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New Money

by Charlie C 10 months ago in Short Story
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Fitting In Never Gets Easy

Sam Howes rolled himself to the end of his bed, groped for the waiting glass of cider, drank, then groaned. It had been three years since he won the lottery. So much money. And even more since then.

Fantastic.

Sam groaned again as the floor wobbled around his feet. Fucking expensive carpet.

He groaned louder as he stomped down the stairs, listening to his voice rebound around the big, empty house like it wanted to get away from him.

In the kitchen, he clattered around, making more noise than he needed to. His head pounded, but he revelled in the torment. Tumbling some flavourless cereal into a bowl, he slumped down against the kitchen-top. His phone began to quiver.

“Not now, you miserable fuck,” muttered Sam. He answered. “Morning, Danny, how’s London?”

He knew he should treat his accountant better. The poor bastard was the only person he’d spoken to since… Well, at least this week.

Danny had a family though, and a dad in the hospital with some lung thing, and he’d mentioned a skiing holiday with some friends. All these things made it hard to like Danny. He showed such potential for genuine attachment, yet he always spoke to Sam in the same dry, impersonal tone. Lots of people did that since he’d won the money.

Danny babbled on about how Sam’s money had earned them another few million because of some professional gambling. Playing the stock market, Danny called it, but it was all the same, wasn’t it?

“Yeah, well, throw some at that pharma company I keep seeing in the corner of the toothpaste adverts,” said Sam.

“I don’t think-”

Sam was fed up, so he hung up. Crunching tasteless cereal, he looked around at the painfully white walls of his kitchen. He thought about getting someone to redo the entire house. Maybe it would make him feel better if everything didn’t look so sterile.

What the fuck did he know about houses, apart from that they’d once been unattainably expensive? He was twenty-five in a week. He had all the money he’d ever need, even if he was inclined to spew half of it on some new mansion in Dubai, where his uncle had made legitimate money.

“I should get a servant,” he said to his bowl.

Yeah, that’d make the big house less empty: some snivelling groveller trailing after him, doing everything until he forgot how to blow his own nose. No, he’d never be like one of those pampered old money fuckwits.

But he needed to get out of the house.

“There was that art gallery,” he told his house.

So, with something set for the day, Sam tramped around, getting ready and ignoring Danny’s updates. Make a million, lose a million – what did it matter?

Pulling on a creased suit, Sam headed out into the world. A winding walkway took him across the seafront, showing a view he’d quickly got tired of. In the town, he strolled easily amid the tourists and workers. Some glared, but it was easy to ignore that with enough money.

He found the gallery, slipping the receptionist too much for the price of admission. He gulped down a headache tablet on the way through.

A herd of suited weasels stood in the centre of the exhibition, furrowing their brows and wagging their jowls as they looked around.

“Anything good?” asked Sam.

One of the women raised an eyebrow. One of the men scoffed. Sam’s smile fell.

“Smug fucks,” he muttered as he shunted past them.

No doubt they were wondering who’d let him through. As his stomach twisted, he lurched towards the restroom. Falling with his hands on the sides of a yawning toilet, he hawked and choked. The taste of bile clung to his throat. Nothing came up.

Sitting back, Sam groaned, massaging his head. Why did he have to suffer so much?

The door wheezed open. A rumpled red face peered in. “Cleaner.”

Sam crawled out from his cubicle. The old man waddled in, stooped over himself, gnarled hands dragging bucket and mop.

“Rough night?” said the cleaner.

“Not particularly,” said Sam, pulling himself up by the sink.

Thank God there was a mirror there to show him how hideous he looked. He rubbed at his yellowy-white cheeks, wondering if he’d somehow misplaced his blood.

The old man shrugged, began to hum to himself as he mopped the floor. His bones clicked as he walked, always hunched over.

“You here with them fancy lot out there?” he asked.

“No,” snapped Sam.

The old man hissed, reaching out to balance himself against the wall. His red face went redder. At the same time, the door banged open. One of the smug fucks came marching in, ignoring both the cleaner and Sam.

Sam watched the man go to the other mirror, smooth out his tie, then amble over to the urinal. He sighed when he found a cleaner in his way, struggling to catch his breath.

“Sorry, sir,” mumbled the old man, hissing again as he limped away.

“Yes, yes, move, move!” said Sir, gesturing rapidly but careful not to touch the cleaner.

Sam turned around, glaring at the man’s back. The cleaner leant against the wall, one leg stretched out as he ran his gnarled fingers over it.

“Stinks of goddamn piss in here,” muttered Sir. “Does no one ever replace the urinal cakes?”

“I’ll get to it, sir,” said the cleaner.

“No point now, is there?” said Sir.

Sir started away from the urinal, turning slightly at the sink to keep Sam out of his peripheral vision. Sam clasped a hand on the man’s shoulder.

“Excuse me?” said Sir, furious.

Sam punched him in the stomach. Though the other man was older, stronger, bigger, he folded over the punch. Sam grabbed a handful of greasy hair. He considered what he wanted to do for a moment, then did it. He slammed Sir’s head against the porcelain. There was a satisfying ‘thunk’ and he dropped Sir to the floor.

“What is wrong with you people?” said Sir, groaning, holding his temple.

Sam laughed. “You people? I’m one of you. Remember that.”

Short Story

About the author

Charlie C

Attempted writer.

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