This week’s prompt:
“You will take the fall for this” A empty bank account, ice cubes
Andrea could not believe her eyes. She checked the receipt again. The balance read exactly $1. How was this possible? She felt both hot and cold at the same time. Her ears rang and her palms felt sweaty. She sat heavily in her chair. Her mind whirled too fast to keep up. It finally settled on the idea that this must be a clever fake.
She picked up her phone and called her assistant. “Pam, I need you to come in here. Bring your computer.” She hung up with no further explanation. The envelope and the letter sat on her desk blotter. The incriminating receipt was still in her right hand. It had become crumpled and slightly damp. She tried futilely to smooth it back out. She needed to preserve it as best she could. Maybe someone could do some magic like on those forensic shows and find a hair or finger print of something to prove who really did this.
Pam entered the room. Her neutral colored jacket, white blouse and cream skirt were perfectly polished and perfectly forgettable. Her blond hair was always pulled up into a loose bun and her thick-rimmed glasses hid much her face. The woman was as forgettable as white bread, but she was good at her job.
“Pam, I need you to open up the Mikkelson account.” Andrea pulled up the same information on her own screen, the monitor faced away from Pam.
“Sure,” Pam’s bland voice said. She sat in the chair across from Andrea and placed her little gray laptop on it. A few clicks and some brief commands and she sat back. “What am I looking for, ma’am? She asked. Andrea noticed she had a large Styrofoam cup with her. She sat it on the desk next to the computer. Was that normal for her? It did not seem right, but everything about the woman was so forgettable. Maybe she had forgotten that as well. She heard ice cubes shift in the cup.
“What does the balance say?” She asked.
“$1.” Pam replied. “That’s odd, I thought that account had a lot more money in it. Did they close it?”
Andrea did not answer the question. “Can you tell who the last person to access the account was?”
“Of course,” Pam clicked a few more times and entered a password. “You were in this account yesterday and 5:30pm.”
“That is not possible,” Andrea said. I left work early yesterday to look for prom dresses with my oldest.”
“Yes, I remember that,” Pam said and Andrea thought she might have heard an edge of something in it. But she could not place what.
“I was not here at 5:30, I could not have been in the account.”
“That would seem to be the case,” Pam agreed.
“Where did the money get transferred?” Andrea asked. She was looking at the same information on her screen as well.
“I cannot tell,” Pam said. “The routing information does not look like anything we usually deal with. A foreign bank?” She clicked a few more times. “Would you like for me to see if I can trace the bank? Is there a problem? Did it not go through?”
“No, that’s alright,” Andrea said. She rubbed at her eyes and tried to think of what to do next.
“Do you need anything else?” Pam asked.
“No, not right now,” Andrea said. Her mind was on the note sent with the receipt. “You will take the fall for this” was all it said. It was in a tight but elegant hand. Almost formal. The note must be the answer. She would call the police right away, before anyone else was involved.
“Ooops,” Pam said, and the rattle of ice and sploosh of liquid scattering over the desk caused Andrea to jump back, knocking over her chair. Her assistant stood there, computer in hand as the entire contents of the foam cup ran across her desk, the letter and envelope were buried under a pile of ice chips. Pam leapt forward and picked them up off the blotter and gave them a few shakes like it would do anything. The sheet and the envelope were now both ruined. No trace of the letter, or the handwriting. No prints would be found either.
Andrea stood there stunned for a moment. Her first impulse was to snatch the soaked letter from Pam, but what good would that do?
“I’ll go get some paper towels to clean this up,” Pam said briskly, sounding almost happy. She left the office with the drenched papers in her hands. She was almost smiling.
Had Andrea ever seen her smile before?
Her phone beeped and Andrea put it on speaker, still too stunned to do anything about the mess on her desk.
“Andrea, there is an Inspector Davis out here to see you. I’ll just send him on in while I get some towels.”