Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 411 - Jim Wisneski


As soon as I got into the dirty yellow cab, I knew I was going to kill the driver. It had been the tenth cab I’d been in that day and I could tell the driver was worn and tired. In my business we call that ‘opportunity’. Some guys call it a ‘Golden Ticket’ but I’m not in the business of making up silly sayings. I’m in the business of killing.

I did, however, feel bad for the driver. Not because he didn’t know that in the next ten minutes he’d die - that part is the thrill of it all for me. I felt bad because he wasn’t scheduled to die. Nobody was paying me for it. He didn’t ‘deserve’ it according to any contracts or handshakes. The driver was going to die because I needed a set of wheels and some cash to buy a plane ticket. It was like walking behind an ant knowing you’re going to step on it with your next step - the ant doesn't know. It was a tiny ping to the heart and stomach, but that was it, just a tiny ping.

I was sent on a kill and found myself in a really tight spot. That in itself is another story but I will say that it wasn't the first time I was in a tight spot. I had to think fast, act faster, and get on a plane.

I told the driver to head towards a part of town where the buildings were empty. I wasn’t concerned about hiding the body, I just needed him to die and die fast. If it involved yelling or shooting, I needed to be far away from other people. For all I cared he could die in the parking lot as I sped away with his cab. I had a boss to report back to within twenty four hours. Once I checked in, confirmed the kill was made via a polaroid in my pocket, my boss could take care of this cabbie situation. If I didn’t show up, then I’d be killed.

Thankfully the driver didn’t talk to me. I didn’t need to get personal with someone that I’d be killing. Especially since there was no cash involved. Cash is like the catalyst for a little emotional button inside myself. The only thing that bothered me was the guy had a wallet-sized photo stuck in the dashboard of himself and who I assumed to be his wife and two kids. I felt sorry for them but shit happens. It’s no different than if he blew a tire and hit a telephone pole and died. Hell, with what I had planned, if the guy cooperated, he wouldn’t feel a thing. But that wasn’t in my hands. It was in his.

I saw the bent street sign coming up. The cabbie would take a left, go half a mile, and be in an empty parking lot. I’d tell him to stop and then present the gun. My plan was to push him into the passenger seat and shoot him in the temple. It would all happen before he knew what was happening and the mess wouldn’t be so bad. See, if I just shot him in the back of the head, the windshield would get all messy. And I did not have time to mess around with cleaning up brains and skull. It had to be quick and somewhat clean.

The cabbie turned left and I felt my heart start to jump. It was such a thrill. And that’s when I saw her. Walking down the street. Naked. I couldn’t help but look. She was beautiful. And completely naked. She wasn’t hurt or anything, either. She walked with a great stride down the sidewalk. She acted like she was dressed or that it was okay to just walk down the street naked. I looked back to the cab driver but he was focused on the road. I admired his commitment to his job. Plus, I figured he was probably wondering where the hell I was taking him. I didn’t care, though. I turned around and stared out the back window. I’d seen a lot of weird shit in my time but nothing like that. Then the woman stopped walking and turned around. She put her hands on her hips and smiled at me. I didn’t even realize that the cab had stopped. I didn’t even realize I was being set up. Not until I heard the click of the hammer of a gun.

“He doesn’t like people in ‘tight spots’,” the cabbie said in a rough voice. How my boss thousands of miles away knew that I was in a ‘tight spot,’ I’d never know. The naked woman blew a kiss at me and started to laugh. I was surprised that I got to see that much before the cabbie pulled the trigger.

BIO: Jim lives in Pennsylvania and has been published in many anthologies including Flash!, Elements of Horrors, Diamonds in the Rough, and Inner Fears. Other stories have been published in Flashes in the Dark, Twisted Dreams, Pow! Fast Flash Fiction, among many others. He doesn’t sleep, drinks lots of coffee, and listens to Guns ’n Roses. Jim’s web site is Jim Wisneski - Author.


Carrie Clevenger said...

Nice noir Jim. Congrats!

Marisa Birns said...

Excellent, Jim.

At first felt terrible for the cabbie...and the naked woman.

Should have guessed you would have a twist up your sleeve. :)

Cat Russell said...

Tis sweet when the engineer is hoisted with his own petard - eh? (Really hope I didn't screw up that quote!) I'm glad the cabbie didn't get it. Poetic justice has its appeal. :)

Great story!

Sam W said...

Wow.. completely threw me for a loop! I was wondering if he was "seeing" things when he saw the naked woman, but did not expect her to be part of the cabbie's plan! Nice twist, as always :)

Joyce said...

Really slick stuff, Jim. Never saw that ending coming. Love it.

Jim Bronyaur said...

Thanks for the great comments here. I appreciate it!