Have you ever seen Little Miss Marker? You should. This is merely a different execution of that story.

It was ten o'clock when Callum Delacroy entered the reception room of McGinty's Fine Leather Emporium. The room was a little larger than a closet and contained nothing but a single bench with the words San Racha Public Transit painted on it's side. On the far side of the room stood a door with a large square-cut hole at eye level and a sign demanding that you RING THE BELL. Callum complied and a few moments later a old weathered face filled the door's empty space. Smoke blew heavily as the man said, "Cal? Who would have thought that you'd show up?" The old man waited as if he expected an answer to his question and then opened the door. Callum entered the newly accessible room as if it took every ounce of effort he could muster.

"I gave the Bulls your name," the old man said, "But you know that don't you?"

Callum nodded. "You have to believ--"

"Believe what? That you tried your best? That you need more time? That you'd do anything to pay me back?" The old man turned pouring a liquid into a cup he was already holding. "I do believe you Cal, but what does that matter?"

Cal slumped into a small love seat that he recognized as being completely different then the one he sat in two months prior. "Could you pour me one?"

"It's water." The old man replied.

"Oh. Never Mind." the man's voice cracked on the last syllable as he began to embarrass the room with an awkward crying sound. "What am I supposed to do?"

The old man sat in his desk chair unaffected by the mans new tone and wetter appearance, he took a large sip from his cup and said, "Well that's the question isn't it?"

Cal looked up with a hopeful look on his face, "Can you--will you help me?"

The old man's grimace turned into an even deeper, more contorted version of itself, "Help you? I signaled the Bulls a few minutes after you showed up, but actually I think that will help you--"

"What?" Cal screamed then jumped out of his seat frantically searching the barren walls for a clock. No clock was found. "I can't, I--I'll have your money I promise."

"What world do you live in? You've made that promise twice before and twice you've broke it. You're word has fully depreciated son. You'll have to come up with something else, like twenty-five thousand dollars, or it's equivalent." The old man pulled a pocket watch from his front pocket, then said, "And it's 10:15 p, if you were wondering."

Cal knew that even though the Bulls were most likely the most organized street gang San Rocha has ever seen, they probably wouldn't have a representative here in less than a half-hour. He took a moment to compose himself the best he could and decided to spend what could be his last fifteen-or-so minutes alive to reason with the old man that so recently reminded him a lot of his father. "I'll get you your money tonight I--"

"It's already night" the old man interrupted.

"--later tonight. I'll have your money within the next 5 hours. I prom--" Cal hesitated, "I will."

The old man's head turned slightly, and for a moment the weight of his jowls looked a little less heavy. "Why should I let you go? In a few minutes time the Bulls will be here and if I play my cards well, I could recoup half my loss."

"Yeah but--" Cal tried to say but was quickly cut off.

"But if I let you go, and you run into the same bad luck that seems to prevent you from ever keeping your word, how do I know you'll come back? Why wouldn't you just run, take your chance hiding from the Bulls, making them spend more money to find you which they'll be more than happy to deduct from my pay? How do I know you'll come back?"

Cal's face was worried, wet, and well desperate. His mouth opened enough for words to come out, but none did. All he could do is stand there, pleading to the old man with his eyes.

The old man looked back at his watch, it was 10:20, time seemed to move slow through the tension. The old man took a sip from his cup, this situation was all too familiar to him and no longer evoked an emotional response, in the beginning it was hard hearing them plead, cry, scream, threaten, and beg. He used to care, but not anymore, not for a long time now. So the man is afraid of being sold to slavers, he understood that, but what did he expect? It's practically in the contract.

"I'll leave my daughter here." Cal said almost inaudibly.

"Eh?" The old man asked not hearing him.

"I'll leave my daughter." Cal repeated and then buried his head into his hands. "That way you'll know that I'll come back, even if I don't get the money to pay you."

"What the fuck do I want with your daughter?" The old man asked, "How old is she?"


The old man stared at the man that was slowly crumbling before him in complete confusion. "Seven, you want to leave your seven year old daughter here? As what collateral?"

"The bulls are coming to buy a thirty-two year old man, I'm sure they wouldn't argue if instead you supplied a seven year old girl, you'll probably get double. If I don't show up tonight, you'll have my daughter in my stead." Cal's voice was steady now, determined. He was staring somewhere into the middle distance where, apparently, he saw a glint of hope.

"Double? How many deals have you brokered with the Bulls? That's not how it fucking works? If they could take just anyone then they wouldn't need a broken down codger like me would they? They'd just be snatching people up on the street. The only reason the Police turn a blind eye to their existence is because they don't fucking snatch random people, and because the people they do collect they have evidence of them being degenerate fuck holes. For example your overdue contract with me. A seven year old girl? How are they going to justify that?"

Cal's eyes refocused on the old man and his expression lent no hint towards his understanding. "I can't take her with me, not where I'm going, not with what I'm going to have to do to get the money."

"No one is telling you to take her, leave her at home where she is, she shouldn't be with you anyways, no matter where you're going. Obviously you're not fit to--"

"She's not at home. She's here."

The End

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