By Joseph Logsdon
If Ronald Wilson had been a little smarter, he never would've made a deal with a stranger. He was poor, so poor that he couldn't even afford to buy his wife a birthday present. They tried to find work, but at the end of the day, no one wanted to give them a break. One night, Ronald confessed his guilt to his stubborn wife.
"I'm sorry, Susan, I didn't mean for this to happen," Ronald stated as he paced the kitchen.
"Tell me, Ron, why can't you find work, huh? I mean, you've been looking, haven't you? Why, of course you've been looking, because if you haven't, there won't be any dinner tonight. Now, it's been hard, I know, but that still doesn't give you an excuse to sit around," she hissed.
"What else am I supposed to do, anyway? We'll have to make due, whether we like it or not. I'm looking for work, but finding a job isn't that easy, you know. I mean, let's face it, without a college degree, I'm pretty much screwed, aren't I? Well, no matter, I'll just work in a factory for the rest of my fucking life," Ronald sighed.
"Honey, I didn't mean to hurt you," she stated.
"I need a drink," Ronald stated as he headed for the door.
"And what am I supposed to do?"
"Get some sleep, it's good for you," Ronald stated as he left the room.
Entering the saloon, Ronald started to feel uneasy. Before he could even approach the bar, a man grabbed his shoulder.
"Excuse me, could we talk for a minute?"
"That depends, who are you?"
"Oh, I'm just a lonely man, looking for some excitement," the man stated.
"Well, I'm sorry, I think you have the wrong idea," Ronald replied.
"You don't understand, I have something for you," he whispered.
"Buddy, will you get to the point?"
"If you would sit down, I could explain," he stated.
"Okay, but only for a moment," Ronald replied.
The man led Ronald to an abandoned table. From the start, Ronald knew that something wasn't right. Everything seemed normal, but was it, really?
"My name is Simon, Nelson Simon," he stated.
"Well, Mr. Simon, what do you want?"
"Oh, straight to business, huh? I like it when a man knows what he wants, but what I don't like, however, is when a man tries to get out of a deal. Once you make a deal with me, there's no going back, got it?"
"Well, we haven't made a deal, have we?"
"Tell me, are you experiencing financial problems?"
"What gave you that idea?"
"Oh, nothing, it's just I can usually tell when a man is down on his luck. So, are you down on your luck?"
"Even if I were, why should that matter to you?"
"Well, if you were desperate, I could offer a way out. I could give you money, for instance. There would be a small price to pay, of course," Nelson stated.
"In exchange for one million dollars, you will let me cut off your hand," Nelson laughed.
"Are you crazy?"
"Oh, come on, it's not like you're using it, right? Besides, you need the money, don't you? Of course you do, because if you didn't, you wouldn't be considering this offer," Nelson stated.
"Who said I was considering it?"
"Don't try to deny it, I can see the greed in your eyes. You can have the money tonight, but only if you give me what I want. So, is it a deal, or should I give the money to someone else?"
"How do I know this isn't a scam?"
"Well, I guess we'll just have to trust each other, won't we?"
"Because, Nelson, if you went back on your promise, I wouldn't hesitate to cut off your hand," Ronald stated.
"Trust me, when I make a promise, I always keep my word," Nelson stated.
Having nothing left to say, the two men left the saloon. At first, Ronald didn't know where they were going, but when they entered the back alley, he knew where he would lose his hand.
"So, are you ready?"
"I don't know if I can do this," Ronald stated.
"Tell me, do you have a wife?"
"Yes," Ronald answered.
"If you won't do it for yourself, then do it for her," Nelson stated.
"Okay, I'll do it for her," Ronald stuttered.
Before another word could be spoken, the knife severed Ronald's hand. It was painful, but at the same time, it was also rewarding. As promised, Nelson gave Ronald the money. After receiving medical attention, Ronald returned home. When he arrived, however, things were not as they were. Entering the bedroom, Ronald found Susan with another man. Not only were they naked, but they were also fucking.
"Oh, Ron, I didn't hear you come in," she laughed.
"Susan, what's going on?"
"Well, you finally caught us," she laughed.
"How long has this been going on?"
"Long enough," she replied.
"What do you mean?"
"We're through," she hissed.
"I sacrificed my hand for you," Ronald cried as he showed her his missing hand.
"What happened to your hand?"
"I can't believe, that all this time, you didn't have any faith in me," he cried.
"I won't ask again, what happened to your hand?"
"Since I couldn't win your love, I decided to buy it. He offered me a million dollars, but I could only get it if I sacrificed my hand. Sad, isn't it?"
"You're a liar, you don't have that much money," she hissed.
"Well, what can I say? My hand is gone, my love is gone, and my money is gone," Ronald stated.
"What do you mean?"
Knowing that he had nothing left to live for, Ronald removed the check from his pocket. Using all of his strength, he tossed the check out the window. Before another word could be said, a car ran over the check, destroying it instantly.
"Why did you do that?"
"Fuck you," Ronald exclaimed as he left the room.