Author: Edwin Tam
She’s waiting for me as I get out of the elevator. Smiling, but her eyes look sad. Dressed all sexy-like, but you could tell it wasn’t natural for her. Short black dress and heels, and even stockings. Classy. But she looks awkward in it. Just like she looks awkward trying to hold that Taser in her hand. Like it was a shaver or something. I wonder whether I should grab it off her before smacking her, or just smack her first. But outta the blue, the crazy broad just jumps me, and I feel my whole body cramp up. Damn that always hurts. But I black out quickly, so if she had plans to torture me, she fails. I’m smiling as I hit the ground.
I wake up on the roof. She’s just sitting there, looking at me. How that scrawny broad managed to drag my hulk ass out to the edge I can’t figure out. It doesn’t look like she’s got any goons with her, so it’s just us. Only I’m tied up, and my muscles feel kitten-weak, so I gotta sweet talk my way out of this one.
“If you let me go now, I promise I won’t kill you.”
She ignores me.
“You have the wrong guy!”
“You’re Jason Montel. You’re a thug who got his hands on some high-tech memory-jacking hardware. You kidnap your victims, usually executives, and throw a memory lock on their work memories. You let them go, but hold the key for ransom. Their employers usually help out. I hear they’re even offering insurance for that sort of thing these days.”
“I’m just trying to pay the bills-”
“But recently, you added a twist. You went for personal memories.”
“Yeah, it’s trickier but I figured guys would pay even more to get those back.”
“In February, you ambushed a Dwayne Rhodes and attacked his relationship memories. Specifically, you ransom-wared his memories of his wife.”
“Yeah, yeah, I remember that one. But lady, I never took a dime off him. In fact, I never even heard from him again. I figured he must have found a way to unlock it himself.”
“Yes, well he didn’t.”
“Well, I guess he took one look at me… and didn’t think I was worth it. He decided to leave me instead.”
“Aw jeez, Mrs. Rhodes. Him and me could’ve negotiated-”
“I got half the estate. But I just wanted to die. Came close. Until I got to thinking. The wrong person is dying in this scenario.”
“Nobody has to die, Mrs. Rhodes”
“Money and the dark web can go far, as I’m sure you know. Seems like some of your friends aren’t really your friends.”
I tell myself that after this is over, I’m gonna track down who sold me out and make him pay big time.
“Look,” I explain, “there’s an easy answer. I can give it all back! Hell, we can jump him together, hold him down and unlock it in 5 minutes. We can undo all this. With his memories back, he’ll hafta love you.”
She looks at me with that sad smile.
“No. No, Mr. Rhodes has made his choice. We have to respect that.”
She doesn’t answer. Stands, grabs my jacket and drags me towards the edge.
I manage to wrap a leg around hers just as I’m tipping over. Gotcha!
“If you push me, we’re going down together!” I shout.
She pulls me close and whispers: “Silly rabbit, that was the plan all along,”
With a heave, she throws us forward.
She’s still smiling when we hit the ground.
Ah, the terminal slice-of-life. A fine artform and well represented by this. Enjoyed it immensely.
Very noirish (apparently that’s not a word 🙂 ) and I really enjoyed its dialogue heavy structure. Thank you.
Thanks for the kind feedback! (And “noirish” should be a word…)
Congreve had the right of it concerning scorned women 🙂
Ha ha. Always knew that quote, but didn’t know the source until now. Thanks!
Interesting story. But, one question: how is your narrator still alive?
Nothing is narrated after the point of impact, everything up to that seemed present tense…I don’t think the narrator -is- still alive. There is always the chance I missed/misread/misinterpreted something. Which bit/s brought you to your conclusion?
Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I intended that last sentence as his final thought…
So, your character’s narration is stemming from his final thoughts? Interesting…
Yeah, his narration all along is in real time as it is happening to him (at least that was what I was going for with the use of present tense…)