In the Matter of Payment on a Debt


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A short story, presented in sections for your enjoyment:

The following is a work of fiction, and none of the names of characters are real. Any similarity to actual names, past or present is coincidental and unintentional.

In the Matter of Payment on a Debt

Section one:

Minneapolis, December 11, 2011:

"C'mon man, let's go! We're gonna be late." Sean was pacing behind my chair, anxious to be away from this library and on his way to the game. I wanted to see the game myself, but there was only one or two more files to copy from the library's computer, and I didn't get to Minneapolis often. I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity.

"I don't know why you keep this up anyway," Sean continued, "it's about time you started living now, and forget all this other BS! I know I said I'd help you however I could, but that was years ago, and you're still on it. Really? You want to know the truth? I thought you would give up on all this crap a long time ago!"

"Yeah, like you haven't said that nine hundred times! Whatever, I'm almost done here, then we can go. I know I don't tell you enough, but I do appreciate your help, and you are probably the only thing that keeps me sane sometimes. I have a feeling this will be over soon, so please hang in there for me." I replied, "Why don't you go warm up the car, I'll be out in few."

As Sean stalked off I glanced at the screen and realized the files had all downloaded, so I zipped them all into a folder and pulled up my E Mail to send them. It would have been easier to use a thumb drive but the library had strict rules concerning their computers. After sending the mail to myself I double checked my in box to make sure the file was waiting for me. I wasn't going to leave until I saw "1890 Railroad" attached to the incoming mail. Finally satisfied, I cleared the desktop and made my way to the exit doors. The snow was thick with heavy fat flakes and had gotten worse since we arrived. It was a testament to the strength of the wind that it was able to push those flakes as fast as it was. Most people would curse this kind of weather, but in the upper Midwest you get used to it and I knew in less than an hour I'd be in a warm football stadium anyway. Warm..., well warm is relative! I briefly wondered if the weather was the same on the night of the tragedy, the night so many died. A boom of thunder seemed to punctuate my grim thought, and I marveled at the coincidence. I had heard that we might get some "Thundersnow", but even knowing the possibility you're never quite prepared when it happens. The snow can be so peaceful, so quiet and you're just not ready for the sudden, loud thunder.

I was surprised that Sean hadn't turned on the radio while he waited for me, but happy that the car was warmed up and ready to go. I expected Sean would start moving as soon as my door shut, but he only sat there staring out the driver's side window. "Uh... WTF Sean, are we going?" I asked.

"Yeah, we're going... crazy... at least you are, and you're dragging me along for the ride. Now you tell me you 'have a feeling ' this will be over soon! Since when man, and when the hell were you going to share that with me? Look, I been with you on this since we were kids, all this goofy crap you drag me into... and it's okay, it's fine; that's what best friends are for. I just thought when you called me about the game that this BS wasn't going to be a part of it! Look, I just want to have a good time, with you, like it used to be, without any of your psychic crap load!" Sean was as angry as I've ever seen him, but at least he was talking, and not swinging.

"Sean, I get it, okay? I'm sorry I asked to stop here before the game, but with the baby on the way Marcie is super clingy and I know I'm not going to have the chance to get here for a long time..." I started.

"Yeah, does she put up with this, or do you even tell her anything? I'd be surprised she would even marry a psycho like you if she knew!"

My silence must have spoken volumes.

"She doesn't know, does she? That's great, that's just frigging great, all this is on me right?" Sean folded his hands and lowered his head until the bridge of his nose touched his knuckles, his elbows propped on the steering wheel. He looked like he was praying.

"Let's just go the game, have a few, no... a few hundred beers and forget about it Sean. I'm sorry, man, I'm sorry for everything. Like I said, I do think it's coming to an end soon. The headaches have been getting better and the other... stuff... has been going away too. I don't really need the migraine pills anymore. I think when Marcie told me she was pregnant my whole world changed. It feels like when the baby comes my life will be different."

Sean snorted at that, "Yeah, you bet your ass it'll be different!"

"Dude; that's not what I meant, and you know it! I just feel like all this other crap will go away when my son is born."

Sean snapped his head up at that, "You know it's a boy now? Wow, since when?"

"Since Friday, and his middle name will be Sean. It's the least I can do for my best friend. Now let's go so I don't have to tell your Godson how his Godfather made us miss watching the game where the Vikes kicked the Bear's asses."

With that Sean sat up, and pulled us out onto the street. He looked happy, at least happier than ten minutes ago. As we approached the intersection another clap of thunder scared the crap out of both of us, and the snow continued like it was intent on burying the whole world.