"Mr. ***********," she announced with a smile. "We are ready to see you now."
I dropped my magazine onto the table and followed her through the door. She led me down a long hallway adorned with more sad clown paintings. "Sure are a lot of clowns here." I said trying to make small talk. She ignored me and pointed at a door with the number '86' on it.
"Here is our stop." she opened the door. "Mr. Saila will be with you shortly." She excused herself and left me sitting in a small office. Thankfully there were no sad clowns in here.
Instead there was a plain black desk with a folder. Next to the desk was a simple lamp.
The door opened "Hello, I am Mr. Saila. I understand you have a problem and we are here to help. Have you brought the check?"
I was startled. I turned around to see a smiling man which I guessed to be in his mid forties. His hair was short, dark, and swept back. His steel eyes half hidden behind small wire rimmed spectacles. "Yes, I have the money here." I said looking through my pockets. "I just had a few questions-"
"Look," the man spoke sharply. "We have all the information we need. We'll take care of it."
"Yes, but I was just curious as to how you'd do it." I said nervously.
The man sighed. "We don't usually reveal our methods to our clients. Heck, sometimes our clients ARE the targets." He said with a little chuckle. He sat down at the bare desk and reached into a drawer and produced a small wooden box. "Cuban?" he said extending the box toward me.
'Uh, no thanks I don't smoke." I said.
He put the box away and pointed at the chair opposite him. "Please sit," he said. "What I can tell you is it will be quick, painless, and no ties to you whatsoever." He thumbed through the folder on the desk. "In this case, we can have it done by the end of the week. I see she has your last name, yet I have you down here as single. "
"Well, she's my ex you see but she is trying to take everything I-"
"Say no more." He put his hand up. "This is more common than you think. In fact, I'm sure you've heard of Jack the Ripper. He was actually employed by us. We actually spent months slaughtering women of the same profile just to make it look like a serial killing. Of course the client paid a little extra for a painful death with the added bonus of having his wife labeled as a street walker." He took out a cigar for himself and lit it. The heavy smoke rose silently through the air. "We have even, well I probably shouldn't be telling you this, but we have even gone as far as hijacking a plane to take out a well known building-"
I almost fell out of my chair. "What?! You guys were behind 9/11!?" I shouted.
"No, no," he put his hand up. "That was all Bin Laden, we just made sure our target was on the twelfth floor." He grabbed my check and stuck it into the manila folder.
"Wait a minute," I said. "Why are you telling me this, aren't you afraid of me knowing too much?"
The man laughed and extinguished his cigar. "I don't think anyone would believe you, besides nothing will leave this room. Not even you." He brought out another manila folder.
"I don't under-" I began to feel dizzy and I started to lose focus.
Mr. Saila thumbed through a folder. "It seems your ex wife outbid you. She paid a little extra for defamation of character. You'll die of a drug overdose. You've been exposed to a toxin from my cigar smoke that damages the brain first and resembles a drug overdose."
I slumped to the ground. "But I paid you, you bas-" my throat seized up.
"Oh, you've probably lost the ability to speak by now." The man stood up. "Yes, you've paid us and rest assured she will also be dead by the end of the week as per our deal. We always keep our promises."
The world around me began to grow dark. I felt as though I were falling which I guessed was the total relaxation of my entire body. I was aware of the cold temperature as my body began to lose heat. I suddenly felt really good, at peace even. Then there was nothing. Many think of death as a bang but it's really just a whisper. Silence and solitude forevermore.
"Jesus Frank!" exclaimed the Publishing agent.
"You don't like it?" Frank looked surprised. "You said you wanted something with a good story and a twist at the end.
"FOR KIDS!!!" the agent screamed. "I wanted something that kids could read and not just look at the pictures."
"Hey now, are you saying you hated the whole thing? What about the nice picture of the owl on the cover?" Frank smiled.
"The one that's being eaten by the zombie?" He picked up the book.
"Yeah, that one." Frank insisted.
"Oh yes, this one is just great." the agent said "For fueling the nightmares of american children and jump-starting the economy for therapists everywhere."
"Well, if you don't like it then I'll just go somewhere else." Frank stood up.
"What?" said the agent. "I didn't say I didn't like. I'm talking about all the clown pictures. Tell you what, replace the clown pictures with flowers and we should be able to sneak just under the censors."
"Deal."said Frank as they shook hands.