Tough Love


Bruno the fence stared at Gladys Wilson.

“I know you have our stuff, Mr. Blatt,” Ms. Wilson said. “I demand you give it to me right now.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” he replied.

“Don’t give me that,” she said. “My grandson told me he sold it all to you, that you are the guy around here who deals in stolen goods. He said you were a ‘fence.’ Now what kind of a way is that to make a living? Profiting off of the misfortunes of others? That’s disgusting Mr. Blatt.”

“Look, lady, I don’t know your grandson and I don’t know anything about your stuff.”

Gladys Wilson took a small notebook out of her purse.

“Let’s see,” she said. “One microwave, a 50 inch flat screen TV, two DVD players, three fly fishing rods and reels, a Bose stereo, one Kenmore refrigerator with icemaker, and a Whirlpool washer and dryer.”
“Like I said Ms. Wilson,” Bruno Platt said. “I don’t know anything about that stuff.”

Gladys Wilson took a cell phone out of her purse. She started to dial.

“I’m calling the police,” she said.

“Wait,” Bruno said. “Just wait.”

Gladys Wilson closed the phone. She stared at Bruno Platt.

“Who is your grandson again?” he asked.

“Tyler Wilson.”

“Uh huh,” he said. “What if I did know something? If I gave it all back to you I might be out some cash. What are you going to do about that?”

“That’s not my problem,” she said. “That’s between you and Tyler.”

She started to dial again. “I want my stuff back, Mr. Fence. I can either get it from you or from the police after they arrest you.”

“Okay, okay. Jesus.” Bruno reached out and gently placed his hands over Gladys Wilson’s. “Stop, I got the stuff, okay? Where do you live?”

“Don’t worry about that” she said. “I’ve brought my pickup and my nephew Sam to help you load. He just got back from serving our country in Afghanistan. He is very big and very strong. He’s also got a gun and he knows how to use it. He was a Ranger.”

“We’ll have to go to one of my storage units,” Bruno Platt said.

“No problem,” she said. “We’ll follow you.”

Later, Bruno and Sam brought Gladys Wilson’s property back to her house. Bruno left and Sam helped her reinstall everything.

While relaxing on her easy chair, and watching The Bachelorette on the big screen TV, Gladys’ cell phone rang. It was Tyler.

“Grandma!” he was screaming.

“Yes, Tyler,” she said.

“Bruno Platt has me. He just told me if I don’t give him 900 bucks, he is going to beat me bloody.”

“Well, I guess you better give him the money then,” Gladys said

“Grandma! I don’t have $900!”

“You don’t? Isn’t that what Bruno paid you for all the things you stole from me?

“Yes, but I don’t have it any more! I spent it.”

“On drugs?” she asked.

“Of course on drugs!” he screamed. “What the fuck do you think you stupid old bitch?”

“I told you the last time that I was done helping you,” she said.

“But you always say that grandma!”

Gladys could hear noises in the background. Someone, probably Bruno the fence, said, “Looks like you are out of luck kid.”

She heard the sound of flesh meeting flesh – hard. Tyler cried out in pain.

“Grandma! Goddamn it! This guy is serious. He is going to fuck me up!”

“I’m afraid I can’t help you this time,” Gladys said. “I’ve had enough.”

She hung up the phone.

Bruno kept hitting the plastic pillow.

“You can stop now man,” Tyler said. “She hung up.”

“Shit,” Bruno said. He grabbed his pistol. “You promised me she’d give you the money.”

“I thought she would! She always does. I don’t’ know what’s gotten into that fucking bitch.”

Bruno pointed the gun at Tyler’s chest. “You got any other ideas?”

“Dude,” Tyler said. “Come on, you know I’m good for it.”

“Oh sure,” Bruno said, cocking the trigger. “I trust you.”

A week later, Gladys paid the bill for Tyler’s cremation — $898.99.

~ fin ~

Mike Monson recently moved to Kona, Hawaii, leaving behind his 20-year-career as a paralegal in San Francisco and Modesto, California when his wife was transferred by her employer Costco. He hoped to work part time while continuing his writing passion, but so, far he has lost all four jobs he has managed to get. His work has appeared in Literary Orphans, Shotgun Honey, Flash Fiction Offensive, Yellow Mama, All Due Respect, and in print anthologies from Gutter Books, Near to the Knuckle, and All Due Respect. His book Criminal Love and Other Stories is available on Amazon Kindle. His novella The Scent of New Death will be published sometime in 2014 by Gutter Books. He is the Associate Editor of All Due Respect.