Thursday, April 1, 2010

Overthought and Underdead

"We could do it."

"Are you sure? Like, really sure? Because we don't need this fucked up."

The fat guy might not need this fucked up, but he definitely needed a bath.

"Yeah, we could do it."


Funny how confidence is so fleeting. Maybe even more fleeting than love. Hell, perhaps both are just myths perpetuated by the aberration known as sentient thought. Or something like that. This is an awful lot to think about during a premeditated murder. Should we have charged more than $5000? $5000 seems kinda cheap now that I'm staring at the guy. I mean, what did he do to me? Sure, he supposedly did something bad to somebody... something worth $5000. But maybe the victim is just an asshole with money to spend and people to have killed.

Ugh. I'm thinking I need a new line of work.


"You agreed to what?"

My brother didn't seem happy. We're both former soldiers and we've both killed before, so I figured taking the job wouldn't be a big deal to him. Guess I was wrong.

"A hit." Saying that made me sound so official at the time. Like in the movies. Maybe I should've taken up acting. I've got the looks. Not being able to act never seemed to stop anybody in Hollywood before.

"You're a fucking idiot."

I suppose I was.


No, I definitely am. I'm sweating a lot and my brother's asleep in the spotter position. I don't have the heart to wake him up. He'd probably just try to talk me out of this, anyway. But we need the money. Our GI Bills ran out a while ago. Then our unemployment did, too. This economy sucks, you know. Of course, it doesn't help that he has a bum leg and I'm lazy. Yes, I'm lazy. I admit it. You want a cookie, mom? Funny how every thought before a kill seems to be a confession. I'm still thinking too much.

I'd really like a chocolate eclair right about now. Mental note: bring snacks next time.


"So you're not going to help?"

"Are you fucking out of your mind? We're not killers."

"Sure we are. You've got more confirmed kills than I do." My logic was so spot on at the time. I should've joined a debate team. The expression on my brother's face was priceless. He was flabbergasted.


That's such a cool word, flabbergasted. I wonder if it's a compound word. You know, flabber and gast put together with a past tense "ed" for good measure.

Oops. There's the target. Coming out of his multi-million dollar house in Lake Tahoe and heading to his six-figure car. Lots of trees here at Tahoe. Beautiful area. Bad place to live if someone wants to kill you, though. Too many places to hide. Fighting a war here would suck. I suppose B-52s could just napalm the place, but too many hippies would complain about napalm. Including my brother.

I don't remember how I finally convinced my brother to come help me, even though he's technically not helping right now, snoozing the day away with marks on his face from sleeping on his binoculars. It probably wound down to familial guilt or something. Yeah, that was it.

I guess I better pull the trigger before the target reaches his car.

Okay. Breathe. Blink out the blur. Check the wind. Verify distance. Here we go.

"Let's go get doughnuts."

My brother's voice startles me. But out of anything he could've said, that is the best line ever.

"Leave the gun. We don't need it."

The second best line.

Later, as we enjoy our coffee and doughnuts, we both wonder if the rich dude who just bought a latte and a bear claw knows just how lucky he is. I'm tempted to ask him. But I'll let him finish reading his paper. It's a nice day, after all.


  1. I hate it when my comments fill the top of your blog!

    That said, Jeff, are you hungry? ;)

  2. I loved it! Your style is very cool in here, and I loved that you expressed how the mind always tries to run away from a dreadful truth.

  3. Quite a lot in a short story. The irony and contrast between someone going through the motions of something as heinous as murder and his frivolous inner thoughts (bring snacks next time, etymology of flabbergasted ...) is very effective.

  4. great story the bounce back and forth between the events and the commentary...

  5. Having never contemplated, much less enacted murder, I can't relate to this story or its narrator. From the flabby guy aghast about fucking it up to the etymology of flabbergast, I felt like I was reading about some alien planet.

  6. I don't know why, but this kind of reminds me of the time I wrote "The Final Problem" from Moriarty's POV...

    PS - Don't forget to change your blogroll.

    PPS - "Horse with No Name" was definitely on the radio on my way to work this morning.

  7. Love your idea that confidence is as fleeting as love. Really cool.

  8. just let the donuts do their work....odd, but strangely satisfying!

  9. Love it, I know it's a repost but I didn't read the original. Or if I did I forgot. I've often wondered how easy it might be, whether you'd feel racked with guilt afterwards even if the guy you topped was an asshole of gargantuan proportions.

    I have a recurring dream where my brother and I murder and bury someone in the back garden down near the creek and in moments of low lucidity, I worry about flooding and the shallow grave being exposed. . . it was just a DREAM!

  10. @Baino - It's not a repost. :P

  11. Calling me a fat guy?

  12. Okay, this sounds more like Elmore Leonard maybe than David Morrell, but I *gasp* "love it". :-p