Taking the Bait

“This is stupid.” Tasha protested, standing in the foyer of a Victorian mansion that was tucked away on a hill behind weeping willows and an iron fence.

“They need help,” Ainsley waved a folded piece of notebook paper towards her. “We need to help them and they might have my suitcase.” She paused to marvel at the grand staircase. “My engagement ring is in there.”

“It should’ve been on your finger,” Malik said, pulling up his faded blue jeans. He forgot his belt due to his overeager roommate insisting he help her with a quick favor.

Ainsley turned back to him, “I didn’t want to lose it.”

“Explain this to me,” Tasha started with furrowed eyebrows. “You pick up the wrong suitcase, open it, and find a note with the words help me and your first instinct is to go over to the house and …check it out. We…” She gestured between them. “…don’t do that. Let’s leave. Call the police.”

“We don’t do that, either,” Ainsley added with a shake of her head.

“Yeah, fuck the police.” Malik proclaimed sitting back on the antique loveseat next to Ainsley.

“Oh, is that so.” Tasha glared at him. “I recall you calling the police when your MacBook disappeared.”

“No.” Malik pointed at her. “You told me not to pistol-whip Jeremiah. You gave me no choice but to call them.” He held up his hands. “I did as you wished.”

“If you’re against it then why are you here?” Ainsley asked her spectacle friend.

“I’m the matron of honor.” She placed her hand on her chest. “One of my duties is to make sure the bride doesn’t get liked or diced into pieces and fed to dogs.”

Ainsley sighed. “I doubt it’s life-threatening. It was a note in a suitcase. It’s probably some old, lonely lady in need of a conversation.” She hoped the lonely person in the house had her suitcase, her fiance wouldn’t be happy if she lost the ring he was still paying for.

Tasha felt herself losing the battle. Their conscience didn’t throw up red flags like hers. Hazard sirens blared in her ears. Her body screamed CAUTION! DANGER AHEAD!

“Come on, what’s the worst that can happen.” Ainsley playfully elbowed Tasha after she took a seat next to her. “We went to Spain and came back safely. We’re practically in our backyard….and Malik’s here.”

Tasha pfft. “Who the hell is he? Optimus Prime.”

“Well, hell…damn close.” He flexed his pecs hidden behind a t-shirt.

“Look, Tas, we’re already sitting down.” Ainsley started. “Let’s hear her out and if you feel the tiniest bit threaten, say, FUBU and we’ll quickly exit.”

Tasha nodded slowly and a couple of seconds later a man of average build and height strolled into the sunroom. As he sat down in the Queen Anne chair he didn’t emit crazy vibes.

“You came to help.” He spoke pleasantly. “We need help.”

“I’m Ainsely Green,” She reached out her hand but he didn’t take it just nodded with a drawn smile. “I found the note and I was wondering if you have my suitcase by chance.”

“Yes, I have it.” He said crossing his spindly legs. “Spain is beautiful this time of year. I hope you got to see Catalonia.”

Tasha’s head slightly tilted, “How do you know we went to Spain?”

“It was on her suitcase.” He smiled something sinister. “You said you wanted to help. We accept. Now, this is where things get a little complicated.”

“Complicated? How?” Ainsley asked.

“We’re having a dinner party in two days and we need a main dish.”

“There’s like twenty stores in a thirty-mile radius,” Malik told. “And four of which are Whole Foods and Trader Joes.”

The main shook his head. “I’m afraid to say that the main dish we crave isn’t sold but caught. It must be clean, intelligent, and moral. We need three of them and you have forty-eight hours. If you don’t succeed,” The click of a Glock loading a bullet in the chamber called the trio’s eyes to the doorway. “You will be our main dish.”

FUBU.” Tasha wished but they weren’t able to flee. 

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