An Honest Living

Submitted into Contest #102 in response to: Write about a character with an unassailable moral compass.... view prompt


Fiction Thriller Funny

Note: Continuation of Spare a Room?

“How can you call yourself a good person when you profit off of the death of others,” The dealer sputtered, blood dripping with each word. His arms stretched tight as he pulled against the rope that kept him bound.

“Trust me, I know that I’m not a good person. Who can be?” Ace asked, slowly walking around the dealer, her loyal fox Peanut following in her footsteps. “In order to be considered good to one person requires being bad to another. I don’t want to be a good person for you.” She stopped in front of the bloody mess of a man and pulled out a pack of bleach wipes, removing the blood from her metal bow-staff.

“Just because I was doing my job, your just gonna throw me off to the sea? That’s a cowards way out, finish me off like a real man would.” He spat, narrowly missing Ace’s face with his gross, bloody spit.

“No thanks,” Ace chimed, leaning in with a sweet smile. “I’d rather finish you off like a smart woman, and have the ocean water wash away anything that could tie you back to me.” Ace took hold of a bit of rope on his back and started dragging towards the end of the pier. “I do plan on being long gone by the time anyone really notices that your gone. So, any last words?”

“Fuck you, bitch!”

“How unoriginal. I couldn’t even count on my hand how many times I’ve heard that one already,” Ace rolled her eyes and tied a cloth around his mouth before adding some extra weight to the rope. With a final wave, she shoved him off the edge, smiling brightly as the water rippled. Minutes go by, are there was only silence along the ocean waters.

“I’d call that a job well done,” Ace lowered her arm so Peanut could jump up onto her shoulder, and the two of them made their way back to the lovely home of the family that offered them a warm place to sleep.


“That’s it? One night and it’s all solved?” Samuel asked in disbelief. “No way that it’s that easy, that man has been terrorizing my mother for years!”

“Trust me, not the prettiest job, but satisfying all the same,” Ace spoke as she smoothed out her shaved head with a crappy electrical razer she got from a previous family. Her work was nowhere near as satisfying as an actual barber, but what can you do? “All of his associates were only loyal below a dollar bill so they spilled like milk. No body is going to dare report him as missing due to his dirty dealings, so I doubt much more excitement is going to come from the whole debacle.”

Samuel dropped to the bed right outside the bathroom, where Ace was finishing up her head. He muttered something inconceivable before falling back on the bed, letting out a long groan. Peanut went to investigate poor Samuel, curling up and snuggling into his chest.

“You alright?” Ace laid down next to Samuel, reaching an arm over to pet Peanut. She had only met Samuel two days ago when he offered to let her sleep on the couch, so the two of them were still closer to being strangers. He wasn’t forward with his request to help his mother, but in the end, Ace accepted.

“I’m just having a hard time processing it all. For years, that asshole ruined my mothers life with a loan she could never pay off, but she didn’t have a choice at the time!” Ace could hear the tears in his voice but decided to let him guide the conversation. Ace knew better than anyone that one’s own voice can be pretty reassuring. “She did all that for me, and I wanted nothing more than to punish him for causing her to almost work herself to death. This all just feels so, I don’t know the words.”

“Anti-climatic?” Ace offered. “Like your expecting a big blow up after years of throwing fuel into the flames.”

“Exactly!” Samuel jerked up, accidentally scaring Peanut off his chest and onto’s Ace’s lap. “I want it to feel more real, worthy of all the pain. This just doesn’t feel right.”

“Can I be real with you?” Ace asked, waiting for Samuel to nod before continuing. “Loan sharks are hardly personal, he wasn’t the first loan shark I’ve taken down in the last month. I bet you five bucks that he had at least a dozen other families locked in high interest illegal loans on top of his drug dealings. It’s how they operate. Taking out that one guy has probably released a lot of families, not just your mother.”

“You really think so?” Samuel asked, still not showing any satisfaction in his gloomy face when Ace nodded. “Oh well, at least he is gone now.”

“Sleeping with the fishes.”

“You drowned him?” Samuel asked, shock lighting up the white in his face. Ace scowled at herself for breaking her own rule.

“Something like that, but don’t look into it cause you won’t find nothing.” Luckily Samuel dropped it and went to turn the lights off. Ace jumped onto the lumpy second-hand couch and got ready to sleep off all of the hits the dealer managed to get on her. He was slow and stupid but had a nice upper hook in the right circumstance. With Peanut curled into her side and good thoughts in her head, Ace was ready to enter a heavenly sleep when a hand poked her shoulder.

“You do this kind of thing a lot?” Samuel whispered, leaning over the edge of the couch. It was hard to see in the darkness, but the light from the window was enough for Ace to see the glint of curiosity in his eye.

“In general, yeah. Kinda too tired to get into specifics, but as I said before, I can make problems disappear. It’s literally on my business card.” Ace hoped that was enough to satisfy him, but clearly, that was not the case since he wasn’t leaving.

“I wish I could help people the way you do,” Samuel mumbled before taking a deep breath and clearing his voice to speak again, holding more confidence this time around. “I want to help people the way you do. I want to go with you.”

“You seriously want to join me? Did you not listen to me the first night? I never have any money for food, never know if I’m going to have a roof over my head when I go to sleep. Showers are a luxury, and having a good toothbrush is basically like finding gold.”

“Nothing you say is going to change my mind,” Samuel stated as if Ace was taking job applications for an assistant.

“What about your mother, or your job, or your friends? In my life, I don’t exactly get the chance to keep up with people.” Ace pointed out in hopes of diswaying him, which fell flat.

“My mother is going to be fine now, I hate my job with a passion and all of my friends are assholes. It would be a plus to not have to see them again. I feel like I need to do this, and two heads are always better than one!” Ace let out an elongated sigh, waving her white flag with little mental enthusiasm.

“Fine, you win. We leave tomorrow morning so get some sleep. I don’t want to have to listen to you complain the entire time.” Samuel beamed through the darkness and leaned over more for an awkward hug.

“You won’t regret this, I promise you Ace!” Finally, Samuel left the couch and departed back to his bed. Ace reluctantly crawled out of the warm blankets and situated herself by the door of Samuel's bedroom, listening for the soft sound of snoring. After twenty minutes, Samuel revealed himself to be in a deep sleep, snoring louder than a bear.

With silent feet and annoyance deep in her gut, Ace took a couple of packs of beef jerky, unsalted peanuts, and water bottles for her bag before heading out the door with peanut curled up in her hoodie. The night was still warm enough to venture down the road to the nearest truck stop to persuade a driver to let her hitchhike.

“I’m sorry, Peanut,” Ace cooed after she found a fast-food supplier willing to drive her down west. “I know I said we could get one more night of proper sleep, I’ll make it up to you.” Peanut seemed to understand, choosing to curl up underneath her sweater and right into the skin on her stomach. Ace watched as Samuel's town disappeared, turning to nothing but lone trees and open fields of wheat.

Ace was not a good person, and she knew that.

That didn’t mean she was going to change.

Why should she?

July 10, 2021 21:23

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Ebube Alaka
10:27 Jul 22, 2021

To find out Ace was a girl was contrasting yet pleasing. She must have led a hard for her to be numbed to the reality of who she was yet I could sense a deep guilt and a longing to be accepted. I kinda feel like the story isn't over yet.


Lynn Penny
17:41 Jul 22, 2021

Thank you for the read! I like using the prompts to build Ace’s character so I can one day use her for a bigger project, so there will most likely be more of her!


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Rachel <3
18:05 Jul 17, 2021

I loved this! I haven't read 'Spare a Room', but I really liked the character of Ace and thought she was really well developed. It's a well written piece, with thrilling descriptions and realistic dialogue- 'spilled like milk', LOL! And Peanut was adorable, obviously.


Lynn Penny
19:33 Jul 17, 2021

Thank you! Spare a Room is just an introduction of Ace. She is my best concept character that I'm trying to flush our for a potentially longer piece.


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Aisa M
01:20 Jul 12, 2021

Love this line ~ blood dripping with each word. I just noticed this: In order to be consider good to one person requires being bad to another. It should be 'considered' A compelling read. I love the Peanut. Foxes are unique. And I Love the badassery of Ace.


Lynn Penny
03:23 Jul 12, 2021

Thank you! Honestly, I wrote this in like two hours and just posted it. Not sure where I got the energy for it but it happened. Thanks for the help, I always miss things.


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Andrea Magee
14:40 Jul 11, 2021

Very cool story...I enjoyed it!


Lynn Penny
17:03 Jul 11, 2021

Thank you!


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