Dirty Money

By: Jessica Clare



“Zero? That sucks,” Knox says, tossing napkins down on Gage’s spilled beer while Seth flags down a waitress. The trucker bar we’re drinking at is crowded, and all of our drinks are nearly dry. No one’s hovering over us to make sure that the Price brothers—all billionaires—get cold, fresh drinks.

Funny how I’m okay with that here, and not out in the field. Maybe because here, we’re all anonymous wallets. Out in the business world, I should be top dog, and instead, everyone fucking acts like I’m some sort of criminal that just waltzed in. Like I don’t belong. I could buy every damn oil rig in West Texas and everyone would still turn their noses up like I’m some sort of idiot. It’s bullshit and I’m damn sick of it.

I think of that golf course and the jackasses in their pink shirts, giving me horrified looks. Like I dared to show up on their turf.

Their turf. I could fucking buy their turf and fucking salt it and they’d never grow another blade of grass there again. I could turn it into a fucking pig farm.

“You’re still pissed,” Gage realizes, sobering.

“I am.” I drain the last of my lukewarm beer and put the empty glass at the end of the table.

“I don’t get why it’s such a big deal,” Gage says.

“Because we’re rich. We’re good with our money. And people that should respect us treat us like we’re fucking ticks on a dog’s ass.”

Clay just snorts. “Worse ’n that.”

He’s not helping.

“So we’re trash,” Gage chimes in. “So what’s the big deal? We might as well own it.” He grins and rips one sleeve off of his T-shirt, then the other. Knox hoots with laughter, clapping him on the shoulder. Clay just rolls his eyes.

“Because it should matter. We should matter. I want respect.” I think of all the assholes in my life that did me dirty, and it burns in my gut. I’ve worked hard to get to where we’re at today, harder than most men. I want the assholes that sit down with me in boardrooms and out in the field to realize I know what I’m talking about. That I’m not just a dumb roughneck that struck it rich. That I took that money and turned it into an empire in the space of a few years. That I make more money in the time it takes for me to wipe my ass than they’ll make in a lifetime.

Maybe that makes me an arrogant prick, but I don’t fucking care. I want people to tremble when they see me. I want those pencil-dicks in suits to quail when I arrive, not turn their noses up at me. I want them to know who’s in charge.

“It’s all image, brother,” Seth says, returning with the waitress. She’s pretty, with brassy blonde hair and tits that are overflowing her too-tight shirt. She smiles at me but I just nudge my glass in her direction. Ain’t got time for waitresses. Those don’t get a man respect, especially not this one. We come to this bar regularly and I’ve seen her sneak into the back with more than one trucker. If she wants a good time, she ain’t getting it from me.

“You’re one to talk,” Clay calls out to Seth, and mockingly runs his hands through his hair. “Oh, look at me, I’m Seth and I’m using product.”

Our entire table bursts into laughter, and I even crack a smile. Seth comes around the edge of the table and puts Clay in a headlock, smirking. Clay just grabs at Seth’s shirt and tries to haul our littlest brother over his shoulder before he gets choked out.

The waitress ignores our roughhousing and switches the beers out. She casts me one last heated look before giving up and returning to the bar.

“I’m right, though,” Seth says to me, even though Clay’s got the flat of one hand in his face. “It’s image. S’all fuckin’ image, bro. Why do you think those dumbasses wear suits everywhere?”

I shrug, but I’m pondering his words. He ain’t wrong. “I’m not cutting my beard.”

“No one’s saying you gotta cut your beard, Boone,” Knox comments, taking a swig of his beer and then swapping it with Seth’s full glass. “Just, you know. Class it up.”

I grunt. “I don’t even know how.” I am who I am, and if the world doesn’t like it, they can suck my dick.

“Get yourself a big house.”

“I got a house.” Well. Sorta. I got a trailer. But I also don’t have a family and I work a lot, so a house isn’t big on the priority list. But maybe Knox is right.

“Get a bigger one. Big car. A classy lady.” Gage wiggles his eyebrows at me. “Spend some of that money you hold on to so tightly.”

“You mean like you?” I drawl. Gage loves to live the good life. He takes his buddies on vacations, buys them cars, and has an endless cycle of new female friends in his life. Maybe he’s right, though. It ain’t me, but . . . maybe I need to change. Maybe I need to start throwing my money around if I want people to respect me instead of look at me like I’m some dumbass hillbilly.

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