Short Story
Scott A. Gese

He thought he had the upper hand. He thought wrong and paid the price.


“Good God, what the hell happened?” Alex Sweet pushed through the doorway to his law office. He found himself in a state of bewilderment bordering on all out shock as he stared at the carnage before him. The two men at his side were slack-jawed. They had never seen such a thing as this. The office had been brutally and thoroughly ransacked.

This was without a doubt more than a typical burglary.

Everything from the file cabinets to the wall hangings were emptied, torn apart and thrown down. Drawers were removed from the desks and their contents scatter about the room. The file cabinets emptied onto the floor and the computers were in the salt water fish tank, or what was left of it. The glass was shattered and its water had drained onto the floor. The few fish that remained in the tank were flopping around in less than an inch of water. The curtains, and the rods they hung from were torn off the windows and ripped to shreds.

The three men climbed over the debris field looking for any sort of clue. “Check the computers,” ordered Alex. They were pulled from the tank and inspected. Just as he had feared, the hard drives were missing.

It was Monday morning. The office thrashing could have happened at any time over the weekend. Alex called the police. He hoped they could come up with some explanation for the sheer brutality of the break-in.

Before the police showed, Alex thought of the security cameras around the building. Maybe the tapes would give them a clue. The men took a look before the police arrived. The only camera that might have showed them something had a sign in front of the field of view. It had one word scrawled across it, “Retribution”.

“Retribution? Retribution for what?” Questioned one of the men.

The other chimed in. “We are divorce Attorneys. We represent clients whose spouses can get pretty upset with us. Remember the guy who pulled a gun on Alex last year? Maybe this is someones revenge?”

“You may be right,” replied Alex. “We’ll wait for the police. Maybe they can sort this out.”

Alex walked out of the office and took a seat in the reception area to wait for the officers. He didn’t have to think about why this had happened. He knew exactly why and even more, he knew who, but he wasn’t letting on.

It was one month ago he had borrowed money from a man named Jerry “Big Boy” Lemming. Lemming was a local hood with a few low level connections. He was trying to make a name for himself in the town’s loansharking business.

It was a short term loan that was to be paid back with interest over a week ago. Big Boy had warned Alex about the late payment but Alex had shrugged it off. He told him he’d have his money in a couple of days. In fact Alex gave Big Boy a warning of his own. He let him know he had enough evidence to put him behind bars for years if he tried anything stupid.

Big Boy didn’t take the threat well. In fact it pretty much pissed him off. He had a couple of his boys thrash the law office and remove the computer’s hard drives. He was hoping to get his hands on any of that incriminating evidence Alex said he had in his possession.

When Alex returned home that night, Big Boy had left him a message on his land line. “How do you like the way my boys redecorated your office? Next it will be your face if I don’t get my money by tomorrow, capisce?

Now it was Alex Sweets turn to respond. He didn’t waste any time.

The following day, as Jerry Big Boy Lemming was sitting in his office at the back of the tic tac saloon smoking one of his imported cigars, police officers burst through the door. There was a slight scuffle. It could have been easily handled by the officers involved but the order was to make sure Big Boy didn’t leave his office. That only meant one thing.

Alex walked in just before Big Boy died. “Retribution”, was the only word he spoke as he stood over the dying man. Lemming tried to reply but the blood in his mouth wouldn’t let him speak. He died without getting the words out.

Alex looked over at the officers still in the room. “He thought he had connections. He didn’t have squat.”

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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