Here’s another short story. Man, I’m on a roll. I title it, “The Hit”. No sentimentality here, just a bare bones crime story. It seems to scream out to Dostoyevsky. You know, “Crime and Punishment”. Only where’s the punishment? But all that’s for bigger minds than me.
“You done it in the war.”
“I done lotsa things in the war.”
“It’s just one more.”
I laughed. “No thanks, brother.”
“Give ya two thousand dollars.”
I sipped my beer. Stared out the tavern window.
“Three,” I said. “And that Pontiac you got.”
“I love that Pontiac. It’s a classic.”
“Get another one.”
“They’re hard to find.”
“Then find another guy. Pay him two grand.”
I stubbed out my cigarette. Got up to leave.
“Okay,” he said. “Deal.”
I pulled on my coat. We shook hands.
“When?” he asked.
“When I get my money,” I said. “And my car.”
* * *
The Pontiac was blue. Like something between the color of the ocean and the sky. And the ragtop was white. Not bright white. More subdued. Like dawn on a river.
I cut the headlights. Turned into the trees. Brought Old Blue to a stop in a small clearing. It was dark. Overcast. I picked a good night. No moon. Only thick, black silence. It made for good patrols during the war. You couldn’t see them, but they sure as hell couldn’t see you.
The two-story brick house sat just beyond the trees. Behind a white fence. A garden of roses, tomatoes. The back door was unlocked. An empty bottle of Cognac sat at the foot of the stairs by two oval glasses. I followed the long trail of clothing, his and hers, up to the first bedroom on the right.
She was built like a model: tall, thin. She lay face down on the rumpled bedding, her eyes closed, her breath heavy. The hair was long, dark. The skin caramel. Just the way I liked it. What I always dreamed of.
I heard water splashing. Saw a sliver of light under the bathroom door. It opened. He stepped out naked, toweling himself. Without a word he walked right past me.
I sat on the edge of the bed. Slowly ran my right hand down the long smooth curve of her back. My fingers came to rest on her full round hips. She was perfect. I had never seen a woman like that. Never made love to a woman like her. I wanted too badly. I could feel the tension grow between my legs. My belly ached. Briefly I entertained the idea of it. Taking her. Feeling her beneath me. But then her dark eyes opened. She raised her head, looked at me. The most beautiful woman in the world began to scream.
I slapped her hard across the face. So hard her head bounced off the headboard. She was barely conscious when I grabbed her by one arm, jerked her off the bed and dragged her, moaning, across the carpet. She made a feeble attempt to bite my shoulder as I picked her up in both arms and lowered her into the bathtub. She felt good. Really good. With both hands I pushed her face under the thick carpet of suds.
Her arms, legs, began to thrash. I pressed down on her face harder and harder. Water and suds splashed across the tile floor. I was drenched. I looked behind me. Watched the slow minutes pass on the clock by the bed. I gave it a good five minutes. I had never drowned anybody. I figured five was enough.
Feeling her life fade away, one appendage at a time, unnerved me. So did the smell of lilacs and sweat that hovered in the air. I hadn’t killed anybody in a long time. Not since the war. But this time it wasn’t for G-d and country. It was murder. I can’t say I thought much of it.
Suddenly he was standing in the door. Blue pin-striped suit. Open collar. White carnation on his lapel. He looked bored.
“You better get going,” I said.
“Don’t you wanna know why?” he asked.
I dried my hands on a towel. Walked past him.
“Thanks for the car,” I said.