Dirty Money

By: Jessica Clare



“I’m on the fourteenth hole and I’ve got an hour of daylight left,” he barks into the phone. “This better be important.”

“It’s Boone,” I say flatly. “Which golf course?”

“Golf course?” Clay asks, a groan in his voice. He puts a hand on the brim of his cap. “Shit, bro, I just want to get drunk. Can’t we go to the bar?”

I ignore him, concentrating on Bates’s aggravated words. I catch “Silver Birch” and something that sounds like “Country Club” before he hangs up on me. Fine. I fling my phone at Clay. “Type in Silver Birch Country Club and gimme the address.”

He sighs. “You’re not gonna rest until you get this out of your system, are you?”

“Nope.”

“Fine.” A moment later, the phone starts to spit out directions in Homer Simpson’s voice, which amuses my brother enough that he shuts up. I follow the directions and a half hour later, I pull into the parking lot of the country club, right next to some fancy convertible. Clay whistles at the sight of it. “I’ll stay here. You gonna be long?”

“Not long.” I climb out of the truck, slam the door behind me, and stalk toward the main clubhouse. The sun’s setting right in my eyes and it’s been a long, hot day, half of it spent in the damn car. I’m covered in dust, my throat’s drier than anything, and I want the drink that Clay’s been bitching about for the past half hour.

But I also can’t let this go. Not until I get it out of my system. That’s how I am. A dog on a bone, my brothers joke, and they ain’t wrong. Once I get fixated on something, I don’t let up until I’m satisfied. And right now? I sure as shit ain’t satisfied.

A woman hurries up to me. She’s wearing a pale blue polo shirt with a logo and a pair of khaki pants. The smile on her face is not welcoming in the slightest. “Can I help you find something, sir?”

“I’m looking for a friend,” I tell her, not stopping.

She trots after me. “I see. Do you have a membership?”

“No.”

“I see. I’m afraid we’re not open to the public.”

I stop and look over at her. She’s got the bright, fake smile on her face that says sorry, but I’m not leaving you alone. “How much for a membership?”

Her smile remains tight and fake. “It’s not just the price, sir. We rigorously perform background checks on our club members and ensure that only the most prestigious qualify.” She gestures back behind her, indicating I should leave.

As in, I ain’t gonna cut it.

Fuck that. I turn and start walking again. All I need is five minutes to talk to my shithead “buddy,” Bates. She can just hold her horses.

The woman starts making squawking noises and follows me a moment longer. When I won’t stop to acknowledge her, I hear her radioing for security. Like I’m a damn criminal. It’s so fucking ridiculous I can’t even find the words.

I’ve never been on a golf course before, so I don’t rightly know which way to go. There’s a path and so I start to follow it, and as I do, Bates rolls up in a golf cart, a frown on his face. “What are you doing here, Boone?”

I cross my arms over my chest. “Got a few things to say to you.”

“All right.” He gets out of the cart and turns to look at the men sitting beside him. “I’ll join you boys in the locker room shortly.”

They give me disgusted looks—ironic considering they’re all wearing pink shirts—and then drive off. Like I’m some sorta cockroach that crawled onto the greens. Fuck them, too.

Bates pulls at the leather gloves on his hands, a slight frown on his face. He eyes me up and down, from my cap to the dust on my work boots. “Did you just come straight from the site?”

“I did. Some of us like to work,” I drawl.

“I’m working,” he protests. “Networking is a very important part of being a good business owner.” The look he gives me is cool. “It’s something you might want to consider in the future.”

“You’re giving me tips on how to run a business?” I bark a harsh laugh. “That’s rich, given that you came crawling to me asking for my help because you need a producing well instead of the dry holes you got right now.”

The look on Bates’s smug face grows alarmed. “Keep your voice down,” he hisses, and leans in. “What the hell is this about, Price? Why’d you come storming here?”

“I came here because your asshole suit showed up on site and I want to know why.”

He tilts his head and stares at me like I’ve gone crazy. “What do you mean, you want to know why?”

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