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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2295869
Jeff and Susan have car trouble.

"That'll be five hundred dollars."

"Five hundred? Are you crazy?"

The grin dropped from the mechanic's face.

"I don't much care for your tone of voice, friend."

Jeff took a step back.

"Well...five hundred? It wasn't that big a problem, was it?"

Inside the car, Susan cursed him under her breath. If only he'd got the damn thing serviced before they started this road trip, this kind of shit wouldn't be happening.

"Listen, buddy. It looks to me like you don't have a lot of options. I don't see many other garages around here that could have helped you out. Now that'll be five hundred dollars - cash."

"I don't have that kind of money on me!"

The two other men stopped what they were doing and strolled over.

"Got a problem here, Ray?"

"Well, Jim, Pete, it seems this guy doesn't have the money to pay his bill."

They closed in on Jeff, who was now starting to sweat. Ray's attention switched to Susan, who turned away to avoid eye contact.

"Maybe the lady might be able to help out?"

Jim and Pete exchanged glances and started to grin, while the subtext flew right over Jeff's head.

"She doesn't have that kind of cash on her either."

"I said, maybe the lady might be able to help out."

Jeff glanced at the others and the penny dropped. He turned to run to the car, but Pete stepped in his way, pushing him back so hard he landed on his backside, raising a cloud of dust. He turned to Ray who had by this time produced a handgun.

"Let's go talk to the lady - maybe she might be a bit more co-operative."

Jim had got there first. He opened the car door, grabbed Susan's wrist and pulled her out of the car. She kicked and cursed him as he dragged her over to the building, stopping her struggles only when she saw the gun. Ray, now standing at the top of the steps, held out his hand. With tears starting to run down her cheeks, Susan took it and slowly climbed the stairs.

"Well now, that's much better. Much more friendly. Now let's go in back and get friendlier still."

Pete and Jim barged past them. Jeff could only stare in horror as his wife gave him a brief, terrified glance before stepping into the office and disappearing from view while Ray looked back at him, winked, then closed the door. He slumped into the driver's seat and gripped the wheel with all his might, knuckles whitening with the effort. A few seconds later the silence was broken by a sudden brief agonised cry from his wife and wild cheering from the men to indicate that she and Ray were finally getting down to the business of being real friendly. Jeff rolled up the window to shut out the noise.

There was nothing for him to do but wait while she paid the bill. It was likely to take some time.

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