pittance (n.): a very small or inadequate amount of money paid to someone as an allowance or wage
Roughly twenty men are standing, waiting for me in business suits and shades at the intersection where the boardwalk and the fishing pier meets. I’m obviously underdressed for the occasion. A v-neck and blue jeans. I look over to my right and notice a flock of birds flying overhead towards me. The way they are flying, it looks more like a single file of dashes than a bunch of birds that’s etched over the sky. Like a game of hangman or something.
When I look back at the same game of hangman standing on the harbor, a white man at the middle of the group steps out. It must be Tommy.
”Beautiful Sunday isn’t it?” he says once I’m within earshot. Tommy smiles and reveals gnarly, yellow teeth. One is even chipped. Disgusting.
”Yeah. You got the shoes?” I say. Stopped the small talk before it even started. I want to make this transaction as quick as possible.
“I see you’re not playing,” he says. “You got the $24,000?” I bring attention to the duffel bag in my right hand. 24,000 even. A pittance compared to what I’m used to paying for my shoes. I’m going to be broke after this but at least I will be like a god at the office for the next week.
“Good,” Tommy says. “This way.” He gestures towards the pier and the suits suddenly part like the Red Sea. I walk ahead of Tommy onto the long pier where there are boats parked on both sides.
“The one over there on the right,” I hear Tommy say. I look back to see where he is talking about.
Of course. The largest yacht out of the bunch. I stop by the bridge leading into the boat and wait for Tommy and the men in suits.
“Not the yacht. The submarine,” Tommy says. “Master will see you there.”
Is there something I’m missing here? Who the heck is this guy I’m buying these shoes from?
Tommy walks over to the sub and the door on top of it suddenly opens.
“After you,” he says. I swing the duffel onto my shoulder and climb into the sub. It’s dark and dank as I climb down the ladder. I reach the bottom and turn. A long corridor stretches out before me. There is a man (who is also in a suit) at the end of it. The guy who opened the sub in the first place I suppose. He beckons me.
As I walk, my breath is loud in my ears. I’m starting to worry a little bit. I’m just ready to get my shoes and get out of here.
The man opens the door behind him and leads me into a large, spacey room. Sitting in the middle of the hollowed space is an old man with his legs crossed and his hands resting peacefully in his lap.
“He is here.”
It was Tommy who had spoke. He had climbed down the ladder after me and now he is right behind me…in a bowed position?! “Bow,” Tommy whispers.
“Welcome,” says the old man. “I understand you want the last of my new editions.”
Wait a minute. You mean this man is…
”I am Natheodore,” the man says.
Oh…my…god. Natheodore’s from Natheodore himself?! This is officially a dream come true.