Red Sweater

It’s 500 Club time again, and once more I’ve decided to indulge the same character. If you’ve enjoyed the last two weeks, hopefully this won’t let you down.

For some reason, the as-yet-un-named gay assassin is just too much fun to write.

This week’s prompt was simple: Write a story using “[CHARACTER NAME] never liked the color red” as the first sentence.

red sweater

I’ve never liked the color red. I suppose many people would think this to be problematic, given my profession. The truth is that there are a variety of ways to kill a person that involve no blood at all. Unfortunately, many of the easiest and quickest do involve blood. Often, plenty of it.

Even if Simon had not been wearing a red sweater that day, I would have killed him. I’d had enough. I didn’t enjoy middle school when I was 12. I have no desire to replicate the experience now that I am an adult.

Simon’s sudden (and as yet unsolved) disappearance didn’t trouble me. Despite the fact that I had, only months before, sworn I would not kill again, it’s been my experience that predators tend to prey. I am no different from a jungle cat or the great white. My mind and body seem to have been designed for what I do. I am simply allowing function to follow form.

Margaret, the same friend who encouraged me to pursue internet dating, is the only person in my life apart from my handler who is familiar with my occupation. She once said to me, “I don’t know how you do it.”

“Do what?” I asked. I do a number of things well.

“I don’t know how you kill people,” she said.

“Well, there are a number of ways. I prefer more creative methods, but on occasion I use guns. When I have more time, there’s poison, arson, explosives, contrived accidents–”

“No,” she said interrupting me and rolling her eyes. “I don’t understand how you manage it emotionally. I get the logistics.”

“I suppose I don’t think too much about it,” I said.

She frowned.

I pointed to the salmon fillet she was eating. “Your fillet, wild salmon, do you wrestle with pangs of guilt at the the reality that only weeks before tonight that meal was a living creature?”

She glanced at her dinner plate and said, “No.”

“And yet it was. It was alive, fighting for its own survival, swimming upstream to spawn, doing whatever it is that fish do. Living. But now it’s your dinner, and you feel no guilt about that.”


“And why not?” I asked. “Because you’re hungry.”

She thought for a moment before retorting. “Perhaps, but this is a fish, not a man. I wouldn’t eat a man.”

I smirked and she chortled.

“You know what I mean.”

“Of course,” I said. “I wouldn’t resort to cannibalism, either, but I need to eat. I need to survive. There will always be killers, and killing happens to be one of my more refined skills. I see no reason to feel guilt for being what I am.”

She nodded in understanding. I cannot imagine Margaret harming much of anything, but I think she followed my line of thought. Predators prey. They do not contort their nature to accommodate the weak.

Simon was, above all, weak. He chose to woo a predator. In the end, he paid the prey’s price. If you don’t want to be eaten, don’t behave like dinner.

And, anyway, he had no business wearing that god-awful red sweater.