Love & Hate – Chapter 16: $500

Chapter 16 by Matt Wall

The sound of Dr. Ed Gold’s hard-soled shoes echoed in his office as he paced back and forth. He looked at his watch and shook his head in disappointment. Without being able to tell his coffee was horribly bitter, he slurped away at it; the years of sucking down cigars had made his tastebuds faulty. He stopped pacing once he approached the window and looked out on the park that reaches across to the Main Street area of Winston. 

After taking another slurp of his coffee and disappointingly checking the time again, he put the coffee down and poured himself a scotch. As the glass left his lips, a smile of satisfaction crept into his grin. The grin became larger, once he heard the door knob turn.

“Ed?” Bobby Bell said as he poked his head through the door. “Sorry I’m late.”

Without turning around, Ed spoke. “Just sit down, Bobby.”

“Is that scotch?” Bobby asked. “Aren’t you going to offer me one?” He smiled nervously in anticipation for a glass of his own.

“No, just sit, Bobby. There are some things we need to talk about.” Ed walked around his desk and as he sat in his chair, Bobby mirrored his movements and came down in the chair across from him. “Let get to brass tacks here, Bobby. You owe the Bava’s $500?”

“That would do it, Ed. Yeah.”

Ed pulled a billfold out of his breast pocket and counted out the bills. “There’s $500.” He threw the wad of cash at Bobby.

“Thank you so much, Ed. You have no idea what this means to me.”

“I do have an idea. It means we won’t find your degenerate ass dead next week. I know the Bava’s. I know how they work and you are a fool for getting mixed up with them.”

“Not now. I’m never fooling around with those lunatics again.”

Ed’s disgustingly stained teeth were exposed through a smile. “Let’s not be hasty now. There might be some events coming in the near future, where a relationship with them could prove itself useful.”

Bobby looked confused. “What do you mean?”

“Nothing. Just don’t burn any bridges when you take them that money, and under no circumstance, will you tell them where you got the money.”

“Whatever you say, Ed.”

Ed leaned back in his chair. “This will be your first test. Let’s see how you do with this. Pay them and then report back to me.”

“Will do.”

“How’s your mother? Have you seen her since you have been discharged?”

Bobby looked down. “No, I haven’t.”

“That is going to change,” Ed said, clearing his throat. “You are going to see your mother at least once a week from now on, and when you see her, you will not ask her for money, or seem depressed. You will tell her you have a job and things are going to change. That is all.”

“What job do I tell her I have?”

“I don’t care. That’s up to you. Just make it believable.”

Bobby smiled. “That’s sounds good. I can do that.”

Ed lit a cigar. “How are things with your brother?”

Bobby’s face turned sour. “What brother?”

Ed chuckled. “You know who I mean. Billy. How’s your relationship?”

“Nonexistent, and I don’t see that changing at all.”

“Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

Bobby was taken aback, then smiled.

“When you come back,” Ed said. “I will have a favor to ask of you. Your first real job for me.”

“What is it?” 

“Pay off Bava, then come see me.”

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