Like A Bad Memory
A short story for action lovers
As I look through the window, I see a woman sitting at her desk. She’s got red roses that are taking over her most of the space. She keeps looking back at them. Probably a new relationship or something. That short time when it’s all exciting and new, right before everything goes to shit. Right before you find the asshole screwing a cocktail waitress in your bed.
I flick my eyes to the next floor. Probably a manager of some sort. Huge corner office with big windows. Mid-50s, bald with brown hair on the sides. White shirt, red power tie. He looks like he’s talking on the phone and he’s visibly upset. I move my eyes to the next window and then I see him. He’s not what you’d picture. He’s drinking a cup of coffee and is wearing a dark navy polo. He’s in his early thirties and I can see a picture of a woman holding a baby on his desk. She has red hair and beautiful blue eyes. The baby has the same eyes and a big smile.
I watch him for a moment and he picks up the phone. I wonder if he’s talking to the woman in the photo on the phone. I try to read his lips but he turns his back to the window.
I take a deep breath and steady myself. I remember his file. The photos. The faces. He’s a piece of shit. I exhale. I see the woman in the picture again, and I exhale. It’s time. I keep my sights on him and move my finger to the trigger. I hold my finger there and take another deep breath. I know I should do it, but something inside stops me. I blink my eyes a few times and crack my neck. It’s the woman in the photo. The one with the baby. I can’t do it with her watching me.
I’ve got no problem with the job itself; the bastard has it coming. But it’s the woman in the photo.
Something about her smile, something makes me put down the rifle. I pack it up and go down the stairs to the parking garage and place the rifle back in the trunk of my blue SUV. I flip through the file in the trunk to refresh my memory and I look at the time. 10:35 AM. Shit. I’ve got other things to do and other places to be. Camping out here all day would only slow me down. I decide it’s time to improvise.
I wait for a few more minutes, and then I call him.
“Mike Wallace — this is Emma Johnson down at Cook County Hospital. Your wife, Jenna, was in a car accident.”
“Oh shit — is she okay?”
“She sustained a variety of injuries from the accident, and will likely need surgery.”
“Shit, I’m on my way. I’ll be there as soon as possible.”
I wait by the front of his red BMW for footsteps and take a deep breath while pulling out my 9mm. There they were. The sound of feet scuffling across the concrete. When he got close, I would simply pop up and take him out with a headshot.
There he was. I popped up and aimed the gun at him. It was time. He sees me and opens his mouth to say something. To plead for his life, to tell me he’s a father and a husband, to tell me he’s sorry for all he’s done. I pull the trigger and shoot him in the head. He tumbles to the ground like a bad memory.
I then hear something loud and fall to the ground. I wake up to the sound of tires screeching and see I’m next to the BMW. I see his body in front of me and I realize I’m bleeding. Shit. It’s my neck. I was shot by someone else. I had to of been set up. Can’t worry about that now.
I groan in pain and try to put some pressure on the wound as I try to think. I have to move. Now. My brain feels distant from my body. I close my eyes and open them and look at my watch. I just passed out for 10 minutes. Slowly, I pull myself up with one hand and lean on the car to keep my balance. I see my 9mm on the ground and it takes a long time to just pick it up.
My car. My car. Where the hell is my car? I close my eyes again and immediately open them. I know I’m fading fast. I won’t be able to move in a few more minutes. I’ll be as dead as my mark. I ignore that thought and focus on the next decision. Breathe. Each breath, each passing second that moves by scares me. It becomes harder to breathe. I know I can’t talk. I continue to use the cars to hold me up, leaving a trail of blood behind me. Shit. What the hell happened? I try to think again but nothing comes.
I toss my 9mm in a trashcan and somehow make it to the elevator. I think I just passed out again. No one else is there and I’m glad. I stare at the numbers above the door like they are going to tell me something. Maybe I can make it to my car. Maybe I can… I fall to the floor of the elevator and can’t move. I see the numbers flashing and try to stay awake as I go down.
8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.
Everything goes dark.
Flashing red lights are followed by a bright light blinds me. A light brighter than any light I’ve ever seen. Then I see the most beautiful blue eyes staring down at me.
Jim Woods is a bestselling author, freelance writer, and writing coach. Join the Hit List for more crime stories by clicking here.