The Call


"This is Frank."

"Frankie! How's it goin', bro?"

Shit. "Hey, Earl. What do you need?"

"Whoa, Frankie! Can't a guy just call his favorite brother-in-law to see how he is doin'? I was just sittin' here watchin' the snow fall and I thought I would see what you were up to? You havin' a good day? Keepin' warm?"

"Look, Earl, I'm at work right now - hold on. Afternoon, Mrs. K. Yeah, it is pretty nasty. Hey, guys! Got out of school early. did you? Well, you guys, have fun in the snow. You take care, Ms. Kitchens."

"Okay, I'm back. This isn't really a good time, Earl. Can we talk later?"

"Sure, Frankie, sure. It is just that I was talking to Little Marty and he was askin' when we could expect to see your part of the seed money for the kiosk? He has already had to lay out some money for the inventory and the sign, not to mention the shirts. Frank, you are gonna love the shirts. They are blue with company name on the back in yellow - "The Slipper Hut" - and we got this picture of a banana in its robe with a cup of coffee in a pair of slippers."

"Earl, what are you talking about?"

"Well, don't you get it? Banana are slippery and we sell slippers..."

"No, Earl, I mean what seed money? Who is Little Marty? Is this another one of your schemes?"

"C'mon, Frankie. You remember. Last October, when you came out to the house for dinner. Margie was fixin' dinner and you were playin' with the kids and I was tellin' you about this great idea I had for a mall kiosk that sold those novelty slippers - you know the ones shaped like bear paws and shit like that. And you said that sounded like a great idea, so I figured that I should go ahead with it, since you said you liked the idea and we could be partners."


"Yeah, I went ahead and put down the money on a kiosk at the Havenshire Mall by the Sam Goody's and went ahead and started gettin' things rolling. Geez, Frankie. You're actin' like you don't remember."

"Of course, I don't remember! I never agreed to this! I vaguely remember you saying something about slippers, but Jesus, Earl, I wasn't paying you that much attention and certainly didn't say I wanted to invest in it!"

"Now, Frankie, c'mon! I know fifteen grand is a lot of money..."

"FIFTEEN GRAND!? FIFTEEN THOUSAND FREAKIN' DOLLARS! You expect me to pay fifteen thousand for slippers!? No way, Earl! No way!"

"But, Frank, you gotta! I already got a loan from Little Marty and he is getting impatient for his money..."

"Wait, who is Little Marty? You aren't talking about the guy from the old neighborhood, Marty Burris, are you? Jesus, Earl! Marty Burris is a loanshark, you dumbass!"

"Frankie, first of all, it ain't Marty Burris; it is his son Marty, Jr. And second, he ain't a loan shark, he is a business man who likes to help other struggling business men get on their feet."

"Earl, what is he charging you for this loan?"

"Well... it sounds steep, but that kiosk wasn't going to be available long and since I didn't have your part of the money and needed to act fast, I had to make some concessions on the fee, but this is going to be a huge hit, Frank. People in the suburbs love these things. I heard about one guy who is got a string of sunglass places near the beach and he is livin' it up on how much he is makin' from those places..."

"How much, Earl?"

"Well, I borrowed fifteen grand and the fee was five thousand for the loan and we have two weeks to pay it back..."

"First of all, WE are not paying anything back; I never agreed to this. Second of all, what happens if you can't pay it back in two weeks?"

"Well, if you give me your part, then that won't happen."

"What happens, Earl?"

"The amount doubles every week until it is paid."

"YOU ARE SHITTING ME! TELL ME YOU ARE SHITTING ME! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME! Oh... sorry, Reverend Evans, I didn't see you pull up. Have a good one."

"Are you out of your mind, Earl!? These guys are dangerous. You have got to give him back the money."

"I can't, Frank. I have already spent most of it."

"Well, Earl, you are going to have to figure out something, because these guys are not going to wait for their money. If they don't get it, things are going to get pretty nasty."

"Well, I would never have borrowed the money if I knew you were going to welsh on your part..."

"I DID NOT WELSH! I wasn't in on this in the first place, you asshole!"

"Well, can you at least let me borrow the money, Frank? I'm good for it. Once the Slipper Hut is on its feet, I will be able to pay you back."

"Earl, that's just it, I don't have that much in savings and what I do have, I am not giving to you."

"But, Frank, me and Margie were countin' on this. You wouldn't do that to your sister, would you?"



"Earl, I'll call you back later. I need to think about this."

"But, you are going to think about it?"

"I'll call you tomorrow, Earl."

"Thanks, Frank. You won't regret this. This is going to be huge."

"And, Earl..."

"Yeah, Frank."

"Don't call me at work again."