Between a Rock and His Hard Place - Part 2

Over the next few days, Heather sorted out how she was going to pay the rent. She was still $100 short. She thought that, if she could just get through December, she could probably get another job and get back on her feet. She even thought that, somehow, she would give back the money she had taken from Mr. Benton. The Monday after Thanksgiving, Heather decided she would sneak back into the shop and get $100 more from behind the counter. She knew that Benton would sometimes leave the store to go up to his apartment to use the bathroom because there wasn't one in the shop. So she waited in the stairwell outside her door that afternoon, listening for him to come up the steps. When he did, she darted down the steps, ran into the shop, and repeated her crime. She was out the front door of the shop before Benton ever left his apartment.

On December 1, Heather walked into the shop to make her rent payment for the month. She handed Benton $400 as she had been doing all along. But this time, Benton said, "Hold on a minute." He took the stack of $20 bills and divided them in half and placed them on the counter. Then he leaned over the counter toward Heather, pointed toward one of the stacks, and said, "I don't know where you got one half of this, but I damn sure know where you got the other half, you little thief." Heather put on her best shocked face, but Benton said, "You can knock that shit off, bitch." Then he pointed toward the top of the wall behind him at what looked like a smoke detector. "They can put security cameras in almost anything these days," and he smiled as he turned to face Heather, whose expression had gone blank and her face almost completely white.

"I wanna show you a little video," he said, and turned the computer monitor on the counter enough so that she could see the screen. He clicked the mouse and a surveillance video clearly showed Heather reaching across the counter to get the money from the bag. The video skipped to show the second time she broke into the money bag. Heather's face was very recognizable in the video. Benton had her nailed. Her mouth was u*********sly dropping open, her breathing had all but stopped, and she was beginning to feel nauseated.

"Oh my god," Heather whispered.

"You might want to say a little better prayer than that. You're gonna need it." Benton sneered sarcastically. "I believe you can do up to a year in prison for $200, maybe more if you get the wrong judge. Ever been to prison before? You think you live in a dump upstairs? Just wait, sweetie pie."

Heather came out of her daze and looked up at Benton with tears filling her eyes. "Oh, please Mr. Benton. I'm so sorry. I was just desperate. I didn't know what to do. And I swear I'm going to pay you back -- every penny. As soon as I get a good job, I'm going to---"

"Save it, Heather. I ain't interested in your plans for the future. I need to make a phone call. And don't think about leaving the shop -- running will only make it worse for you."

"Who are you calling?"

"You may remember seeing a couple of police officers around the shop from time to time? They're good friends of mine. They are regular customers in fact. I give 'em good discounts, because I never know when I might need 'em -- like now."

"Please, Mr. Benton. I can make this up to you. I can work for you, here in the shop. I can clean up for you. I can run errands, anything! I can pay you back! I can't go to jail. I've been arrested before. I was so scared. Please don't do this!"

Benton scowled, "Work in the shop? So you can siphon off a few more twenties from me? Do I look like a fool to you?" Heather nodded her head "no."

"Let me ask you something. Did you take an economics course in high school? Ever hear of Supply and Demand?"

"Yes sir," Heather said, with tears streaming down her face.

"Good. Well here's a nice, real-world application. I SUPPLY you with a room and I DEMAND payment for it, and not with my own fuckin' money! Here's another one. Demand is based on needs and wants. I don't need an errand boy. I don't need somebody to clean for me. So it looks like you can't SUPPLY me with any of my DEMANDS because you don't have anything I NEED." Then Benton paused while he watched Heather's eyes and nose run from her sobs. "But maybe you have something I want."

The sinking feeling returned to Heather's stomach, even stronger now. Benton leaned back, crossed his arms, and said, "How bad do you want to keep from going to jail, you stupid bitch?"

"I ain't going to bed with you if that's what you mean," Heather said defiantly.

"Just be glad that ain't what I have in mind. No, I'm not going to lay a finger on you. But I think you can provide me with a little entertainment, and that may keep me from going to the police."

"What kind of entertainment?" Heather wiped her face with her fingers.

"Well, you seem to like being in movies," Benton pointed to the computer monitor, "so maybe you can be in a few videos for me. I'd be real interested to see what you look like under all those clothes you wear."

"No way," Heather hissed lowly as if there were someone close enough to hear.

"Fine." Benton picked up the phone and started to dial.

"No, wait!" Heather shouted, and Benton put down the phone. "Do I have to take everything off?"

"Every last stitch. And you have to do it like I tell you to, the way I want it. And you have to make it real good too. I've got all kinds of things I'd like to see you do, little girl," Benton chuckled, showing white-capped teeth.

"You swear you won't touch me?" Heather couldn't believe she was seriously considering this proposition. She couldn't think of anything worse than being arrested and carted off to jail. She really didn't see any options. She had no idea what kind of crime blackmail was, and she couldn't have even defined the word "extortion." She only knew that Benton was mean enough to call the cops and have her thrown in jail, and she would do almost anything to avoid that.

"Hell, I told you I'm not going to touch you," Benton said in an aggravated tone. "But I'm sure going to enjoy watching you touch yourself."

Heather paused, realizing that she didn't truly have a choice.

Benton smiled again, "Well, what's it gonna be, Heather? Fun and games with me, or fun and games with the inmates? Oh, and by the way, the inmates DO touch . . . everywhere."

That last threat was enough to tip the scale for Heather. "Okay, I'll do it. But just one time. That's it."

"Bullshit! You'll do it until I get tired of watching your ass," he said with a low growl, gritting his teeth at her. "Got it?"

"How long is that?" she asked.

"Well, let's see," he said. "You stole ten $20 bills from me. So I think ten little sessions, about 30 minutes each, is fair enough. That's $40 an hour; better money than you'll probably ever make in your whole miserable life."

"Then I'll be off the hook? And you'll get rid of the security video?"

Benton grinned like the Grinch who stole Christmas, "You have my word."

Heather's mind was racing, and her heart was pounding. "You swear nobody will ever see the videos you make of me?"

"I'll even block out your face when I edit them, so nobody would know it's you anyway," he said.

"How can I trust you?" Heather asked.

"Looks like you don't have much of a choice, now do you? Besides, I don't want that kind of evidence around. Don't want you squealing later on that I f***ed you to do anything. Shit, I cover my ass," he laughed.

Benton's last statement made Heather think that he probably would make sure that nobody could identify her in his homemade videos. She felt slightly better about the situation, but by no means comfortable. She was horrified at the prospect of taking her clothes off in front of Benton. It almost made her sick at her stomach to think why he wanted the videos and what he would do with them.

"When do we start? I wanna get this over with," she said in almost a whisper as tears began to fill her eyes again.

"Tomorrow night at 7 o'clock. Be at my apartment then. Wear something like you have on now," he said. Heather was wearing a knit blouse with a lose sweater over it and jeans. "At five after 7, if you aren't here, I'm calling the cops, and your happy ass will be headed downtown to a new little apartment with lots of friends. Understand?"

"Yes sir. I'll be there. I promise."

To be continued . . .
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Posted by cranfordmason
3 years ago    Views: 592
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3 years ago
Very good and can't wait for more.