The movie didn’t hold her interest. Images flickered
on the giant screen, but she didn’t pay attention.
After the first twenty minutes she left her seat and
went to stand against the wall, behind the rest of the
audience; all of whom were in a different
state-of-mind, a different world; enjoying their
evening, while one among them contemplated love and
She checked her watch. It should have been done by
now. Her husband would be laying with a bullet hole
bleeding down his face, his eyes still open. His last
sight: the dark alley; his last smell: the rotting
stench of garbage; his last taste: his own blood.
It wasn’t that she did not love him, or more
truthfully, loved him in the past. When she first met
him, he was everything a lonely woman could dream. He
was a successful businessman, a caring lover and a
sympathetic shoulder to cry on. But after a few years
of marriage, he changed. His caring and sympathy had
disappeared, leaving a man who noticed her less and
less until she became nothing.
She knew about the other women, but did not care.
There was some part of her that believed the touch of
another would bring his good qualities back. But that
failed to happen. It only brought more distance
Then she met a man. He was kind and proved to be a
gentle lover. He allowed her to weep after making love
without asking many questions. He somehow understood
that what she needed was quiet. She felt guilty
continuing the affair; sneaking off to motels or to
the small apartment he shared with two others. The
guilty came from not only betraying her husband, but
also denying her lover.
She ultimately chose her lover and immediately told
her husband she was leaving. The initial slap was a
shock. He refused her the divorce and threatened her
if she went to a lawyer. After, as she sat in yet
another anonymous motel room waiting for her lover,
she wondered if the beating was really surprising.
When her lover arrived, she apologized and said she
was unable to leave her marriage. Her just held her
tight with their usual silence, and let her cry until
sleep captured her in its welcoming hold.
As weeks went by, her despair turned to anger. Her
husband hit her more; each violent incident
strengthening her hatred. She first thought of buying
a gun and killing him herself, but reason prevented
her. She researched hired killers, learning how most
were contacted through classified advertisements in
the back of men’s adventure magazines. When she found
one, she quickly dialed the number listed in the ad.
The killer had agreed on meeting in a restaurant. He
was shorter than she was expecting, wore thick-framed
glasses and had a small belly. He told her his price
and she agreed. She gave him a day she knew her lover
was out of the state to establish an alibi. He handed
her a locker key and an envelope addressed to a PO
box. He told her the locker’s location at the airport.
She was to leave the money in the locker and then mail
the key back to him. He also gave her a disposable
cell phone. He would ring when it was done. She was to
throw the phone away after the call. He gave her a
time when the hit would happen and told her to go
somewhere like a movie. She thanked the killer when he
stood up and left.
The day arrived and she left the money as he
instructed her to do. She then went to the large
theater downtown, the old fashion movie palace with
ornate decorations and an actual balcony.
As she stood against the wall, an hour into the movie,
the cell phone in her pocket vibrated. She answered
with a simple ‘yes.’ The killer replied with a simple
‘it’s done’ and hung up. She placed the cell phone in
the trash bin and sat back down in the last row of the
theater. The movie continued, but all she could think
of was what her new life would be like.
Stephen Allan wrote this story in two hours. He seems
pretty pleased with himself and will be intolerably
smug for the rest of the day. He blogs at <a
Steve is a writer from Maine, where people are more
down-to-Earth than he is at this moment, the