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Snake Eyes

by bellsgall 

Posted: 06 November 2015
Word Count: 620

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I got the job through a friend. He knew I was discreet, and he knew I would get the job done. No questions asked. I'd met him in a bar, it was one I knew of, but usually tried to avoid. You know the kind: one of those dark dingy places where eyes follow you everywhere you go, and people talk in hushed voices. Dirty deals, hidden by fugs of cigarette smoke and the vapours from sour mash whiskey.
He saw me before I saw him, greeted me like a long-lost brother, even though we’d only spoken on the ‘phone. I wondered, who’s he trying to kid? In a place like this, no-one cares what deal you’re doing. They’re all doing something.
He ordered me a drink, and before I’d tasted the burn at the back of my throat, he’d laid his cards out; told me what he wanted me to do. Immediately I understood his urge for discretion. And I wanted those cards as much as he did.
I waited. Took another mouthful of the whiskey and put the glass down slowly on the table. Inside I was churning like a teen on his first date. But on the outside, cool and collected. A true professional.
I looked him straight in the eye. “This is big.” I said.
He nodded, “Yea, I know.”
“You know how protected she is? No-one gets near her. Not even her own mother.” I paused. “It’ll cost you.”
He didn’t miss a beat. “My client is prepared for that. Whatever it takes. He’s wanted this for a long time.”

I hoped he didn't feel that bead of sweat on my palm when we shook to seal the deal. I didn’t want him to think I was scared. He trusted me to keep my nerve and freaking out before the job's even started doesn't give out the right signals. There was a lot at stake here. This was bigger than anything I’d ever done before, and we both knew it. I wouldn’t get a second chance. 

 Before I knew it I was back out on the street, deal done. Sunlight burned at the back of my eyes as I adjusted from the dark fug of the bar. I could have imagined the whole thing, except for the business card pushed into my hand, with a single ‘phone number scribbled on it. My only contact for when the job was done.
I lit a cigarette with a shaking hand and pondered my fate. I’d just been handed the Holy Grail. Get this right and I’d be set for life, my name known and respected by all who mattered. The thing was getting it right.
I tailed her for weeks. Every minute of every day I thought of nothing but her. And I waited for my moment, that single opportunity. The only one I was sure I would get. But I was nothing if not patient, in my game it was half the fight. Knowing when to strike and waiting for the right time to do it. I knew my chance would come. She’d let her guard down for just one moment, and I would be ready, waiting when she did.

So now I'm sitting in the dark, the only light is from the tip of my cigarette. This is my moment; I can feel it from the pit of my stomach. Anticipation fizzes like electricity all around me. Any. Minute. Now. A door opens and instinctively I duck into the shadows. She steps out, alone, for seconds only. My mind clears and I know what I have to do, what I was born to do.

I raise the camera to my eye, and smile. Easy money.

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Comments by other Members

TassieDevil at 19:16 on 06 November 2015  Report this post
Hi bellsgall,
Nothing wrong with using an old story in my opinon. I do it as well. I believe that the most important thing is contributing something to the weekly challenge on FF. Not everyone dreams up a new story every time. Nevertheless these challenges do sometimes inspire. I recently sold a Flash story written especially for challenge in April this year..
That said, on with the comments. 

I got the job through a friend. He knew I was discreet, and he knew I would get the job done. No questions asked. I'd met him in a bar, it was one I knew of, but usually tried to avoid. You know the kind: one of those dark dingy places

I have to watch the overuse of this word myself. 
I did enjoy the start, right into the questions that dragged me into the story. True it was along a misleading path but how was I to realise that? There was a comfortable aire of the Philip Marlow or that old TV show Dragnet. No names. clipped sentences. Lovely. And a subtle twist to finish it off. Nice one..


Desormais at 16:16 on 07 November 2015  Report this post
I could almost hear the voice of the narrator in this, and the dialogue was very convincing.  Nice turn at the end, makes a change for something to turn out better than you fear it's going to.  :)  Good job.  And I echo Alan's sentiments re using the site as a testing grounds for future work.  Some of my best stuff started life on here.

BryanW at 20:10 on 07 November 2015  Report this post
Thank you for deciding to enter this, Bellsgal. I don't recognise the piece, so it must have been before my time on WriteWords.
I really enjoyed the Chandleresque style - mixing long and short sentences - and the jotted, knowing, short sentences at the end of paragraphs help to define the arrogant, always vigilant (perhaps anxious) narrator. That he ends up as a paparazzi photographer (a papparazzo?) is a lovely twist. Some smart images: " ...before I’d tasted the burn at the back of my throat, he’d laid his cards out;"  "...only light is from the tip of my cigarette." 
Builds up really well, too - he had moved in my mind from being a detective to a hit-man - so the ending worked very well.

Bazz at 22:30 on 07 November 2015  Report this post
Hi Bellsgall, nice noir tone here, great smoky atmosphere at the beginning. I like that you take it somewhere unexpected, cuts brilliantly through something that could be a bit familiar. The language you use here is quite clever, we think he's scared, we think its a big job, but its just nerves, its just the fame of the "target." Nicely done, and a very sharp piece of flash.

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