‘The Voice’

It’s been so long since I did anything like queue to post a letter. I’m starting to miss it. There’s no talking in this queue, there’s never been any save for-

“Room number four, please.” Right on cue. She even sounds like the automated post office voice.

Room number four. So far as I’ve ever been able to tell there’s little reason for numbering other than for us to distinguish which job is which. I never understood it, the end result is the same. It’s not a glamourous job, but it’s an easy job in terms of effort. One clean shot does the trick, the money gets transferred in and we return to the queue.

I walk through the double doors which open politely for me after I scan my card and select four on the elevator. There’s never any noise. I’ve never figured out what direction this elevator goes in, it doesn’t seem to move at all. I think it’s the quietest job I’ve ever had.

Some days I wish I could hear another human voice but I think that luxury has been stripped from me due to my line of work. Sure I could call up some seedy hotline but it’s not real, there’s no face to the name. Sally’s probably some overweight monster with a surprisingly sexy voice. I could leave the apartment in my downtime, but I don’t trust myself out there anymore. Not like in here. The bell rings and that annoying automated woman reminds me: “room number four.”

I step into the small hallway and flash my card again, the door zips up into the ceiling. I enter into the bleach bright white of room number four. I collect the pistol from the table and wait.

The panel in the floor opens and up shoots a chair with my next job roped to it, squirming as it always is. I put the clip into the pistol and load the chamber.

“H..ELLL..P.”

The gun falls from my hand and I slam my hands down on the table, looking at the sheets. It struggles harder, faster, thrashing back and forward that if the chair were wooden it would already have cracked under the strain.

“Room number four, please finish your job.” That automated bitch.

“HEEELLLLP.”

“Room number four. We will incinerate the room. Finish your job.”

“HEEELLLLLLLLPPPPPPPP.”

What the hell is this? Damn it shut up.

“HEEELLLLP”

“Room number four-“

“HEEELLLLPPP”

I pull the trigger and silence is restored.

I used to tell myself they must have done something wrong, then it was I needed the money. I even told myself it’s the only thing I’m good at. Once that stopped working I decided they didn’t matter, billions of stars and planets out there, we’re just another light on the grid. Nobody notices if it gets a little darker. I’m still searching for an excuse.

‘Ice Cream Truck’

“You don’t see any reason for me to be suspicious?” He asks me.

“No, of course not! We’re in a great place right now love. Honestly, owning an ice cream truck is a great business venture.” I say. Obviously it’s not.

“Don’t lie to me, Sophia. I know when you’re lying because you always start by saying honestly.”

I pull my hair behind my ears and open my eyes wide but as I do he’s already mentioning the second clue.

“There it is. Expecting me to get lost in those hazels. You’re up to something!” He refutes it, but Tony still allows my eyes to seduce him, he is weak after all but I like him just the way he is. I don’t enjoy it, but what harm can it do? As long as we both know my excuse isn’t exactly true then that’s honest enough.

As my phone rings he sighs and backs down as expected. I shoot him a sheepish smile and he returns the favour with an added eye roll. My wonderful but predictable husband. I walk out the room before answering the phone.

“Have you taken care of our problem?!”

“No, I’m just on my way to do so.” I reply.

“C’mon! I’m getting edgy!”

“Just remember it’s only our problem because I’ve chosen to help you. After this week our business is going to expand exponentially so everything needs to run like clockwork, understand?”

“Yes ma’am, it’s just-”

“Just nothing. I’m going to collect the gasoline. I’ll call you when it’s done.” I reply.

Harold’s loyal, but Jesus he’s a pain in the ass sometimes! I blame the parents for that terrible upbringing.

I delve into my pockets and grip the contents of both. In the left is my mentors pocket watch, the woman whom I prematurely inherited this business from. In the right, a box of matches. I’d like to think she’s watching me and she’d know that what I’m going to do is for the best. I’d certainly convince her it was.

I place the watch back into the cover of my pocket and tighten my clutch on the matches. I can’t imagine a more horrible way to go but for the business; we need to make a statement. I’m sure the smoke will let them off lightly anyway.

“I’ll be back in a few hours, honey. Try not burn the dinner to a crisp tonight.”