I changed into a gas company uniform in the back of the van. With my hair in a ponytail and my contacts exchanged for glasses, I looked the blue-collar type.
I added my own navy blue vest with its concealed holster over the collared shirt and hung a nametag around my neck.
My messenger bag held a square of sheet plastic, a stun gun, handcuffs, a gag, and a few other assorted tools I'd found useful during my career.
Hopping out of the van, clipboard in hand, I noticed the scorcher of a day seemed to be cooling off.
I hummed to myself, picturing a relaxing evening in the backyard with a beer once I got off work.
My skeleton key let me into the apartment building. I checked my clipboard and made my way to unit 5C. Rap-rap-rap. “Mrs.
Lewis?” I put a bland smile on my face and held up the fake gas company nametag.
The peephole went dark and then the lock clicked and the door opened. “I'm Mrs. Lewis.” She was good-looking, dark hair up in a bun and wearing a nice pink housedress.
I pulled a page off the clipboard and handed it to her. “Aileen Lewis, you've been served.”
Her face crumpled. She staggered back and I followed her into the apartment, closing the door behind me. “No,” she said, holding the papers out like a snake. “NO.”
“I'm sorry ma'am, I'm just doing my job. I've got some plastic sheeting here so we don't ruin the carpet.” Sometimes the thought of everything going neat and tidy reassured the housewife types.
She sat down heavily on the sofa. “Who?”
“You know I can't tell you. Anonymity prevents reprisals and keeps violence from spiralling out of control. Keeps court costs down.
You don't want your kids paying half their income in taxes, do you?” Sometimes bringing up kids helped.
She burst into hysterical tears as I laid out the plastic. “Was it my husband? Please, please just tell me. Did he find someone else?”
“Why don't you come stand over here?” I said. “I need you to initial these papers before we—”
She bolted. Even after all these years they sometimes surprise me. She ran past me into the hall, screaming. Neighbouring doors flew open. I flipped my fake gas badge around to show my ID.
“Murder officer! This is official business.” Doors shut.
Lewis screamed so loudly I had to stun her before dragging her back onto the plastic. She tried to ask me something, her eyes big and wet, but I'd stunned her pretty good.
Before she could recover, I shot her twice in the head.
I left the murder order, stamped and signed, on the coffee table for the husband. It should have been counter-signed by Lewis but I could waive the signature since she tried to run.
I sighed, the picture of backyard beers in my mind replaced by a night of paperwork. Oh well. That was the job.