“Well, He does work in mysterious ways. Seems like it’s all here. Wherever did the penniless Lucas Vang get $7000 cash?”
“I suppose that’s a rhetorical question, Mr. Snake, so I won’t bother answering it.”
“Suit yourself. We’re done. Take your fine self out of here. See he leaves, Guido.”
Snake did his loan sharking in the back room of his cousin’s bakery. Lucas exited out back with the conscientious assistance of Guido, then entered the Italian bakery in the front. Kitty Patel was serving the bakery customers, pausing long enough to give Lucas a smart look. Lida, just Lida, was taking orders at the counter. Lucas nodded at Lida for his usual and watched Kitty select the Italian pastries for some old guy with a cane and expensive fedora. His clothes, his whole demeanor screamed “uptown lawyer” with a sweet tooth.
After paying for the pastries, the old guy sat down next to Lucas and ordered coffee. Once he fixed and fussed over his coffee, he spoke to Lucas without turning his head.
“My name is Leonard Esterhaus. I am your grandfather’s attorney. Over $10,000 was stolen from the safe in his personal library. He knows it was you. Shall we go see him and discuss this messy affair before it gets out of control?”
In the private library, Lucas and the attorney waited for Silas Wright, Lucas’s maternal grandfather, long enough to have coffee. Silas showed finally and sat behind the room’s imposing desk searching the two faces across from him.
“You are both here. Good. Which of you stole the money?”
“What? Silas, how could you think I stole money from you after all these years?” The attorney was convincingly surprised and insulted.
“Grandpa, I paid a loan shark this morning the $7000 I owed him. Here’s my stub and receipt showing I won $9012 at Aqueduct Racetrack yesterday. I didn’t steal your damn money. Looks like you’re it, barrister.”
That was a month ago. Lucas Vang still found it difficult to fall asleep at night without seeing Esterhaus’s face as his grandfather tore into him. Silas Wright filed charges against the attorney but dropped the complaint a week later. Lucas took that to mean his grandfather was on to him. Yet not an unkind word came from his grandfather or his mother.
Every day Lucas waited for the other shoe to drop. And he waited. Finally, after so many restless nights, and days spent looking over his shoulder, Lucas confessed to his grandfather. His grandfather would not press charges or require restitution on the condition that Lucas, Archivist for the Archdiocese, access certain confidential records for him. Historically, only priests ever held the position and Father Lucas Vang was no exception. What his grandfather required of him would certainly get Lucas fired, if caught. He gambled, stole from his grandfather to pay off a loan shark, and accused another for his thievery. It appeared that the icing on his cake of misdeeds would be disloyalty to the Church.
Flash Fiction Challenge #30
Prompt: A man steals a large sum of money to pay a debt to a loan shark. He saves his ass from a beating, but is haunted by the nature of what he has done.
Word Count: 500
Many thanks to Ms Thain at Thain in Vain for hosting Flash Fiction Challenge