A short story by Theo Michael accompanying the painting The Boardwalk

'What's your poison?' She asked in a dusky voice....

Wall Art by Theo Michael, The Boardwalk in Larnaca Cyprus‘I haven’t heard from you in a while Clint. Where exactly are we going? Are you buying a boat or something?’

‘Do I look like a sailor?’ Clint replied. ‘No, I have a marker, an aging starlet.’ He continued ‘she owns the last boat on the left, The Dragonfly.’

The Marina boardwalk was deserted, apart from a couple of people and just the usual pigeons. It was hard to keep up with Clint, it was obvious he had a purpose in his stride.

I broke the silence, ‘Last time we spoke we agreed to put this behind us.’

 Clint turned to me, ‘yeah I know, but bad luck at the poker table, arrears on the mortgage, school fees make this a necessity. Frankly I’m well in debt.’ He looked at me and I could see the anger in his eyes. When I see Clint like this I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him. I tried to keep up with him as best as I could and we finally reached the end of the pier.

‘There’s the Dragonfly’ I pointed to the yacht. ‘It’s huge, I hate to guess how much it cost.’

We were obviously expected. Charlotte was still dressed in her dressing gown, partially see through and very expensive. Sunglasses shielding her face with a glass of martini in her hand. It wasn’t mid-day yet.

‘This is Harry my assistant’ Clint said to her as we stepped down into the cabin. It was spacious and luxurious, but I still felt claustrophobic. Perhaps my nerves were a little edgy.

Charlotte was past her prime. She still cut a respectable figure, but the alcohol didn’t help. She ushered us to sit down and offered us a drink.

‘What’s your poison?’ she asked in a dusky voice.
I guess it would have been one of her major assets in her earlier days.

‘No thank you’ Clint replied, ‘it’s a little bit early. Let’s get down to business. On the phone yesterday, you asked me to call as a matter of urgency. What is it exactly you want me to do?’

‘Don’t play games with me Mr Clint Everest. You can guess, it’s all in the papers. My husband is fooling around with all these underage sluts. Last time we met we quarrelled. This is the result.’

She removed her sunglasses. Her eyes were bruised badly. The scars along her arms still sore, with stitches yet to be removed.

‘If you want me to spell it out, I will. I want you to kill my husband. He has humiliated me once too often. He has to pay for it.’

‘Why would I want to do that?’ Clint asked disarmingly.

‘Cut out the bullshit.’ Charlotte reached over to the briefcase on the table, sipped on her Martini and clicked it open.

‘10K Euros should be enough of a reason.’

‘Well that’s a mighty damn offer Charlotte, and normally I would find myself tempted.’ As he spoke, Clint reached under his jacket and pulled out his Magnum, silencer in place.

‘But the truth is’ he continued, ‘your husband has paid me double to what you are offering.’

He pulled the trigger and shot her cleanly in the head. He calmly gave me the gun and said. ‘you know what to do.’

I took out my handkerchief, removed the silencer and wiped the weapon clean.  I bent over Charlotte and squeezed her hand around the grip of the gun. It had to look like a suicide.

‘let’s go’ Clint said as he handed me the closed briefcase.

In a sick way I hated myself that I admired him. Nerves of steel, he had a job to do and he just got on with it.

We walked back down the Boardwalk in silence. I couldn’t think of anything to say. We reached the street and on the right, about 100 meters down the road was the Police Station.

‘Are you on duty tonight?’ I asked
Clint pulled out his badge and pinned it in place. I don’t start for an hour but I have a lot of paperwork to catch up on, might as well start now.

The door to the Station opened, a female officer poked her head out.

‘Oh sergeant, lucky you are here so soon. There are a couple of people waiting to see you. They say they have an appointment, but apologized for turning up too early.

‘Sure,’ Clint replied, ‘Tell them I’ll be there in a minute. She rushed back into the station to deliver the message.
‘I’ll see you later Harry, say hello to your wife.’

I started to walk away and paused.

‘Can I ask you something Clint, do you have any remorse?’

He looked at me.

‘No’ he said, ‘you could say I wear two hats. More than anything I want this world to be a safer place. I have no problem with them killing themselves, but eventually innocent people are hurt. They are maniacs preying on helpless people.’ ‘Look Harry, if we didn’t do it, someone else would. These guys are the scum of the earth, rats, someone’s got to take out the garbage. It might as well be us.’

I hate to admit, he made sense in a morbid sort of way. I said goodbye, left and walked towards home, content in the knowledge that I had no opinion. I found it the easiest way to deal with life. I just wondered what my cut would be.

 A short story by Theo Michael 26th September 2017

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