Sheila did not look like a hired killer. Not that Paul really knew what a hired killer looked like. His old hired killer, “Mr. Smith,” had been totally anonymous, so Paul had never even met Mr. Smith.
Sheila looks more like a suburban mother than anything, Paul thought. She was short. She was a bit pudgy, as if she’d eaten too many cookies she’d baked for the family cookie jar. She wore a faded sweatshirt and jeans. Outside, he could see her SUV, which would look at home in the school parking lot on open house night.
Looks aside, she was worth a try. Particularly since Mr. Smith had rather inconveniently decided now was the time to retire. Roger, Paul’s cousin, used Sheila and thought highly of her. “She delivers excellent value for my assassination dollar,” he’d said.
“I know. And I don’t have the money to hire someone like you full-time.” Although it would be handy—it seemed he’d been contracting a lot of killings the last year.
“Very good. We understand each other. Now, can you give me the information about the person who is causing problems?”
“Yes.” Paul got up and walked over to his safe. “As you requested, I have prepared a box that contains full instructions and payment.”
Paul opened the safe and pulled out a box. He placed it on a nearby table and shut the safe door. Suddenly, something caught the corner of his eye. He turned to face Sheila. She was now standing and holding a gun pointed at him.
“Ah…what are you doing with that gun?”
“I already told you: I’m an independent professional. You hired me to do a job. I’ll do it. But first, I’m doing another job I was hired for.”
She pulled the trigger.
“Thank you. Well, if you will excuse me, I’ve got another job to do. It’s a busy week.”
They got up and headed to the door.
A thought hit Roger: Paul was thinking of hiring Sheila a few days ago. From what he said, he had a huge problem. Whoever was causing him that problem might cause me problems now.