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by Paul Beckman

The neighbors were at it again. I caught them dumping their garbage in our garbage bin. I can’t believe that people with a Lexus and a Jag in the driveway are too cheap to pay for their own garbage pickup.

They both drove off Saturday morning and I went through my garbage picking theirs out and found numerous emails showing not only us but our other neighbors hacked and possibly mined for info leading to profit or blackmail.

I saw that they had highlighted passages in the emails and some were downright private and inflammatory. I could see where they could also be profitable.

Bill the stock broker getting inside info, Tony the barber getting the lowdown on the horses and nothing about me but there were a few emails between my wife, Elaine, and her personal trainer that seemed headed in the wrong direction.

I told Elaine I read an email saying the trainer gave her friend, Allie, herpes. I started investing in the stock tips and the money was rolling in as was the money from the Off Track Betting parlor I stopped by at lunchtime.

The money will come in handy since the federal marshals served me with an insider trading subpoena and told me to hire a good lawyer.

No one said anything about the ponies and Elaine’s been seeing a new trainer quite often at a different gym.

I’m not allowed to use the computer anymore and my neighbors stopped mixing their garbage with mine.

Elaine is sympathetic about my troubles with the law but she’s in a good mood all the time and tells me not to worry and then goes off to the gym. She’s looking the best she has in years. I’m not.


Paul Beckman’s stories are widely published in print and online in the following magazines, among others: Connecticut Review, Raleigh Review, Litro, Playboy, Pank, Blue Fifth Review, Flash Frontier, Metazen, Boston Literary Magazine and Literary Orphans. His work has been included in a number of anthologies. His latest collection of flash stories, Peek, published by Big Table Publishing, weighed in at 65 stories and 120 pages. His website is www.paulbeckmanstories.com.

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