Don’t Cross Gramps

Gramps is going to kill me. Not chastise. Not disown. Kill. Of all the stupid crud I’ve pulled, this is by far the stupidest.

As if being banned from every club and casino in a 500-mile radius wasn’t enough, I went and ticked off the local pawnbroker, Wayne. He’s been a swell guy, keeping me from losing quite a few items I’ve pawned with him. But even his patience only goes so far. Being a week late on a major payment hasn’t helped things.

I need to pay him soon before Gramps finds out. If he hasn’t already. I’ve used the last of my cash to buy as many scratch-off tickets as possible. I just need one big winner. Wayne said he’d give me one extra week before he pulled the bracelet I brought him, but then it’s his to sell.

It hasn’t been reported stolen. Yet. I still have time. But I’m running out of scratch-offs. I’m such an idiot.

Losers. Every single one. I search my car for any bit of spare change I can round up. Then, my phone rings. It’s Wayne.

“Hey, man. You might want to get down here real quick.” He sounds nervous.

I speed over to the shop, thankful not to get pulled over until I see the black Corvette in the parking lot and two men standing on either side of it.

I sulk into the shop. Gramps smiles at me as I enter. A bad sign.

Wayne glances between us. “He, uh, came to help with your payment.”

Gramps places a stack of cash on the counter, and Wayne hurries to the back, returning with the bracelet in a nice white box.

Once the transaction is finished, Gramps and I head outside. Gramps snatches my keys and hands them to one of his men, who takes them without a word and gets in my car.

“Gramps, I’m sorry,” I stammer. “I messed-”

He raises a hand. “You stole from your grandmother,” he says. “The most precious woman in my life. The very reason you even exist.” He holds the bracelet to his face. “Not only that, but you took her most prized possession. This has been in the family for countless generations, and you almost lost it to a pawn shop because you can’t manage even the smallest amount of money.”

“Look, Gramps,” I say. “I’ll pay you back. Just give me a-”

“No,” he says, his voice a low growl. “No more chances. Get in the car.”

I hang my head. All I can do now is obey and pray he shows me mercy.

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