(Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.)
Taranto stepped out of the limousine and eyed the area with dismay. The old warehouse district had decayed something awful.
Thirty years ago, he was a kid loading trucks in that very warehouse.
Time changes everything. The ten years Taranto did in the slammer changed him too. He shared the feeling of decay. He shook his head slowly and walked toward the door. No matter. If the building is still standing, the money will still be where I hid it.
But Taranto did not know he was being watched…
(end of prompt)
When Taranto realized he wasn’t alone his stomach lurched like the first time he was led past block after identical block of heckling inmates into his six by eight prison cell. As he reached toward his waistband, a familiar voice echoed throughout the dilapidated building the way jailhouse nightmares had so often reverberated in his head.
“Don’t do nothing stupid, Taranto. Slide your piece straight back.”
“How you doing, Vitale?”
“I’ll be doing better when I got the money.”
“What makes you think it’s here?”
“I got people, remember? Just get the money bags and toss them to your left.”
Taranto dug through rubble concealing an air vent. After removing the cover and a piece of particle board from inside he began tossing bank bags. He considered turning and throwing a brick at Vitale in hopes of knocking him down so he could wrestle away his gun, but he knew Vitale would be ready for something like that. He was nearing the last bag without any answers.
Taranto tossed the last bag. He heard Vitale move closer. “So long, Taranto.”
Taranto was imagining what death would be like when he heard a growl and Vitale yell. “What the hell?”
Taranto spun and scooped up Vitale’s gun as it skittered across the worn concrete. Taranto had been a liar, a thief, and a cheat before he went to prison but he’d tried to help hungry people and dogs. At least one of them had remembered.