My Friend Frank

Submitted into Contest #202 in response to: Write about two people striking up an unlikely friendship.... view prompt


Fiction Friendship Horror

We became friends after my disappearance.

Frank was paid to rend me from my body and then to disappear said body. I objected. Strenuously.

Why he didn’t just stand back and shoot me still puzzles me. I’m pretty sure it puzzles him on occasion.

That night he magically appeared at my bedside just like in a zillion bad guy movies. Luckily for me, I am a very light sleeper and he mis-stepped just enough to make a slight noise. I awoke, saw a shape in the nightlight-lit room and rolled away. He walked across the bed following me. We tussled for a while, stepped apart to breathe, started talking. 

Not yelling or cursing or any of the expected vocal behaviors; just talking.

Of course, I was curious about this sudden stranger attack, who wouldn’t be? He assured me that it wasn’t personal, he didn’t know who wanted it or why my demise was intended. He was just in it for the money.

He explained his assignment, his time frame, his prerogatives for my ending, his bounty for a job well-done. I had no idea I was so valuable to someone, anyone for that matter. He made me feel special.

I wasn’t going to beg, but I wasn’t going down without a statement. A physical and painful statement.

Standing a little more than a leg’s length away from each other, he explained his options: kill me (his client’s preference), let me go scot-free (my preference) or some kind of compromise (his preference). He explained his take on each option.

If he killed me, his client’s preference, he would get paid, continue building his reputation, and get more contracts.  He had to dispose of my body in such a way it would never be found. He explained that, although it was easy and he had done it many times, it was tedious and took time. He mentioned something about a collapsed packing box and a dolly downstairs. He assured me he was not complaining, just explaining.

If he let me go scot-free, my preference, ultimately, I would still end up dead. Someone else would get the contract, his reputation would be shot and so would he. He did not care for that option.

We might be able to come up with a compromise, his preference, but it had to be one that we both would commit to for a lifetime.

Then he asked me for my opinion. Now, what kind of sick puke asks his target for his/her opinion on how he/she wants to proceed with a contract killing?

A compassionate assassin?

I am a writer. Short stories, poetry, free-lance articles covering crimes and our political processes; mildly popular stuff that provides a decent living. I’m proud of it. It makes me feel I am fulfilling my life’s purpose. It also allows me the freedom to travel and to study various brutal martial arts. Good thing that night.

Vincente Steeple, Vinnie to most who knew him, was a fellow grad student back in the day. He was in mining engineering; I was in liberal arts. We met at the local pub, struck up a conversation and I immediately decided I did not like him, wanted nothing to do with him, and decided to avoid him at all costs. He was one of those guys who only wanted to talk about how rich he was, how good looking he was, how all the women loved him, and how rich he was and how that made it possible for him to get away with anything. He made it clear that if you were not for him, you were against him. I know you came across that type of blowhard once or twice in your life.

A couple of decades after school, about six months ago, I wrote a free-lance article for a mining journal that spelled out the shenanigans of a multinational mining company.  Vinnie was the CEO who instigated the mischief that cost stockholders tens of millions, led to the downfall of half a dozen foreign local leaders, and broke laws all over Earth. My story broke just before anyone knew what Vinnie had done. 

I presented enough evidence that the journal printed the article and turned over the evidence to the Feds because it involved interstate and international mischief. And I was a primary witness for the prosecution.

Murder never crossed my mind, especially my murder. Naïve, I know.

Seemingly, Vinnie took it personally and figured that I was obviously against him and needed to be removed. How rude. But that is Vinnie for you.

I never learned that from Frank, but my guess is that Vinnie put out the contract. He had the most to lose.

So, a compromise.

Frank wanted to retire.

He figured a political career would protect him and provide a decent life. He needed an advisor who had a vested interest in his success and who could be trusted to keep his secrets.

He explained that he would set up said advisor in wealth and help him or her set up a new identity in a new country out of reach of said advisor’s hunters. He would misdirect authorities in such a manner that the advisor’s tormenters would be suspected of eliminating the advisor, thus, allowing said advisor to live at peace for a usual life’s length.

What could I do for this guy? What did he think I could do for him?

He explained, “I’ve read a lot of your stuff. You understand how a big scam can be developed and executed. You understand who and what must be involved in developing a political career. I have ideas, but I need someone who knows who I should talk with, what I should talk about and where I should spend money.

“Based on what I’ve read, I think you could do all that for me. Do you think you could handle it? Do you think you would want to try?”

Picture this.  It is the middle of the night. We are in my dimly lit bedroom. I am standing across from a guy who minutes ago tried to kill me. He just asked me to help him develop a new life, abet an admitted murderer, abandon all I have ever known, and live a life of anonymous luxury.

Or die. Right here, right now.

What could go wrong?

June 17, 2023 02:00

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