Read the papers, listen to the news, you’d think it was really easy to kill a person. They die all the time. A knock on the head, a shock, a moment’s carelessness... dead, dead, dead. Thin skulls, weak hearts, inattention on the roads... people are dying, day after day, all the fucking time.
So why is it I can’t introduce this one to his maker? God damn! I looked immaculate when I came in here, now I’m out of breath, sweating, dishevelled... what the hell will people think? I’ll have to get sorted out before my lunch date, that’s for sure, or else I’ll turn heads for all the wrong reasons.
‘Help me... please...’
A weak hand grabs at my ankle. I look down and his face is turned to look at me, all pleading eyes and bleeding nose. Why does he think I’d help him? Has he forgotten who did that to him? Annoyed, I finish what I’m typing into my laptop, close it and twat him with it. It shuts him up, thank Christ, and I start looking around for something to make a hole in him with. That seems to work a treat. Loads of people die from gunshot and stab wounds. I don’t have a gun and I’m not likely to find one, but could I use something else? Surely, surely... ah, yes! I find a metal file with a pointy bit at one end. Looks like it used to fit into a handle. I try it against my thumb and feel a sharp scratch, see a drop of blood spring into being. Reaching into my laptop bag, I take out a plaster and cover the cut immediately. Can’t be too careful. DNA’s a bugger.
He’s awake again. He’s thinking twice about appealing to my better nature this time. I think he’s finally realised I don’t have one. He sees the file and his eyes go wide, his mouth works but no sound comes out. Great detail! I have a good look, taking it all in, wondering where to stick him. In the neck, I think, but I hope I don’t get that big artery thing. I look bad enough as it is without getting showered in blood.
He grunts when I stick it in and he bleeds but doesn’t gout. I get a picture on my mobile to check the spot later. I note that there was a slight resistance before his skin split, a bit like putting a skewer through a chicken leg. Interesting. I skip back, not wanting to get blood on my good shoes. It’s running out of his neck and pooling around him where he lies on the oily floor of the old warehouse. I check my watch, time him out. His hands are grasping air, I look in his eyes and see panic and fear turn to acceptance, and then he’s gone and they change, somehow. They go dull. It’s not just a cliche, eyes really do go lifeless.
I make notes on my laptop, getting it all down while it’s fresh in my mind, then turn to the business of getting tidied up ready for my meeting. It’s crucial that I make the right impression.
‘Hello, pleased to meet you,’ I say as I stride across the hotel lobby towards the man whose face I recognise from his website. ‘Evelyn Crane.’ We shake hands.
‘Pleased to meet you, too, Evelyn.’
‘I hope you haven’t been waiting long. I’m afraid I got tied up with something.’
‘What kept you?’
‘An opportunity to conduct some research presented itself. I couldn’t pass it up.’ I patted my laptop bag. ‘Got to keep it real!’
‘I was impressed with how well researched your writing was when I read your submission,’ he told me. ‘Your hard work certainly pays off.’
I smiled. He understood. I hoped the rest of the meeting went as well as the start. Crime was a tough genre to break into. If I was going to get anywhere in this game I really needed a good literary agent, and I was about to have lunch with one of the best.
This story first appeared in Flashing in the Gutters in 2006.