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The Man Who Would Cheat At Cards

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Submitted: March 29, 2019

Reads: 491

Comments: 1

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Submitted: March 29, 2019



Footsteps could be heard ascending the rickety wooden stairs leading to the office suites above the dry cleaners, situated in a less than salubrious part of town. A chubby-faced man sitting in a cramped second-floor room continued eating the burger and fries which did nothing to improve his physique or high cholesterol level. Between bites, he pecked at the keyboard of his laptop computer with two fingers, composing a report for one of his few clients.

Clump, clomp, clump, clomp. He discerned two people were making the unsynchronized sounds, probably male from the heaviness of the stomp. An eternal optimist, new business he hoped. Dear God; let it be new business.

The discordance stopped at the first door along the narrow passage. Damn it, he thought. They’ve come to see the CPA next door. He could just discern an exchange of words, but what was being said was unclear. The visitors moved on, shadows appearing through frosted glass, the upper part of the separating partition, stopping at the second door; his door. Their distorted outlines could be seen as they paused, presumably to read the locution stenciled in peeling gold lettering.

“This is it,” one voice announced.

The rap of knuckles on the panel was followed by a polite pause. “He’s not here,’’ the other concluded.

“There may be someone inside,” the first suggested.

“But you’re not sure?”

“Could be on the floor; unconscious. As concerned citizens, I think we should force our way in.”

“Just a minute,” the occupant shouted, not wishing to add replacing a door frame to his list of pressing repairs. After quickly wiping off his face and fingers, he dropped the napkin, together with the polystyrene carton, into the wastepaper basket. Hurriedly closing the laptop computer’s lid, then slipping on his jacket, he moved towards the locked portal. Taking a moment to compose himself, he turned the key. In the same instance, the door was pushed open, revealing the assailant and his companion.

“Mr. Willoughby; Mr. Marcus Willoughby?”

“That’s right.” Putting on his best game face, he invited the visitors inside. “Gentlemen, please come in and take a seat. How may I be of service?”

For the moment the two men remained standing. Both sported crew-cut hairstyles. Both wore well-tailored navy blue suits, white shirts, neckties pulled snug to the collar. Too well dressed to be prospective run-of-the-mill clients. Too well dressed to be cops. The taller man, who was holding a manila envelope, opened the flap and produced an 8-by-10 photograph. He held up the likeness of a white Caucasian male, aged somewhere between twenty-five and thirty-five. “Have you seen this man?”

“Well…” The corpulent man hesitated for a moment. “That depends on who’s asking.”

“I am Special Agent Smith. My colleague here is Special Agent Jones.” Simultaneously they both produced ID.

Smith and Jones. Really? he thought. And federal agents to boot. Jesus Christ; this is more than I need. “I’m sorry Special Agents. I don’t see how I can help you.”

Special Agent Smith pulled up a chair. Jones did the same. Willoughby was invited to take the seat behind his own desk. Smith placed the photograph on the desktop tapping it for emphasis as he repeated, “Mr. Willoughby. I shan’t ask again; have you seen this man?”

“I should call my lawyer.”

Check out James G Riley's Book

The Man Who Would Cheat At Cards

Imagine waking up after being in a coma for three months, to discover you now have special abilities – you can read people’s minds and influence their actions. What would you do? Help fight terrorism, thwart industrial espionage, or fritter your talent aw

© Copyright 2019 James G Riley. All rights reserved.


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