The Springfield branch of Bank of America does not open for another ten minutes. I want to be back in Whately by 9 a.m. so that I am not late for work. Hopefully, I can go in, cash the check and be headed north without much fuss. The check in my wallet feels like blood money. Well, quite literally, that is exactly what it is.
When I first received an anonymous email pointing out that I was not fiscally sound, I deleted it. The second, third and fourth arrived on consecutive days. Each of the emails was worded slightly more threateningly. The fifth one was the first to mention that there was a way out of debt. I owe $26,000 on the Toyota pickup I drive. I owe $12,300 on a bank note, My wife has racked up nearly $28,300 in credit card debt. wShe’s used to living large in Texas. Finally, the one debt of which I am most ashamed, there’s my mother; I owe my mother the $20,000 she gave me toward a down payment on the condominium. The mortgage on the condominium is $75,600. My salary of $36,800 does not stretch very far. My job at Whately Prep pays reasonably, has good benefits and most importantly, it gives me an identity.
I received the first email in the beginning of June. I tried tracing the server through which it was routed, but it was a blind route. No chance of locating an IP address. It was not until the second week of receiving provoking emails that I seriously entertained the possibility of assessing what the sender was proposing. I suppose that was the beginning of the end.
I have lowered myself lower than any man wants to think he might. I have lied, outright lied, to people I care about all to make a dime. In the bright light of day, it hardly seems like I was thinking rationally. When I came to a yes, it was carefully considered. I spent sleepless nights lying next to my wife, wide-eyed and desperate about the possibility of retaining my reputation, my belongings, my career. Easy money?
No, I wouldn’t say this has been easy money, but it has been good money. I haven’t stolen. I haven’t hurt anyone. I had no idea Gillian’s ticker would give out like that. Nobody could say I was responsible.
I think if I ever had to defend myself, I could simply say it was necessary.