Grace, Ben, and the ducks

7 AM on Saturday.

 It was another Saturday morning and as usual, the sky is blue, the sun is high and it’s so humid when you walk outside the lenses on your glasses get steamy.

Ben jumped on the bed and licked Grace’s face. He needed to go out for a walk before she is ready to leave for work.

“Get off me!” Grace yelled at Ben. He put his little head down and whimpered.

Grace stared at him and then thumped him on the head with her pointer finger. Glaring at Ben and with the most contempt, a person can have said, “If that old witch hadn’t died I wouldn’t have to get up so early and take you for a damn walk. I don’t even like dogs. Cat’s are more my thing. They don’t need anyone. You can get on with your life and leave them to do their thing. Stupid dog.”

With another whimper, Ben jumped down and stared at Grace.

“Stop staring at me!”

With that last yell, Ben walked out of the messy dingy bedroom into the equally messy dingy living room and stood by the front door.

7:15 AM

Grace crawled out of bed, put on some gray sweat pants, pink hoody, brushed her hair and dabbed on a little pink lipgloss.

 She may not want to go out but, she also knows that it’s around this time she runs into Jack. One of her neighbors. Jack is gorgeous and always seems to be leaving on an adventure or coming back from one. Even when he excuses himself for looking scruffy he’s gorgeous. This is about the time he’s leaving for a run.


“You’ve really been standing next to this door since you left the bedroom? Stupid dog,” Grace sneered.

Ben had been standing at the front door. Next to the dent on the door that Grace had made when she threw his food dish at it one evening in a fit of rage when she realized he wasn’t going back to her grandmother’s house.


Ben had been Grace’s grandmother’s dog. Grandma Pearl wasn’t a mean. She was always very loving and kind. She had always wanted the best for Grace and tried to do her best for her.


Grace was an only child. When she and her parents would visit Grandma Pearl she always had all of her favorite foods and she was never at a loss for a new toy or book.  Grace just never cared what kind thing was done for her. She just wanted what she wanted and if she didn’t get it she threw fits and broke things. Like doors, toys, tv’s and on possibly one occasion someone’s arm.


When Grace was sixteen Grandma Pearl did come to realize it was not love that Grace needed. It was a psychiatrist and possibly handcuffs. Grace was just batshit crazy.


Grace finished college and went on to be a nurse. Her parents were quite proud of her. For a while, they weren’t sure what was going to become of her. But, then again, a lot of what she did as a teen could just be put down as “growing pains”?


When Grace was twenty-four her parents passed away, in what seemed like a double suicide. They were found in the garage, in their new two-seater sports car, with the windows rolled up the hosepipe in and the windows taped up.


When the autopsies were done they were found to have both taken enough tranquilizers to make a few very healthy racehorses fall asleep and never wake up.


When the police asked a somewhat not distraught Grace why would two seemingly happy empty nesters with a new sports car and trip booked for France kill themselves? Grace said, “Who knows why old people do what they do? If you’re done I’ll be cleaning up and putting the house up for sale. Oh, and when will the car be released? It’s paid and for so I’ll be having it. You know.. to remember them by.”


Grace put the bright blue leash on Ben and yanked on it to get an already standing Ben out the damaged front door.

As luck would have it Jack was walking down the stairs.

“Hi, Grace. How are you and Ben today?”, he asked.

As always he was gorgeous and getting ready to go out for a run.

“Just taking Benny out for a walk by the little lake by the park. After that, I’m going to work. I’m so tired. Why do I have to work today? The old witch, that does the scheduling, has it in for me. I hate working in that damn care home. I never get to have an entire break to myself. They’re old and sick or sick and old. It’s not as if they notice when I don’t answer their call bells, within the first 2 minutes.” Grace replied.

Jack lied and said, “Well, I’m sure they’re happy to have you there to take care of them. See you later little Benny!”

Grace bent down, picked up Ben’s right paw, made a waving motion with it and said, “Bye Jack!”

And when Jack was out of sight yanked on Ben’s leash, to make sure he knew how much she really does hate him and walked out the building.

Grace and Ben walked down the sidewalk and made their way down the street to Mills Park. Mills Park is three acres and is a popular place for dog walkers. It’s always green and lush and filled with birds and squirrels.

People always stop to bend over and give Ben a rub on his head. “What a sweet little thing.” They would say. Grace would smile back, lie and say how happy she is to have him.

As they reached the park Grace looked down at Ben and said, “Come on stupid. Hurry up and get your business done. It’s freezing out here. That’s why we’re the only ones here except the damn ducks. Is that Jack over there? It looks like him on the exercise equipment.”

Grace waved her arms over her head and yelled, “Hey Jack! Didn’t think we would see you here too!”

“Oh shit. How did she see me!”, Jack asked himself.

And then to Ben, with a small kick to his side Grace said,”  We’ll just stroll over there and say hi when you’re done stupid. Hurry up.”

Ben looked up at Grace with sadness in his eyes. He missed Grandma Pearl.

While Ben was thinking of Grandma Pearl and Grace was smoothing her hair down, a group of ducks flew at them both.

“Agghhh,” Grace screamed and dropped Bens leash.

With this moment of freedom, Ben jumped into the small lake after the ducks. Happily splashing behind them.

Grace screamed at Ben, “Get out of the water you little bastard. I hate you! I’m not coming in to get you!”

Jack heard the screaming and started to walk over. Grace may be a nasty piece of work. But, what would it look like if he didn’t see what was happening?

Grace decided that maybe she should get Ben out of the water. It was getting late and needed to start walking back to the complex to get ready for work. She walked to the edge of the water. “Get out of there you f’ing idiot! Come on.”

By the time Jack got to the lake, Grace was in the water up to her knees and throwing rocks at both the ducks and Ben.  Some of the rocks hit the ducks and some hit little Ben.

Grace finally got a hold of Bens leash and was yanking it. With each pull, Ben would whimper. Jack said, “Stop pulling on his leash. It’s hurting him. He’ll come back in a minute.”

But, Grace kept pulling and cursing at Ben. Grace didn’t care. He knew she was bad. But not this bad. Strangling a dog to get it out of the water.

“I said stop pulling on his leash. He’s just playing with the ducks. He’ll come back!” he screamed.

All of a sudden the ducks grew louder and louder, Ben started to bark and started to paddle back to the water’s edge.

With wide bewildered eyes, “What the hell is going on? What’s that?” he asked.

The ducks flew away and Ben made it back to land.

Grace let out a blood-curdling scream, “Alligator! Help me! Drop the f’ing dog and help me you dumb f..” 

Grace went under the water.

Jack picked up Ben and watched Grace be pulled under the water.

Grace shot back up to the surface and screamed again, “Help me you asshole!”

“What do you think Benny? We stand here in a conundrum. Is doing the right thing to try to go in there and save the evil bitch? Or is the right thing to let nature take its course? What do you think Benny?” asked Jack.

Ben looked up, with his big brown eyes and snuggled into Jack’s warm dry dark blue hoodie.

“What do I do with you, Benny?”

Ben looked up at Jack and licked his face.

Grace’s pink hoodie bobbed to the surface of the lake. Along, with her leash pulling right hand.

“Let’s go home, little buddy,” Jack said with a smile.

9 AM

Text from Maggie: “How in the hell did an alligator get in there?”

Text to Maggie: “Who knows. Sometimes people get these things and then when they start to get too big they dump them. At some point they finally turn up. Here’s the best part, then her tacky little jacket popped up to the top of the water. Along with her hand!”

Text from Maggie: “LOL!! Why can’t exciting things happen to me? I can’t wait to meet Benny”





Jared and Amanda-part 3


Jared screamed a blood-curdling scream of surprise and agony. His left arm had been blown off. Blood soaked the jagged edges of what was left of his blue plaid shirt. He lay on the sidewalk. Eyes wide open, face spattered with blood and gasping for breath.

I said, “Wrong old bitch today. You mean little shit.”  And gave him a kick in the side. Trying to be careful not blood on my new blue tennis shoes.


I’m not even old. I’m not that young.  I’m not old either. But, I’m old enough to know how to configure a remote controllable small explosive device to conceal in a handbag. Not one of my nice designer bags. I’m all for vigilante justice. But, not that much. One that I picked up at the thrift shop for $5. I knew it would come in handy. So, did dating my ex Jack. He’s a good guy. But, he’s so full of himself.  He needs to date someone equally full of herself. No. They would try to kill each other.


  As I was saying, dating Jack, my dad’s military background, he’s really big into self-defense and my fondness for the dark web, I feel like a superwoman!  A girl needs to be able to take care of herself. By any means possible.


Hold on.. my phone is ringing. Well now speaking of Jack.

I said, “Hi there Jacky!”

Jack said, “Hi sweetie. What have you been up to today?”

We’re not together any longer but, we’re great friends.

I said, “Nothin’ much. How are you and what’s going on?”

Jack said, “Everything is going great. I was on an assignment. I’m back in town.”

I asked, “How was it?”

Jack said, “It went perfectly. You know I’m excellent at what I do.”

I told you he’s full of himself.

I asked, “So, what’s up?”

 Jack answered, “Well, I met someone online. Her name is Maggie. She seems perfect.”

I said, “You know no one is perfect Jacky.”

Jack laughed and said, “That’s why I’m calling you. You can dig where I can’t.”

I said, “Oh! You know I love a challenge. Anyone that seems that perfect has got to be batshit crazy.”

Jared & Amanda- Part 2


I walked slowly down the sidewalk stooped over. I knew there had been a string of purse snatching and some stabbings of senior citizens in the past few weeks.

The attacks were happening in the late afternoon and evening.

Imagine just minding your own business and someone grabbing your bag?


Some of us ladies carry our lives in our bags. Your favorite functional wallet filled with pictures of your kids and grandchildren, medication, a nice cozy mystery novel and a small emergency kit with enough things in it to do surgery if needed. Okay, the last item might be an exaggeration. But, I, like most women, love their bags and feel as if everything in it can’t be replaced.


I had just gotten to the street lights in front of the thrift shop when all of a sudden my bag was being torn from my right shoulder. I was knocked to the ground and to add to the horror I was called a very foul name and age shamed.

He screamed at me, “Stupid old bitch!”

Why would you feel the need to further degrade your victim after you’ve taken their belongings?

As he smirked I pulled a small silver flip phone, that was strapped to my left ankle and pressed #248.

Nothing happened at first. I pressed #248 again remembered I had changed it up a little this time. And with that, I pressed #369 and then BOOM!


Jared and Amanda- Part 1


Best. Night. Of. My. F’ng. Life! I got in late. It was Friday night. I think I finally got in around three this morning. School got out early and I went out with five of my best friends to a concert. After that, we went to Oz’s Kebab and ate.  I love that place. I always get the same thing. A doner kebab, salad and apple tea.  I’m a creature of habit.


   Before, I met up with my friends I made, what I like to call, a couple of “OPW’s”. That translates to old people withdrawals. Did I need the money? No. But, why not? It’s easy, fast and it’s a challenge. Well, sort of. It’s not as if it’s hard. It’s a matter of location, targets and hopefully a hip replacement or two. hahaha, I’ve been making OPW’s since I was hmmm about 14 or 15. As I said, it’s not that I need it. But, I want it.


  I’m going out tonight with a girl I met at the concert.  She’s lucky I asked her out. She’s not cute. Buts, she seems like she’s up for anything.  It’s like she won the dating lottery. I’m bored. Everyone has gone out. I think I’ll go out and make a withdrawal. I’m going to pick her up at 9:00. So, there’s time.


   There’s a bingo hall on 56th and Bradshaw. It’s my favorite ATM. hahaha


   You May be wondering why I act the way that I do. I’m not from a “bad” neighborhood. I wasn’t abused. I come from a two parent household. I go to a very prestigious private school. I got a brand new Range Rover for my 16th birthday. I have friends and family that love me. Sooo. No. I have no excuse to why I act the way that I do. I’m just a mean little shit. hahaha


Jack – part 7

    The next morning I heard some commotion outside. I walked out to find the police, office workers and apartment people. Carmel was amongst them.

    She ran over to me and said, “Did you hear anything last night?”

    I said, “No. What happened?” With my most fake quizzical look.

    Carmel said, “Joe and Steve. They’ve been killed. Someone stabbed them both!”

With my best fake shocked looked I said, “Noooo. Wow. Who would do such a thing?”

(Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I accept this award for best male actor  lead in a drama!)

   With a non faked shocked face, Carmel said, “I don’t know. I heard the music last night. It was loud. But, that’s normal. I was waiting so that I could call security. But, it went off. So, I just watched tv and chatted online to my friend in Turkey.”

    With my continued wide-eyed fake look of shock, I said, “I kept saying this place is dangerous. I know that they always had the music up. But, that’s no reason to kill someone.”   I really need to take some acting classes. I almost believed myself just then.

  Carmel continued, “Did you hear about the murders in the big blue building downtown? Someone had to have scaled the building to get inside and murder the CEO of that company that’s been charged with all of those crimes out of the country.”

   I shook my head and said, “I don’t watch the news. It’s just too depressing.”  Well, to someone it is. Just not me.

   Carmel said, “He was charged with such horrible things that they thought it was a hit man that did it. They closed the airports and train station. And now this! The police found drugs. They think they were dealers and it was one of those deals gone wrong things.  I can’t wait to move away.”

   See why I said you never just leave after you’re finished with assignments? I’m far too pretty for jail. Ha-ha

   I told Carmel I was moving out. It’s just far too dangerous to be staying here.

   I said, “I’m glad you’re leaving too. With what happened to Joe and Steve. It’s just so random. It could have been me or you.”

   Carmel said, with wide frightened eyes, “I know!”

   Three days later I walked by Steve and Joes old place to knock on Carmel’s door.

   I said, “I’m leaving. I just wanted to say goodbye to you. I hope you have wonderful safe travels to Turkey.”

  Carmel said, “I hope it’s everything I think it will be. I also hope the students like me.”

   I said, “They will love you and you will have many many amazing adventures.”

   Carmel gave me a hug and said goodbye.

   My next assignment will be a bit closer to home. Thank goodness. I’m looking forward to going home and meeting Maggie. I really do hope she’s as normal as she seems.

Jack – part 6

      Twenty minutes later we were on the sites instant messaging page and chatting away. Of course, my part of the conversation always has to be a bit guarded. There’s only so much I can say. I usually tell people that I’m a contractor for a private company. When people have problems I go and take care of them.

   I asked Maggie, “What do you like to do for fun?”

   Maggie said, “I took a mechanic class. Nothing serious. Just the basics. So that I could take care of myself and others if I need to. I also like botany and learning about plants and their uses. You’d be amazed at all of the things you can do with them.”

    I asked, “what is the useful thing you’ve used a plant for?”

   Maggie said, “ohh if I told you, I’d have to kill you. Ha-ha!”

   Maggie asked me, “Your work sounds like it might be fun. Tell me about your most recent job.”

  I said, “If I told you I would have to kill you.” Maggie laughed.

  I said, “Seriously. I totally would.” Maggie laughed even harder.

Because I seriously would. Maggie seems like a nice girl. The plant thing seems interesting. I would hate to have to Steve and Joe her.

We’re planning on meeting when I leave this hovel and go back to civilization. 

   I know you’re always taking chances when meeting people online. But, people can be crazy that you meet in person too. 

Jack – part 5

    I walked to the front door. I knocked. Knowing the music would be turned down so I knocked again and said, “Hello, this is Mark from the front office.” They always open the door for the front office. I know this from experience from Carmel telling me that she had someone from the office come over. They knocked on their door and they opened it. Steve told them he was adjusting the bass.

     As I was crossing the street I kept thinking, “should I show them who I am or just leave the mask on?” I decided that I want to get the full effect. Steve opened the front door. I know I sound mean but, when he opened the door and he saw the black mask I thoroughly enjoyed watching his dead eyes get very alive.

I pulled my mask up and said, “Hey Steve!”

 Joe heard Steve’s gasp and looked around the corner from the bathroom area.

I said, “Hey Joe!”

     I turned my attention back to Steve and said “I really tried to be nice to you. I tried to be nice to you and do the right thing. But, now I have to do the other thing.”

      I pulled out a kitchen knife. I like this brand. It’s advertised as professional quality stainless steel with a cutting edge nonstick coating that makes slicing easier. I was counting on that.

     I then pulled my mask back down, grabbed Steve firmly by the back of the head and I’ll leave out the gory bits. But, now he has an actual reason to have those dead eyes. Ha-ha

    I closed the door. With the music still thumping I then ran towards Joe. He closed the bathroom door and screamed, “Please don’t kill me!” I kicked the door in. Places with paper thin walls tend to have doors that seem to be made out of cardboard boxes.

    Joe screamed again, “Please, don’t kill me. Help me! Someone Help Me!”

    Joe was standing in the shower holding a bar of soap. If you had ever met Steve and Joe you wouldn’t know they actually owned a bar of soap. Never mind used one. He threw it at me. Goodness.

    Joe said, “Someone will hear me and come!”

   I said, “No one will hear you over that thumping. So, please, continue screaming.”

    And then I sent Joe to the everlasting shower in the sky. Maybe, I shouldn’t make assumptions that he or Steve will actually go towards the light. I have a feeling they’ve been such shits in this life that they may now be playing hide and seek with satans little helpers. 

   Okay, maybe they will go to the great beyond and be shown the errors of their ways and be sent back to earth to be given another chance to become “good people”.

  Nahh, they’re fucked. Ha-ha 

    I turned the music off. Took a look around for a minute. The mess was indescribable. I always say like attracts like. They were equally disgusting.

    I went back the way I came into the complex. Back into the market, grabbed a bag of groceries from Gloria, so that the cameras would see that I actually did go for a reason. Got back into my apartment, put my groceries away. There really were groceries in there. A nice bottle of red, blue cheese and a nice steak. Didn’t Gloria do well?

I sat back down, had a sip of wine, a bite of cracker and responded to Maggie. She isn’t the prettiest of people. But, she seems simple, normal and interesting.

Jack – part 4

     I filled out my profile, added some pictures and joined. I then scrolled down the profiles and women in the age range and city that I’m looking for. Not here of course. I would rather drink bleach. Within the first five minutes, my inbox started to fill. I found a few ladies. One, in particular, seems okay. Even though I’m considered a very good looking guy, I can’t say that I care so much about looks as I do a personality. The city I actually live has some of the best plastic surgeons in the country.  As I like to say, “God made you and plastic surgeons” Not very catchy. But, I like it.

     As I sat there getting ready to respond to one particularly interesting looking woman the thumping started. I just wanted to sit down with a glass of wine, crackers, and cheese and look for a soul mate.  I got up, put on my work clothes, black pants, turtleneck, gloves and my favorite neoprene full face mask that’s made for comfort. Over those, I put on a pair of gray sweat pants and sweatshirt. I shoved the mask in my pocket and headed out.  Now do I want to be up close and personal?  Orrrr do I want to be back and keep it clean? Oh, the conundrum. I finally decided on up close and personal.

     I walked out of my apartment, locked the door and walked across the street to the market. I’ve done this before in the day time. You have to run across four lanes of two-way traffic. But, it’s quite convenient. Doing this also makes sure that you’ve been seen on the cameras of the parking lot and in front of the building. There are no cameras that actually face the apartment’s hallways and front doors. I’m assuming it’s for privacy. There’s also no security on site, until eight pm. Of all the places that should need full-time security, it’s this place. It’s only seven thirty.

     I got to the other side of the street and walked into the market. Said,” hello” to the Gloria, that’s always in the floral department, down the produce aisle, past the poultry, and out the back exit. Left my sweat pants and shirt next to the door, pulled my mask down and walked away. There is a reason that I was set up in the nasty apartment complex.   After saying “hello” to Gloria she bent down to the panel below the counter and turned the angle of the cameras to face the middle of the store. Most major markets have at least one of our people in there. Very handy. I walked out back, went around the side of the market, crossed back over the street down the side road that leads to empty abandoned office buildings. I then hopped over the fence that is directly at the back of the apartments. It is pitch black. I told you this place is dangerous. There was no one around. I kept to the darkened areas that anyone can be hiding to jump out and mug you. Which are most of the areas. As I neared the front of my apartment I could still hear the damn thumping of the music. You can hear it from outside their front door. Now imagine being on the other side of the wall that the speakers are next to. I really do hate Steve and Joe.

   I stopped, picked up a rock and threw it at the light bulb. I kid you not, there’s just an uncovered light bulb that lights up the front walkway for our row of apartments.  It’s not just dangerous here it’s also plain tacky.

   The rock hit the bulb and sent the entire walkway into complete darkness.

Jack – part 3

   As I explained earlier, the walls are like a piece of paper. On one side of the wall is the parking lot. On the other of the paper lie Steve and Joe. When I was first assigned to this squalor of a complex, I didn’t hear anything. And one night the music started. I can’t even say it began as a low hum and then went up from there. It just started and ended in loud horrendous thumbing bass. It began at 10 pm and went until 10:30. At that time I thought to myself, that it was a one-off thing and it can’t surely be a normal thing. Until it started again at 3:30 AM!  As much as I wanted to scream and bang on the wall I had to remember that I am on assignment. It doesn’t pay to bring attention to yourself. So, I let it go.

   Two days later when I was sitting at my laptop, having my morning cappuccino and it began. Thumping. It was 10:30 AM!!  Who in the hell is even home to listen to anything like that in the morning?  I thought to myself that if I’m a “regular person” living here what’s unusual about a “regular person” knocking on the door of ones neighbor and asking politely to please turn the music down? So I did. What met me at the door was a thin dead-eyed young man who looked to be no more than 20 standing there with no shirt, dirty wrinkly khaki walking shorts hanging at least 6 inches below his underwear. Good Lord.

   I tried to take a quick look around.  I could make out a large bed and the kitchen. I’m not sure how he managed it but, the place was absolutely pitch black. How did he get it to be this dark at this time of the morning? It was June and sunny as hell outside. Somewhere, in the dark of night in the day time, I heard someone say “who is it?”

  That was Joe. How did I know it was Joe? Because Steve said, “How the hell do I know Joe?”

I said, “Hi, my name is Brad.”  I think Brad is a nice fake name. It’s simple and easy to remember.

 Steve said, “I’m Steve”

I said, “I just moved in next door. Do you think you could please turn your bass down, just a wee bit?”

With his signature dead-eyed expression, Steve said “ugghh sure.”

I said, with a big smile and overly enthusiastic neighborly, “Thanks so much. And if you ever hear my tv turned up too loud, please feel free to let me know!”

Steve said, “ugghh sure.” With that, the door closed in my face. I felt successful in my pretense of being a “regular person” that all went well. 

    Part of my career training was on body language and facial expressions.  From Steve’s bored as hell expression I knew damn well that wasn’t the end. But, I was busy keeping a low profile and learning how to get in and out of where I needed to be in a week’s time.

   Two evenings later I had just gotten back from surveillance. I was standing outside of my horrible rental when a pretty girl walked  by and said “Hi” 

  I said, “Hi. My name is Brad and I’m new in town. Do you know of anywhere to get something good to eat? I’m feeling like something different. No burgers or anything like that.”

She said, “Nice to meet you, Brad. My name’s Carmel. There’s a good Turkish place on Broadway. It’s called, ‘Taste of Kofte’. I love Turkish food. I may be going to Turkey to teach English in a few months.”

I said, “Thank you, Carmel. As I said I just moved into this town and complex. I know it’s not nice to say but, I didn’t think there was any actual culture or good food.

Carmel said, “I know. The place is a bit of ummm well. It’s a place. Some of the people are actually very nice. Then there are the others. I live in number 37 and the two guys next to me are just creepy and loud.”

I said, “I live in number 35. I had the pleasure of meeting both Steve and Joe.” 

Carmel said, “I’m sorry. I keep thinking they’ll leave. But, they never do. Anyway, I’ll leave you alone to go and have dinner. It was nice to meet you, Brad.”

I said, “It was nice to meet you to Carmel. Hopefully, Steve and Joe will leave and it’ll be nice and quiet for us both.”

   That week came and went. During that week I saw Carmel a few times as well. She looked tired and sad. She said that the noise had gotten her down from next door. I had to knock on Joe and Steve’s front door at least four times. They stopped coming to the door by the fourth time. I then took to banging on the wall. I hate Steve and Joe more than I thought I could actually hate two people that live next door. I realized by the third time I banged on the front door and heard the whispering, as the music went down and then up again, that this was a game.

  During this time, I also completed my assignment, expertly of course. I didn’t leave town. That would look too obvious. When certain assignments are completed it’s best to stay in the area. There tends to be a lockdown. No coming and no going.

 Since I had some down time I decided that maybe I’ve been alone too long. Maybe, it’s time for me to, at least, meet a nice girl. Smart, kind, funny.


Jack – part 2



     Training was incredible. I was picked up by a limousine and taken to a private plane. We landed on an island somewhere in the Pacific. You’ll excuse me if I don’t go into too much detail. It’s not as if what I do is a regular job. As the joke goes, “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you” ha-ha 

       I have to say that I enjoyed every moment of it. Getting up before dawn, running, target practice, practical out in the field training, camaraderie of fellow recruits and the new lifelong friendships I’ve made.  The new skills that I have learned made me the man that I knew I always was. A good and righteous man that always does the right thing. Until I have to do the other thing. 

      As per usual, I ended up being in the top 10 percent of the new trainees. It has been more than 10 years and I am still very proud of that accomplishment.  I have been on many assignments, traveled to every continent and rid the world of many of what we in my career field call “unsuitables.”

“Unsuitables” are exactly what they sound like.   I am specifically trained for one thing. I, like my colleagues, are sourced out to get rid of problematic “unsuitables.” 

      At this very moment, I am on assignment in a major city. It’s actually about 15 minutes from where I grew up. I am staying in a large apartment complex. From the outside, it looks like an old hotel. But, I was told by management, that it has always been apartments. It’s not the type of place that I’m used to. I am typically moved into a beautiful luxury hotel suite with all mod coms and 24-hour room service, masseuse on call, a sparkling Olympic sized pool and a very fast European sports car to drive.

     Here, the walls are paper thin and I am sure that the only thing that separates me from my upstairs neighbor is a plank of wood. My neighbors, on the other side of the paper wall, have no courtesy when it comes to noise levels. 

     I’m almost directly across from the pool. On a hot day, I see people go in and never come out. They’re in there all day. Someone may bring them drinks and food. But, they just don’t leave the pool. Therefore, I’m sure the pool has been used as a public toilet. And,  I’ve been given something to drive that I’m sure won’t pass a smog test. 

    This place is why they made the sad-faced emoji.

     I can’t say that it’s been all bad though. There are people here that I will honestly miss when my assignment is finished. There’s Pam that lives upstairs. I met Pam, one morning, coming down the stairs right out front of my place. I knew it had to be her because I could hear something rolling across my ceiling and followed the noise to the front door, heard the front door close behind them. It was Pam. She was wheeling down a small suitcase. I asked her if I could be of any help. She screamed, “Stop trying to steal my bag!”  I was taken aback a bit.  I assured her that I was only being a gentleman.  She finally stopped trying to hit me with her purse. She scowled at me, hissed the word “freak” and walked to her car. 

     I then met Larry. He’s told me he’s lived here for the past 10 years. I tried to not look shocked. I swear I can’t do 10 months here. He knows everything and everyone’s business. I’m not the sort of person to enjoy sitting around gossiping. But, I need to fit in and I did learn all about my next door neighbors. Steve and Joe.

     I hate Steve and Joe.