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The Money Mattress
About the Author: Jude Roy's stories have appeared in Mystery Weekly, Flash Bang Mysteries, MystericalE, The Southern Review, American Short Fiction, and numerous other magazines. His novels are available on Amazon.com.


J.D. sat in the booth across from Chet and watched as he meticulously picked apart the label on his beer bottle.

“All I’m saying is this old lady got money,” Chet said, meeting J.D.’s eyes. He wore a faded and dirty Redman cap pulled low. “When she shits, she shits green. Know what I mean?”

“So what are you talking about, a Social Security check?”

“No, man. I’m talking about bucks. I mean big bucks. I heard that she’s worth right at a million.”

“So she’s got dough in the bank. What are you going to do? Rob a bank?”

“That’s not what I heard. I heard she keeps it all in her mattress.”

“How stupid can you be? People don’t do that anymore, Chet, especially that kind of money.”

“Well, that’s what I was told.”

“And who told you this?”

“Hadlee, my girlfriend, works for the Student Help Center where the old lady volunteers. They get local businesses to donate money that they use to help students with tuition and stuff like that. She helps her out too, you know, house cleaning and stuff. She was making the bed, and noticed the mattress was lumpy and kinda uncomfortable.”

“Was she making the bed or sleeping on it?”

“Hell, I don’t know. Probably lying on it, dreaming about acting or shit like that. She wants to be a movie star. Anyway, she started feeling around the mattress, and she said it felt like bundles of money.”

“What in the hell do bundles of money feel like, and how would she know?”

“I don’t know, J.D. Hadlee’s no fool though. She handles money at work. If she says there’s money in the mattress, then there probably is.”

“So why didn’t she take the money?”

“Like I said, she’s no fool. If she took the money, the old lady would know it was her that did it, you know, so she came up with this plan to break in and steal it.”

“So this is her scheme, eh. You came to me. Why? Was this her idea too?”

“Kind of. She asked me if I knew anyone who could pull off a robbery. I told her about you. You got experience with this. You been in the pen for robbery.”

“Which should tell you something.” J.D. drank from his beer. A man in a suit walked into the place and sat at the bar. He ordered a beer. J.D. watched him for a while. The three of them were the only customers in the place. He had spent two years in prison for breaking into a liquor store. He swore he would never make that mistake again. But times were hard. He was tired of doing little shit jobs that didn’t even pay minimum wage. Nobody wanted to hire an ex-con. “Okay. I need to check out a few things first. I’ll let you know tomorrow, but I have to tell you. This scheme of yours sounds awfully stupid.” He finished off his beer and walked out.

J.D. knew Chet from high school and then at the Ellisonville junior college. They ran around together some, but Chet was heavy into cocaine, and although J.D. indulged, he didn’t feel like going to jail for something he wasn’t particularly excited about. So, they split. He went into the army, and when he came back after his stint in the service of his country, jobs were scarce. One night, after downing a pint of Kentucky Bourbon, he decided to make some easy money. He robbed a liquor store. He made it exactly two blocks before an EPD cruiser pulled up in front of him. That was two years ago. Now, he was still broke and looking for meaningful employment.

The first thing he did after leaving Chet was to crank up his laptop and Google the Student Help Center. He learned quickly that the old woman was Mrs. Gwendolyn Forché. More searching told him that she was the wife of dead banker, Clyde Forché. He gave out a soft whistle. The man probably gave away more money than he spent. There were several scholarships at the college with his name on it, a city administrative building named after him, and countless other areas of city and parish public businesses where the Forché title was prominent.

It didn’t take him long to find the old lady’s address and call up Google Earth. She lived about five miles out of Ellisonville in, what looked to J.D., a mansion. The house sat on the edge of Point Vert State Forest. Gigantic oak trees surrounded it on all sides. A paved lane snaked from the parish road to the house. The other houses in the area were all big, half hidden, and a good distance away.



This story appears in our SEP2018 Issue
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Reader Discussion

16
Sep
This did not end the way I expected it to! I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. You went that extra step, and it made for a better story.
By Sarah Glenn

16
Sep
Great ending, made me laugh. Beautifully unexpected.. I really enjoyed that story, the characters were well drawn and the plot made sense.
By Teffy Wrghtson

16
Sep
:) Excellent! Great dialogue and characters. I truly enjoyed the story! Perfect ending! I laughed...
By Nina Ritter

17
Sep
The mattress of course :-))) Fantastic job.
By George Garnet

17
Sep
Loved The Money Mattress. Great story, no violence, and a very funny ending
By Heather W

17
Sep
This was a great story. I laughed along with J.D.
By Frances Dunn


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