was the type of girl who made his pants tight. He could feel his blood heat and he knew
what he wanted. Life was simple: office drone by day and hunter at night. He worked
out every day in the gym. It took time, but it was worth it because he could dead lift
a hundred and forty pounds easily. Most girls he liked never topped one-twenty-five. He
thought about the girl from the night before. She was just a memory of the fun.
He stood tall,
good-looking in a rugged way, he bought good manicures, haircuts, and body waxing. No stray
pubic hair would bring him down.
He ordered a light beer because he needed something in his hand
as he approached her. She had wheat-colored blonde hair that curled around her face with
bangs covering her eyebrows. He liked well-groomed blondes. She was right-handed so he
approached her right side so that arm would be close to him to help control her. She was
standing at the side of the room watching a basketball game, obviously unattached to any
of the other people there.
bumped into her. His beer sloshed a little bit. “Sorry,” he said quickly and
turned to watch the game. No one else noticed. A break between quarters inspired the men
behind him to go to the bar and he took advantage to act jostled and bumped her again.
I keep saying that. Sorry.” He smiled in a practiced way that never looked predatory.
“Not the best game for the home team, five baskets behind."
She smiled back. “Last
quarter. They aren’t going to pull it out. The other team sticks to their men like
they planned it all. Guess the home team needs to mix it up. They’re predictable.”
He made small
talk. She said she had an early meeting. She isn’t going to make it, he promised
asked a few questions and his answers told her he was the guy. They moved to a bar table
that freed their hands. She ordered a light beer mimicking him.
They watched the
fourth quarter. With six minutes left on the clock, and now six baskets behind, the coach
put in a new guard.
that new guard” the woman said. “The coach hates him, and he knows it. Watch
him. He’ll stick tight to the guy he’s guarding, for a while.”
The players danced
around the court. The other team played catch to move the ball down the court to their
basket. The guard she had pointed out moved an arm’s length away from his man, who
then looked open. The ball went his way but the guard grabbed it mid-air, bounced it once,
and made a basket.
said, “He was supposed to throw it to the forward, that’s how this team works.
That’s why they’re losing. Predictable.”
He smiled his
sweetest smile and said, “You know basketball.”
“Sort of. It’s fun to analyze groups.”
repeated. “I don’t work that way. I have my goal, do it, and get another.”
She smiled at him
and went back to watching the game. The new guard made two more baskets. The clock was
running out. The man chuckled quietly about a girl thinking that she knew what could happen
next. Maybe she knew basketball, but a new game was coming her way. While she watched the
game, he added a few drops of his secret formula to her beer.
Game over, an
empty glass sat on the table. She complained of a headache. “I live near here. I
think I better get home.”
“I’ll walk you home. I need to catch a lift so I’ll
call at your building.”
Her head lolled on his shoulder
by the time they got to her place. He took the key from her hand, guided her up the stairs,
and into the apartment she lurched at.
He helped her to the couch. He took off her jacket, then her shoes.
She didn’t object when he took off her clothes. Her arm fell behind the couch cushions.
He took off his clothes. He was getting into position when he felt a jab. First his hands
and feet tingled. Then his head felt like it would float away. He didn’t care about
the pain in his chest and he fell to the floor.
She looked down at him and said, “I didn’t drink the
She watched his last breaths as she dressed. She picked up his clothes
and laid them on the bed. With the cuff of his shirt, she wiped the keys and tossed them
on the bed. She checked the couch. She put the top on the needle, wiped it all with a
tissue, and dropped it into the purse. She put her jacket on shiny side out, pulled on
her gloves, and left. The next floor down, she pulled off the wig and stuffed it into the
purse. She mussed her short black hair and applied white powder to her face then slid the
compact back into her jacket. She turned up her collar to hide her jawline.
Walking down the
street, she touched an app on her phone to report. “The Point Guard’s plan was
perfect. The ball was there. The Power Forward made the winning score.”
had walked blocks when the phone chimed. “Drop it,” read the message. She dropped
the purse for the next woman and kept walking. In this organization, no one knew
each other. God bless the dark web, she thought. She removed the dollar
SIM card, broke it into four tiny pieces. She put her own SIM into the phone. We’re
still hundreds of points behind, she thought.