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Max Miller
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Art by Lee Kuruganti 2014

The Botched Hit

by Max Miller


"I botched the job." Four simple words that spelled Mr. Smith's death.

I had given him one task. One simple fucking task, to kill an old man. And even that, he couldn't accomplish.

"How?" Barely concealing my seething rage, I spat out the only word that came to my lips. How could one old man be so damn hard to kill?

"You don't understand, Boss. He's . . . He ain't human. I don't know what he is, but it ain't fuckin' human, that's for sure."

Smith dared to bullshit me with this impudent pack of lies. Fool, idiot, fuck-up, loser, dead-man, broken tool, the list goes on and on and on!

"Are you fucking high? He's not human? He's an eighty-year-old man! Sure, the old bastard's a veteran of a couple wars, but he's human. I don't know why we're even having this conversation! What . . . in the tap-dancing FUCK . . . happened?"

What I said is put into action, and if it isn't, I get unhappy. People disappear, to be seen again in several different trash bags. Fucking Smith, that incompetent prick!

"I shot him, Boss. He got back up. I filled that bastard with about a dozen holes, and he kept walking. I kept expecting him to bleed out, but what came outta them bullet holes weren't blood, I tell ya! It was black, black as oil, and the smell . . . dear God, I almost vomited."

Now I knew Smith was high. That lying bastard.  Probably spooked the old man, who was now on his way to some airport, buying a ticket to God-knows-where.

"This is just fucking typical of you, Smith. Just typical. What are you even saying? That he's a zombie? You lousy junkie bastard, you know damned well what happens to people who disappoint me!"

I berated that simpering idiot, but he didn't stop his wild claims. Normally, Smith would be begging forgiveness at this point. The man must have been out of his gourd. I knew he had a problem with skag, but this was just unacceptable.

"You think I'm afraid of you shooting me down? That fucking thing is out there. It followed me. I don't know how it can still walk, let alone run, but that . . . abomination . . . is fast. Faster than it has any right to be. I drove here, and every time I looked in the rear-view mirror, it was behind me. You want to fucking shoot me, go ahead. Whatever it is you plan to do to me, that fucking . . . Let's not mince words . . . that damn demon, will do a thousand times worse! The eyes, Boss. Dear God, its eyes!"

The ravings of a man on some sort of hallucinogenic drug. PCP, possibly, or maybe some bad batch of designer chemical, street trash that's peddled out to dumb kids. I didn't deal in that sort of crap. No repeat customers.

"What are you on, Smith? You're on something, that much I can tell. You been buying laced shit from Donnie again? You know that fucking idiot doesn't care if his customers live or die. Seriously, you come in here, raving about demons, or zombies, or whatever the fuck it is you're trying to use as an excuse for fucking up a simple task, and you expect me to just roll over and believe you? Just last week, you told me your grandmother died, for the third damn time. No one has three grandmothers, you fucking whelp!"

Bullets would be too quick for Smith. He had really pissed me off this time. Maybe I would have him eaten alive by dogs. Maybe I would have him injected with lye, or bleach. Hell, maybe all of the above.

"Frankly, I don't give a damn what you believe. That thing, whatever it is, it ain't the old man. That thing is outside. It's waiting for us. We shouldn't have done this, Boss. We shouldn't have tried to make a hit on the old man. It was wrong, and we're being punished for it. Call it the wrath of God, or the work of the Devil. It's out there though, and it's waiting."

Smith was starting to creep me out. It couldn't be possible. God was a superstition, and the Devil was just a line so-called holy men spun in church to scare little kids into behaving. They were as real as Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny.

But what was that smell? Why did the air feel so cold, when it was the middle of summer?

"Smith, open the door, and we'll see clear as day, there's no such thing as monsters. You're like a fucking child sometimes! Ghosts, and spooky ghoulies, oh my! What in the name of fuck has gotten into you today? I thought . . . I THOUGHT you were at least semi-competent. I didn't expect miracles, I mean, I knew you were getting soft, that all those fucking drugs weren't doing you any good, but I didn't expect you to be this damn bold about spinning such an intricate web of bullshit! Bravo, Smith, you've fucked up for the last time. You've signed your own death warrant."

I was going to enjoy this one. I was going to take my sweet time with him. Then I would deal with the old man.

"Boss, you don't understand. We're gonna die here, both of us. I ain't gonna die from that thing though."

He pulled his pistol, and for a second, I thought he was trying to put a bullet in me.

I reached for the sawn-off under my desk, but instead of pointing the damn gun at me, he put it in his mouth. After a muffled “Hail Mary,” he pulled the trigger.  His peanut-sized brain covered an underwhelming portion of the wall, at best a 4 out of 10 on the Jackson Pollock scale of painting.

Still, it felt good to watch Smith die.

"You got lucky, Smith. I'd have done a lot worse to you."

As I walked to the door of the warehouse to leave, I noticed that awful stench getting stronger.

Lazy fuckin' garbage-men never do their job. Always on strike, always asking for better wages.  The lousy bunch of nitwits and dropouts.


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