I'll Get It One Way or Another
Ted went to visit Bill.
While Ted lived in a mobile home in Green Acres, Bill lived in a house two doors down. Both were senior citizens. Both were collectors.
Ted gazed around at Bill's collection of fire engines from the National Motor Museum Mint in Connecticut. He saw the entire unique collection of fire engines that NMMM had offered its customers about a month ago for the first time. His blood began to bubble and race. Ted had all but one of the vehicles, the 1886 Silsby Steamer. He'd waited a long time for that copy and NMMM had sent their regrets 'that line has been discontinued at present." Ted clenched his teeth.
It's not fair! Kept going round and round in his head.
With sweaty palms and erratic breathing, Ted stumbled home and tried to calm himself by taking a hot bath.
It's not fair for Bill to have an 1886 Silsby Steamer and not me. I've got to have that engine.
The hot bath seemed to add to his already bulging anger. Toweling off, despair spread through his aged body and he barely made it to the edge of the bed. Struggling to lay flat and rest his head on a pillow, Ted knew there had to be a way to get that engine. His trembling fingers grabbed the edge of the folded back coverlet and pulled it over his nakedness. There had to be a way.
The next day, Ted bargained.
"Bill, how much would you take for the 1886 Silsby Steamer?" Ted swallowed the knot stuck in his throat. They sat on Bill's porch drinking Ensure's Strawberries & Cream Shake.
"Can't sell it, Ted. Sorry."
Was that a twinkle in the bastard's eye?
"I could trade you that 1929 Corvette you've always wanted."
"No, thanks. Think I'll keep my Steamer."
"How about if I let you have the entire Golden Age of Ford collection? Now that's one you don't have."
"Got it ordered," Bill said. Ted could swear Bill was gloating. "I guess you'll just have to try stealing it."
Ted glanced at Bill. Not a muscle in Bill's face showed humor. Tapping a finger against his closed mouth, Ted thought about it as he stared off in the distance. Finally he shook his head, threw his empty Ensure bottle into the trash can near the door and waved a goodbye. The chuckle he heard from Bill nearly had his teeth worn down to the quick.
12 AM Midnight
Ted slipped inside Bill's front window. He sneaked around the living room furniture and found himself standing in front of the engine collection. His hand trembled as it reached out to grasp the coveted vehicle. The ceiling light came on. His arm dropped. His heart nearly stopped. His teeth clamped hard together.
"Sorry, buddy, caught ya."
The laugh that followed Ted out the front door pushed him off the cliff.
Standing once more in front of Bill's engine collection, he reached out a trembling hand to grasp the coveted vehicle. The ceiling light came on.
His hand went to the front of his waist and slipped the .38 from his belt. He swiveled slowly around to face Bill. What he saw not only caused him to drop his gun, but it was the last thing he saw before the burning sensation filled his chest. He didn't see the floor rising to meet him.
"Thanks for leaving me your model collections, Ted."