Tony Rollins cracked a smile as he bit into the cheap fast food taco. The flimsy shell broke into pieces and hot sauce spilled out onto Tony’s hands. Tony brushed off this small misadventure. Nothing could spoil his mood today. Tony was just one small jump away from retirement.

Tony, at 40, was a bit young for retirement. In fact, it would come as a big surprise to many, since he had never been one to save a lot of money. He typically lived paycheck to paycheck, and when he did save up a few dollars, he quickly frittered it away on high end electronics or expensive vacations.

Then, six months ago, Tony bumped into Damon Cole and his fortunes took a turn for the better. Damon’s claim was worth, at most, seventy thousand dollars. The property, however, was massively over-insured, with millions of dollars in coverage. During a long lunch at a local strip club, a plan was hatched to bleed the insurance company of eight million dollars.

With Tony’s boss on temporary disability due to a freak skydiving accident, he had a short window in which to execute the plan. Late at night, when the office was quiet and no one was stirring (not even a mouse) Tony generated the paperwork for the claim, fabricating estimates from contractors as necessary. He approved the claim and forged his boss’ approval as well. Tony carefully backdated the documents to indicate that his boss had approved the claim two days before he shattered his leg in the accident.

The claims had sailed through the processing center and Damon had received a check for $7,946,312.42. Damon had wired half the money to an account that Tony had recently opened at a financial institution in Geneva. This morning, Tony had confirmed the receipt of his share of the money – $3,973,156.21 – with his Swiss banker, Gerhard Hunziker.

When Tony disappeared, people would notice. Before long, his boss would return to the office and discover the fraudulent claim. By then, Tony would be long gone. He had no doubt that law enforcement would be after him hot and heavy.

They would certainly jump to the correct assumption that he had left the country and headed south. Tony was sure that they would first look in Panama, where his co-workers had heard him talk of friends. When he wasn’t found in Panama, the authorities would fan out into the rest of central and south America. Everyone in the office had seen him intensely studying Spanish. At the time, his explanation had been that knowledge of Spanish would allow him to work more effectively on claims involving people who spoke limited English. This made perfect sense, and Tony’s reputation as a genuine nice guy lent it even more credibility.

Soon after his disappearance, his co-workers and authorities would realize that this was just an excuse – and that the real reason for learning Spanish was so that he would be able to blend in more easily in his new country.

Tony smiled with the knowledge that they would be barking up the wrong tree. He would be settling in Brazil – where the natives spoke Portuguese and not Spanish.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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