One Last Job. Short Story.

Ugh.

Just.

Ugh.

I’m sick. All drippy mucous and dizziness (sexy eh?)

The dizziness is that feeling when your drunk that everything is just slightly off kilter but without the funner side effects of being drunk.

Bleh.

_________________________________________________________________________

Adam had gotten the assignment two days before. Two days since he was given the order to kill his own mother, two days since his final visit with her began.

It was nice. Sure, it was probably a fucked up thing to think, but it really was. He had spent years travelling the world, never settling down for too long. He had a house but it was empty most of the year. His mother used to nag him about it, that he should settle down, give her some grandkids. She’d never get to see that happen now.

He didn’t really understand it, she wasn’t anyone after all. There was no reasons given, sometimes it was easy to see, the target was a prick, a murderer, fucked with the wrong people, but not his mother. She was kind, generous, always smiling. She couldn’t have pissed off the wrong people, she wouldn’t even know the wrong people. Still. It was his job. He had some professional pride. He didn’t revel in it like some of the sick fucks in the industry, but he was good at what he did, he was the best. The instructions had told him to make it look like a botched robbery. He’d do it, but he’d make it quick. That was the least he could do for her.

Adam sat at the kitchen table, the same kitchen table he’d eaten thousands of dinners at, the same kitchen table he used to do his homework on. His mother would help him, leaning over his shoulder, her long hair tickling his cheek and just the faintest whiff of her perfume. He took a sip of coffee. He was waiting. His mother had gone out and now the countdown was ticking. He had three days in which to kill her. He’d postponed it as long as possible, it was kill or be killed. Besides, she was getting older now, her hip was starting to act up again, she didn’t go out that often. Sometimes he had wondered if maybe she was depressed. It was always a thought at the back of his mind, occasionally it would occur to him while they were on the phone, but there was no real way to broach it. She didn’t have many friends left, and she had been a bit subdued since his dad died three years before. He tried to stop in as often as he could, but it was never as often as he liked. When they talked she used to tell him about her day, about the people she knew, the general gossip, but over the weeks and months her details became scant, she would avoid answering questions, try to find more about him. He felt bad lying to her but it was already second nature. He was surprised he hadn’t noticed that she was putting him off, trying to redirect the conversation, but why would he look out for things like that? She was his mother, she wouldn’t lie to him.

He sighed and took another drink. He was really going to do it, no matter what he felt about it personally, it was just another job. He could try to convince himself she was depressed, that she was going to die soon anyway, it wouldn’t make a difference. Could he live with himself after this? Not just the death of his mother, but giving up his career? He didn’t have any hobbies, not really, they were all just an extension of work. What would he do with his days? He couldn’t just get a regular job, beyond it being soul destroying and mind numbing, he couldn’t put anything on his CV. He’d been killing for fifteen years now, fifteen years was a helluva long resume gap. He looked around the kitchen, virtually unchanged since he was a child. Was this what he had to look forward to? Sitting alone in a kitchen, wondering what he’d done with his life? He shook his head.

No.

He was just a little blue about the last contract, but it was time to be strong about it. He needed to get the job done like he always had. He drained the last of the coffee from the cup and stood from the table, it was time to prepare.

June entered the kitchen, walking slowly. Her goddamned hip was aching, a deep, steady throb. She hobbled to the table and emptied out the bag, putting away the few things she had bought in the shops. Adam had offered to drive her to the market, but she wanted to go herself, he was a good boy, but she wanted a little space. She hadn’t expected him to visit, why would he? He was off jetting around the world with that fancy job of his, he never visited anymore. It was terrible timing really, but that couldn’t be helped. She turned, then jumped slightly. “Oh, hello dear, I thought you were out. I got a few bits in for dinner, but I’m craving a bit of take away, maybe Chinese? The place I like doesn’t deliver to here though, would you mind picking it up? I thought we could…Adam? Are you ok?”

“Yeah mom, I’m fine. Sorry. Just a little distracted.”

She frowned at him for a second, “Well, if you have to jet off again, don’t worry, I know you’ve a stressful job.” She smiled at him, “will you be able to stay the night?”

“No, I don’t think I can.”

“That’s a pity, but surely you’ll eat something before you go? You didn’t eat much at lunch today and… Adam, is everything ok? You don’t look very well and I….oh…it’s you, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

June shook her head. “Those bastards. Those absolute bastards.”

“Mom!”

“Well. They are.” She dropped the bag onto the table and lowered herself into a chair. Adam stared at his mother, that was the first time he’d ever heard her curse. He shook his head, his mother knew, knew someone was coming.

“They didn’t tell me who it’d be. I was so worried when you arrived. Feared that you’d get caught in the cross fire or something.”

“You paid them?”

“Yes. It was me.”

“Why?”

She sighed. “I was diagnosed with cancer three months ago. I know I don’t have long left, but I couldn’t allow myself to live like that. Not after seeing what it did to your grandmother. With your father gone it’s just too much. I don’t want to end up in lying in a hospital, machines doing everything for me as I cling to life. I don’t want to go out like that. I can’t. I thought this would be best. I’m sorry. I knew it would be hard on you, but I had to be sure. I didn’t want them to find me, hanging from something. It seemed better this way. Less shameful.”

Adam sat across from her, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t want to burden you I guess.” She brushed away a tear, “load of good that did. There’s insurance money. If I” she took a breath, “If I had killed myself you wouldn’t have gotten it, the hospital bills would have eaten it all, I didn’t want you to have to pay for anything. I’m sorry that I put you in this position. I know how it works. They told me it would be certain. I didn’t know they’d send you. You know that right? I really didn’t know.”

“I know mom, I know. I’m here, I’m not going to leave you.”

He stood from the table and walked around it, there he bent and hugged her, she was trembling, crying. He took a deep breath and pulled the gun from his holster.

He could make it quick for her at the very least.

 

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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