have a nasty suspicious mind, but procuresses have been known —”

“I’ll give you a contract.”

“Yes, of course, a contract.”  He smiled at her.  “I’ve thought a lot about this.  It’s hard for anyone to be ethical about 44 million dollars.  I want a visual contract.”

“A what?  Well, of course, all contracts are visual.  You can visually read them.”

His smile widened.  “I want a contract with no fine print.  In fact no print at all.  Let me show you.”

He brought up the brief case again and took out another paper, which he passed to her.  She glanced at it and her eyebrows rose.  “This looks like a play script.”

“Exactly, with only two actors:  you and me.”

She read through it quickly and raised her eyes to him.  A red spot appeared on both cheeks.  “And just where would this little play be staged?”

He gestured around himself.  “What’s wrong with right here?”  He patted the brief case at his side.  “It so happens I have a camcorder with me.”

She stared at him for several seconds.  At last she chuckled wryly.  “You admit to having a nasty, suspicious mind, Mr. Janifer.  No one’s credulity would be stretched if such a mind also harbored fraud.  This whole approach could be nothing more than an attempt to get my panty-hose off.  Is this a form of white collar rape?”

His expression grew pained.  “Of course not!  I’ve shown you the evidence.”

“That xerox could be faked.”

“What would it take to convince you?”

“Showing me the actual ticket would go a long way.”

His frown deepened.  After a moment’s thought he snapped, “All right, I’ll show it to you, but it has to be done my way.  Turn your back.”

“So you can hit me over the head?”

“Ms. Hammond, I won’t touch you without your permission!”

Her jaw set, she rotated her swivel chair to face away from him.

He crossed his legs, raising a foot within hand reach, and extracted a folded paper from a pocket in the top of his stocking.  Down went his foot.  “All right.  You can look.”

When she had spun back, he added, “Pick up the newspaper clipping and hold it out where you can see the winning number.”

She leaned forward expectantly, elbows on the desk, the newspaper held as directed.

He added, “Put your other hand behind you.”

With a sniff she obeyed.  He unfolded his paper and advanced it cautiously toward her at some distance from the newspaper.  As it drew into alignment, her eyes flashed back and forth between the two pieces of paper, growing wider with each transition.  When she released the newspaper, he quickly withdrew the lottery ticket.

“It’s real!” she breathed, staring at him.  “44 million dollars!”

“And you get to handle all of it,” he agreed, slipping the ticket into his pocket.

“Be careful with our money!”

He chuckled.  “You can hold it as soon as our agreement is, ah, concluded.”

“Let me see.”  She clasped her hands together, elbows on the desk.  “Federal and state taxes together will be slightly less than 50 per-cent, but let’s assume 50.  That means each of the 20 checks, including the first, will be worth about $1.1 million.  You can buy beach property, if it’s not too swank, for about half that.  The girls and the expenses will run about two or three grand per week, plus your allowance, and another one to be safe.  Five grand a week is 260 in a year.  You’ve got a quarter of a million left.”

“Your share.”

“And you propose to keep this up for 20 years?”

“Truthfully?  I expect it to kill me long before.”

“And what happens to the money in that case?”

He smiled.  “That will be your problem, won’t it?”

“But suppose you do last — get religion, or something.  Five grand a week won’t begin to spend all this money.”

He shrugged.  “You’ll find, Ms. Hammond, that I’m a man of simple tastes.  I don’t care for expensive toys.  No yachts or airplanes for me.  Just female flesh.  That’s all I care about, all I live for.  I expect you to furnish all the money I might need for that pursuit — and one other thing:  to keep me from getting entangled with any owner of that flesh.”  He grinned.  “That shouldn’t be too hard, since I won’t have any money of my own.”

“Except the girls won’t believe it.”

He nodded.  “Right.  It’s better if they think I’m rich.  But legally I’ll always be broke.  I’m sure you notice, Ms. Hammond, that your cut from this will in fact be a lot more than a quarter.”

“Perhaps.”  She held up the play script.  “Your idea of a visually enacted contract with demonstrations of sincerity is interesting, but how do you know it will hold up in court?”

“Well, I don’t know!”

“It would help if you had witnesses.”

He gawked at her.  You would allow witnesses?”

She smiled, fluttering the script.  “No, not to this.  But I would welcome them on a standard contract.  I know some people who are very discreet.”

He nodded.  “Yes, and I hope to get to know them, too, before long.  But no witnesses.”

She shook her head.  “If I’m to be your attorney, I should advise you that in my opinion a contract in this form, unwitnessed, will be unenforceable in any court.”

“What about the court of public opinion?”

When she only stared at him, he added, “I don’t know about your personal life, Ms. Hammond, whether you have a husband or children.  But you do have a reputation as a good lawyer, winning cases against confident male opponents, including the D.A., and furthermore you’re said to be a woman of integrity.  What happens to your reputation if this tape is made public and you are charged with breaking a contract?”

She continued to stare at him.  He lowered his voice.  “I have a friend whom I’ll invite to the parties.  He knows all about computers.  What would be the effect on you if the juicy parts were circulated as MPEG clips on the Internet, stared at by ten million slavering teen-agers, college students and tired businessmen?”

She seemed to shrink a bit.  Her voice quavered.  “H-how do I know you wouldn’t do that anyway?”

“Huh?”  His eyebrows rose.  “Because then you’d be justified in shutting off the money.”

She took a breath.  “Maybe.  I need a bit more assurance than that.”  She opened the middle desk drawer and took out notepad and ball-point, shoving both across the desk.  “Write down your ex-wife’s name, address and telephone number, please.”

Now he stared at her.  Their eyes locked.  His eventually gave way.  He drew the notepad to himself and scribbled upon it before pushing it back to her.  She studied it a moment, picked up her telephone receiver and pushed a button on the base.

“What are you doing?” he inquired, eyes widening.

“Checking.”  She held up a hand.  “Don’t worry.”  Her fingers stabbed the tone buttons, obviously keying the number he had written.

“You’re about to blow the whole thing!” he warned, tensing.

“Not unless you’re lying.”

He had half risen from his chair.  He settled back with a sigh as she said, “Hello.  Could I speak to Ms. Adele Janifer, please?”

The receiver rattled.  She continued, “Are you Adele Hawthorne Janifer?  You’re not?  I’m sorry.  Then you’re not the Adele Janifer I’m searching for.  Excuse me for disturbing you.  Good-bye.”

When she had hung up the telephone, he remarked dryly, “At least you didn’t claim to be selling insurance.”

She smiled smugly.  “One must be careful in these days of Caller ID.”

“Are you satisfied?”

“Almost.”  She pushed the notepad back to him.  “Your full name, address and phone number, too, if you please.”

He scratched them on the pad and pushed it back to her.

She asked, “I’ll be able to reach you here to report progress?”

“Yes.  Any time.  That’s a cellular number.”

She put the notepad into a desk drawer and sat back with a slight smile.  “All right, Mr. Janifer.  What’s next?”

He took a breath.  “Do you agree to act out the contract?”

She glanced at the script.  “If you want me to memorize these lines, you’ll have to bear with me.”

“That won’t be necessary.  Reading them will be good enough.  Hmm.  Scratch through the one about not trying to locate my wife.”

“Why did you put that in anyway?”  She marked on the paper with the ball-point.  “You know I won’t tell her anything!”

“Then we’re agreed?”

“Oh, I’m sure we’ll have to work out many details as they come up, but yes, I’ll manage your money, buy you a love nest and act as your procuress among the girls that I know.  I’ll even cover some things you haven’t mentioned, like medical insurance in case you contract AIDS, which is going to be a risk, you know.”

“I don’t care.  I’ll die happy.”

“Perhaps, but without insurance all the money could go to your life support.  One problem I foresee, Mr. Janifer, is what happens when you get tired of all the girls I know.”

He grinned.  “A tough problem!”

She sniffed.  “I expect we can find a solution.”

He get to his feet and pushed his chair well back from the desk, turning it sideways.  Looking at her, he tilted his head toward it.  “This straight chair will be our stage.”

She shrugged.  “It’s no worse than the desk.”

“Then take off your clothes while I set up the camera.”  He raised his brief case up to the desk top.

“Just a moment.  Go twist the lock on the door.”

As he crossed the room he heard a click behind him, followed by the woman’s voice.  “Janey, I don’t want to be disturbed by anything for the next half hour.”

“Yes, ma’am,” was the tinny reply.

Returning to her desk after locking the door, he said, “Let’s make sure of that.”  He twisted the knob on her intercom to the Off position.  She shrugged, standing up and beginning to unbutton her suit jacket.

He took a small camcorder from the briefcase, turned it on and placed it atop the briefcase, the whole atop her desk, lens toward the armless straight chair.  He positioned it precisely while studying the small display on its back.  The woman watched his every move while methodically removing her clothing, one piece at the time, and draping it over her executive chair.

“When you’re ready,” he said, removing his tie, “bring your script and stand beside that chair facing the camera.  It’s already recording, by the way, and picking up what we say.”

She grunted.  He was quick enough with his own disrobing to join her as she arrived.  She retained a wristwatch and earrings with a dollar bill in hand.  He wore a wristwatch and stockings, at which she curled her lip, and the lottery ticket in his hand.

He asked, “You want me to take them off, too?”

She shrugged.  “It says we’re both naked.  Were you born with socks?”

He grinned and threw his stockings onto the pile his clothing made on another chair.  He paused as he turned back and stared her up and down.  “You’re a good looking woman, Ms. Hammond.”  His voice conveyed admiration.

“Thank you for the flattery, sir, but I’ve been sitting too much at my desk.  I think we both have.”

He nodded.  “I intend to do a lot less sitting!”

“It won’t take my girls long to work off that flab, Mr. Janifer.  And I’m glad to see that your flattery is sincere.”

“My what?  Oh.”  He chuckled.  “It’s this whole delicious situation.”

“I think I understand.”  Her voice was dry.  “Well, shall we begin?”

“Stand beside me here beside the chair.”

They stood together facing the camcorder, a bare elbow of each touching the other.  She noticed something in his other hand, connected by a loosely coiled wire to the instrument on the desk.  “What’s that?”

He showed her a push-button on the end of the wire.  “When I press it, the camera will zoom in close for the final bit.”

“I see.  You want me to make that a good show, do you?”

“Well …”

“A facial, as they term it?”

“Yes, I’d like that.”

“Do you like it enough to let me claim half of the proceeds, instead of a quarter, after the first year?”

“A half?  You’ll do better than that anyway.”

“Nevertheless, here in the script where I name my part, I want to claim half.”

He shrugged.  “I don’t see that it makes any difference.  Sure, go ahead, if it pleases you.”

“Then I’ll give your camera a good show.  And if I’m to do that, you can forget the condom you so thoughtfully called for.  Go ahead.  I believe you speak first.”

“Right.”  He cleared his throat.  In an obviously memorized and rehearsed voice, he announced the date and time, then explained, “This is a video contract between me, Rolland Arkin Janifer, and —”

He paused expectantly.  The woman said distinctly, “Me, Shirley Hawthorne Hammond, Attorney at Law.”

He continued, “Specifying certain services that Ms. Hammond will perform for me over the next twenty years, if I live that long, in exchange for me having sold to her this state lottery ticket, identified by the number, 08 13 14 27 39 45, announced yesterday as the winning number for the preceding week.”  He held the spread ticket up before the camera before continuing.  “The sale price of the ticket to Ms. Hammond is one dollar and her promise to perform faithfully the services she will now describe.”

Glancing at her script from time to time, the woman recited the list of services, substituting her negotiated half share, concluding with, “And other assistance, not yet anticipated, that may be required to sustain Mr. Janifer’s main pursuit, which was earlier described as indulgence in complaisant and supportive female persons who require no long-term commitment from him.  I promise to perform faithfully all the services just listed.”

She turned expectantly toward the man, who declared in his rehearsed sing-song, “In this pursuit I promise to use no forceful and involuntary methods except in legitimate defense of person or property.  Here, Ms. Hammond, is the lottery ticket.”

“And here, Mr. Janifer, is one dollar.”

Gravely they exchanged the two pieces of paper.  The woman immediately handed hers back to him.  “Lay it on my desk, will you?  I think I’m going to need my hands free.”

He obeyed but snapped his fingers as he turned back from the desk.  “Almost forgot!”

“Forgot what, Mr. Janifer?  Not getting cold feet, are you?”

“Oh, no!  Damn!  It’s in the brief case.”  He stared in dismay at the camcorder carefully positioned atop that article.

What is?”

“A tube of lubricating jelly.”

“Oh, that!”  She chuckled.  “You won’t need it, Mr. Janifer.”

“I won’t?  But, Ms. Hammond, certainly you don’t find this stimulating!”

“On the contrary, Mr. Janifer.  I have never before fucked a man worth 44 million dollars.”

As he stared at her, she licked her lips.  Indeed it seemed to him that the nipples on her breasts had become better defined and more prominent.

He smiled in relief and drew near her.  “In that case …”

“How do you want to do this, Mr. Janifer?”

“Very simply.  I’ll sit in the chair with you in my lap, facing me.  That will make our, ah, connection obvious.”

She smiled.  “Yes, it will.  After you, Mr. Janifer.”

He sat down expectantly, unable to suppress the foolish smile that he knew adorned his lips.  She straddled him, hesitated, then recited a last passage from the script before letting it flutter to the floor.

“As evidence of the uncoerced and purely voluntary nature of these proceedings, and as a demonstration of my commitment and good faith, I herewith submit myself for Mr. Janifer’s pleasure.”

She took his erect organ in hand and settled herself upon it gradually but completely.  He found her disdain for the jelly to be justified.  Womanlike, she immediately began to arch and relax her spine, rolling her hips forward and back upon him.  He slipped his hands beneath her buttocks and contributed a decided vertical component to her motion.

“What are you doing?” she asked a bit crossly.

“For the camera,” he explained.

She retorted dryly, “The camera knows where your dick is.  Why don’t you squeeze my boobs and let me manage the bottom?”

When he complied, she soon gave evidence of increased passion.  Shuddering and moaning, she tightened her sphincters around him.  “Oh, my god!” she called and sagged forward until it seemed only his hands at her breasts prevented her complete collapse — except that her hips continued to roll.

The man stiffened.  “Ms. Hammond …”

When she failed to answer, he looked up into a grimace of passion.  “Ms. Hammond,” he called louder, “it’s time for … ah!  For the final bit.”

“Oh…  Oh!”  She shook herself and crawled backward off his lap.  He spread his legs and she sank between them.  He pressed the cue button in his hand and retained enough presence of mind to push back her hair as her lips enclosed his manhood.  With a groan he reared back in the chair, face turned up to the ceiling but seeing no part of it as his first emission squirted into her mouth.

She backed away slightly and deliberately painted her face with the spurting penis while milking it lightly.  When the ejaculate was nearly exhausted, she took the head back into her mouth.  The man stiffened and groaned again but tolerated a few seconds of gentle suction.  Finally she released him, turned to face the camcorder, extended her semen-coated tongue toward it and grinned.

“God!” he exclaimed.

She rolled her grin up to the man.  “Getting religion, Mr. Janifer?”

“Getting a heavenly blow job!  Were you once a porn actress?”

“Not exactly.  Ten years ago I was gainfully employed in Nevada, sometimes in front of cameras.”

“Why did you quit?”

She smiled, wiping fluid from her eyelashes onto her knuckles.  “I went to law school and took control of the screwing myself.”

He laughed.

She got up, went around her desk and extracted a roll of paper towels from a bottom drawer.  Before wiping her face clean, she held up a small mirror to regard herself and chuckled.  “Oh, yeah.  Brings back old times!  I’m glad you enjoyed my work, Mr. Janifer.”

“Call me Rolly,” he instructed, going to his clothing.  “You seemed to find some pleasure yourself.”

“Yes, indeed,” she agreed.  “Every woman should get 20 million for a fuck!”  She threw her used towels in the waste basket and picked up the lottery ticket instead, holding it reverently before her.

Her words reminded him.  He shut down the camcorder and returned it to his brief case before resuming the task of getting dressed.  She sat naked in her executive chair, leaning back on her draped clothing, and contemplated the ticket still in her hand.

“Aren’t you going to dress?” he inquired idly, having borrowed her mirror to knot his tie.

“I think I’m rich enough to go naked,” she answered with a grin, then sighed.  “But why waste it on that!”  She looked up at him.  “Are you in a rush?”

“A rush?”

“Have you picked the day for your first party?”

He grinned.  “You just took the edge off my rush.”

She smiled.  “Oh, you’ll get that back pretty quick.  Rolly, we’ll be seeing a lot of each other over the next few days.  I think I can get you a love nest pretty soon, but you’ll have to approve it.  Can I call on you tomorrow night with some money for you, along with a first report?”

“Yes, of course.”  He chuckled grimly.  “I don’t exactly have a busy schedule these days.”

“That’s about to change.”

She watched him slip on his jacket, but when he picked up his brief case and smiled at her, obviously about to depart, she crooked her finger.  “Come here, Rolly, around the desk.”

He thought she wanted a kiss.  He bent down and bussed her firmly, tongue probing, taking the opportunity also to cop a feel.  When he raised up, she regarded him intently.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Rolly, I know you think you’re smart.  Do you have any idea what a trusting fool you are in fact?”  Her eyes were bright but seemed to contain no malice.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Our little connection can play itself out in two or three ways.  I know a man — hell, an organization! — that I could call after you walk out that door, promise him 20 grand and have him meet you at your apartment with a bullet between the eyes.  I get all the money and you get dead.  My point is that 20 million would buy you dead a thousand times.  Your video would get out, but 20 mil will cover a lot of indiscretions.

“Another scenario is that you faked the newspaper instead of the ticket.  When I present it tomorrow, they throw me out and try to charge me with fraud.  Nobody gets any money;  you get away with some free snatch and a pretty good video of an attorney getting screwed, worth a few laughs but that’s all.  I am not even remotely blackmailable, as several of my clients have found out.”

He said, “You don’t trust me.”

She grinned darkly.  “Well, I’ll tell you how it is.  You don’t have to sweat the first one.  You were absolutely right:  I am indeed a woman of integrity.  My word is good, Rolly, and I always keep it to the best of my ability.  So if this ticket really is a winner, you will shortly begin a life of debauchery that King Farouk was probably the last to match.

“Only if it’s a fraud do you have to worry, and I’ll know two minutes after you walk out the door.  In that case these addresses and telephone numbers had better be imaginary and you’d do well to wipe off all the fingerprints you left on my desk, that chair, the door knob and every other place you touched.  Also destroy your DNA on those towels in the waste basket — and the dollop in my gullet.

“There’s the roll of fresh towels, Rolly.  Had you better start wiping?”

He shook his head.  “The ticket and newspaper are genuine, Ms. Hammond.”

She stared, and slowly a smile spread her lips.  “Call me Shirley, won’t you?”



Copyright © 2000, Kellis


Stories at http://www.dhp.com/~kellis