Daily Archives: September 11, 2011

Stranger, part 6.

It was nearly two years later when Joe Mitchell met the strange man again. His day went normally enough, a day spent in the office managing his now extremely successful business, followed by a quiet dinner at home with his wife. After dinner she told him the good news, that they were going to have their first child. He was nearly as excited as her, and twice as nervous. But they had decided together that they were ready, and they were both happy. It was just as he prepared to leave, anticipating the congratulations of his rich and powerful friends at his restaurant, that he was surprised by a knock on the door. He opened the door to find a short man, piled with ratty clothing.

He hadn’t, since the night he first met him, given another thought to the little man, and seeing him brought back no particular memory. So it was that Joe greeted him by saying “Yes, what do you want?”

“What do I want?” The little man replied, sounding a mixture of wounded and mocking. “Why, only what I’ve earned. We had a bargain, you and I, struck 500 days ago to the hour. I’ve fulfilled my part” and at this he peered into the house and whistled “oh, quite well indeed. And now I’ve come to claim my favor.”

A dim memory of their first meeting came to Joe, and slight recognition. “My goodness, you’re the guy I talked to that night, when I thought I was finished. Wow, that feels like another life time. So, what, you mean to take credit for everything I’ve accomplished since then? Listen, if you want to waste my time come back when I’m not on my way out to work.”

“Oh ho, of course you wouldn’t believe me, it’s always the way. But the bargain was struck fair, and I held up my end. I’m owed, and the eyes and ears of the city were witness to it. Just for that, I’ll raise my price, it will be the child your wife carries.”

Joe was dumbstruck for a moment. Only for a moment, though, before he yelled curses and threats a chased the small man off into the night. He didn’t trust the man, though, and so he called a friend, introduced by William Pierce himself, in the police department. Officers were sent out, reports filed, and he felt sure that the little man would be picked up and off to prison in no time. Satisfied and unconcerned, he went about his business.