The Ties That Bind - #fridayflash

He had to hand it to her, she was a cool one all right. Sucking her cocktail through those peachy red lips, her breathing had remained level throughout his propositioning. When he dropped the bombshell, there was no slurping through the straw to betray any surprise.

"Seventy-five grand in all." He held his breath as he awaited her response. She lifted the small parasol from her collins class, bore it vertically between her eyes, tipped it to the horizontal and then opened it with what he thought was an element of vehemence. His first female of the species, he seemed destined to enjoy this one even more than normal.

"Fifteen now, here in the bag. Sixty more on completion."

She shut the parasol and held it bisecting her face as if she were presenting arms on a military parade ground. Her movements were a mixture of the stately and the honed.

"How am I gonna collect the sixty?"

"Also in the bag is the address of my bank. I'll have this here key to my safety deposit box on me when you rub me out. Just take the key and go collect the money."

"You could be stiffing me. The box could be empty."

Such a suspicious mind strangely put him at ease. When everything was only valued by green, he knew he was dealing with an outright professional. "So come after me then. Oh no wait, you can't, can you? You would've already killed me!"

"How can I collect from your box? The bank will be expecting a man from the keyholder's name won't they?"

"Initially that did pose me a conundrum. I had to invent a wife and make it a joint box. But she's dead to me now!" as he tapped his temple with pistol fingers.

There was a pregnant pause between these two strangers contracting to meet in the most intimate manner possible. Whereby one takes the life of the other.

"The only stipulation is that you do the deed on Friday the 22nd."

"Two days time huh?" She pursed her lips.

"You don't have any prior engagements do you?"

"There's the ballet. Ain't gonna pass it up, hottest tickets in town. Couple of scalpers handed them over to me. After I scalped them."

He brought the tips of his fingers together over his nose and inhaled. "Well that's not until the evening surely? You've got the daytime."

"I think one dying swan per day is enough don't you? Two would just be a profanity."

He sighed but then restored his gaze to confront her again. "Okay, guess it can wait a day or two, just not before is all."

"Why's that then?" as she rattled the ice around her empty glass with the straw.

"Oh it's all to do with various investment cycles coming to fruition. The only redemption left for me in my life."

"My sixty grand form part of that?"

"In a sense. It's ring-fenced, but I need the time to pick it up in cash and deposit it in the box."

"This doesn't smell right to me. You got all this money coming to you, and you want to check out for good? I don't buy it. Not for one moment."

"Call it guilt money. Blood money. Whatever you want. The price of trying to put things right."

"That so? Well my money better be in that box when I come calling for it, or I'll be persecuting you in Hell. I've got plenty connections I sent down there."

"The money will be in place."

"What does my broker say? Investments can go down as well as up?"

"Not in two days. Not to the extent to wipe out my funds. Even with another Wall Street Crash."

"You're gold plated huh?

He could not help himself but laugh. Damn she was going to leave a hole in the world. Aesthetically as well as her winning personality. But she was about to lose perhaps for the first time in her life. Since she was to be his next victim. And the brilliance of his game plan, is that he summoned his victims to come to him. On an appointed date, or soon after, where he was lying in wait for them. What better series than those of trained killers themselves? He liked to test himself against the best, albeit with a slight edge. It would put him at the top of the profession, the serial killer's serial killer. With the added bonus that once the cops start investigating the victim for clues to motive, they soon quietly let the case drop and think themselves fortunate that's there's one less killer on the loose. It was an impeccable scheme.

As evening drew a bead on the 21st, she let herself out of his house. His face, when he righted himself from emptying his washing machine and saw her at the kitchen window! How she revelled in the range of emotions that played across his countenance in quickfire succession; from surprise, to confusion, to disgust and anger then fear. A bullet to the temple through the glass wiped the slate clean of all of such hollow expressions. She idly fingered the safety deposit key and wondered whether the money would really be there. Psychopathic as he evidently had been, she doubted that his monstrous ego would permit him to stake against himself by offering a prize. He never would have assumed anyone would see him for what he was. But then he also never imagined that hit-men sometimes hit on hit-women and they get hitched. So when her beloved husband didn't come home from an assignment, whose weird details he had shared with her in bed two days before he disappeared, naturally she would engage her talents in tracking down his grisly fate. And then utilise her skills in gaining revenge. For she and her husband were merely sociopaths. They still retained one foot in this world and the other in the ties that bind.