Sunday Scribblings: Chance Encounter

Too dark?

The Donnelly Plan

Donnelly from legal sat at the bar, his lips wrapped around a domestic bottle of beer, his Adam’s apple coxing the suds down his throat.
He eyes me, a sideways glance, turns, kicks open the stool next to him.
“Say, man, pull up a seat and I’ll buy you a beer.”
I sit, order and take a long pull while Donnelly sizes me up. His suit is tailored, this much I know; the tie, the shoes, more than I take home in a week.
My work attire? My name is stitched on a patch sewn to the front pocket.
Several beers go by and I relax. Donnelly’s a player, corner office, rising star in the company, talk of promotion, partnership with the old man who started the business with no heir to leave it to.
We talk sports, girls, motorcycles.
The beers don’t stop; a couple of shots go down as well.
Donnelly leans in close, talks through his fingers.
“Say, man, I really screwed the pooch.”
“Which pooch?”
“A dog you might have had some difficulties with.”
“And that dog would be?”
“Face it, man, I am legal for this company. That business with Bekka Ladell?”
Bekka was the company’s riser – and serious self-promoter – in marketing. Young, gorgeous – dangerous.
I’d stayed late to swap out flickering fluorescents on a Friday afternoon – past the hours when marketing opened its break room refrigerator for drinks.
Bekka started the conversation.
It ended with a harassment complaint the following Monday.
“Hey, I’m not asking if you did it or not, not my thing, especially in this less-than-official ambience,” he said. “I’m just saying, ‘cause I know the shit she can cause.”
The rumors were true. Something was up between them.
“Look, I need a favor. She’s got cards, emails, a few sweet nothings. And I need them back. I just need you to keep an eye out. I’m in-and-out of her place and that’s it.”
“No. Fucking. Way.”
“Do this and I swear, that complaint goes away. Tomorrow.”
I sigh, drain my beer, get up.
“Let’s get this over with, now.”
“You know she moved in my building?” he said as we cross midtown. “Less entanglements, she said. Less people have to talk about at work. Convenience, she said.”
We take the elevator to Donnelly’s floor, back-track five floors down the stairwell.
“Just stand by the elevator, watch that nobody goes to her door. I’ll be quick. Don’t worry.”
“And if someone comes?”
“My mobile is 555-286-7391. Relax.”
I lower myself into a chair, pick up a well-thumbed celebrity rag.
Donnelly’s head appears between a crack in the door. He’s wearing this grin.
“Dude, you have to see this.”
My shoulders hunch. I get up and slide into the room. Candles are lit on most every surface, wax drips onto the expensive furniture, the expensive carpet.
Bekka’s curled in the couch, her dead eyes wide in terror.
“That is what happens when you don’t question your supplier,” he said. “ ‘Get me some ‘shrooms, she said. I want to get high this weekend.’ I didn’t have the heart to tell her that these little babies were Amanita phalloides, the Deathcap mushroom.
“Looks like she took waaaay more than the recommended daily allowance.”
Donnelly tosses me the half-filled bag of mushrooms, the key to Bekka’s place.
And pulls a beat-up .38 from his suit jacket. He points it at my chest.
He’s wearing latex gloves.
“The fuck?”
Now, Stephen, you really didn’t think I’d leave an accomplice did you?” he smiled. “Now, eat the rest of those ‘shrooms, so I don’t have to make this look like a murder-suicide.”


keithsramblings said...

Congratulations on a great bit of fiction - I assume it's fiction! I didn't want it to end.

Uncle E said...

God I HOPE it's fiction! Great bit of noir, Thom. Loved it.

danni said...

toooo good --- twisty and well written for sure!!!

forgetfulone said...

Great story! Well written, and a terrific take on the prompt. I just can't get inspired to write this week. Good job!

peachesandplums said...

ok, this one stuck in my head. in a good way.

Anonymous said...

Great story Thom... I really dug it. Especially the "death-by-'shroom" angle.

one more believer said...

dang that was good...

tumblewords said...

Hey, that's good! Strange we'd both use the same 'brand' of 'shroom....
must be the gmta