The Guarantee

Reads: 586  | Likes: 1  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 5

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

This story will change your life forever. I guarantee it.

Following his Alma Mater's humiliating loss in the Sugar Bowl, Jay wandered the streets of the French Quarter in a fog of despair. True, it was only a football game. It shouldn't matter much in the grand scheme of things, but it came at the end of a long and depressing year during which Jay had suffered myriad defeats and minor tragedies. The failure of the Crimson Tide to advance to the national title game was a microcosm of his miserable existence.

Jay's pack of college alumni buddies had descended upon Bourbon Street intent on drowning their sorrows by hopping from barroom to barroom and getting rip-roaring drunk. Jay declined to follow them. He considered it distasteful that good, church-going folks should presume a license to sin whenever they went to New Orleans.

Going his own way, Jay stumbled down a dim and seemingly deserted alley. He knew the tourist bureau advised against doing so, but he wanted to get away from all the whooping and hollering of the victorious Buckeye fans and their taunts whenever they saw a red football jersey. Sticking his fingers in his ears to mute the noise, Jay aimlessly trudged a half block before he came across a small stall tucked under the eaves of a dilapidated building. He would have passed it by except for the small sign that said: Spiritual Healing.

The display consisted of a card table heaped high in talismans and stuff, things like pentagrams and chickens' feet bound in black ribbons. They were in neat piles labeled Voodoo, Santeria and several other terms he didn't recognize. Back home in Wilmer, every item on the table would be viewed as blasphemous. He was both fascinated and repulsed by the thought that people might actually put faith in such evil products of Satan.

He was about to walk away when the woman sitting on a folding chair next to the table said, "Tough loss."

"Tell me about it." Jay murmured back.

Jay didn't know whether to be amused or shocked. The last person he would ever have expected to meet in a back alley on a dreary New Orleans night was a blond-haired, blue-eyed, Caucasian Voodoo priestess, yet there she sat in full Afro-centric regalia.

"I sense you are troubled." the lady said. "I can help you with that."

Jay knew a scam when he saw one, but he decided to play along. His year of troubles had shaken his faith severely but not completely. He figured he could get at least a little solace by putting the Devil in his place in this nest of sin. He was ready to pit his wits against the pagan priestess. After all, it was just a common con game she was running.

Reaching under her chair, the priestess pulled out a small package about the size of a brick. It was wrapped in plain brown paper and bound tightly within several layers of duct tape. "This will change your life forever. All your troubles of the past year will be completely forgotten. I guarantee it." she said.

"Guarantee?", Jay asked with a snort, "What guarantee?"

"Read the label!" she commanded.

The label said: "GUARANTEE - This will change your life forever or double your money back."

To his utter surprise, the lady pulled out a portable device that accepted credit cards and took electronic signatures written with a stylus. Skeptical but intrigued, Jay paid the $10 plus sales tax. He figured he had just thrown away ten bucks, but dammit, if the thing didn't work, he was going to demand his money back, and he wasn't going to let the lady go anywhere until he opened the package.

It took nearly five minutes to unwrap the layers of tape using his teeth and car keys to pry his way through. Eventually, he extracted the content of the package. It consisted of a brick, a plain old brown brick.

"What the hell?" Jay blurted out. "This didn't change anything. Give me my money back!"

"Not so fast." the blonde, blue-eyed priestess said. "If you hadn't been here unwrapping the package, what would you have been doing?"

"Um, getting drunk with my buddies I suppose." Jay replied.

"Then you admit this has changed your life." she said.

"Er, no, … um …, well maybe, but that's not …" Jay stuttered.

"Furthermore, you cannot go back in time and un-buy the brick. Therefore, your life has been changed forever. I have met every claim said about the product, so I owe you nothing."

It wasn't so much what she said but the way she said it that infuriated Jay. The smirk on her face proved she had taken him for a fool. In a fit of anger, he hit her on the side of her head with full force, knocking her to the sidewalk. Climbing on top, he smashed the brick into her face over and over. "Give" *wham* "me" *wham* "my" *wham* "money" *wham* "back!"

In the end, Jay neither got his money back nor did he deserve it. The product had worked as advertised. All of his woes of the past were forgotten. His life had been changed forever now that he was a murderer on the run.

Copyright © 2015 W.C. Bell; All rights reserved.


Submitted: January 03, 2015

© Copyright 2022 Whiskey Charlie. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

Ben A Vanguarde

Well written with a surprise twist. I am now thinking about a career change but first I'll have to up my running away speed for this to work.

Sat, January 3rd, 2015 8:12pm

Author
Reply

Thank you. My goal is to please an audience. It's nice to know when it works.

Sat, January 3rd, 2015 12:38pm

Chris Green

Change is the only certainty. Love the way you create the atmosphere and then casually slot in the plot. Nice work.
Regards
Chris

Mon, January 5th, 2015 6:23pm

Author
Reply

Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Mon, January 5th, 2015 11:10am

Joseph Mark

There is only so many times you can scam someone with a brick before someone bashes your head in with it. Great story!

Mon, January 12th, 2015 12:02pm

Author
Reply

I doubt I'd kill someone like that in real life, but I sure would want to.

Mon, January 12th, 2015 6:50am

Victoria Quinn

Your build up of the main character's frustration of his team loosing set up his psychological need for change along with the mystic atmosphere that New Orleans always provides perfectly led him into that back alley and the Voodoo Priestess/Con. The ending twist was excellent and, as you pointed out, his life has changed. But I wonder if someone else also looking for change happens to wander down that same ally if they will encounter the same Priestess and start this madness all over again. I hope so!!

Tue, January 20th, 2015 8:48am

Author
Reply

I haven't been to New Orleans for maybe 20 years, and I haven't been to Pirate's Alley for at least 50 years, however, my Inspiration Fairy walks the streets of the city in my imagination quite frequently. Who knows? Even in real life, dead Voodoo priestesses figure prominently in the local lore.

Tue, January 20th, 2015 1:53am

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