The Refund Policy

I own a boutique in Phoenix and one of the biggest problems we have is people trying to use our store as a personal closet. While doing some research on refund policies and speaking with my customers I found out there are a lot of things that people take back. Not to mention we never know what someone is going through in their life to make them want to initiate the Refund Policy,

The sidewalk had been kissing the rain since midnight. By 5:00 am the lips of the sidewalk were dripping wet. Samantha loved the wet look on the ground in the early morning just before the sun turned on her heat.  There were night crawlers all over the streets in hidden corners this time of morning. Most of the red-light district was rolling up its carpet and turning the red light off. The ladies of the night usually end their shift at this time and head home to do their drugs,  that would convince them to go back out again at midnight looking for the same euphoria they experienced the first time around. Drugs had a twisted way of making you commit crimes repeatedly.

I guess you could say street life has a special type of return policy.

Samantha like so many girls of the night grew up with the American dream tatted on her heart. At fifteen she met the boy of her dreams. Four months later she was pregnant, kicked out the family home and, had dropped out of school. The boy of her dreams had found a different girl to fulfill his dreams and her pregnancy disrupted that dream of his.

To pick up a new dream,  Samantha decided that she needed to rid herself of all the visions associated with that dream, including the baby. So, she went to an abortion clinic and refunded her unborn child. She would always regret the baby return policy. That was five years ago,

The streets owned Samantha now. The American dream had long ago awakened and walked away.  The best thing Samantha had going on, was her methadone. Her arms were starting to lose the train tracks that once stood out red and loud. She hadn’t been on the needle for six months now. The methadone she figured, was just as bad but at least it was legal.

The methadone clinic was located on the edge of the red-light district. It was a warning sign. A sign that read ” once you choose to live in the district this will be your last stop in life.” The building was rather dull and beige in color and the cracks in the concrete resembled the cracks in the life and skin of most of its patients. The building blended in with the cosmetically disfigured neighborhood it greeted.  Some of the patients had been on methadone for over twenty years. The one thing that was known to all was once you started there was no refund policy. Only a return policy. You were guaranteed to return every day.

As Samantha stood in line waiting for her turn to receive her dose for the day she looked around at the other people in line. The line was filled with heroin addicts of all ages and, all walks of life. There were teenagers in the Gothic gear, young girls being escorted by their pimp. Retired prostitutes who just couldn’t kick the habit, and old men trapped in the 1980 flood of heroin. There were pregnant women as well as children waiting for their parents and playing wildly inside the lobby. Just as Samantha made it to the front of the line gunshots rang out. Panic and pandemonium filled the room inside the screams of everyone in the clinic. As bullets riddled the wall, people scrambled on their bellies praying the bullets would land inside the walls and not their bodies.

Samantha scrambled inside a bathroom, just as a man in a long trench coat started yelling the name he was flying the bullets for. “SHARRON give me my child!” The owner of this shootout yelled over the screams. Samantha crouched next to a toilet inside a stall praying the madness would end before it found her. The screams were loud and so was the door as it suddenly flew open. A young girl slid her a duffel bag and whispered ” Please take care of my child and raise her. Get her out of these streets for me. I can’t let him have her. Please, I don’t want my daughter raised in the streets”. Just as quickly as the lady burst through the door she ran out. Leaving behind something non- refundable. A three-month-old baby with no return policy.

Samantha heard the gunshots and sirens ringing out. Several minutes later a group of officers bursts into the bathroom. ” Are you alright miss? What about your baby? Is your baby injured?” the officer asked.  Samantha couldn’t speak. She was still in shock. She simply nodded her head. Tears were streaming down her face as she walked out the bathroom wrapped in a blanket a medic had wrapped around her and the child.

As Samantha emerged from the bathroom she saw the blood-stained clothes hanging on the victims that had survived this tragedy. She also saw the paramedics as they worked on Sharron. There was blood oozing out of her broken nose and, it was obvious she had been beaten before she was shot. She was still alive and aware of her surroundings. Samantha looked down at Sharron fighting for her life.  Silently, Samantha prayed for her. She held her new baby close to her heart as they walked past the destruction, and pass the baby’s father as he was led away in cuffs. When Samantha looked in his eyes she knew, that he knew, she was holding the non- refundable goods.

Samantha grew up the day she walked out the methadone clinic with her baby girl Destiny. She vowed to never go there or any methadone clinic again. She kept that promise. There were nights she felt her stomach would turn inside out on its way upside down but she just laid next to Destiny and cried.  Within a year Samantha and Destiny moved out the red light district and continued to move on for the next fifteen years.

Samantha married a heart surgeon when Destiny was seven. Today Destiny was turning sixteen. Sharron looked ar her daughter as she flowed down the staircase in her debutante dress. She looked truly amazing. Samantha had given her a good life. The very best life she could have imagined and she never once imagined she was a baby whose mothers had given her away next to a toilet in the middle of a shootout.

While Destiny was dancing at the party smiling and laughing Samantha was being paged to a private phone call. It was Sharron. She wanted her baby back and would not take no for an answer. Sharron had not moved on in her life. She only moved up on the street ladder. Instead of using her now, too old and flagrant body to get money in the red-light district.  She found marks or victims as some would say and extorted them. All rich people had rich secrets they would pay to have returned to them intact.

A refund policy of sorts.

For the past two years, she watched as Samantha and her family posted vacation pictures on Facebook.  Now, Sharron wanted to initiate the refund policy.  Samantha spoke in whispered tones. Sharron spoke loudly as she threatened to take Destiny back to the red-light district. There was no legal paperwork to prove Samantha had any legal rights to Destiny.  Not to mention she had raised her as her own and never spoken a word of her beginnings. Not even to her husband. But some secrets are worth telling. Samantha could tell that Sharron was desperate. Her breathing was labored on most of the phone calls that she had made and, it was a sure sign of Sharron’s need for the spoon of heroin. So, Samantha spoke to her husband. Together they made the decision. She had to meet with Sharron and give her something or she would never go away.

Samantha hugged her husband as she got out the car in the red-light district to meet Sharron. She handed her $30,000.00. As Sharron bent over to pick up the duffel bag that Samantha had kept over the years Sharon felt a prick on her neck.  As the overdose of heroine entered Sharron’s body, Samantha leaned down, remembering what her husband told her the day she revealed her secret.

” Children are priceless. When it comes to my family there is no refund policy!”

What would you do if someone came to take something priceless from you?

Would that make them write for the kill?


9 thoughts on “The Refund Policy

  1. My God My God My God. .. She did it again. This author is on fire – blazing with intensity and flaming with drama and mystery.

    Excellent Excellent Excellent
    That was definitely a “write to kill” for


  2. I loved this story. Great read. And I truly think I would have done the same thing. After all those years, there would be no way she was going with Sharron…


  3. Im so excited i found these short stories, i had no idea they were on here, i love the reads. Refund policy is another winner! One of the most talented writers of our time…..Cynthia Scott!


  4. WWWOOOWWW. .. the sidewalk kissed the rain – who writes like that – THE ONE N ONLY CYNTHIA. Once again… she had us on our toes.


  5. No doubt, this one was “write for the kill”. I love the husbands response and as always I loved this short story. Amazing!


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