At around 10 at night, Allen’s cell phone rang. He was sitting 20 feet away from it at the kitchen table, comfortably eating his slice of cold pizza as he mused about tomorrow. So he let it ring.
When several minutes later the cell phone rang again, Allen decided to go look at the screen, at a loss as to who could be trying to reach him at that hour.
Lucille followed him. It was an unsaved number. “Lucille,” he said to his cat, “how would you advise I proceed? Do I call back or ignore it?”
“You’re quite right,” Allen said. “Probably just a scam call.”
The cell phone then rang a third time as he was setting it back on the table. He immediately answered but forbore to speak first. A few moments of silence followed before a woman’s gentle sobs could be distinguished. “Hello?” asked Allen.
The woman sobbed a little more before at last she spoke. “I am sorry, Steven. I am absolutely sorry. I just had no choice. I had to. I had to tell them. I had to tell them all. And do you know what I told them, Steven?”
“Oh, I will not beat around the bush here. Steven, I have told them everything. Absolutely everything. From the way we began to the very last trade.”
She paused to catch her breath, and then sighed in such a manner as to convince Allen that she was feeling everything between remorse and despair, not excluding hysteria. She went on.
“But believe me; I had no choice. They told me, the FBI, that is… yes, the FBI! The one and only. Well, that FBI told me that I could go away for 10 years for my part in the scheme. For 10 years. Ten years in a bland, orange jumpsuit. Behind cold iron bars. In a lonely, wretched cell. Can you imagine me in jail? Can you? And just for making a couple hundred thousand? Oh my goodness! Me, in jail, for a couple hundred thousand!”
She reached such a volume by the end of these words that Allen could hear her well with the speaker several inches from his ear. Meanwhile, Lucille sat licking her paws on the arm of the sofa.
“It sounds more ridiculous, the more I say it… so, yes, Steven, you bet I told them. You bet your big, fat insider-trading butt I told them.”
He wished to hear her complete statement.
“And how did we fall into this, Steven? How did I allow you and Chris to persuade me? And I am just as much an idiot for trusting either of you. Of course they would catch one of you, and then catch all of us. It was just a matter of time, what with you babbling idiots, who don’t like to keep secrets, and much less when you’re making millions off of them.”
She then let out a loud noise that was half grunt, half scream. Allen was caught off-guard and instantly ended the call.
“Whoa!” uttered Allen towards his cat. “What was that?” Lucille seemed not to have heard him. “It was time to end that call for sure.”
His cell phone began to ring again. The cat then looked up to him as if pressing him to make a decision.
“I’m going to answer, Lucille,” assured Allen and accepted the call.
“Steven!” the woman said as soon as she was on. “What is wrong with you? Don’t you have anything to say?”
“Ma’am,” Allen finally replied, “this is actually Special Agent Allen Smith whom you have been…” The call here dropped. Allen drew a deep breath.
“She must have used her burner phone. We’ll clear things up with her tomorrow,” he said before heading back into the kitchen. Lucille followed him in.