When you steal $30 million dollars and the dreams of nearly two dozen friends, you can’t exactly stop at just the theft. You’re not a good person any more, and there’s no hiding it. You may as well just admit it and be ready to do what you have to so you can keep that money. Set aside the urge to cry, forget the urge to repent. The people this money belongs to, your family, your remaining friends? Add them all up, and they don’t come close to being worth $30 million dollars, do they?
Of course not.
Shannon peered through oversized Audrey Hepburn glasses at the man with whom she was going to be spending the rest of her life. As she watched him, standing impatiently in line behind three rednecks, an epiphany struck her. Maybe it was the fact that she had no choice at the moment but to be with him, or maybe she was simply coming to terms with something she had previously ignored. But for the first time, as she watched his immature swagger and idiot pomposity, Shannon realized how much she hated him. She hadn’t realized before, but he was a complete idiot.
She lowered her eyes, unable to even look at him without a feeling that felt all too much like nausea wash over her. Oh well. One advantage of having $30 million was that she could just buy herself a new one. All things in due time, as they say.
She looked around at the sort of rabble that collected first thing in the morning in a post office in the Deep South. Most of them stood in the same line that the idiot was in. Flat, expressionless faces with slack jaws and bored eyes and a glaze of sweat despite the over air-conditioned government building. Polyester shirts in colors not found in nature mixed with threadbare Carhartt work clothes the color of dirt. She looked from one to another, despising each one more than the last.
In the midst of the growing post office clientele, something caught Shannon’s attention. Moving only her eyes, she glanced across the room towards the front entrance. A tall, skinny man with a tan was standing and talking on a cell phone. He was looking away from Shannon, but his phone was clearly facing her. He looked local, and his face was mostly concealed by the hand holding the phone. Except . . . he was holding it funny. It wasn’t cradled naturally in his palm, and his thumb was too tense. She held her breath.
Was he taking her picture?
She looked down and grabbed the only concealment within reach — a long yellow flyer explaining how to properly and legally ship international packages. She held it up in front of her face in a way that made it clear she wasn’t reading. Her breath quickened, and her cheeks colored.
They couldn’t have found her. Not already.
Slowly, she lowered the flyer. The man was gone. Glancing to her right she saw that her companion was at the counter now, arguing with the federal flunky trying to help him. She stood, and walked quickly to the entrance door and peered outside. She ignored the salty tasting blast of early spring humidity as she opened the door, only to see a few random people crisscrossing the parking lot.
And then she saw him, sitting in a blue convertible of some kind. He was reclined back, sunglasses on, typing on his phone. Apparently finished, he set the phone aside. A few moments later, the lanky man pulled out of the parking lot and onto the main road.
She told herself he probably had nothing to do with her, but she didn’t believe it. She continued standing in the entranceway, staring off at the stranger’s disappearing tail lights. Slowly, she nodded to herself, and walked back to take a seat again in the waiting area, lost in her thoughts.
Finally, the idiot returned. She knew what he was going to say before he said it. Amidst the sputtering expletives and ethnic slurs, she held up a hand until he fell silent.
“We’ll fix it,” she said. “Let’s get to the hotel. But first, we need to buy some friends, and fast. We don’t have much time.”
She stood, and walked out of the door, her man for the time being in tow.