“Not everyone can be bought,” she said.
“Aw honey, I don’t want to buy you. I just want to rent you for a while.”
He caught her arm as she raised it to slap him. They stared at each other for a moment and she lowered her hand to her lap. He signaled to the waitress for another round.
“Just listen to what I have to say. You’ve been on the run for months. I know you didn’t empty his account. You must be short of cash.”
“What do you want Manny?”
“Believe it or not, I need your help sweetheart. I’m in a fix. The IRS wants to put me away, but they’re willing to cut me a deal if I reel in a bigger fish.”
“You’re going to rat out Joey? Do you have a death wish?”
He shrugged and tossed back the rest of his drink as the waitress set down their replacements.
“I figure I’ll be okay if he goes away for long enough. Besides, it’s rat him out or go to jail. Loyalty has its limits.”
“Okay, fine. You made a deal. What does that have to do with me? I don’t know anything about Joey’s business. I figured he was into something shady, but I kept my head in the sand. I don’t know a damn thing.”
“You know who he was hanging out with. You know where he spent his time. All you have to do is give them something to work off of and they’ll do the rest.”
She rubbed her face with her hands, feeling defeated. Manny had found her after being on the run for three months. She had gotten lazy—stayed too long in one place. It could have been worse though. If it Joey had found her, she’d probably be a Jane Doe in a morgue somewhere.
“And what do I get out of it?” she asked.
“You get enough cash to stay out of sight for a while—at least until he goes away. You could settle down somewhere and use your real name. Maybe go back to being a blond. Come on honey, how much money do you have left? How much jewelry could you possibly have had to pawn?”
“You’d be surprised,” she said, gazing into her glass. “Joey thought he could buy me too.”
“Sounds like it worked.”
“No Manny. Like you said, he was just renting me for a while.”
“Think about it. My new friends at the IRS could make life on the run a little more comfortable.”
Manny finished his second drink in one swallow and stood up. He let the money fall onto the table and walked out.
I’m linking up with this week's Write on Edge’s prompt. We were challenged to write a piece that begins with the line, “’Not everyone can be bought,’ she said.” and ends with the line, “He let the money fall onto the table and walked out.” This piece continues a thread I started with the short story “Circling the Drain”. Check out the much expanded version of "Circling the Drain", which will be included in the upcoming collection "Precipice" from Write on Edge.