The Last Laugh
By Joseph Logsdon
Where was the priceless ring? When Jennifer Thomson broke into the home of John Mason, she expected to find something worth stealing. Instead of finding the ring, she found an old man. He was sick, so sick that he couldn't even get out of his own bed. His life, more or less, was coming to an end. Entering the bedroom, Jennifer intended to get the information out of the sick man. Someway, somehow, she would extract the information from him.
"Don't move," Jennifer commanded, pointing a gun at John Mason.
"Even If I wanted to, I couldn't," John replied.
"What do you mean?"
"Frankly, miss, you definitely picked the right time to steal something from me. Without my health, I'm nothing. Go ahead, miss, take what you want," he stated.
"Well, I would, but the thing is, it isn't here," she huffed.
"Why, the ring, of course," she sighed.
"Ring? What ring? I can assure you, there's no ring worth stealing," John laughed.
"Where did you hide it?"
"I told you, there is no such ring," he answered.
"Don't play dumb with me, you're hiding it, aren't you?"
"Now, why would I do that?"
"I don't know, I'm a thief, not a mind reader," she huffed.
"That's too bad, you could've helped me," John stated.
"Help you? Why would I help you?"
"You're right, I have the ring, but I don't know where it is," John stated.
"Maybe, if we were to help each other, we could split the money. That way, I could have my operation, and you could take the rest. So, what do you say, is it a deal?"
"That depends, why don't you know where it is?"
"Believe it or not, this isn't my house. At one time, it belonged to my brother, but he died a long time ago. Before he died, however, he purchased the ring. Unknown to me, he hid the ring in the house. When I finally discovered what he had done, it was too late. Ever since then, I've been searching for the ring," he stated.
"If you ask me, something's fishy about your story," she stated.
"It's true, every word of it," he professed.
"Even if what you say is true, how are we going to find this ring? I mean, you've lived here for years, and in all that time, you've never managed to find it? I don't know, it just sounds way too fishy to me. Oh, and one more thing, how do I know you won't double-cross me? It's not that I don't trust you, it's just that, I don't trust you," she stated.
"Well, we can't help that, can we? I'm an old man, after all, and I don't have long to live, either. How could I betray you?"
"Okay, you got yourself a deal. Now, where do you think I should look?"
"First, I need you to do me a favor, if you don't mind," he stated.
"What is it?"
"Could you help me go to the bathroom?"
"Are you serious?"
"Normally, I wouldn't ask, but given my current situation, independence has become impossible," he sighed.
"I don't have to change you, do I?"
"Oh, for God's sake, you don't have to do anything like that. Once I get to the bathroom, you can leave me alone. So, are you going to do it, or am I going to do it myself?"
"Well, I don't have a choice, really," Jennifer stated.
In all her life, Jennifer had never done anything so disgusting. Just the thought of him peeing on her, made her feel sick. As she helped him balance himself, she tried to imagine that she was somewhere else, with someone else. Once he was safely on the toilet, she closed the door, hoping to forget what she had seen.
"Are you going to be okay?"
"Oh, yeah, I do this all the time," he laughed.
"Well, when you're done, let me know," she stated.
It seemed like forever. The longer she waited, the more anxious she became. Finally, after waiting for an hour, John emerged from the bathroom. Not only was he walking, but he was also quite happy.
"Wait a minute, you can't walk," Jennifer gasped.
"Why, of course I can. Doesn't everyone?"
"You're supposed to be sick, aren't you?"
"Oh, yeah, about that, I lied to you," he laughed.
"What is this, some kind of sick joke?"
"Well, yeah, in a way. Yeah, that ring you were looking for, I no longer have it. Yeah, I kind of flushed it down the toilet. I'm sorry, I know you wanted it, but what can I say, that's life," he laughed.
"You fucking bastard, why would you do that?"
"Can't a guy just do something for the fun of it? With all the money I have, I can afford to lose something. You, on the other hand, can't afford to lose anything. I guess the joke is on you, huh?"
"Just for that, I'll kill you," Jennifer exclaimed, pointing her gun at John.
"Go ahead, I'm an old man, I've lived my life," John laughed.
"You mean, you want to die?"
"What do you think the purpose of this was?"
"Well, in that case, I won't give you the satisfaction," Jennifer stated, putting the gun in her pocket.
"Well, I guess you got the last laugh, huh?"
"Yeah, funny, isn't it?"