I couldn’t help myself. For this week’s 500 Club, I’ve decided to revisit the character I created for last week’s flash fiction post, “Killing Simon“. If you haven’t read that story yet, read it first.
This one picks up where that one left off and is written based on the following prompt: “Your (or your character’s) best friend has set you up on a blind date. Just as you are ready the door bell rings, you open the door, and…”
After the Simon fiasco I went months without killing a soul. Killing is a bizarre profession for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being the need to create emotional detachment from what you do. This is difficult because the process of planning a kill is lengthy and engaging. It takes time to plan a death so that it appears to have been an accident or the result of natural causes.
If a person were to work any other job, weeks of preparation culminating in professional success would be worth celebrating. It would be appropriate to feel pride and joy. Not so with assassins. We try to feel nothing.
This trains the brain to approach work differently and to partition off a part of yourself for the task of killing. The months I spent not-killing were agonizing, as though that partitioned part of me was suffocating. It literally hurt me to avoid the work.
So I called my handler and arranged a job.
At the same time, one of my few good friends decided the Simon break-up had left me despondent and insisted I re-enter the fray and start dating again. “It’ll be good for you,” she said with the haphazard arrogance people tend to assume when bettering others. At her prodding, I signed up for a ridiculous online dating service which caters to professional gay men.
I sensed disaster looming in the distance the moment the account was created.
The site specializes in technology-driven blind dates, matching members based on their preferences. I was given 3 choices for my first blind date–no pictures, only short descriptions based on the other members’ profiles. I made my choice and selected a nearby Starbucks as the meeting spot.
Two days later I sat sipping black coffee when a shrill voice entirely too close to my left ear exclaimed, “Oh my god! This has to be fate. It has to be!”
I turned to find an over-excited Simon wearing a red turtle neck (as my blind date had indicated he would be wearing) and a stupid expression of raw enthusiasm. He trotted around me to take a seat and proceeded to regale me with his recent dating woes, ending his 5 minute monologue with the proclamation that the dating service’s assessment that he and I were well matched was undoubtedly “a sign”. Surely, he asserted, I would not continue to reject his advances.
“Tell you what, Simon,” I said setting my coffee to the side. “Let’s get out of this place–it’s kind of stuffy in here and it’s a nice day out. Let’s take a walk and discuss it. Perhaps I’ve been too rash.”
Simon nodded and very nearly skipped out the door with me.
Twenty minutes later I deposited his limp body into a nearby dumpster, having removed his wallet, cell phone and jewelry to make it appear to have been a mugging gone bad.
When I returned home, I promptly cancelled my membership to the dating service.