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Nobody Suspects The Girl Who Smiles

Nobody suspects the girl who smiles. That’s why I picked her…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

This job is easier when they don’t want the body found. There are more ways to get rid of a body than you think, but when a message needs to be sent (and that happens a lot, let me tell you), the client usually wants the body found. Problem is, when you give the cops a body, you also give them evidence, no matter how good you are. If you’re very lucky and very careful, nothing will lead back to you…but I don’t put much stock in luck.

Being careful, though…hell, that’d be my middle name if it wasn’t two words.

Evidence is like any other commodity; smart people figured out how to make money off of forging it. The John Hancock of this particular piece of fakery is Ashley Chisholm, a girl with wide, accepting eyes, a petite runner’s physique…and a bear-trap of a smile, although I can’t imagine anyone chewing off a limb to escape it. Fortunately for me, that smile is out of town.

Ashley has a remote little house out near the county line…not to mention a perfect motive. Her involvement in the D’Agostino cartel was never anything other than peripheral…she was Mama D’Agostino’s personal secretary for a hot sec…but she left their employ under a cloud. No one worried much about Giancarlo D’Agostino being accused of sexual harassment because they were too busy trying to get him on drug trafficking. Anyway, the location of her house is just icing on the cake.

I pull into her driveway at about 3:20, having driven the last mile or so here without my van’s headlights. Her nearest neighbor’s almost two miles away. I scoped her place a few weeks back posing as the cable guy, and she doesn’t have anything in the way of electronic security. She does have a yappy little dog, but it’s safe to assume that thing’s in some kind of doggy spa or something.

D’Agostino’s body is heavy, which isn’t surprising, seeing as I’m the one that filled it with lead. Of course, I did that after cutting his throat, which came after lacing his Laphroaig with hemlock. (What can I say? I go for the classics. More importantly, I’ve never used it before.) Hard to say for sure what it was that finally killed him, but multiple potential causes of death suggest multiple attempts on his life, which further muddy the waters of evidence. I call it the Rasputin Package, and it definitely costs extra.

Speaking of waters, one of the biggest draws to this place was the freshwater pool in the back: no salt, no chlorine. God only knows how she keeps that thing clean, but fresh water in the Arizona sun can be…well, murder on a decomposing body. If Ashley sticks to her schedule, some of D’Agostino will have rotted to the bone by the time he’s discovered.

I drag the body-bag over to the pool, and empty it right in.  At this point, I should just take my ball and go home, but the noise stops me. I’ve dumped enough bodies to know the gurgling bubbling that you hear as they sink, but this isn’t like that. This sounds like I dumped poor Gianni into a pool filled with really aggressive champagne. I don’t like surprises, so I decide to risk a little light from my phone.

The body is dissolving. Fast.

This is when I get stupid, as I always do when the number of zeroes is suddenly in jeopardy. I reach into the pool to salvage the body, and all I get is a nice chemical burn for my trouble. I’d scream, but I’m more scared of jail than I am of pain. Instead, I book my ass over the house.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then pain is the mother of necessity, because somehow, I manage to break into Miss I-Keep-Acid-In-My-Pool’s house with only one hand and a minimum of noise. The whole time I avoid looking at the burn, which doesn’t hurt anymore, and that’s a bad sign. It means that nerve endings are gone.

I stumble into the bedroom, looking for a goddamn first aid kit, but the only thing I find is another goddamn sound: the yappy dog. I shut the bedroom door, because I don’t like killing animals but I will shoot the little bastard if I have to, and maybe just in time. I didn’t see anything outside, but something heavy hits the door, something heavy and alive. It isn’t yapping anymore either, it’s growling, and it isn’t a yappy dog growl. It’s a growl like a wolf or a bear or a goddamned lion. It hits the door again, and this time the door cracks.

I don’t know where I find the strength in one arm to drag the bed up against the door, and I know I’m losing it because I can’t help but think that this is not what you use a beautiful girl’s bed for. And then I stop. I don’t even flinch when whatever the hell it is slams into the door again.

There’s a trapdoor under the bed.

I open it, because anything I can get between myself and Cujo is probably a good thing, but I’m also starting to figure out that I’m screwed. A part of me screams, You’re in shock. You need to get the hell out of here. I don’t listen to that part of me, and instead walk slowly down the stairs into the dark cellar, closing the trapdoor behind me.

I’m not surprised when I see the coffin. I think I give a little chuckle. I’m not surprised when it opens and I’m not surprised at who sits up and smiles at me.

I’m not even surprised at the teeth I see in that smile.

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