Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"The Exchange"

I wrote this short short story for one of my first online college courses. It was fun and suspenseful to write while I tried to figure out though whose point-of-view to write it. Enjoy!

***



I arrived at the abandoned gas station a half-hour early. I don't know why. I was probably nervous. Who wouldn't be? This was an important meeting. If I blew my cover, it would cost me my life. I had to act just like the man sitting in the holding cell back at HQ. Cold, secretive, rude...

I adjusted my jacket as I listened to the voice in my earpiece telling me to chill. Of course he would say that, he's not the one risking his neck. If I blew it, everything would explode in our faces and we would be back to square one...

The door opened. I exhaled slowly and whistled softly. My contact, a woman named Melanie, whistled a quiet reply. I turned, hoping I didn't look as nervous as I felt, and watched her approach casually. One of my hands rested in my jacket pocket, and the other held a small sack, the weight of the world.

"About time," I spoke roughly, sounding impatient.

"Traffic," Melanie shrugged, "I hope I didn't keep you waiting."

"Just give me the money," I replied shortly. She lifted an eyebrow. "Were you followed?"

"No," Melanie shook her head, "You?" I gave her a hard stare, making it clear the answer was obvious. She cleared her throat and produced a plump yellow envelope. I reached for it, but she drew back. I snarled irritatedly.

"The jewel, if you please," Melanie said politely.

"Money first," I hissed. Melanie frowned, but she tossed the packet on the grubby counter. I hesitated, then gave her the sack. She took it quickly, glaring at me. I glared back, sticking my free hand in my pocket.

She had pulled out and opened the dark wood chest. I hadn't seen the contents, but whatever it was glowed a green hue in her face. I didn't like the smile that spread over her face. She closed the box and smiled up at me.

"Thank you, Mr. Riley, for your business." She held out her hand. I looked at it, then at her with a cold stare. No use risking that. And besides, she looked way too confident. No harm in making her feel awkward. Her smile weakened as she withdrew her hand. "Well, have a good night, Mr. Riley." She turned to leave, but then turned back. "We will contact you again soon for the rest."

"You better," I answered, my voice as low and threatening as I could make it. Just leave, close the door...

"Good-night, Mr. Riley," Melanie smiled and disappeared into the black night. Not until the door clicked shut did I heave a sigh of relief. I did it. I was alive and in one piece. I didn't know how much longer I could have stood that. Some agent I make. At least she bought it.

"Money's on the counter," I said, "I'm following her." I heard the voice caution me as I stepped into the cold. This was going to be another long night.

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