‘Of course! This is the most premium, genuine counterfeit Rolex you can get and I’ll give it to you for $100. At that price these watches have been leeching across to the city like a bad red wine stain on a white shirt.’
‘I don’t really know,’ said the man with massive beads of sweat slipping down his face and creating the most alarming wet patches on his shirt.
‘Lookyou’re probably a single, slightly overweight man who’s just trying to find a half-way decent looking woman to cook your dinner every night. So your best bet is to wear the bling to attract the chicks. Take the watch, surely that’s a bargain!’
The man spluttered and his stomach rolls jiggled as his face turned to a look of outrage, ‘Forget it! I won’t be insulted by a street hustler who probably lives in a box!’
As he waddled away in righteous anger Sara groaned. It served her right for being impatient. Rule number 1- never tell the customer the truth.
‘Yeah?’ she asked when she picked up her buzzing phone.
‘I got fired,’ said Fred, one of her room-mates.
‘Well I think that was the rotten cherry on top of my curdled ice-cream sundae of a day. I’m heading back now,’ she said, then hung up.

***

Oliverwas killing zombies on his computer set-up in his corner of the one bedroom apartment. Behind him he could hear Jerry snoring on the second-hand couch that was ripped and smelled like vomit.
He was just about to finish the level by applying a liberal dose of violence aided by ingenious computer skills honed to perfection from years of hacking into places that he shouldn’t when the front door slammed opened.
Startled he dropped his controller causing his video self to get eaten to death. Meanwhile Jerry fell off the couch in a thunderous clattering mess and cursed.
‘We’re up the creak without a paddle boys and there’s a hundred foot waterfall ahead with hungry crocodiles at the bottom. Emergency meeting in the kitchen.’
The three of them went into the kitchen to see that Fred had made an omelette, scrambled eggsand was making egg milkshake. To say he had an obsession with eggs in order to deal with stressful situations was an understatement. But because they all had to eat they let his slightly concerning coping mechanism slide.
‘Let’s cut to the chase. We have two weeks to get money or they’ll evict us. Fred just got fired by his jerk boss. It’s time for plan B.’
There was silence in the kitchen as they all pondered this disturbing yet exhilarating proposition.

***

Fred stomped up to his ex-boss who was animatedly attempting to convince his client of his point of view.
‘You evil man!’ exclaimed Fred, when he reached the table. ‘You fired me yesterday for no good reason except that you’re an insecure twit who is so selfish he doesn’t even realise that me and my poor pregnant wife will be tossed out into the streets to fend for our lives!’
The client’s eyes widened to comic proportions, ‘Is this true Loras? You fired this poor man who depends on you? For shame!’
‘Sara, this man is lying,’ saidLoras.
‘I do not lie! I have been greatly wronged! You see ma’am I didn’t even do anything wrong. He fired me because he just doesn’t like me!’
The client shook her head, ‘I have greatly misjudged you Steven, I think I’ll take my money to someone with more integrity.’
‘No! You can’t leave. Fred you imbecile, leave this restaurant now or I’ll call the police.’
‘Not until I’ve had my say! For too long have you exploited my efforts in the pursuit of your own greed! Every person around you has been tainted by the miasma of your poisonous personality….’

***

Jerry stood in the elevator chewing his gum loudly making everyone around him grit their teeth in annoyance. He had his hands placed protectively over his silver cleaning trolley and was tapping a slightly erratic beat on the metal top.
When the doors opened on the ground floor everyone fled in relief. Jerry was just about to leave himself when a man entered and pushed his trolley back in.
‘Hey! I’m trying to get out,’ said Jerry.
‘You can wait asshole,’ growled the man, ‘I’m the one that pays you to clean my offices and I can have you fired with one phone call.’
Jerry silently cursed, this must be Loras. What did Fred and Sara do to the man? He was as angry as a beauty queen who’d been forced out of bed before ten o’clock. Plus he was soaking wet.
‘Move,’ said Loras and pushed Jerry away from his trolley. Loras got out a wad of paper towels from the trolley and began his feeble attempts at drying his suit.
The elevator finally opened and Loras got out. Jerry wiped away the nervous sweat that had gathered on his brow.

***

Loras entered his office. He looked up. Staring at him was a smiley face stencilled on the wall in permanent marker right where his painting should have been.
‘No! Those idiots have stolen my stolen gold!’

***

‘You idiots. The painting’s a fake! A cheap print worth $10!’ said Newman, Oliver’s cousin who had agreed to fence the painting for them.
‘What!?’ yelled Sara.
‘Fred this is your fault!’ said Jerry.
‘How’s it my fault? Loras was always going on about how valuable the thing was. How was I supposed to know?’
‘Oh man, oh man. We’re going to get caught and thrown into prison. I can’t go to prison what if they don’t have internet access in there!’ panicked Oliver.
Newman let them stew a little longer before he took pity on them, ‘Hey! By the way the painting might be a fake but the frame is made out of pure gold.’