The Scam, a short story by StevenHunley. Date added: 2011-07-23. Times viewed: 1989.
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- Intro: old men plot a scam
“Sometimes life is just sink or swim. It’s all about the risks you’re willing to take.”
I was nervous. I hadn’t seen these dudes in twenty years. Old friends, old partners, old backers.
For the scam to work we needed each other as much as Anthony needed Cleopatra. They needed my talent and expertise. I needed their money. Simple. It was time to play Let’s Make a Deal.
The house was at the end of a cul-de-sac. Ron liked his privacy. Especially back during the days when he was growing in the canyon behind. Now he hadn’t smoked in over five years.
Kenny had kids now and grandkids as well. We all did. All in all, we were a desperate bunch of old geezers. Especially me. No retirement, no woman, no prospects of either one. I had only one thing.
Nothing to lose.
So last week when I called them up. It was a surprise to them both. What I didn’t know was that they were both as desperate as I was. Ron had taken up gambling since I left town and was heavy in debt. Kenny had a woman on the side who was costing him plenty. In addition, his daughter was in college. We all needed the bucks.
“I got a business proposition,” I said, and that was all. Out of habit we never talked on the phone. The meeting was scheduled.
Greetings and handshakes and “good fellows well met” all around. We went back to the deck over-looking the canyon and Ron, ever the good host, passed out the beer.
“Damn you’ve got greyer!” was echoed like we were in some kind of canyon.
“Well, what’s up Smittie?” Ron questioned.
“I was thinking of resurrecting the scam.”
Four eyebrows were lifted.
“You’re kidding,” said Kenny. “After 911, the security is bound to be tighter!”
“Not the way I got it figured.”
They gave each other a look.
“How long will it take and how much do you need?” asked Ron.
“I need twenty thou for the score, thirty days for the trip,” I said back.
Ron and Kenny looked again at each other and nodded.
“And what do we get out of it?” said Kenny.
“Same as the old days. Double your money and a gram of the best for personal.”
“And if you get busted?”
“Same as the old days, nothin’.”
“The old double or nothin’,” they both sang like a chorus, “Same as the old days.”
Ron thought of his bookie and Kenny of the wants of his lover and a college tuition. I thought of myself. What a trio of lovely grandpas we made.
“I’m in,” said Kenny.
“Me too,” quoth Ron.
Bears bottles knocked together in triple unison. Various smokes with exotic names were consumed in flames provided by various Calibri and Braun lighters clicking their heads off, even Ron’s.
And like a phoenix, my scam arose from the ashes.
I was in business again.
I had to call Keith. He’d always liked our stuff. Mick had given it up years ago.
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