Author : Matthew Marchitto

The rain was heavy and it blurred the faces of the crowd on Main Street. Deb stood in an alley off to the side watching the people move like a herd of cattle. Neon signs for places like Rucker’s Bar and the Harlot Peepshow glowed with muted light. A billboard down on Second Street proclaimed the latest Han Dallaghan flick as the spectacle of the decade. Retro jazz was blaring from somewhere nearby.

She pulled out a cigarette, whistling as a fight broke out in front of Rucker’s. A man went down with a shattered jaw and everybody on Main kept walking like nothing happened.

The city was like a sewage pipe that never clogged. She couldn’t imagined what it must have felt like being a straight staring down the barrel of a place like Main.

She flicked the cigarette into a dumpster, and then let the cattle on Main take her. Pushing her down the street like a ripple in a pond.

She spied the alley she needed and broke off from the crowd. A few shapeless forms huddled against the walls. She moved fast, making her way through the cities arteries like no one else could. A spotlight beamed down from the sky and she ducked behind a dumpster. The Stinger hovered over the alleyway searching for something to shoot. Its propellers sent rain spraying like a whirlwind. Homeless ran from the searching light, finding even deeper arteries to hide in.

Deb watched the drone round a corner and disappear. She waited until the whirring of its propellers faded away. Then she made her way to a forgotten tenement.

A faint light was coming from one of the apartment windows, that was the one she needed. She climbed the fire escape and slid a cracked window open. The first thing that struck her was the odour of something like sweat and mold congealed together. The second was the man sitting on the floor with dead eyes. A too-large-to-carry camera was on a hog thighed tripod snapping pictures through the window. It was connected to a laptop and she saw two people on the screen rolling around each other on a not so distant bed. A thick wire ran from the laptop into the base of the sitting man’s skull.

It was odd for a husband to be so keen on watching his wife cheat him.

Deb snapped her fingers in front him. He didn’t move. She felt his pulse. Alive. That was good, it meant she was going to earn her pay.

A plastic countertop and soiled mattress made up the one room apartment. The walls were thin, sound could go far even with the thumping rain. A smile teased the corners of her lips, she couldn’t have set up the scene better. Deb took out a pistol and wrapped the husband’s hand around the grip, brought his arm up to press the gun to his own temple, and then she grabbed the cable at the back of his skull. It would look sketchy if he was still linked when the deed was done, but that was only part of it.

She pulled the cord. His head jolted backward, and it took him a second to feel Deb pressing a gun barrel to his head. Fear registered in his eyes. That’s what she wanted to see.

Deb pulled the trigger.

She liked her job too much.

The computer screen flashed as the camera’s automatic shutter continued to snap away. The wife and her lover looked out their window—straight at the camera.

Deb winked at the screen.

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