Justin light his cigarette and took a long drag, it was almost time and nerves were starting to get to him. The alley was dark and full of threatening shadows. Justin slowly exhaled, trying to relax, the trade would go without a hitch, it always had before. The girl was tied up and in the trunk, probably crying but that didn’t matter, she wasn’t going to escape. He looked at his watch again then took another drag. They were never early, always punctual, but it didn’t ease the tightness that moved across his chest. He tried not to think about the deal, instead he focused on afterwards, when he’d be back home, after a nice shower, watching something crappy on the TV. The smell of sulphur filled the air, Justin stubbed out his cigarette, wishing he could keep one lit. Three men stepped from the shadows, they were tall, plain looking and all were wearing black suits. Justin nodded in greeting.
“I have what you want, it’s in the trunk.”
One of the men nodded and moved around to the back of the car, he opened the trunk and pulled the girl out as though she weighed nothing. The girl managed to stay on her feet as the man half dragged, half walked her over to the others.
“Ok, so you’ve got what you want, the deal is still on?”
One of the other men nodded. Justin could never keep track of who was who, they all looked mostly identical to one another. They stepped back into the shadows and the smell of sulphur slowly dissipated.
Justin pulled out another cigarette and lit it with shaking hands, when it was finally lit he inhaled and breathed out slowly. It was done for another year. He got into his car and locked the doors, he gripped the steering wheel tightly while he waited for his hands to stop shaking. The men were large, but they weren’t that imposing, there was something about them though, an aura of danger. Justin knew that it would be a mistake to mess with them, they held more power than he could ever dream of, and they were merely grunts. He wound down the window slightly and threw his cigarette butt through the small crack, he lit another, then started to drive. The further he got from the alley the more he relaxed until finally he pulled up outside his house with a large grin on his face. Another year down, the price was steep, but it was well worth it, and really, he wasn’t the one who had to pay, it was all those people he brought to them. Every year it would change, one year it would be blonde women, the next bald men. Justin had given up trying to predict it, he mostly tried to forget until he received that plain brown envelope through his letterbox, telling him what they wanted next. Justin stepped out of his car and into the night air, he hummed to himself as he walked to the front door, he was in a good mood, after all who wouldn’t be? It had been a very profitable evening for him.