Retribution and Revenge
“I’m going to kill him!” That’s all I heard as I walked through the door of the 6th floor apartment where my friend Sofie and I have lived for the past 6 months.
The rooms were dark with only the wispy light of the sun peeking through the faded curtains hanging haphazardly on the windows. The walls were mostly bare, just a few random pictures scattered about to make it feel more like a home. The sofa and recliner in the living room looked as though they belonged to an era way before our time but we made do. We had more important things on our minds than furniture.
Walking cautiously into the bedroom, I found Sofie digging frantically through drawers and boxes, scattering their contents wherever they landed. “What the hell are you doing?” I asked, more than a little annoyed at the mess she had made. A mess she would leave and I would end up cleaning.
“That little jerk took my money, I know he did! I’ve looked through everything I own and I can’t find it anywhere. I swear I’m gonna kill him!” The money she was referring to is money she had been saving since we moved here. We were both saving every spare penny we had for our move to New Orleans.
“Who are you talking about?” I almost screamed at her.
Her head snapped around toward me and I could see the tears welling up in her eyes.
“I’m talking about that stupid jerk I met last night at the bar!” She exclaimed.
By this time, she was trembling and her cheeks were a dark pink flush, maybe from anger but I assumed more from her desperate search of the apartment.
Aggravated by her naivety, I scowled intensely, “Why did you bring some strange man, you just met, to our apartment anyway? Have you completely lost your mind or what?”
Bringing some renewed anger to her already irritated mood, she lunged closer to my face and glared at me.
“It’s none of your damn business who I choose to bring home with me, I pay half the rent for this…. this box we live in, so don’t even go there Emma!”
The Search Begins
Seeing that her anger was now directed at me, I quickly tried to change direction.
“Well, where did you have it hidden? Maybe I can help look for it.” My eyes shifting around the room glancing over the mess she had scattered on the bed and floor.
“I had it in the bottom of that vase.” She motioned, waving her hand in the direction of a corner shelf across from her bed.
I walked over and began searching the area, including the vase, which she had undoubtedly checked more than five times herself. On my knees looking under the shelf and moving things already strewn about, I was almost certain we wouldn’t find the money. This man, whom I was beginning to hate without knowing, had more than likely taken the money and poor naïve Sofie was going to have to start again.
I could completely understand the heartbreak and desperation she was feeling. She had already saved almost 3 thousand dollars and now it was gone, all of it, gone. I would have been sick and ready to kill someone myself had it been me in her place.
Okay, so yeah, she’s my friend, I should be ready to go looking for the asshole and show no mercy when we found him, and maybe we will yet, but I don’t understand how a grown woman can get herself into one disaster after another. Just before this madness happened, her car was side-swiped in the parking garage at work, putting a long scratch down the passenger side and no one in sight to take responsibility. Poor girl was a magnet for bad luck it seemed.
Luck in the Bar
Sofie was a small-town girl, quick witted and fun loving, often getting into trouble because of her disregard for rules. Maybe that’s why I was drawn to her friendship, because she is so unlike me. I am quiet and mostly keep to myself. I always wanted to be the one with all the “come-backs” and jokes for every situation but it never came naturally for me. As far as rules, I was obedient to a fault. So, I guess one might say I was living vicariously through my friend.
A few days had gone by after the thievery and we decided to go out and try to forget most of what had happened. It’s kind of hard to forget 3 thousand dollars but, for tonight anyway, we would drink our worries away.
“What can I get you ladies?” the spirited bar keeper’s voice rang out.
“I’ll have a Tequila Sunrise and my friend here will have Strawberry Daiquiri please”, Sofie ordered with confidence.
I knew when she insisted we come here, that we would not be leaving until we were either drunk or intensely buzzed. I was glad our apartment was only a block away, that meant I wouldn’t have far to walk and could let go of my inhibitions and have a little fun. Sofie, I later realized, had ulterior motives for coming here. This is where she had met the jerk she assumed took her money and she was seeking retribution.
After a few drinks and listening to Sofie’s wisecracks, I was feeling pretty good and I let the music carry me to the crowded dance floor where Sofie had ventured moments earlier. The music was loud and vibrated through my body. This is exactly what I was looking for. I got so caught up in the dancing and movement of bodies I hadn’t noticed that Sofie had disappeared from the dance floor. I assumed she had went to the lady’s room or over to the bar for another drink so I continued dancing with the exceptionally attractive guy that had introduced himself as Jason.
I’m not sure how long I remained dancing there with Jason and the rest of the crowd before I went to try and locate Sofie who still hadn’t returned.
After checking the ladies room, the bar area, the dance floor and outside on the sidewalk, it was clear to me that Sofie had left. What I didn’t know, was whether she had left with someone or just went home without me.
“You’re not leaving, already are you?” came Jason’s voice from behind me, a little closer than I realized turning around and our heads almost colliding.
“Not because I want to, trust me.” My voice had a flirtatious tone, more so than I intended. “My friend has apparently left without me and I should probably go find her.”
“Would you like some company?” Jason asked. His voice kind and sweet.
I replied with more hope than matter of fact, “We just live down the street, but maybe some other time?”
A smile creased his lips and his eyes looked away for a moment, “Sure, I’d really like that. Can I have your number? Maybe we could have coffee or drinks together sometime.”
I was glad he asked. I was very attracted to him and he seemed like such a nice guy. Not the kind I had dated lately whose idea of a first date was a quick meal, some drinks, and them trying to get lucky later in the evening.
We exchanged numbers, and after a soft kiss on the cheek I was on my way to find my thoughtless friend. Really irritated at her for leaving me alone and because I had to go when I wanted to spend more time with Jason, I walked with determination. The buzz I had now fading.
Retribution at Last
Fumbling with the door lock in the dimly lit hallway of the apartment building, I finally managed to get the door open. The apartment was quiet and dark except for a light coming from beneath Sofie’s bedroom door. I listened hard for a few minutes, just to make sure it was safe for me to enter and knock on her door. Don’t know why I gave her that courtesy, she hadn’t shown any concern for me, just leaving me at the bar to get home by myself. For all she knew, I could have been drunk and passed out somewhere.
Walking as quickly as I could without tripping over things she had left on the floor, I went to her door and knocked. Softly at first, making sure she hadn’t fallen asleep with the light on again, then a little harder after I heard movement inside.
“Is that you Emma?” Sofie’s inquisitive voice came from behind the closed door.
“Yes, it’s me. Are you okay?”
“I think so. Come in.” Sofie’s voice sounded unsure.
I slowly opened the door and peeked into her room. I gasped when I saw this guy bound around the ankles and wrists, lying on her bed. I saw a trickle of blood coming from the corner of his mouth.
“What the hell is going on Sofie?” I whispered more than spoke, not wanting to be heard.
My heart was in my throat and I feared what she might tell me. Had she killed this guy? Why was he bound on her bed? Maybe this was just some kind of game to her and her partner and I had come home too soon. Yes, that had to be it. No, if that were the case, I don’t think she would have asked me to come in. My mind was racing with all the possibilities.
My eyes went from the guy on the bed to Sofie then back to the bed. “Who is that Sofie? Why is he tied up and why is he bleeding?”
Sofie began to cry, “That’s the jerk I met up with last weekend.”
“What?! The one who stole your money? What is he doing here again?”, I demanded to know.
“I saw him tonight at the bar, I kind of went there looking for him. When I saw him come in, I went up to him and started talking like nothing had ever happened. After we had a few drinks, I asked him if he wanted to come back to my place. And here we are.”
“Now I know you’ve completely lost your mind. Why would you do such a stupid thing, bringing this thief back to our apartment? Are you a glutton for punishment or did you want to give him the rest of your money? You’re not making any sense Sofie! And none of that explains why he’s bound and bleeding.”
I saw a worried look come across Sofie’s face and she looked at me with pleading eyes, “I…. I think I killed him. I hit him with that bookend when his head was turned and then I tied him up. I didn’t know what to do. Emma what am I going to do now?”
She was crying at this point and I was scared out of my wits, “Calm down, maybe he’s just unconscious.”
I walked over to check him and see if he was breathing. I leaned in close to listen for breathing. My nose nearly touching his when his eyes suddenly popped open, “Let me go you stupid bitch!” Startled, a scream escaped my mouth and I fell backwards onto the floor.
“Now what Sofie?” I yelled at her. All the while he was yelling obscenities at us both. “We have to shut him up before someone hears him!”
Grabbing a sock from the dresser nearby, she stuffed it in his mouth and tied a silk scarf around his head to hold it in place.
“What’s the plan genius? We can’t just keep this man tied up in here.” I said grabbing her arms.
“As soon as he gives me my money back, he can go wherever he wants but until then he’s staying right where he’s at.”
The guy was moaning and wiggling on the bed trying to free himself. I’m sure he would have killed us both had he gotten free.
Sofie walked over and started badgering him and tapping him with the knife she had used to cut the rope. “Where’s my money asshole? You better tell me or I’m gonna cut more than rope with this knife, I swear I will!”
He was mumbling now, trying to speak with a mouth full of sock. “Take the sock out of his mouth Sofie so we can hear him.”
“Stupid bitch!” Sofie starts to put the sock back in his mouth,” Wait, wait I’ll tell you where it’s at.”
“Start talking jerk!” Sofie yells right down in his face.
“It’s in the lining of my jacket, there’s a hidden zipper pocket at the bottom.”
We both started checking the jacket. We could feel something there, now we just had to find the zipper to get to it.
“The hell with this!” Sofie grabbed the knife and began slicing through the lining of the jacket.
“Damn you, you ruined my jacket!” came an angry voice from the bed.
“Shut up or you’re gonna be next!” Sofie said pointing the knife at the stranger on the bed.
Tearing into the jacket with ferocious jabs and slices, the money was finally revealed. Sofie immediately started counting to see if it was all there. Gladly, it was, otherwise I think she really might have killed him!
“Now what do we do with him?” I asked. I wanted all this to be over and for us to get back to our lives before all this happened.
Sofie walked over to the bed, “Listen, if you want to live a long life you better never come near us again! Got it? And if you don’t think I’m serious, just try it!”
I untied him while Sofie held the knife in one hand and her purse pistol in the other and she was just the type that would use them too. The guy backed out of our apartment slowly, yelling a few curse words as he turned ran down the stairs.
Still shaking from all the excitement, I collapsed on the old sofa and took a deep breath. Sofie was once again counting her money, a smile crossed her face as she held the money close to her heart. “How about we load up the car in the morning and head for New Orleans Emma? I am done with this place!”