Wednesday, May 20, 2009


She found the note.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The only thing that’s worse than an empty cookie jar when you’re looking for a sugar fix is an empty cookie jar when you’re looking for something other than a treat.

    Uh-oh, I gulped. She found the note.

    I turned the cookie jar upside down and shook it, as if the note would fall out of its emptiness. There’s always a chance right? I even patted the bottom of the jar to make sure it wouldn’t burp out the missing slip of paper.


    At this point I slipped into full panic mode. If Marjorie had found that note, everything was over, and I meant everything. Our marriage, our financial stability, my life outside of prison. Maybe even my life, altogether.


    I ran to the bedroom, pounding up the stairs. Waggles yelped and ran out of the way, his shaggy cords of black hair bouncing in time with his four-legged gallop. I literally threw open the drawer in her nightstand, letting it fly to the floor.

    It’s gone! My heart rate jumped. She took her gun.

    I slumped onto the bed. She had the note and she had her gone . . . She had her proof and she had her revenge. I hung my head like a 21st century Tom Dooley.

    Poor boy, you’re gonna die.

    Dejected, I shuffled back downstairs. As if I might have remembered wrong, I stopped in the kitchen to make sure the cookie jar was as empty as I recalled. Actually, there were fewer crumbs than I had thought. The crumbs did not piece together into the note, however – more like an eighth of a Chips-Ahoy.

    She’s diabetic. What the crap was she doing in the cookie jar?

    Unless maybe she had suspected. Perhaps she had realized something was going on and had gone around the house deliberately searching for clues. If that were the case, then she had found the momma of all clues. A list of twelve city leaders. Five of them crossed out. The same five who had died this past year. And the list was written on a receipt for a box of sniper rifle ammo.

    In retrospect, I mused darkly, There is probably a reason why hit men keep neither receipts nor documentation in the movies.

    True, but in the movies, hit men didn’t have to pay taxes and could remember a sequence of eight-million numbers. I did have to pay taxes, and business deductions were business deductions. And I couldn’t remember my own phone number without checking a piece of paper in my wallet. I never said I was a super agent, just a good shot who couldn’t say no two-million dollars a hit.

    Just say no.

    There was a knock on the door. Two heavy raps. The sound of several pairs of boots on the porch.


    I shrunk up against the wall and waited, breathing as quietly as I could. Another double-rap. “Open up, it’s the police!”

    Frick! I swore. She called the cops.

    I crouched low and sped through my house as quickly as I could. I headed for my den. They didn’t know my house like I did. Behind me, the living room door splintered open, and there was a din of so many loud, bass-timber voices shouting with authority that I couldn’t make out any specific words or commands.


    They were shooting now.

    Go go go!

    I flung myself into the den and slammed the door behind.

    That’s enough, I reminded myself. Just trying to buy some time.

    At the far of my den was a large coal bin. What the police didn’t know is that was shared. The bin was cut into the wall, so that it opened into the den for retrieving fuel, but also opened into the adjoining but not otherwise connected garage, for depositing the coal in the first place. We used it for firewood sometimes, but mostly it was empty, just a novelty.

    But enough!

    I clambered into the coal bin. The metal lid slammed behind me just as I heard the den door break open. I wasted no time in clambering out the otherside.


    “You’re not the only one with a list, darling.”

  3. OMG! Wow. That was - shoot (not literally, of course!) - that was amazing! I did not see the ending coming and you really built up the tension. I was actually expecting something like 'someone's head split open upon impact' with a further discussion of exactly what it looked like. A hitman!!! Clever and poetic, all at the same time!

  4. PS - Gotta be careful with those lists, eh?

  5. Steven and Legan burst through the double doors of Markanton Middle School.

    "Hu. Hu. I hope Heather isn't hall monitor," Legan panted, lagging behind.

    "Keep up! Why did you have the note on you, Legan? Hu. Hu. You're supposed to keep it hidden." Steven was pissed. Later he drew exploding heads all over his algebra notes.

    "Stop here, Steve." They skidded around a corner and hid, huddled under the exhaust vent of the cafeteria, breathing in the McCormick spices the lunch ladies sprinkled on the shepherd's pie.

    Legan leaned against the wall and put his hands on his knees. "So what's the big deal that Ms. Lighty found the note? She can't break the code."

    "But Ms. Christy can! She's the math teacher that taught US the code. And everyone knows they're like best friends or something." Steven pulled the hair at his temples.

    "Okay. Okay. Breathe, man. It was just a meeting announcement, right? That's all we were supposed to print up."

    "Oh dude. We're in the stank. I wrote about the plans for Suzanne and Mandy."


  6. ROLF!!!! Seriously, someone's been in the 'McCormick' spices tonight, haven't they B.? Hu. Hu. C'mon, admit it.