Money Demand

“Muscle? What the hell for? You into loan sharks?”

“It’s worse than than Mark, these guy are selling protection.”

“Protection from what?” Mark said, “from fire, thieft, tornados? There ain’t nothin’ here in Crawville to be protected from.”

Cookie ran his hand thru his hair. “It’s protection from them. Said they’d burn my place down if I didn’t pay every month.’

Mark said, “You agreed with that?”

“I didn’t at first, but then they told me where my daughter goes to school and the name of her teacher. Said it’d be a shame if anything happened to her.”

“Bastards.” Mark said. “How much are they demanding?”

“Two bills a week.”

“Can you do two thousand a week?”

“I can if I let one of the helpers go.” Cookie said.

The small room was getting hot with the door closed. Mark eased the door open a jar. “What about telling the sheriff?”

They had an answer for that too,” Cookie said. “Said if the sheriff starts nosing around Debbie might be hit by a car.”

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