No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (flash fiction)

This story first appeared in It Didn’t Happen This way – Untrue Stories, Volume One in 2012.

Hello Jeff,

As you may have heard, I recently came into quite a fortune.  Someone has to win the lottery and despite the odds, it was me.  It wasn’t because I deserved it.  I certainly didn’t earn it. But I find myself now with 133 million dollars and must decide how to utilize it.  I certainly have dreams and aspirations; business opportunities to invest in abound.  Still, I must consider the life traveled that got me to this place and in so doing, remember those who gave me a chance.

There was a time in my career, several years ago, where I had burned a few bridges and was left remorseful for my mistakes but still accountable for them.  It was a crossroads where you, as my manager, could have terminated me and rightly so.  You didn’t.  You gave me an opportunity to turn things around and right the wrongs.  I heard you took some heat for it.  Simply, you saw something in me that was salvageable and believed in my abilities.  I don’t know if I ever expressed how much that meant to me but I have never forgotten it.

Simply, thank you.  I dare say that I might have started on a long, downward spiral had it not been for your giving spirit and faith in me.

Enclosed is a check for 1.23 million dollars.  This should leave you with one million dollars after gift taxes have been paid.  I know a million dollars is not a lot these days, but with your own savings, I hope this gives you enough to pursue your dream, whatever that may be.

I wish you and your family all the happiness and success in the world.  If there is anything I can do, anything at all, please do not hesitate to let my assistant know.  I will be in town next month and if we can work out schedules, I would love to have dinner with you.

Sincerely,

Steven Lasroth

*****

“That’s quite a letter.” Inspector Dansing rubbed his chin, putting the plastic bag containing the letter down on the table and shoving it across to his partner.  “Seems sincere enough.”

Inspector Hurley nodded.  “Yeah.  Looks like our friend, Jeff Pine, here, opened the letter, read it and had a heart attack on the spot.  Tough break, that.”

“Still going to have toxicology run some tests on the letter and the autopsy of the body might show something but I doubt it.  We should be able to close the books on this one.”

“I’m gonna check out this Steven Lasroth, too.  Make sure it is on the up and up,” Hurley added.

“Yeah, the wife indicated that Jeff didn’t like Lazroth.  We should get her account.  Give it few days.  She’s pretty upset.”

*****

Finally!  It had been Grand Central Station in her living room and now, all the police, paramedics, coroner, CSI and nosey neighbors were gone.  Jan was exhausted and it was nearly midnight.   The Sarin compound had worked on her husband better than she ever hoped!  The trace amounts she planted on the letter would likely be picked up on the toxicology report, leading the police directly to Steven Lasroth.  She just hoped the police didn’t botch this but even if they did mess it up, they would just think Jeff had a heart attack or died of natural causes.  Either way was fine with her.

Forgetting to put the rubber gloves and gas mask away before the police arrived was a stupid mistake, but they didn’t seem to notice.  She hoped.

Time for bed.  She wanted to be well rested to play her role as the grieving widow, tomorrow.  Grieving and rich widow.

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