It seems a little too public, but I go to meet him by the banks of the Mississippi at Riverfront Plaza anyway. He is the professional after all; he’s done this before, but I try not to remind myself how many times.
The rain and wind whip up under my umbrella and flip it inside out. I shift it in the direction of the oncoming gusts and peer from underneath the brim. There he stands by a light post farther up the bank, motionless and staring at me. I make my way toward him, but he holds up his hand and points to the trashcan three feet away from me, closer to the rising, lapping water. Does he want me to put the envelope there? Will he dig it out when I leave? Won’t that look more suspicious? Besides, I have questions. When will he do it? And how? Is it selfish of me to not want her to suffer? She is the mother of my children after all.
I glance over my shoulder. The only people out in this approaching hurricane are me and him. I head for the trashcan and try to inconspicuously take the envelope from my briefcase while pinching the umbrella’s handle under my arm between my elbow and side. But the envelope is in deeper than I remember, and a sudden panic overcomes me, causing me to drop everything on the ground, the packed envelope gliding across the rain-soaked brick sidewalk toward the river.
I feel his piercing glare. I’m sorry. I’ve never done this before. Can he blame me for being a little nervous? I rush to scoop it up. Already the manilla paper is soaked through. Instinctively I want to check the cash inside, but a flash of light catches my attention. At first I think it may be lightning, but then I see the camera directly ahead and the reporter in a reflective jacket bracing himself against the wind. Did they catch everything? Is this exchange being broadcast to millions of Baton Rouge viewers across Channel 9’s viewing area?
I turn in his direction to see what I should do, but he is long gone. I don’t know when he disappeared or if I just imagined him there to begin with. I should go too. This plan was doomed from the start. I gather my things and close the umbrella. What’s the use anyway? I’m soaked down to my socks. It was a dumb idea to wear loafers in a rainstorm. All of it was a bad idea. But even as I trek to the parking lot, part of me wants to look back. Will he be standing behind me? Will he be waiting for the money? Will he still kill my wife?
Written for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #181
One thought on “Exchange”
A very intriguing tale. Thanks for joining in.