was written for Secret Rose Theatre's Mono-Slam on October 6, 2011. Originally performed by Bob Rusch.

Underwater Loan Shark
by Jeff Goode
copyright © 2011

(BOB, a collector for the mob, walks into the theatre and pulls up a chair in front of an audience member.)
I'm not gonna kill you.
I'm not.
Look at me.
Do I look like I could kill someone?
Of course, I do.
That's my job.
If I didn't look like I could walk into your home
Or your place of work
And take you apart like the wings on a fly
Then I'm not doing my job.

So if you see me on the street—a couple blocks from your house
And you don't fear for your life
Then I'm doing something wrong.
Or your kids, if you have any, in the neighborhood where they go to school
If I happen to be there
You should fear for their safety
. You should.
That's the whole point.
Why would I even be in that neighborhood?
My kids don't go to school there.
They're at the Montessori school downtown.
I got no business being there.
Which is what makes it my business to be there.

Because that would be creepy.
That would freak you out.
It should freak you out.
That's just you being a good parent.

So if you are freaked out right now
That's okay.
It means I'm doing my job.
It means we're in business.

But you gotta calm down
Because people make bad business decisions when they're freaked out.
Like calling the police when they should maybe just sit and listen.
Like putting up a fight when they should probably relax and go limp.
You tense up it's gonna hurt more.
You clench your fist, it's a lot harder to break a finger.
And maybe it's easier just to break the whole hand.
You try to run away, it means if I don't wanna break a sweat
I gotta break your leg.

So you gotta take all that into consideration.
Think things through.
Maybe you come to the right decision
For once in your life.
Do what's best for your family

Cuz that's what this is all about:
I mean, you gotta have people care about you.
And your whereabouts.
Should you go missing.

Think about them.
And what kinda mess they're gonna have to clean up.
You want that on your conscience?

Look, I know how it is with the economy
Times are tough
I had to take a second job myself, just to make ends meet.
At the Savings and Loan
Helpin' people refinance their homes.
So I'm not proud.

But I got family, too.
And my family likes to see a return on their investment.

And it's like the old saying:
You can't get blood from a corpse.

So really I need you alive almost as much as you need to keep being alive.
But that's a big "almost". So I wouldn't push my luck.

You know what I did to a guy the other day couldn't pay his loans?
I took him in back
and I put him in a second mortgage at half the interest.
So now he's got two little payments he can't afford instead of one big one.
And he thanked me.

Look, I know you're in a jam.
And I know maybe on some level, you prob'ly think I helped put you there.

But I'm not gonna hurt you
You gotta believe me.
Or maybe it's better if you don't, actually.
But you better believe this:

I know where you live.
I seen the place
I been inside when you're not home
Or you're sleeping.
And it looks to me
like you got a lotta equity in that house.

And I think it's gonna be a lot easier on both of us

(takes out some loan papers
if you just let me get you into a low interest loan
that's not gonna cost you an arm and a leg every month.
(takes out a pen
Unless you miss another payment.
(hands loan papers to the victim
Then it's maybe outta my hands.
(Slow fade to black.)

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