Saturday, 28 June 2014

Murderwork VI - Interview Stage Five

Interview - Stage Five

Waiting for instructions is tedious. He counted and recounted cigarettes, smoked and unsmoked, as tar crawled through his blood. He remembered an earlier conversation:



"This will kill you eventually..."



Yeah, right. Another blast of grey. It began to descend as the letters fell. Bills and a package, which was postmarked Europe. A small snag of barbed wire and a handwritten note.



"Turn yourself in."



Hardly what he'd expected. He picked up the barbed wire. It had been sharpened, enough to draw blood. Before he went to get a plaster he took a few of the foam peanuts they used for packing and impaled them one by one.



"This isn't over, but it will kill you eventually..."



It was just as grey outside. A grey world waiting for a little colour. In another life, perhaps he'd have been a painter. 


Saturday, 21 June 2014

Murderwork V - Interview - Stage Four

Interview - Stage Four

Back in the car they were both silent for about ten minutes.



"Your next set of instructions will be delivered by post."



"What do you mean? They're dead. You got what you wanted."



"No... you're mine now. You kill for me."



"Get out of the fucking car."



The cop said nothing.



"Get out of the fucking car."



"You don't understand..."



"No. You don't understand. You can't come back with me."



Too risky. Too suspicious. Of course.

As he drove off, the grey haze descended. He reached down the side of the door, but the cigarettes were on the passenger's side. He lit one as he walked into the lounge. No lights, not even the television. Just a little firefly burning itself to death. As he smoked, the grey haze thickened and he began to feel very tired. This wasn't supposed to...



*



They were all there. The cop and the dead men. Together.



"Had a feeling we'd be seeing you again..."



Traitor. Aura of grey around them, the suspect shifted, uneasy.



"Uncomfortable?"



A shiver, like a harbinger of voltage to come. He didn't need to reply. He couldn't speak, wondering if it was adrenaline or fear causing the shaking. A knife wasn't going to be enough this time. One on one he'd have a chance. No, he told himself... only one of these men is alive... this isn't a fair fight...

How do you kill a dead man?



"It's time..."



The suspect shifted again. Clearly there was no requirement to respond.



"You killed my daughter."



So this was what it was about. Grey disappeared.



"You never had a daughter."



"Yeah, because you killed her."



"No... there never was a daughter..."



The suspect didn't understand where the words were coming from. He'd been silent. The dead men had turned on the cop. A simple rule: never turn your back on your enemy. The knife flashed in the dark, and two slashes ripped the dead men's throats in half. Clean, quick, ruthless. 


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Murderwork IV - Interview Stage Three

Interview - Stage Three
Hitting the brakes, he threw the cigarette out of the window, having smoked less than half. Careless to be so wasteful... "I'll get over it," he thought. Already several yards further on as he exited the car, he didn't bother to go back to put out the cigarette. It burned out quietly. He'd left the pack in the car. No need to buy any more, he was almost at the agreed meeting point. 

It was different this time. He was still nervous. Corpse locked in the boot of the car was reason enough. The lighter was also in the car. He'd been told it would feel like this. A low, empty feeling in his stomach began to consume his thoughts. All was enveloped in grey, dull monotone, and the earth felt like ash beneath his feet. The whisper came.



"Is everything ready?"



Nodding assent, he led the officer to the car. Driving away, the officer told him to keep the radio off.



"You recognise me yet?"



The voice had been familiar, but now the blindfold had been removed, the grey haze was lifting. 



"You... you're my doctor..."



The officer smiled.



"Yes, now drive to the agreed point."



A few reminders were necessary, as the instructions had been a little more complex this time.



"I trust you have the body..."



"Naturally."



The agreed point turned out to be a cemetery.



"Perfect place to dispose of a body..."



He dragged the body from the car and passed the officer a shovel.



"I'm not here to reminisce, start digging."



"I'm impressed with your work. Very clean, very quick. Ruthless."



"You heard what I said. Dig."



It started to rain. A little too late to make the digging easier.



"You got one of the secrets..."



The suspect said nothing. They dumped the body.



"I switched some of your painkillers with what are essentially pain amplifiers..."



"I know, a control thing."



The officer began to shovel earth onto the body.



"You missed the other one..."



The officer looked up.



"Oh yeah?"



"Yeah. I'm not a cop."



It stopped raining. 



Thursday, 12 June 2014

Murderwork III - Interview Stage Two

Interview - Stage Two

His breath was harder than he wanted it to be, desperate to control his nerves. Hands shaking; at least he had a good grip on his memory. He couldn't forget what they needed. He didn't dare forget. Almost at the rendezvous point, just nearly enough. Able to relax for a moment.

Footsteps. A good sign. Electricity as the hairs on his arms rose. A gasp as the sack was dumped over his head and a rope tightened around his neck. They hadn't mentioned this part.



*



"Seventh circle of hell is reserved for traitors... welcome."



A baseball bat to the chest brought the suspect to the floor. 



"Shit..."



"You're in it."



After a while he couldn't tell what was hitting him. Trying to distinguish between kicks and the baseball bat wasn't enough to keep his mind from the pain.



"You thought you'd sell us off?"



Definitely baseball bat. This was clearly not the correct rendezvous. As more kicks came, he desperately tried to retrace his steps. Wrong right turn? Was it supposed to be a left? No. The instructions... a kick... had been very clear. He was sure he was bleeding, probably from several places. 

Then nothing.



"I'm gonna gut you like a fucking fish, you..."



The shouting has muffled the sound of footsteps. There was the sound of a struggle. Somebody gasping for breath. A gunshot.



"Sorry I'm late..."



One down...



"I hope you now fully understand the gravity of the situation..."



The sack nodded. 


Sunday, 8 June 2014

Murderwork II - Interlude - Interview

Interlude - Interview

Interview commences. Another bullshit four hours of not getting anywhere. Yeah right. Time to dispense with procedure. 



"When we're finished with you, you're going to be begging for death."



The tape had stopped running.



"Recognise that voice?"



No response.



"You said that to my daughter."



No response.



"Take the gag off and pass me a hammer. I want to hear this fucker beg for death..."



"You can't do this man... you're cops..."



Suspect already sweating.



"I want the names of ALL your men, and I want the evidence I need to bring them in. You're going to get it for me."



He swung the hammer down, just half an inch away from the suspect's thumb. There was a gasp of relief. Clearly his training had been inadequate. They hadn't been expecting to get caught. Poorly planned, poorly executed.



"You think you're not big enough for this, is that it?"



The suspect nodded. He was still blindfolded and didn't know where he was. 



"Please... please don't kill me..."



The cop laughed. Clearly he hadn't explained himself properly.



"No. Of course not. Not yet... fetch me the saw... let's cut the fucker's hand off!"



The gag was replaced, though the subject struggled in the chair.

 As the bread knife was dragged across his wrist lightly, the noises from the handkerchief stuffed into his mouth began to increase in volume. As it was dragged back with just enough pressure to break the skin and draw blood, the suspect was trying to scream.

 The knife was put down.



"Do you understand yet?"



The suspect reluctantly shook his head.



"I appreciate your honesty. You're mine now. You will deliver my property to me. I have the power to keep you alive for as long as necessary, so don't even think there's an easy way out of this..."



The suspect nodded. 


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Murderwork I - Prelude

MURDERWORK - Prelude

Dim, grey morning, same as ever. Cold, black, sugarless coffee. Same as ever. Remnants from last night’s paperwork still scattered across the desk. A sentence, half finished, gasped for completion. Headache incoming, right on time. Tablets somewhere in amongst the confused mess. Grumbled cursing as hands fumbled. Box empty, a second obscenity fell. Wrong box. Papers reassembled, pushed aside. Freeze frame. Getting dull again, he told himself, just as he found the right pills. The doctor kept telling him not to miss a dose.

*



“Benny, we need to talk.”

The sentence danced in his head, myriad voices in chorus. Faces, half-remembered flashed past. Some current, some old, mostly-forgotten people from days he wished he couldn’t remember. A few uncomfortable reminders of lives lived years ago, shadows of who he once was. He growled as he was tapped on the shoulder.

“Benny.”

Boss. Of course. This had happened before. The Discussion. Standard. Too many questions to be batted away in this fragile state. He used to be so strong, what happened?

“I’ve... I’ve told you about the headaches.”

“Benny, that’s not...”

“Not an excuse, you said that before. It’s a medical condition for God’s sake!”

“Benny, that’s not why you’re here.”

Momentary relaxation of muscle groups in the arms. Breathing consciously slowed.

“You’ve got twenty seconds.”

“Ethical killing.”

Dilation of the pupils, flushing of the cheeks. Intentionally suppressed as the realisation hit, but it was too late. Benny was out of practice.

“You’ve got five minutes.”


“The best are ghosts, Benny. It’s like you were never there. I know you were invalided out. I know all about the headaches. We’ve engineered a workaround. We have some... undesirable elements that need to be removed from our organisation. I’m sure you understand.”



The tablet kicked in. Soft breeze flowing through his mind brushed away the pain.

“These pills... where did you get them? They’re a lot stronger than I’m used to.”

A wry smile as his commanding officer paused. Benny fixed his stare, no drop in intensity. The final minute passed.

“Suffice to say that your prescription has changed. We can obtain more, should they be required. Your current medical profile indicates you are at a safe level of consumption.”

No further explanation given. Full briefing expected, but unconfirmed.

*

TAURUS: A former colleague will provide a surprise today. This may lead to an exciting new employment opportunity.

The newspapers always seemed so full of shit. Today was no exception, he thought. Watching the target smoke a cigarette, just yards away, he chuckled to himself.

“BENNY! It’s been years!”

He nodded. Departmental transfer, traffic department, the officer’s graveyard. Pieces of paper driving around, reports circling roundabouts. Benny smiled. He’d never liked this one, and had to hold back from licking his lips.

*

“Sitting comfortably?”

He nodded, slowly. The blindfold always put her off. She preferred to look into his eyes and watch the pain and the fascination. His hands, bound, unable to caress. Seemed such a shame. A light purr as she ran her fingertips across his shoulder. A moan as her nails grazed his wet skin.

“You enjoyed the ice, didn’t you?”


He’d shivered, but the noises from behind the silk in his mouth seemed to prove her right. There was enough time to test him again. Another moan as she bit down on his neck, her lips pressed hard against his skin. It had been like this for an hour. It was always so easy. Sitting on his knee, she decided it had to change.

“You’re going to enjoy this.”

She slid a little closer to him as she whispered. As she leaned close, he turned his head pushing her away. A challenge. Interesting. She reached down to the rope that lashed him to the chair. Nodding, he seemed to relax, his breathing slowing. Her body pressed further against his as she slid forward again. Her hand rose from the rope, up to his neck, scratching his chest as it went. Another suppressed gasp choked back by the silk. Closer, closer still, listening to him, knowing what he wanted. Further back, just to play. Closer. He was getting closer. Her arms around him now, squeezing harder and harder. Her fingers danced around the rope, and his breathing quickened again. Pulling the silk from his mouth, she kissed him.

“Goodnight.”

*

A hand over her mouth matched a tightness around her neck. A whisper came.


“Despite my position, I’m not here to hurt you. In a moment, I am going to let you go, and you are going to leave, quietly. Do you understand?”


A gentle nod.


“Try biting my hand and I’ll break your neck, do you understand?”


Another.

“I have someone outside for you to report to. If you do not co-operate, you will be shot dead. Do you understand?”

A final nod.

Footsteps followed footsteps.

He was still sitting in the chair, hands bound behind his back, blindfold tight, silken gag hanging around his neck. Her voice echoed through the room.


“Hey, Frankie baby... are you ready?”


“Yeah, baby, I’m ready, but you’re going to have to come a little closer...”


“If you say so, officer.”

“What? Who are you?”


The silken gag began to tighten. Closer. It was getting closer. His breath quickened, but he was tied beyond any attempt to struggle. Closer still, the silk squeezed harder and harder. His breathing slowed. Closer. Done.

She was still outside when he left. 


“I’m sorry. Your part in this isn’t over. You will report to us in the morning. Welcome to the team.”

Gallows humour of course. Informant harvesting wasn’t strictly legal, but her fingerprints were all over the silken gag. He began to feel another headache coming on.

“Get in the car.”


As they drove away, he thought about the new pills and wondered if they’d work. Rejection wouldn’t be an option. The prescribed dose at the prescribed time, the doctor had said. Do not exceed stated dose, he’d said. Easier said than done. The side effects were beginning to wear off.

*

The cell was quiet. Perfect for a discreet interview.

“Benny, how come you’re back?”

“We have a few things to discuss, officer. A few... discrepancies... and to think you used to be my supervisor...

*


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Why Dogs Don't Have Offices

Why Dogs Don't Have Offices

Dogs follow sticks and cats don't. Simple enough. What if dogs had stuff to do though?

"Fetch, boy!"

"Oh, for fuck's sake, not again..."

He's pissed off, but already running. He's forgotten what he was supposed to be doing. Now the chase is all that matters, and bringing back what you threw away. How would a dog know if you genuinely just wanted to throw away the stick? It'd be a logistical nightmare. Too much paperwork for a start.

**

Back at the Dog's Office

Sometimes you'll say something and people consider it stupid or offensive, so you being to doubt yourself instead of building skill in conversation. Most of the time, all it really means is you're just talking to the wrong people and there's nothing at all wrong with you, but you've let their way of thinking sway you into thinking that you're no good. They most likely didn't even mean to give you that impression, but what's a dog to do when he's not sure what to retrieve and what to leave thrown away?

Either way, I now have an office full of sticks.