It was twilight when he arrived.
The crowd standing outside the club didn’t even see him walk past them.
He went straight to the back and kicking the door open punctured the smiling face of Benito Grillini with so many bullets he was unrecognisable when they found him.
His wife stood for some time staring down at his body before she vomited and wiping her mouth on the hem of her Gucci dress said ‘get the bastard who did this’.
By that time Jack Slick had already returned to his immaculate flat and was pouring himself a glass of whisky.
He sat down and made the call.
He hung up and stood staring out at the silver skyline where birds wheeled in unutterable space devoid of all humanity.
As he gazed out at the river’s stretch beneath him Mimi Grillini was getting undressed.
She removed her silk skirt and stood in her underwear as her lover lay on the bed admiring her full figure.
‘Alberto’, she said, ‘I told you I would get rid of him.’
He took a long satisfied drag on his cigarette, admiring the swing of her tits as she undid her bra and said ‘no one suspected?’
And so she lay down to soil her silk sheets.
The next morning as the sun rose Jack checked his bank account.
He left his flat as Mimi got into the shower and washed Alberto from her skin.
Then she dressed and went to her lunch appointment, wearing dark glasses and the slouched gait of the grieving widow.
When she had milked the support of her friends she returned home and fixed herself a martini before calling Alberto.
‘Get here in an hour’, she said and hung up.
He was late and her greeting left him in no doubt about her displeasure.
‘What fucking time do you call this?’
‘I don’t like being spoken to like that’, he said.
There was a moment’s square off as she stared at him and he ran a hand through his thick black hair.
Then she reached out a hand and unzipping his flies said ‘come on I want you. Fuck me in his bed, screw me until I come on his memory.’
Afterwards as they lay there he looked at her.
Her face was perfectly rigid, like some carving of a woman without any trace of emotion whatsoever.
‘This guy you’ve got’, he said.
‘There’s no way anyone could find out?’
‘He never met me.’
‘We’re in this fifty-fifty.’
She ran her hand down his chest.
‘You’ll get your cut.’
‘People are asking questions.’
‘Like how the killer knew he was there at that time.’
‘Just keep that pretty mouth shut. Now stop needling me’, she said and turned over to sleep.
When she awoke it was getting dark and Alberto had left.
She turned resentfully in the empty bed and got up.
She made some dinner, opened a bottle of wine, walked about her huge and empty mansion and fell into a comatose sleep on the sofa where she awoke to feel a gloved hand on her neck.
She was choking and could see a face but the features were too indistinct in the darkened room.
There was another man in the background.
She was losing consciousness and lay very still until he relaxed his grip.
She disguised her breathing and listened to them rummaging through drawers.
‘She keeps them in there.’
She knew the voice and it chilled her.
And as Alberto removed her banking files and handed them to his accomplice she reached for the gun in the drawer beside her.
They were talking and their backs were turned as she took aim.
‘Stupid bitch’, Alberto said, ‘does she really think I want to screw an old dog like her?’
‘Women like her don’t think. They live in a bubble, getting their own way until they’re too old and someone removes them from their path.’
The figure speaking caught the flash of metal in the moonlight streaming in through the window and he pulled his piece so quickly that Alberto didn’t even register the movement until he heard the muffled shot.
Mimi slumped back on the sofa spreading a dark trail of blood on the fine fabric.
‘Hand me those files’, he said, putting his piece away.
‘Well, I won’t have to fuck her again’, Alberto said. ‘She thought she still had something. But she was worn out and smelt of decay. Without Benito she was nothing.’
‘She was no better than a fucking whore.’
‘We got this one worked out don’t we?’, Alberto said.
‘She would never have guessed, her vanity let her down. That the lot?’
Alberto watched as his accomplice removed a small leather case from his pocket. He opened it and pulled out a needle. It was long and silver in the moonlight.
He walked over to where Mimi lay and calmly threading the tool ran it through her lips, which he pressed together in a soft gesture that was both erotic and absurd. She looked like a duck.
As Mimi’s lips were sewn shut, the tip of her pink tongue protruded slightly, bringing to Alberto’s mind the last time he screwed her.
His accomplice tied the cotton and stood back.
‘There, now they’ll know it was her who betrayed him.’
Alberto looked at her a while before they left.
Outside the moon was bright and full as Jack Slick drove them to his flat where they sat and drank whisky.
Jack reached over and ran his hand through Alberto’s hair. Then he pulled his face towards him and kissed him on the mouth.
‘We got a great thing going ‘, Alberto said. ‘No one would ever suspect us.’
‘Business is good and sex is even better’, Jack said, looking down at the files. ‘I’ll hang this out to wash, you’ll like the Cayman Islands.’
Copyright © 2010, Richard Godwin. All rights reserved.
This is my entry in Needle’s First Flash Fiction Challenge.