This week’s #writephoto prompt is
Darcy Sprangle’s career as a hitman had been unexpectedly unexciting, until now. His career’s interview at school had ended inconclusively: the woman with the abrasive nose and grating vowels had suggested ‘something manual’ and given him a brochure for ‘opportunities in construction’ but when he perused the contents, the attractions of plumbing, plastering and carpentry passed him by. Finally, despairing of finding something with which to satisfy his father’s gratuitous comments on the subject of his inability to do anything useful, he focused on the appendix headed ‘demolition’. If he had understood it correctly you needed no skill beyond an ability to stick things in other things and press buttons. He could manage that.
When he mentioned the possibility at dinner, his father was unusually encouraging. ‘Better Google it, boy,’ he’d said, offering his son the use of his computer with which to undertake the research. What Darcy hadn’t appreciated and his father forgotten was that his browser was opened to access the dark web. In a few clicks, he was agreeing to meet a woman called Bolt by the canal with the promise of pursuing his chosen career in high grade demolitions and disposals.
Those choosing their apprentices this way have methods of research not open to most prospective employers. Bolt, real name Mandy Nibbletush soon identified Darcy’s blameless, not to say bland background as the perfect raw material for her needs. When she watched him, waiting quietly in the shadows, barely moving and unobserved by all but she, she perceived a natural, someone able to wait patiently for his opportunity. That this spoke as much to the vacuity of Darcy’s intellect mattered little.
Brought up on computer games dolling out harsh, instant and violent justice, Darcy’s moral compass was not so much skewed as suboptimal. True it was soon clear that Darcy needed to be kept away from conventional weaponry – only his inability to remember to release the safety prevented several early retirements amongst the ranks of the other hitpersons. But in the more subtle forms of disposal – crushing, drownings, road accidents and arson – Darcy proved both adept and unconcerned. Had Bolt told him that the target had committed genocide in Smurfland, or that certain Teletubbies had been wasted, Darcy would have been satisfied that his was a just cause and the contemplated retribution appropriate.
That Darcy’s comeuppance was inevitable worried Bolt not one jot. It occurred one cold and rather bleak March afternoon. His role was ostensibly simple. When the target was delivered, bundled and gagged, Darcy had to carry him into the disused public toilet and leave him there, ensuring the doors were locked behind him. It was to be slow, he was told though the exact details of the method of premature expiration were not revealed.
However some delay in the delivery, an excess of tea and the cold left Darcy needing a wee. The solution appeared simple to our hero, and Darcy took advantage of the public conveniences that were to be the venue of the upcoming demise. What Bolt hadn’t told Darcy was a pressure plate that had been installed in the stall and touching said plate was intended for the target, not Darcy. When Darcy, fumbling with his fly stepped inside the cubicle a deadly cocktail of gases ended his career, leaving the delivery persons irritated and Bolt back recruiting. That the toilets were themselves demolished shortly after Darcy’s apparently peaceful but very dead remains were discovered was an irony that would have been lost on Darcy in life as much as after his untimely end.