Tony D’Amato was a coward.
A pretty boy who liked to talk tough, Tony was scared of his own shadow. He was also scared of ‘Joey The Knife’ Benedetto, who had promised to permanently rearrange his face if he didn’t pay up on the five hundred bucks he owed Joey’s boss.
That’s why Tony was standing outside a liquor store in a rundown part of town at 2 a.m., evaluating his chances of successfully robbing the store’s owner. Tony sure as hell didn’t want to go back to prison for petty shit like this, but he was more afraid of Benedetto’s flashing knife than of a short stint in the crowbar hotel.
Taking a deep drag from his cigarette, Tony studied his surroundings. Last thing he needed was some wino witnessing the robbery. That’s when he noticed the large scarlet-painted bus sitting in a vacant lot on the corner.
As if on cue, a light suddenly appeared from within, and a woman opened the door and hung a sign on the outside. She glanced in Tony’s direction, smiled slightly, and then went back inside the bus.
Tony was confused. The woman had been wearing a nurse’s uniform. What the hell?
Thoughts of robbing the liquor store vanished. Flicking his cigarette into the street, Tony walked over to the bus. Now that he was closer, he could see it was a bloodmobile. He could also read the sign on the outside:
THE BLOOD CONNECTION
We Pay Good Money for Blood Donations
Remember, You Can Save Others through Your Generosity
Payment for donating blood? Briefly, Tony wondered if there was any money inside the bus. He also wondered if there might be equipment he could steal and sell on the street – and whether the nurse was the only person inside.
What the hell, he thought, and knocked on the door.
The raven-haired beauty he’d seen moments ago answered. She smiled. “Can I help you?”
“You a nurse?”
“I am… are you here to make a donation?”
“I might be. How much you payin’?”
She studied him. “How does $500 sound?”
“You shitting me? For a pint of blood?”
She looked disappointed. “I’m not authorized to go any higher… isn’t that enough?”
“Hell, yeah! I’m just surprised. So, what do I gotta do?”
He did, and sat down in the chair she pointed him toward. He looked around at the gleaming equipment. He saw a money pouch sitting near a stack of pamphlets.
“Nice set-up… you the only one here?”
She had her back to him and in that moment Tony decided to spring forward and grab her.
That’s when he noticed once more the stack of pamphlets. One pint of blood can save three vampires. Thanks for your generosity.
The nurse turned then, and Tony had time for one last thought as the overhead light gleamed against a pair of pearly fangs: What the hell?
* * * *
Note: This story is written as part of a Flash Fiction Challenge for Week Fifteen: A desperate man comes up with a unique way to make some extra cash.