Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Draftee

Jubilee Jones was a loan shark, an unusual job for a woman, most agreed. She was also the de facto Baptist in this all-Amish town. You're probably wondering how much business a loan shark would get in a place full of people who shunned money.

It turned out she ran one of the most successful money laundering businesses on the east coast. And why not? What cop would think to look here. Well one did, and I was his mole. I'd been drafted after my arrest for getting drunk and peeing in an alley during my Rumspringa. Once the elders found out what I was doing back here, I was certain to be shunned from the community. But it didn't matter. My plan was to do this one task and then disappear.

Jubilee stood looking out the window when I entered her office. A boulder of a woman, she wore a yellow kaftan and a red beret, an obvious insult against the rest of the women in town and the drab colors they wore. She turned to me and grimaced. When she did, the skin on her right cheek wrinkled and formed into what could have been a small pond.

"Ms. Jones?" I said.

"Yeah, what do you want?" She looked at me as if I was a bug waiting to be squashed.

"I have a delivery for you." I pulled a brown paper bag from my jacket pocket.

"Don't know what you're talking about, kid." She turned back to the window. "You must be in the wrong place."

"Enrique sent me."

She coiled around to look at me.

"You're not the usual guy."

"He's uh. . . He had a problem with Enrique." I twisted the bag's neck and wondered if the cop had been truthful with me. "I don't think you'll see him again."

"Enrique would have told me."

I shrugged my shoulders. "All I know is I was told to bring you the money."

"You live around here?" She waddled to her desk and held out her hand.

"I used to," I said and handed her the money.

I rocked from toe to heel while I watched Jubilee count, a low grunt coming out of her mouth as she flipped each bill.

"What're you waiting for? You ain't getting no receipt." Her faced turned into one big scowl.

"Um. . . Enrique said you'd pay me."

"I don't pay the mules. He does."

"He said he was a little short and that you'd take care of it. Said he'd pay you back in the next shipment." I tried my best to say this without shaking too much. It wasn't part of what I'd been told to say, but having been raised a pacifist, I needed some way other than using a weapon to get enough money to leave a life I no longer wanted.

Jubilee glared at me and drummed her fingernails on the desk. She puckered her cheeks and tossed a bundle of money at me. "He better."

I caught the stack of bills, put it in my pocket, and headed out the door. I didn't know how long it would be before the cops busted Jubilee. I hoped they'd wait until she did whatever she did next with the money. By then, I planned to be far, far away. At least that was my plan.

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