Author: E. O’Neill

Cyrus Bellini handed a deposit receipt and club membership card to the teller and watched as she punched in the numbers.

“There you are, Mr. Bellini”, she said, sliding the card across the counter. “Your new total is fifteen thousand and sixty credits.”

“That has to be enough”, he thought before asking, “Which way to the redemption center?”

“Stay left at the customer service kiosk, and through the double doors”, she replied.

As he strode across the lobby, Cyrus tucked the membership card into his shirt pocket, all the way counting the days, weeks, and months that he spent collecting credits anyway, and anyplace that he could. It was rarely easy and never pleasant. But he knew it was a task that had to be seen through to the end.

Pushing the heavy glass door, Cyrus entered the redemption center showroom. He passed the small appliance display, as well as the golf clubs and tennis rackets. When he reached the far end of the patio furniture and garden care tools, he spotted the redemption agent’s window.

Stepping up to the window, Cyrus pulled the card from his pocket and slid it across the counter. The agent took the card and scanned it. “Mr. Bellini, how are you today?”, she asked, never looking away from her terminal.

“I’m good, thank you.”

“Good. It says here that you have fifteen thousand and sixty credits in your account. Would you like to redeem any or all of them today?”, the agent asked, never looking up.

“I would.”

“What can we get for you today?”

Cyrus cleared his throat before speaking. “It’s really for my wife. She’s wanted it for a while. She deserves it. I want it too.”

“Okay. Do you have an item number?”

“I’m afraid I don’t.”

“Not a problem, Mr. Bellini. What can we get for you and your wife today?”,still not looking up.

Cyrus’s response was low and unintelligible.

“I’m sorry Mr. Bellini. Can you please repeat that?”

Cyrus cleared his throat again. “Justice”, he said softly.

The agent looked up to see the tears welling in the customer’s eyes. “I don’t understand, Mr. Bellini.”

Cyrus struggled to speak. “It’s for my wife. She needs this. I need it too. But it’s really for my Gina. My precious angel Gina”. Tears ran freely.

A tone of sympathy tinged the agent’s voice now. “I’m sorry sir. Who is Gina?”

Cyrus spoke. “My only child. Our angel. The sweetest soul. Eleven years old for eternity because some son-of-a-bitch had bad aim. My wife. My poor wife. She cries every day.”

“I’m so sorry Mr. Bellini, but what brings you here?”

“I have over fifteen thousand credits in my account. I want to redeem them for justice. My wife needs it. Gina deserves it.”

The agent leaned in as close as she could and softly said, “Sir, this is a Thoughts and Prayers account. I’m afraid you can’t redeem thoughts and prayers for justice. Justice is a concept. You can only exchange your Thoughts and Prayers credits for the household furnishings you see behind you.”