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George Beck
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rangerover.jpg

Paying Customer

 

By George Beck

 

 

The 2014 Corris Grey Range Rover still had the huge red bow strapped across the roof, so I was stunned when she called and asked me to kill her husband.

          “Don’t make it too painful,” she said.

          “There’s a price for everything,” I told her. “I need the money today.”

          “Okay,” she said.

          “Pick me up outside Ruby Tuesdays.”

          I left my lower eastside apartment and rode the subway through Manhattan to the Port Authority Terminal where I took the jitney bus across the George Washington Bridge to the Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, New Jersey.

I found her as I got off. She was dressed like the reality show cameras were shadowing her. Smoking hot. Eyes grayish-blue, with long brown hair that contrasted against her white down jacket, from which her sleek legs wrapped in black tights and knee-high brown boots appeared. 

She glanced at her Tiffany’s watch dripping with diamonds. “It’s already half-past three . . . Get in the car.”

“Do we have time for some romance today, Samantha?”

“Yeah,” she said. “But we have to be quick.”

“Valentine’s dinner reservations, huh?”

We drove in the Range Rover to her Saddle River mansion with the long horseshoe driveway. The brown brick Tudor held seven bedrooms, six bathrooms, and a large entertaining room with big windows. So much money and she was unhappy, I thought, as we crossed a small bridge over a frozen brook that ran parallel with the roadway.

She pressed the button on the garage door opener and pulled in. We entered the house and stood in the kitchen. The appliances were huge chunks of stainless steel set in thick granite counters. “Dead my way, and it’s thirty thousand. Dead your way, forty,” I said.

          “Could you poison him or suffocate him or maybe something else that’s quick?”

          “Yeah,” I said. 

          “Then thirty will work. I’ll get the money from the safe in the study,” she said. She walked out of the kitchen. 

I was leaning against the counter next to the refrigerator when I heard the garage door grumble. “Samantha,” I called out.

          Just then her husband appeared in the kitchen. His hard stare caught mine. She thundered into the kitchen holding a thick white envelope. “Oh my,” she gasped. “Bradley, what are you doing here?”

          “Who’s this?” he snarled.

          “Cut the shit, Bradley,” I said. “Why give her my Rover?”

          “What’s the difference?” he said. “It’s paid for in cash and titled and insured using your alias. It’s all yours.”

          “It’s not how I work,” I said. 

          Realizing she was duped, Samantha said, “You sons of bitches.”

          I pulled the big black H&K from my waistband, aimed and squeezed the trigger. The shot detonated like a bomb had gone off. It reverberated through the house and rattled the plates in the china cabinet.         

          “I didn’t want to be a witness,” he said.

          I turned to him. He glanced at his wife. The bullet had hit her in the throat and she was gargling blood, then her body went still, like the band of a slingshot after it recoils.

          “Thanks for the business, Bradley.” I said.

          “Why you pointing your gun at me?”

          “She’s also a paying customer.”

The bullet hit him in the temple and he landed on the tile with a loud thud.

I slipped the H&K back into my waistband, picked up Samantha’s envelope of cash and stuffed it into my pocket. I made certain I didn’t step in any of their blood as I walked out and started the Range Rover and drove off.  I still had enough time to get overcharged for Valentine’s dinner.





George Beck writes in the New Jersey shadows of the Manhattan metropolis. His last novel, Trounce, was featured in the Bostonia, which claimed that Trounce “aspires to the stark violence of Cormac McCarthy’s work and the noir-styling’s of Raymond Chandler.” His new novel, The Killer Among Us, is being published by Noir Nation Books and will be released shortly. His short stories have also appeared in Out of the Gutter Magazine. He’s a PhD student, adjunct professor, and police detective. He can be contacted at Georgembeck@aol.com

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