Minutes before Midnight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Due to financial ruin, a couple decides to kidnap their boss. Now they must decide whether he lives or dies. A mystery/crime/horror thriller. First few chapters

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Minutes before Midnight

Submitted: July 11, 2015

Reads: 265

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Submitted: July 11, 2015



~~My wife Alisha is a manipulative bitch. I’ve been chewing over that fact since the third grade, when she convinced me to beat up Billy D. Walker for a kiss. I later found out she offered up the same deal to Billy who was just as eager as I was. How many more innocent boys did she lure into detention with the promise of a moment of passion beneath the rusted monkey bars? At five minutes after three, Billy and I were tumbling around on the schoolyard failing around like asses trying to land a punch. At some point I busted Billy’s nose. Some advice, a bloody nose is the way into a young girl’s heart; the more that poured from his face the more Alisha cradled him. She totally ignored me, the victor; I gave her exactly what she wanted. I chewed over that for a moment before I shoved her face down into the sand. “Todd Baxter!” The principal called my name. “To my office,” Alisha scowled at me from the sandbox, clumps of sand in her hair, as I was escorted via ear to detention.
 Her kisses were the reason I sat outside my own house in a stolen minivan. At twelve minutes before midnight I killed the engine, grabbed the gun from the glove compartment, and caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview. Blue eyes behind one of my wife’s old stockings, she insisted on me talking the ones with the run down the side and cutting holes in the eyes, even though I told her I can see just fine. No, she said, you’re gonna run into a wall or knock sumthin’ over and ruin everything. I reminded her that my coordination was better than that, “I played football…in high school.” She smiled, kissed me, and then proceeded to cut eyes in the see-through stockings. Now I looked like a giant ass, actually I looked like a giant blue-eyed bunny that happened to also be an ass-hole.
 I chewed over using the front door, but thieves don’t use the front door, they sneak. So, I decided on the back window, near the porch, that was missing a latch. Alisha planned to leave it open, but I thought it would be more convincing (and more awesome) for me to break it. No, she said, you’re gonna hurt your hand or make too much noise, wake up the neighbors and ruin everything. I reminded her that I was tough and stealthy like a cat, “I played football… in high school.” Again she smiled and kissed me. Needless to say, I was standing in front of an open window. Beyond the window was the kitchen, the smell of sweaty conjugating bodies lingered in the air, had that bitch been having sex in my kitchen? That was never part of the agreement. Sex was limited to the bedroom with possible foreplay on the couch, never in my kitchen where I cook and eat my meals. By this time I was furious, the thought of bare ass and balls on the table that I sit at to enjoy pleasant meals made me gag. However, I was wasting time, and as Alisha would say “‘Time wasted is time not spent doing shit for me.’” Ok, she never actually said that but I know she’s thought it. The clock in the kitchen read eight minutes before midnight.
 The living room was in disarray, something must have gone wrong, a vase lay shattered on the floor, a pool of water soaking into the carpet. My precious flat screen, hanging over the fireplace had several cracks running over its surface, it sizzled and sparked as I walked into the room. As if saying, “Where have you been? Did you see what they did to me?!” I grabbed the stocking and ripped it off my head in frustration. I resisted the urge to scream out loud, that television was the only thing I owned that was only for me. Everything else I had to share with my wife; my car, my money, my house, my life! I felt like I was going to faint. I gripped the arm of the couch to steady myself and notice something strange, something terrifying. A dark pool of blood stained the tan corduroy couch, I cringed, it was still fresh, wet and oozing into the fabric. Six minutes before midnight.
Chapter 2
A week before midnight, my wife, Alisha and I, sat around the kitchen table. I pile of overdue bills in front of us, each one with the words final notice in scarlet feverish red. This was our last final notice and we knew it. Alisha picked up another notice, brandishing the silver plated mail opener furiously. I imagined her jumping over the table and placing it against my throat. Maybe even using it, my blood gurgling in my throat, eyes rolling back in my skull, face down on a pile of bills. What a way to go. But to my surprise, she simply cut the letter open and placed the weapon down on the table. She opened the letter and scanned it, shaking her head in disbelief. It was bad news of course. It was never good news for us. It seemed from the first time we got together we were destined to have terrible luck. We were in this situation because of me and me alone. Some time ago, I convinced Alisha that we should say screw the rat race and go into business for ourselves. She reluctantly agreed, of course, this was when she used to believe in me, look to me for advice, run to my strong arms to protect her from the world. Now she viewed me as useless, undesirable, and would run to a blind, deaf, mute in a wheelchair for protection before me. And I couldn’t blame her. I failed her numerous times, so many times in fact, that now she expects failure. When our floundering business finally went under I went back to work, however, by that time we were already submarined under the water. I took out a second mortgage and a loan to attempt the start-up of the company. I begged friends and family for investments that I promised them would be profitable. I put the bills on the back burner, ensuring Alisha that as soon as the business picks up we’ll have enough money to pay off this shack, and move to a three story house in a gated community. But of course that never happened.
 “Are you even listening to me?” My wife rudely interrupted my self-loathing seminar.
“I’m sorry… what did you say dear?” 
She took a deep breath and composed herself, I could tell she wanted to rip my head off the way she gnashed her teeth when she spoke. “We have to do something, Todd, if we don’t we’re screwed,” she buried her face in her hands sobbed, a weak, pathetic sob that sounded like a lost kitten mewing for its mother. A kitten I wanted desperately to drown in a pot of boiling water. Yet, when she lifted her head and I saw her soft brown eyes rimmed with red, her golden brown hair, usually in perfect order, in disarray around her head, my heart softened. I rose slowly and stood next to her, she looked up at me slowly a small meek smile spread across her lips.
“I’m pathetic, huh?”
I shook my head slowly, no, but said nothing and placed my hand gently on her shoulder. She placed her hand upon mine and we shared a rare moment of peace and understanding between one another. I cleared my throat and chose my next words carefully, “I have a plan.” Her eyes, full of confusion and intrigue, met mine, determined cold blue steel.
“I’m listening…”
I laid out the sketchy plan for her. My boss, Ralph Wilbertson, a 65 year old married dad from Iowa, was a cheating scumbag. He was known around the office as a lecherous old fart, who only hired women showing skin and sexually harassed them every chance he got. No one knows why the women never pressed charges, maybe they felt sorry for him since it was rumored he wasn’t able to get it up anymore. Or perhaps, as my co-worker Marybeth, the only women in the office he never hit on, suggested, he passed perks out to keep them quiet. Marybeth had personality and incredible talent, she was hired on before Ralph, but never got promoted up the company. However, she seemed satisfied in her mediocre receptionist position, even though far less qualified women, were promoted she never complained. It was likely she felt if she did request a promotion, Ralph would fire her since she was not nearly as good looking as the other women. Marybeth, 30 year old single mom, had long thinning blonde hair that she always wore in a bun, the most comedic coke bottle glasses that sat upon her crooked witchy looking nose. She wasn’t unattractive really, it just seemed like she never tried to fix herself up. She wore similar looking outfit’s every day of the week and it was rumored around the office she only had 3 sets of clothes, that were always covered in dog hair and smelt like mothballs and kitty litter. Despite her obvious physical appearance challenges, I really cared for Marybeth, like a sister of course. From the first day I started at Quality Insurance Care, a company based in Texas which handled life insurance for elderly men and women, she took me under her wing and showed me how to fly under the radar while doing the minimum amount of work possible. A joke we shared at the office one afternoon was the catalyst for the hair brained scheme I concocted with Alisha.
 Wednesday, 3 minutes before noon, I locked my computer and left my desk to beat the lunch rush. As usual, I stopped by Marybeth’s desk located downstairs by the entrance of the building so that we could go to lunch together. “Hey, Beth, you ready to head to lunch? I wanna leave before the parking lot turns into a zoo.” She grunted in response, clacking on her keyboard, obviously preoccupied by something on her computer screen. “Marybeth come on…”
She interrupted me mid-sentence and waved at me to come closer. “Take a look at this… you won’t believe it.” I stood behind her and leaned over her chair to get a good look at the computer screen. She strolled the page down and pointed to a ridiculously large figure.
“Damn, that’s a whole lotta mula. Why you showing me? Tryna make me jealous or something?” I asked jokingly.
She shook her head frantically, “No, no that bastard, Wilbertson, gave himself another raise.”
My eyes opened wide, Wilbertson had given himself a raise to six figures, while the rest of us barely brought home two. I was furious, “asshole.” Marybeth rose from her desk, grabbed her cardigan sweater and tied in around her waist. I really wished she would stop doing that, it made her look like an insecure grade-schooler, but I never mentioned it. The disgusted look on Marybeth’s face disintegrated, replaced by a sly grin, “I bet if you kidnapped that fucker he’d be worth a lot of money to somebody.”
I raised my eyebrow quizzically, “You really think he has family that would pay to have him back?” I snorted, “its’ more likely they’d pay to get rid of him.”  Marybeth laughed
“Yea you’re probably right. Come on.” She headed towards the rotunda doors. “I’m feeling like Chinese today.”
I groaned, “Again?!” We never spoke about Wilbertson’s financial standing or kidnapping again until four days before midnight.
Chapter 3
I was admittedly nervous as I explained the scenario to Alisha, who looked at me with a blank expression until I finished. I expected her to burst in a fit of laughter or to tell me off, but she did neither. She simply nodded and asked me how we could effectively execute this plan.
“But, I don’t want to hurt anybody, Todd. If we have to…” She looked around and whispered as if microphones were hidden in the walls, “kill him… then I want no part of this.” I attempted to assure her no one would get hurt, but I was unsure myself. If it came down to it, I’d kill to protect myself and avoid prison time. In fact, if we let Ralph go we’d likely get caught and arrested and I could not let that happen, especially not to Alisha, who couldn’t survive two days in jail for traffic tickets, let alone life in prison for kidnapping, extortion, and capital murder. The thought of her small frame, chest heaving from crying, with a big burly bitch named Bertha behind bars brought a small grin to my lips that I immediately hid by pursing my lips together.

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