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By May 16, 2022June 6th, 20222 Comments


Tom Callaghan

Umai Sultanova
Умай Султанова

Love founders on the everyday.
We’ve evened the score. Why waste time
Sorting out our sorrows, hurts and pains?
Look how quiet the world becomes.

Vladimir Mayakovsky


An ordinary day, nothing to remember. A few problems with suppliers not delivering on time in spite of promises. A couple of payments still outstanding, even after three or four calls. Nothing that couldn’t be handled with a quiet word to the right people. 

Or a not so quiet word from the wrong people. 

So for now, a simple evening at home, good food on the table, help the children with their English lessons, an early night.

He pressed the remote control that opened the gates to the underground car park. As always, the downward curve a little too tight, so he drove slowly. Scrape a Mercedes and the repair bill could buy you a second-hand Audi. His usual parking spot, marked in yellow paint with his licence plate number stencilled on the wall. One of the perks of owning the penthouse. He parked the car nose out, easier for an early start, switched off the ignition, opened the door.

Then it all went to shit.

The sawn-off jammed against his mouth. The ski mask of the man leaning through the car window. The rictus of the snarl surrounded by black wool, eyes dark and angry. The voice brutal, scarred with rage, vodka and cigarettes.

‘You had your warning. Twice.’

‘I already spoke to him. He knows it’ll be a little late. Knows I’m good for it.’

‘Yeah, yeah, heard it before.’

Disbelief sour in the voice.

‘Ask him, he’ll tell you, quick call and it’ll all be sorted. No need for trouble.’

Not exactly pleading, but hoping for a rational result.

‘Ask him, how can I pay, when his people don’t pay me on time?’

‘Not his problem.’ The voice flat now, indifferent. Given a job, no reason to do anything else. The shotgun closer now, two black cruel eyes gazing into his terrified blue ones.

‘I’ve got a few dollars on me, I know we can work this out, you and me. Come on, let’s be reasonable.’

The ski mask nodded, and he rode a wave of relief.

‘Get this sorted, get in the lift, up to the penthouse, wife and kids waiting with dinner on the table, a movie, bedtime story, maybe even a spot of romance to round off the evening?’

‘Yeah, no problem, I’ll get the money together in the morning. He knows I’m good for it. I’ve always been good for it.’

‘You already said that. Twice.’

The shotgun barrel danced away to one side. He decided he wasn’t going to piss himself, wondered about complaining in the morning, your guys got too tough, no need for all that shit, is there? Money’s in the envelope. Here you go, sorted.

The shotgun came back, maybe moved a little closer. He could smell the bitter scent of the gun oil, perhaps even see the tips of the slugs.

‘What’s on the menu for supper tonight? Steak, red wine, a couple of brandies later?’

‘I don’t know, I leave all that up to my wife.’ Trying to pull the ‘my wife the boss’ routine. We’re all henpecked, right? 

‘You’ll have to fix your own supper tonight.’ The wool of the ski mask tightened as the mouth grinned.

‘I don’t understand,’ he said, and his eyes opened as he realised he did.

‘Paid a little visit earlier. Nice apartment. Spacious. Lovely family.’

‘What do you mean?’ Begging now.

‘You could always think about remarrying. That little secretary of yours, the one with great tits you keep tucked away in the studio near the railway station. Very tasty. And young enough for you to start a new family as well.’

The shotgun thrust towards him, a finger stroking the barrel.

‘Not very clean, I’m afraid, already seen a little action tonight.’

The ski mask kept the gun on his face. Reached down with his free hand, cupped his crotch. Breath coming faster now, as if reaching orgasm.

‘Likewise, if you know what I mean.’

Red mist. Imagining the blood and chaos in his home, bodies sprawled on the floor. Caution hurled aside with the need to avenge his family. He slammed his foot against the half-open car door, watched the ski mask fall back, saw the gun barrel rise up into the air. 

A shot, high into the car park ceiling, bringing down fragments of concrete in a shower of dust. Snatching at the barrel of the gun, the heat burning his fingers. Punching at the mask, watching the wool stain scarlet with each blow of his fists.

And then a gun barrel rammed against the back of his head, a handgun this time. A different voice, calm, unflustered.

‘Not your best idea. But definitely your last.’

Then the shock and noise of the world collapsing, and the light suddenly blacked out.

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