By Matt Dionne

Dennis stood up from the bed and walked over to the window of his high-rise apartment. 

“Is Ruby your real name?” he asked the woman sitting in his bed who was playing with her cell phone.

“No,” she replied flatly, without looking up.

“Right. So, what is your real name then?” Dennis asked, still looking out the window watching the snow dance in the cold December air.

“Sorry hun, I’m not allowed to say, service policy,” Ruby replied, finally prying her eyes away from the screen.

“I see… well, will you take a check?”

“Cash only.”

“Alright, I’ll have to run down to the ATM next door, then,” Dennis said, slightly irritated, as he threw on some jeans and a jacket. “Just wait here until I get back.”

“Don’t worry about that, hun. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere until I got paid. This your wife?” Ruby asked, holding up a picture that was sitting on the bedside table next to her.

“I can’t say… apartment policy,” Dennis mumbled, as he grabbed his wallet and walked out the door.

  As he stepped off the elevator, Dennis saw the doorman and pulled the hood of his jacket up over his face so as not to be recognized.

“Evening sir,” the doorman said, as Dennis walked outside into the frigid night. The ATM was only a block away, but he wished he had worn gloves as he shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket.

  Finally, as his fingers were beginning to go numb, Dennis reached the ATM and began sorting through his wallet, looking for the card that belonged to the account he had set up without his wife’s knowledge; the account for situations like this one.

When he found the secret debit card, Dennis impatiently slid it into the machine; he pressed the withdrawal button, but the predetermined amounts weren’t enough, so he hit the other button and typed in $3,000.

  As the ATM began dispensing his money, Dennis heard footsteps approaching, and then felt something pointed pressed against his back.

“Give me the money,” a gruff voice whispered from behind.

“Alright, alright, no need to do anything reckless,” Dennis replied, as he slowly reached for the cash.

“Hurry let’s go!” the mugger hissed impatiently, but Dennis was hesitant. He didn’t have enough money left in his account to pay the prostitute in his apartment, nor did he relish the thought of his wife finding out about his dalliance; and find out she most certainly would if he were to withdraw $3,000 from their joint account.

Finally, Dennis spun and reached for his would-be mugger’s knife.

Surprised, the mugger stepped back, and Dennis grabbed his arm, trying to wrestle the knife free.

The two men struggled for several seconds, both trying to get control of the knife. Dennis had his hand on the mugger’s knife-wielding arm and was desperately trying to keep it away from himself. However, he wasn’t used to this much strenuous activity, and his arm was slowly giving out. He tried to kick the mugger with his left leg but in the process, he slipped on a patch of ice and both men tumbled to the ground in a tangled mess of arms and legs.

Stunned from the impact of his fall, Dennis momentarily let go of the knife, and his mugger took advantage of the opportunity, plunging the weapon into Dennis’ chest. Blood poured from the wound, as he cried out in pain. The mugger stood and paused for a second, unsure of what to do next.

Dennis let out another groan of pain and tried to stand up. The mugger snapped out of his shock and grabbed the money from Dennis’ hand, then took off running into the night. Dennis tried again to stand up but just slid onto his back, staring up at the sky as snow fell all around him.


Charlotte sat at the desk of her hotel room facing the mirror. The running shower nearly drowned out the sound of her phone; she finally looked over and noticed it was ringing.


“Is this Charlotte O’Hara?” the voice on the other line asked.

“Yes, speaking.”

“You’re listed as the emergency contact for Dennis O’Hara?”

“Yes, he’s my husband.”

“Mrs. O’Hara, I have some bad news; your husband was stabbed early this morning and… and he died on the way to the hospital. I am so sorry for your loss.”

Charlotte hung up the phone without responding, just as the shower stopped running and a man walked out of the washroom wearing only a towel wrapped around his waist.

“What was that about?” the man asked as he took off the towel and used it to dry his hair.

“Nothing,” Charlotte replied. “Come back to bed.”  

Copyright© 2020 by Matt Dionne

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