That Afternoon

Today is the first day of class of 2015 so technically this story was not done in class but for it.

This week I have chosen Linzi Osburn’s words: Item – toothpick; Word: exsanguinate

Thanks Linzi! Enjoy!



That Afternoon

It was nine o’clock on a Friday night and I was holed up in my office trying not to think about how badly things had gone earlier that afternoon. It wasn’t as though I had any choice in how things had turned out. I was in a bad situation and I ran, what else could I do? The rain was pounding on the windows like a million tiny hammers. Maybe that’s why I didn’t hear him come in.

“It says on the door that you’re Dirck Smythe. That true?”

I looked up from my desk where I’d been concentrating on trying to get the whiskey from the bottle into the glass. He stood in the doorway dripping water off of what used to be an expensive suit. He was a skinny guy with greased back hair, a pencil thin moustache and tiny eyes that were squinting at me in the dim light. What caught my attention though was the big .45 he had in his right hand pointed at my chest. I shook a little from being surprised and I tried my best not to let it show as I finished pouring my drink.

“Who’s asking?” I growled as I downed the whiskey.

“Look fella, you Smythe or not?”

I leaned back in my chair and steepled my fingers in front of my chest trying to act calm. I was pretty sure who sent this thug based on that afternoon’s activities. I was also pretty sure what the message was going to be.

“Mind if I light one?”

“Yeah, sure, why not?”

I sat forward and reached for the pack of coffin nails that were on the desk beside my lighter. As I pulled one out and lit it up I briefly toyed with the idea of tossing the lighter at him. No good. He was too wet for that to scare him. I thought of something else. I motioned to the chair on the other side of the desk.

““Take a load off. If you smoke yours must be soaked, want one?”

I gestured with the pack and held it out to him. But this guy was no dummy. He didn’t take the bait.

“Yeah, thanks. Put it down, I’ll get my own.”

He took a couple of steps, grabbed the pack and lighter off the desk and sat himself in the chair. I sat back again watching him light one up, always using one hand. All the while the gun never wavered from my chest.

“I’m guessing you are Smythe and that you know what this is about.”

“I am and I do,” I confessed.

“The Boss wants you to know this isn’t personal, it’s just business. If things had gone any other way this afternoon I wouldn’t be here.”

“That makes me feel a whole lot better,” I said as sarcastically as I could. He ignored the comment and continued.

“He also wants you to know that he is in the process of tracking down the other parties involved so they can be dealt with. He also wanted me to hear you say what you did. So we’re clear on why I am here. Go ahead.”

I’d had enough. Sure this afternoon’s fiasco was nothing to be proud of but it wasn’t exactly my fault. I wasn’t to blame! I finished my smoke and stubbed it out on the arm of my chair. I sat forward and slammed my hands on the desk and looked the thug in the eyes.

“Look, I know this afternoon was a tragedy and all but it wasn’t my fault!”

He wasn’t impressed at my little outburst. He sat forward as well locking his eyes with mine.

“I wasn’t there so why don’t you tell me what happened?”

“Alright! I was in the restaurant to meet a client. It was a set up. They started shooting. I dove for cover and bumped into your boss’s son. He swallowed something and choked. That’s all I know. Not my fault. What was I supposed to do, stand there and get shot?”

He held my gaze and didn’t flinch as I shouted at him.

“The official coroner’s report is that he swallowed his toothpick which lodged in his throat and caused him to exsanguinate. He died choking on his own blood in his father’s arms. My Boss sees this as your fault, Mr. Dirk Smythe.”

He had kept his gaze locked onto mine the whole time and as he finished his sentence I saw the edges of his eyes tighten a little and knew he was about to pull the trigger on that big .45. Lucky for me he never saw the whiskey bottle coming until it was too late. As we had been talking I had slowly grabbed the bottle and now I slammed it into the side of his head knocking him out cold.

I went around the desk and grabbed the .45 and his still smoldering cigarette. I stood over him smoking it wondering what to do. I certainly wasn’t going to kill him; I’d done enough killing for one day. Pocketing the gun and grabbing my jacket I thought that now might be a good time for a vacation. I went out the door into the rainy night, headed for the bus station and parts unknown.



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