top of page

A Question of Money by Eric Burbridge

“Larry, let me solve your financial difficulties…for five million dollars let me murder you?” Rocmon asked.

Larry Herman laughed, but the seriousness in those dark eyes made his heart sink. How did Rocman know his situation? “You’re kidding, right? I thought we were friends.”

“We are and no, unfortunately, I’m not kidding. I’m sick too, but it’s different.”

Jesus! He’s a rich psychopathic killer or a sick practical joker. Larry was a sick man, a sick man who took care of himself down through the years. A health nut he was not, but he had excellent muscle tone and those periods of physical abuse—drinking, drugging and too much sex with strangers—were few and far between. Inoperable and uncurable cancer entered his life at the age of forty-five and it made him a desperate man, but not bitter. What good would it do? He had a small circle of friends that most people would die for, from the intellectuals to a billionaire—Ernest Rocmon, the guy with NBA height, hands and a vise grip handshake, which he apologized for after each and every formal introduction. They got especially close. Both exchanged what others called sick, imaginative story plots any fiction writer would envy.

Larry sighed and leaned back on the concrete and wood bench where their group met. A man with Rocmon’s resources could find out anything; a person’s medical records would be simple. Did he want to watch the life leave his body perhaps with a smile?

No way, you sick shit!


It was a pleasant fall day. The autumn-colored leaves fell quickly and the brisk breeze scattered them everywhere as Rocmon approached. A fist bump took the place of a handshake. Larry crossed his legs, reached in his pocket and took out a silver flask. “Care to join me?”

“Sure.” They stared at the wildlife in and around the lagoon for a brief moment. “You’ve lost a lot of weight, you’re pale, and the family’s having problems.”

“Whose doesn’t?” Larry snapped. He still had a hard time believing what his friend asked. “Not only are you crazy, but clairvoyant too, right?”

Rocmon smiled. “No, my friend, I try to help. You got questions…ask them.” Larry didn’t know where to start. His lips parted, but nothing came out. “Better yet, I got an idea. I’ll deposit the money in a trust for you, everything will be taken of care for your family, and they will have no worries. If, in the next few months, you don’t want to do it, I’ll leave you alone, but you spend any of it there’s no turning back…deal?”

“Could I ask a question?”

“Go ahead.”

“What do you get out of this? Obviously, you’ve done this before.”

Rocmon sighed. “Listen to me, I’m being merciful, charitable and quenching my thirst for the taking of another person’s life. I feel powerful; staring into their eyes as I absorb the life out of a useless shell that’s no longer worthy of existence is worth every penny to me. And remember this, I got everything covered, all the questions you can think of I have answered but, by all means try to figure it out if that makes you feel better.”

Larry shook his head in disgust. “That’s sick, Rocmon.”

“But I can afford it…deal or not?” Larry’s would-be murderer extended his fist.

Larry’s fist trembled slightly. Would he regret it? “Ok…deal.” He had his work cut out for him not letting temptation get the best of him, but he would keep it simple.


Day in and day out Larry thought about the proposal…those dollars deprived him of many a night’s sleep. Questions that had to be answered: how would Rocman kill him? Would it be strangulation or a bullet? What if he killed himself? What if he ran or killed Rocman first? What if he told the cops? Damn the questions…take the money, you’re dying. His fate and love of family put him in this situation. They deserved it, even though his son got in serious trouble with the law and his wife was having an affair. He couldn’t blame her. She was exhausted from waiting on him hand and foot. Soon the pain would be unbearable, but his brain functioned fine and he had a little fight left.

The tall middle-aged financial advisor asked, for a second time, if he was ready to talk. “Yes, I’m ready to do business.” She smiled and he followed her to her office. With his finances set up the way he wanted, now he knew how it was to be a dead man walking.


Larry sat at his favorite spot looking out at the lagoon. He enacted his final plan. The morphine fentanyl mix was doing its job, the euphoria and numbness had set in, but he felt someone nearing. This is it, Larry! He spun around when he heard twigs snap. Rocmon’s tremendous grip crushed his windpipe and spit flew out of his mouth. He couldn’t breathe! The bones severed the nerves when he was lifted off the bench; he felt nothing as his frail body dangled. He shut his bulging eyes, tight. Keep them shut! “Look at me…look at me!” Rocmon hissed, shaking his neck. “I’ll give you five million more if you open your eyes—open them! I need to see your eyes!!” No…hell no! You won’t get the satisfaction. As the life left Larry’s body, a blackness he had never seen before approached, and here it was…

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page