The Femme Fatal

Image of Mark Kodama

Mark Kodama

27 readings

8

1.
I knew she was trouble when she walked in the door. The perfume. The lipstick. The low-cut dress. And most of all – the attitude. She was sin herself. I knew she was going to be my ruin. I knew I couldn’t stay away from her.
When she came to my office with her sad story, she had no tears. I watched her crimson lips move and heard her deep melodic voice. She took a deep inhale from her cigarette. She blew out the white smoke her mouth twisting ever so slightly.
“So,” she asked. “What do you think of my story?”
I looked at her low cut dress and said “I don’t believe it.”
“Neither do I,” she laughed.
“So what do you pay?”
“Two hundred dollars an hour.”
“When do I start?”
She looked at her gold Tiffany watch, as her Cartier bracelet slipped down her arm.
“Now,” she said, then exhaled smoke in my face.
I followed Milton, Mrs. White’s husband. He was a middle aged man, about 40. He was an executive at a small insurance company. I followed him in his Bentley for about a week. He was squeaky clean.
“What did you find out?” Mrs. White asked. She crushed the lipstick stained butt of her cigarette in my empty coffee cup.
“Nutt’n,” I said. “Your husband is as pure as snow during the first day of a winter storm.”
“Everybody is guilty of something.”
“Well, your husband is guilty of being a fool.”
“What do you mean?” she asking, bending down to pick up the tissue. She wiped her mascara as she looked in her mirror.
“Look, Ms. White, I tailed your husband all week without trying to be too obvious,” I said. “Nothing. Zip. Nada. He does not even drink beer. He drinks milk.”
“That’s my Milton. Boooorrriiiing.”
“Well, he pays for your fancy jewelry, doesn’t he?”
She lifted her skirt a little bit.
“Have you had lunch yet,” she asked.
“Not yet,” I said.
“Let’s go the Madison Hotel,” she said. “They have lobster raviolis there that are to die for.”
3.
When I shot Milton, it was nothing personal. Just business. I waited in the church parking lot until after he had finished teaching Sunday school.
I never killed someone before but I guess for enough money everybody would do anything. As far as that goes, I really didn’t do it for the money. I did it for the dame.
They lived in a mansion out in the country. Just before Sunday school ended, I left the church and pretended to have a break down on the country road on the way to their home. I parked on the side of the road, lifted the hood of my car and waited.
Sure enough there was Milton in his Bentley and tortoise shell rimmed glasses. He stopped, rolled down his window and asked if I needed assistance.
When he looked inside my engine that’s when I let him have it. Wham! A tire iron to the head. Boy that was going to hurt him more than it was going to hurt me.
I put him in the trunk and drove his car about a half mile into the woods off the highway.
I then drove my car to the lake. After I was about half-way there, I could hear Milton banging in my trunk.
I pulled off the road and again drove into the woods, about a mile off the road.
When I opened the trunk, Milton lunged at me all wild eyed. He knocked the pistol from my hand and struck me in my jaw.
We both ran for the pistol. I got there first. I pulled the trigger and shot him in the chest – twice. As he lay dying, I shot him again – in the face.
I straightened out the plastic sheets in my trunk before I put Milton’s corpse in my trunk.
“Sorry, Milton,” I said. “You look like a nice guy. Nothing personal.” I slammed the trunk closed.
4.
I waited until dark to drive to the lake. I ate my bologna sandwich, drank soda and smoked a cigarette before driving to the lake.
I moved Milton’s corpse from my trunk to my boat and tied weights to the body. I was glad Milton was not a fat man.
I drove the boat out of the middle of the lake where I dumped the body.
Afterwards, I drove to the diner for a burger, fries and coke and then to the mansion to report to Mrs. White. I picked my teeth with a toothpick and sprayed my mouth with breath freshener.
I waited in the vestibule for Mrs. White to sashay down the winding staircase..
“Success?” she asked.
“Success,” I said.
She smiled and gave me a manila envelope full of cash. It was a year’s salary.
Afterwards, we went up to the bedroom.
5.
I did not see Mrs. White for a long time afterward. One day, I sensed I was being followed. You can’t be a good private investigator unless you have this sixth sense. Sure enough, some middle aged gun shoe was on my tail.
Why did he follow me in a yellowing non-descript Plymouth like I drive? I ran the tags and it turns out it was owned by one Philip Mabry, private investigator from Los Angeles. Phil Mabry with his shock of white hair was an ex-cop. I did not know him personally but I knew his reputation.
I waited until he was following me at night. I waited for him behind the building around the corner. When he turned the corner, whammo! I pistol whipped him.
I threw him into the trunk of my car and then drove to the lake. Unlike, old Milton he was smart enough not to bang on the trunk of my car.
At the lake, I tried to get him to confess as to who hired him. He was not talking so I shot him. I carried his body out onto the jetty and into my boat. Unlike Mr.White, Mabry was a fat man. Too many doughnuts. It was quite difficult to get him into the boat.
Like old Milton, I tied weights to his body and then threw him into the soup.
6.
Then one day she just showed up at my office.
“Hey Harry,” she smiled.
“Hey,” I said.
“Long time, no see.”
“Yes, too long.”
“What do I owe this pleasure?”
She smiled and closed the door.
“We need to talk,” she said.
A month later, they arrested me. I didn’t know she was wearing a wire.
7.
I knew I was a dead man as soon as they sat the jury. You know they really don’t pick a jury. Your lawyers get to kick some strangers off the jury that they think are harmful to their clients. You could tell by their faces and body language that they were out for blood. The judge just should have given them all ropes to hang me.
It seems whenever the DA wanted to get evidence in the judge was all to eager. But whenever my attorneys wanted to get in evidence the judge kept it out.
Any rate, there was Mrs. White, claiming that I had manipulated her. She traded in her low-cut white dress for a smart blue suit. And of course, Milton’s and Philip Marbry’s families were all there. I was toast and I knew it. Not surprising I lost 12-0. I knew I was in deep do-do when the jury returned after deliberating for only one hour. I was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and given the death penalty. They had thrown the proverbial book at me.
8.
Here I am sitting on death row. My lawyers filed another appeal. I hear they can tie up the process for decades.
Have you ever lived in a concrete cell with an iron door with a slot to shove food through? Most people haven’t. Not much to do. I do see the guards and my lawyers once in a while. Why do they never smile?
There is a toilet and a bed and that’s about it. They have taken away my belt and shoe laces and anything sharp that I have. Here I am fighting for my life and they are afraid I am going to kill myself! They can’t have me kill myself before they do.
I read the newspaper, the Bible, and my Marvel comics all day long. The more things change, the more they remain the same. I flicked my cigarette in the toilet and flushed.
She got five years in a minimum security prison. I am on death row.
In the fake news, she was the victim. I was a monster.
I got some cash. She got everything Milton owned.
Well, since when is life fair?

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Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
Bravo for this awe-inspiring thriller so well written, Mark! My votes!
Here’s an invitation to read and support “The Awakening” which is
also in the Button Fiction competition! Thanks in advance!
https://short-edition.com/en/story/3-min/the-awakening-1

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