CW for mentions of death and minor mentions of suicide
Allan awoke with a start. His phone was vibrating rapidly on his bedside table. Not the phone he used for personal matters, but instead his simple burner phone. The one he used for work. The one that could be remotely wiped by the press of a button. The one where he received orders to do reconnaissance on those who are having people paid to kill them. He sat up and tried to put on his best ‘awake’ voice for the person on the other end of the line.
“Wa-h-wha-who is it?” he said.
“Hello Allan. It’s Sara. Are you home right now?”
“Y-Yes? Why wouldn’t I be?”
“I don’t know what you do in your spare time. Sex cult, murder, some combination of the two.”
“Well I think I leave most of the murder up to you, although you did also infiltrate that sex cult that one time. Sorry, is there any reason you’re calling? I didn’t think the Rutherford deadline was for another week or so.”
“Not important. I’d love to chinwag but I’ve got plans. I’ll see you soon.”
Sara hung up.
Long after he had fallen back in his sleep he was awoken yet again by a sound in his house but he brushed it off assuming it was nothing more than his cat. He sighed and rose from his bed to get himself a bottle of water. Upon entering the kitchen, he found someone sitting at the table.
“You alright Sara?”
“I’m good. And you?”
“Could be better honestly, but I’m mostly just curious as to why you’re in my kitchen at-” he turned to look at the clock, “three forty AM.”
“The bolt on your fence can be opened if you just reach over the top and the backdoor was already unlocked. Didn’t even need to bring out the lockpick. You should really invest in better security, it’s - ”
“Why.” he interrupted, “Not how.”
“Why are you up so late? Is that not suspicious?”
“I’m getting some water and given the fact I live here I tend to be allowed around at any time. Now, why are you sitting at my kitchen table?”
“Two reasons really. Killed Rutherford.”
“I’m sure you’ll get paid soon enough. Still doesn't quite explain why you broke into my house.”
“Well, my hit is now dead. I got assigned another one.”
“It’s good to hear the administrators are doing their jobs.”
She tossed a plain envelope to the man which he caught.
“Well, go on, open it.”
Inside the envelope there was a picture of him. She drew a gun from her waistband and pointed it at him.
“Who would’ve put a hit on me? Was it Earnest? I always thought he held a grudge against me from when I ate his soup.”
“You know I can’t go around telling people who hired me.”
“You’re about to kill me, does it matter?”
“Do you not plan to fight back or anything? Start running so I shoot you in the back of the head instead?”
“I’ve worked with you long enough to know that never works. Come on, aren’t you going to miss having me as a handler? You’re not just killing some guy. We’re colleagues. Hell I … I thought we were friends!”
She seemed to falter slightly, dropping her eye contact for just a second. “I am getting paid a lot for this. So, you know. Swings and roundabouts and all that.”
“That was a bit of a hail mary anyway, we don’t talk much.” he said and shrugged. “Wait how much are you getting paid for this?”
“Oh shit. That’s good. I didn’t realise I was worth so much.”
“He probably just wants to make sure you’re actually dead.”
"If I wasn’t about to get shot, I’d probably think about paying to get Earnest shot for paying to have me shot." Allan thought to himself.
“A few points of business before I shoot you.” Sara continued, pulled a crumpled piece of paper from her pocket that had been covered in scrawlings from a red pen. “Mind filling in some words in this suicide note? There were some things that I couldn’t replicate in your handwriting.”
“Go on then, what do you need me to write?” she handed him a pen and started to point at gaps in the avalanche of words on the sheet.
“Write ‘goodbye’ here, here and here. ‘splatter’ here. ‘cuckold’ down here.”
“Wait, why the hell am I getting cucked? In the last fake suicide the guy just took too much LSD. Why don’t I get something cool?”
“Well … I mean … look at you.”
“Go fuck yourself,” he snarked. He took a second and sighed, putting pen to paper and scribbled the word as fast and as small as he could.
“Well, with that signed I think it’s time. C’mon, you know the drill.”
“Can I at least get that water I came down here for?”
The woman nodded, and he walked to his fridge in a way one can only do when held at gunpoint. He looked at the bottles of water and sighed, withdrawing a bottle of beer.
“Alright, come here, I don’t have all day. Assume the position..” Allan sighed as Sara got up. From behind she wrapped one arm around his neck and pressed the gun into his temple with the other. This was broadly known as the ‘staged suicide snuggle’ in the business, designed to make it has hard as possible for it to be recognised as a killing.
“Are you ready?” she asked.
“Yeah, go on then. I don’t have plans for this weekend.” He took a long sip of his beer. “You want one? I’ve got a couple in my fridge.”
“If I want to make this look like a suicide I might as well have a few empty bottles around you. Shuffle with me, I can’t get out of this position or the police will notice.”
The two slowly waddled back over to the fridge with Allan still in a headlock.
“Alright, now squat with me. Don’t make it weird.”
Allan lowered himself with his soon-to-be-murderer still clinging to his back.
“Well, go on, grab it for me.” she said after a couple seconds of silence.
“Why do I have to grab it? Why can’t you?”
“One of my hands is around your neck and the other is holding a gun! In case you haven’t been paying close attention, I only have two hands.”
Allan sighed and, after pulling out another green bottle, shuffled back away from the fridge.
“Can you put it to my lips?”
“What, you want me to bottle feed you?”
“I’ve got a fucking gun to your head Allan! Can you just cooperate for once and feed me the beer? Feed? Drink me the beer? Oh who cares! If you try to correct my grammar I’ll put a bullet through your head.”
“Won’t you be doing that anyway?”
“Yes, but I’ll do it a lot quicker.”
Allan sighed and raised the tip of the bottle to the assailant’s head just out of his vision.
“Damn, this is really good. What is it?”
“IPA. Got it imported from a brewery in England where I used to live.”
“I think my next hit might be in the UK, I might have to go down there to get some.”
“Could you break the news to my family if you do?”
“Ehhh, I don’t know. I’ll be quite busy.”
“I’ll tell you where the rest of the beer is kept.”
“Top shelf on the right of the door into the garage.”
“Well, I think it’s time. Any last words?”
“Uhh. Well, shit … I haven’t had time to think.”
“Oh well.” Sara pulled the trigger and stepped back as Allan’s lifeless body fell to the floor.
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A great read! Short, sweet, and evocative. I used the same prompt and our stories couldn't have been more different, which was too fun. Best wishes!