Gentlemen, It Seems My Briefcase is Full of Candy, Not Money, by Eric Farwell

Listen, I know we’re supposed to exchange money for my daughter tonight. You assured me she wouldn’t come to any harm, so long as I brought you $100,000 in unmarked singles. It also looks like you didn’t tie her straps too tightly, which is very thoughtful for such tough Russian mobsters. I’m sure you all stayed up late getting ready to meet in this dark parking garage; I know I did. The thing is—and you’re gonna laugh— but it seems as if I brought my briefcase filled with candy, instead of the money one.

It’s been a really long week. Have you ever had to listen to your kidnapped daughter cry to both you and your wife on the phone? Let me tell you, nothing is less sexy than that. My boss has been super up my ass about this damned Jeffries account, so I’ve had to stay late at the office. But, you know, I complied. I went to the bank and had them put all the money into a briefcase. I had to move some pens around for all of it to fit. When the teller asked me if the money would be used to buy a loved one back from mobsters, I looked that woman dead in the eyes, and I said, “yes.” However, the case is identical to the one I keep my candy in, so I’m afraid you’re gonna have to wait a bit, or meet back here tomorrow.

The candy briefcase came about after a particularly soul-crushing winter at work. I was 29 and had no idea what I was doing at the law firm; I only had the job because they mistook me for a different white guy with a law degree. I felt so overwhelmed, but then I realized something: Everyone had a briefcase but me. So I got rid of the Shop-Rite bag I used to carry my files in, and traded up for a briefcase. I was worried the briefcase wouldn’t be heavy enough with just paper, so I threw in some candy. At some point, the briefcase stopped holding papers, and became exclusively used for candy.

The thing is—if you can believe it—this candy-filled briefcase is worth more than $100,000 dollars, sentimentally speaking. In actual dollars, it’s worth maybe eighty bucks. If it weren’t for this briefcase, I never would have gotten diabetes. If I hadn’t gotten diabetes, I never would have made an appointment with the doctor. If I hadn’t made an appointment with the doctor, I’d still have have diabetes, but I wouldn’t have met my wife, who did the blood test. Really, if you think about it, if it weren’t for this briefcase, none of us would be in this situation right now, because either my daughter wouldn’t exist, or I’d just have brought the money in the first place.

So what do you say? Now that you’ve heard my explanation, how about you don’t follow through with your plan to kill both of us if I couldn’t procure the cash? You were kind enough to tie my daughter’s straps loosely, so I’ll bet you’re good guys underneath those neck tattoos. What about this: I’ll put the briefcase down here, turn around, and if I look and the candy is gone, I won’t blame anyone. How does that work? Do you guys like salted caramel?

Eric Farwell‘s work has appeared in places like The Toast, The Higgs Weldon, PAPER, and elsewhere. He teaches college-level English in between drafting new pieces and trying to figure out why NJTransit doesn’t send the double-decker trains every time.

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Gentlemen, It Seems My Briefcase is Full of Candy, Not […]