Trust No One

an excerpt

Chapter One

"I don't have any money to give you," Taylor Fields said to his uncle Louie as they stood in the kitchen of Taylor's small apartment over the bookstore where Taylor worked. Today wasn't any different from any other Saturday night. His uncle showed up every time Taylor got paid begging for money to help fund his drug and gambling habits. Louie had been making Taylor's life miserable since Taylor's parents died in a boating accident thirteen years ago. Taylor had been seventeen at the time and just about to graduate from high school when it happened. The shakedown for money began shortly after that. Louie went through Taylor's meager inheritance even though Louie had a job as a construction worker at the time. Taylor had tried several times to move away from his uncle, but Louie always found him.

Taylor worked hard in school and received enough scholarships to pay for college. He went at night to earn his degree in financial management and worked at the bookstore during the day to pay for his necessities. How he managed to keep the job had been nothing short of a miracle. Louie always showed up drunk, bothering the employees and customers until Taylor emptied his wallet and gave him all the money in it. The police were no help. They just carted Louie off the premises and took him to jail until he sobered up. They let him out the next morning. Louie would go to work on Monday, but always lost most of his payroll check gambling or drinking on Friday nights with his equally worthless friends.

"I know you're lying," Louie said. "Call one of your little boyfriends and see if he will give you some money."

Taylor sighed. Louie had made his life a living hell ever since he found out that Taylor was gay. He always threw Taylor's homosexuality in his face no matter who was around at the time. "My friends aren't your personal bank account either," Taylor said angrily. "Why don't you go home and go to bed." It was after eight and Taylor's feet hurt from being on them all day. Saturdays were one of busiest days at the bookstore. All the schools in the area were about to close and teachers came in for things for upcoming graduations. College students came in to order books for their summer courses or to sell back some of their old ones. Taylor helped out the clerks when he wasn't busy with bookkeeping.

Louie staggered toward the door. "I need money to pay my suppliers. Let me know if you can help your uncle out."

His uncle acted like Taylor had a money tree in the backyard that he shook every time Louie needed something. Taylor wasn't entirely broke. He had put aside some of the money he earned as a freelance photographer, but he was far from rich. He called it his getaway money. One of these days he planned to hop on a plane and leave Florida and his uncle behind. He even kept his passport up-to-date just for that purpose.

Louie finally left, making noise as he went down the steps. Taylor heard when he started up his car and drove away. Louie was in no shape to drive, but Taylor got tired of lecturing a grown man on the evils of drinking and driving. Those kinds of people never listened until something happened to them.

Taylor locked his front door. Louie better not come back, because he wasn't going to let him in. Taylor decided to take a shower. He went into his bedroom, gathered his clothing and entered the bathroom. Afterward he dressed in a pair of shorts and a white T-shirt and went back to the kitchen to warm up his dinner. Once it was done, he sat down and began watching the news on the small television. A commercial for the multistate Powerball came on. Taylor had purchased a ticket just because everyone else was making a big deal out of the fact that the jackpot could reach a billion dollars. More than likely there would be multiple winners. The numbers he'd chosen were a combination of his and his parents' birthdays, their ages at the time of their death, and his lucky number thirteen as the Powerball number. Taylor didn't expect to win since the odds were against him. He just looked at the purchase as a donation to the state of Florida.

Taylor ate his macaroni and cheese and drank a bottle of water. He washed the dishes after he finished eating and went to his bedroom to relax and wait for the sports news to come on television. His eyes grew heavy shortly before ten.

The Powerball show came on. He could hear the announcer even with his eyes closed. "Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Saturday night Powerball draw. Get out your tickets. Tonight's jackpot is a whopping one point six billion dollars."

Taylor didn't move. He knew his numbers by heart and besides, there was no way he could win.

"Okay everybody it's time to draw. The first number if nineteen."

Taylor smiled. He had that number. It was his mother's birthday.

"The second number is six."

Taylor opened an eye. He had that number too. It was his father's birthday.

"The third number is forty-two."

Taylor opened his other eye. That was his father's age when he died.

"The fourth number is thirty-six."

Taylor scooted up in the bed. That was his mother's age when she died.

"The fifth number is twelve."

"Oh, my God, I have five of the numbers," he said aloud. His birthday was June twelfth.

"Ladies and gentlemen, get ready," the announcer said. "The sixth and final number is thirteen. I'm going to repeat all of the numbers just in case you missed one. The winning numbers for tonight's Powerball are, nineteen, six, forty-two, thirty-six, twelve and thirteen."

Taylor nearly fell off of his bed as he hunted for his wallet. It was still inside the pants he'd taken off earlier. His hands shook. This can't be happening. He got his wallet and took out the ticket. He looked over the numbers. Nineteen, six, forty-two, thirty-six, twelve, and thirteen. The numbers had come up exactly how he played them. Time seemed to stand still at that moment. Suddenly all the bad stuff that had happened in his life seemed like a distant memory, including his mean ass, good for nothing uncle.

"Oh my God, oh my God," he said nervously when he returned to reality. Taylor crawled over to the nightstand, found an ink pen and signed the back of the ticket. He needed to hide it somewhere and keep it safe until he contacted the lottery commission. He put the ticket in his mother's bible and put the bible under the dresser. It would be safe there until tomorrow. All he had to do was get a good night's rest and call the commissioner in the morning. Then he would head to his safety deposit box at the bank as soon as the bank opened on Monday and deposit the ticket until he could take it in to claim the prize. Taylor crawled back into bed and closed his eyes again. His body shook uncontrollably. Damn, I'm wide awake. He didn't get any sleep that night.