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Unpaid Debt

by Susan Koefod

About the Author: Susan Koefod is the author of the Arvo Thorson mystery series. Curiosity Quills Press will publish Koefod’s debut young adult novel—NAMING THE STARS—on September 5, 2016. She has also widely published prose and poetry, including two short stories “Boys will be Boys” and “Open Ended” which appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.


“That bastard owes me fifty bucks,” Juut said, and not very quietly.

“He owed you, you mean,” Lisa told him, “For God’s sake, what a thing to say at the man’s burial.”

Juut Nesse and his wife Lisa stood together near a grove of fragrant cedar trees, not far from where Chance Frazier had just been lowered into his grave. Given the oppressive heat of the summer day, the astringent perfume was even more powerful, almost otherworldly. Were he not so hell-bent on the debt owed to him by the dead man, Juut might have welcomed its reviving powers, and reflected on how it was the perfect tonic for the living in a place of final repose.

“You’d think he did it on purpose,” Juut said a bit quieter, but not much. “Dying before paying me back.”

“Juut, you think it’s all about you. Well it’s not.” Lisa attempted a scolding look, but Juut wasn’t having it. “Have a sense of decency, at least?”

The appeal to decency did nothing to change Juut’s selfish expression.

“This is so unlike you, Juut. What happened to your generosity? It used to mean nothing to you to help somebody out.”

Juut knew he’d changed, and were it not for his former—and now deceased—friend’s actions, he might still be that considerate man. But he couldn’t forgive Chance for never paying him back. That it was now too late did nothing to lessen the sting of the unpaid debt.

Story Comments

Aug 2 - Diana Ware-Page

It was really good, though I had figured out at the cemetery she was up to something, I just wasn't sure what, great twist !!

Aug 2 - Rick Massey Boone North Carolina

Perfect. Vengeance stories are the best.

Aug 4 - Derek McMillan

Kept me guessing.

Aug 4 - C.L.Hannah

I enjoyed the way you made the tension in the story pop. Unfortunately, some of the sentence structures were confusing, but all in all a well told mini mystery.

Aug 5 - Harley Quin

gOOD CLOSER. "A few moments later, he shut the door and it came down on her, creating the look of the accident she’d described, to perfection." SORRY TO SEE HER GO. •

Aug 5 - Robert Petyo

Fun story. Well written. The ending was a little telegraphed, but consistent with the characters.

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