Henery X (long)
Nothing In Life Is Free
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
A short story by someone, who loves telling tales
Jake Moore was having a rough go of it. His wife left him, the bank was about to foreclose on his house in less than a week, his car broke down, and to top it all off, today he was fired from his job.
As he sat on a bus stop bench, he was wondering what he was going to do. Then, without him even noticing, a well-dressed man appeared next to him on the bench.
"How are you, Jake?" The mystery man said pleasantly. He smiled afterward.
Jake looked over at the man with a sad expression on his face. "Not so good," he said in a manner that matched his facial expression. He was so caught up in thinking of his misfortune that he didn’t even think to ask the man he’d never seen before how he knew his name.
"Sorry to hear that, my friend. Could I possibly be of help by chance?"
"I don’t think so," Jake said somberly.
"Hey, you never know. Tell me what’s troubling you."
Jake told the stranger everything he had been through, as well as everything he was going through.
"Your problems aren’t so bad, Jake. Think about all those who are now on their deathbeds. All their problems will soon be over forever. At least you still have an opportunity before you, to possibly make things better."
"When you put it like that, my problems don’t seem all that bad."
"Exactly. What if I told you I could make all your problems a bittersweet memory?"
Jake chuckled, "I’d say, who are you, God."
The stranger chuckled, "Not God, Jake. But, I can grant you a wish."
"Grant me a wish?" Jake said, amusingly. He chuckled afterward.
"Yes, Jake. Make a wish and I’ll grant it for you."
Jake looked at the stranger as if he was crazy, "Are you serious?"
"As serious as you once thought your problems were."
"What’s the catch?"
"Once you make your wish, you’ll need to shake my hand."
"That’s it?" Jake said humorously.
"That’s it, my friend. So, what is it you wis —"
"A hundred million dollars," Jake said eagerly.
The stranger stared at Jake with a disappointing expression on his face, as he slowly shook his head from side to side. He stuck his right hand out, which Jake quickly took with his own, and they shook firmly.
"Your wish has been granted, Jake. When you get home, the money you wished for will be there waiting for you."
Jake chuckled, "Thanks for taking my mind off my troubles. Hey, I never caught your name."
"That’s because I never threw it at you, Jake. I’ll tell you my name the next time I see you." The stranger got up from the bench and walked away.
Sure enough, when Jake made it home, the money he wished for was waiting for him. He couldn’t believe it. The stranger was telling the truth all along; he thought to himself. His mind was now racing with thoughts of how he planned to live his life from this point forward.
Meanwhile, in the heart of a part of the Columbia jungle, a cocaine king pen was about to be hit with a rude awakening.
"Open the door," Marco Gomez barked at one of two armed guards, who stood on either side of a locked steel door that was connected to a huge steel storage container. Marco was a tall, handsome man with icy brown eyes. He was well dressed and carried a large duffel bag in his left hand.
The guard pulled out a set of keys, unlocked the door, and then pushed it open. After his mission was complete, he resumed his position.
Marco smoothly strolled through the door of his money room, ready to make another hefty deposit earned from another day of work. Once inside the room, he dropped the duffel bag on the steel floor and had a look of utter amazement on his face.
"Guards! Get in here! Now!" Marco was beyond upset.
The guards came rushing into the money room, and as it had been with their boss, their facial expressions were that of utter disbelief.
The room that once contained a hundred million dollars now only contained one thing, and it was far from anything monetary.
Marco turned to face the guards. "Where is my fucking money?" he said eerily calmly, but his facial expression showed he was far from calm.
The guards were looking at one another as if they were both hoping the other had an answer that would appease their angry boss.
As Marco stared at the guards, he slowly shook his head. He concluded they were too smart to do something as stupid as to steal anything from him. He turned his back on them and walked towards the only thing that was left in his money room. The item in question was a photograph, which was lying face down. He picked it up and turned it over. None other than Jake Moore’s smiling face was staring back at him. As he looked at the unfamiliar face, he had a confused expression on his face.
Marco turned towards the guards, who were both trembling from fear, and whose facial expressions displayed exactly how they were feeling.
"Take this photo up to central control and give it to Neko. Tell him I said run it through our network. Tell him I want a name and location asap," Marco said calmly.
One guard walked up to Marco and took the photo, then he and the other guard quickly exited the money room.
"I don’t know how you got away with my money, mystery man," Marco said calmly. "But you’re going to tell me, and after you do, and I recover my money, I’m going to make you wish that you never did what you have done."
Three years later….
Jake allowed the bank to foreclose on his house because he had no intention of staying there any longer. With his newfound fortune, he could afford to live anywhere he wanted to. So, he packed up his clothes and photographs and was on his way. He spent a year just traveling around the world, enjoying every second of the time spent in places he never dreamed he’d visit. After jet setting, he took up residency in Las Vegas, which would prove to be the worst decision of his life.
After buying a mansion, a few luxury vehicles, and some stylish clothing, he began to make his presence known in the "City That Never Sleeps."
He eventually connected with a breathtakingly beautiful woman, and things got heated quickly. It was as if the woman in question had put a spell on Jake, made she had him spending money as if he was printing it. She also had him believing that their relationship was something other than what it was. He was in love, and she was on a mission. She was hired by the general manager of one of the hottest casinos in Las Vegas to get Jake to gamble as much of the money away as possible, and she did her job well.
Before Jake knew what happened, his bank account was at three million dollars. To make things worse, the general manager was a first cousin of Marco Gomez, one of three owners of the popular casino. Marco selected his cousin to oversee the day-to-day operations of one of his greatest investments, and his decision proved to be an excellent one.
Marco discovered the identity of Jake, as well as where he once lived, six months after his money went missing. He sent two of his most trusted men to discreetly retrieve Jake, but because of his traveling around the world, they came back to their boss empty-handed.
Jake’s photo was circulated throughout the United States and to individuals with close ties to Marco. His cousin received a copy of the said photo, as well as a detailed account of why the person in it was relevant. The cousin looked for Jake to appear in the casino for several months. He even showed the photo to certain employees, as well as told them why the person in the photo was relevant. As time went on, the general manager forgot all about the Jake Moore situation, but one of his trusted employees didn’t.
While thanking Jake for a generous tip he received after he brought him a drink he ordered, said employee got a good look at his face, and the reason he was told Jake was relevant made him remember it immediately.
The employee told his boss, who immediately called his cousin Marco, who was now on his private jet, headed to Las Vegas.
Jake now sat in a large locked room, which was in the casino's basement, clueless why he was there. As he sat in an uncomfortable chair, thinking about the uncomfortable feeling situation he found himself in, the well-dressed stranger appeared.
"Hello, Jake," the mystery man said in his usual cheerful manner. He smiled afterward.
Jake looked up with a bewildered expression on his face. "You," he said with a hint of anger in his voice. "Why do I feel like this situation has something to do with that wish you granted me?"
"Because it has everything to do with the said wish, Jake. Remember, I told you I would tell you who I was when I saw you again?"
"Yeah, I remember."
"Well, I’m Opportunity."
"Opportunity?" Jake said in a confused manner.
"In the flesh, Jake. I present myself to people, and they make their choices. The funny thing about this, out of all my years of doing this, no one has ever wished for the ability to make better decisions. It’s always wishing that will make their situations worse."
"So, what happens next, Opportunity in the flesh?"
"Well, there are consequences for actions. Said consequences teach lessons. Unfortunately, some lessons are the last ones some ever learn."
"Your lesson, Jake, falls into that category. Goodbye, my friend," just as quickly as Opportunity appeared, he was gone just as fast.
The door of the room opened up, and there stood Marco Gomez and his two most trusted men.
"Mister Moore, you’re a very hard man to catch up to," Marco said. He flashed a sinister smile afterward.
“Who are you?” Jake said nervously.
“I’m the man that’s going to allow you to tell me how you could steal a hundred million dollars from a locked room that was being protected by two armed guards.”
Jake lowered his head and cried.