The Writing Prompts Crew would like to thank Nike Chillemi for contributing the following short, short story. We hope you enjoy the read.
Montauk, NY Railroad Station
December 24th, evening
Alexandra “Alex” Mink, Private Investigator
Christmas Eve, what a way to usher in the holiday, performing surveillance at a train station. At least it kept me busy and prevented me from dwelling on the recent losses in my life. Who was I kidding? I couldn’t stop thinking about my undercover FBI agent fiancé having been gunned down by the gang he’d infiltrated. Nor could I forget my State Trooper partner’s murder. That’s why I’d left the force and become a private cop.
Standing on the platform, I wrapped my black-leather jacket around me against the bitter wind coming off the Atlantic. Flashing back to the designer jobbie with the fluffy fur hood the salesgirl at the outlet store tried to push on me, I had to admit, that one now had some appeal. Mine was lined, but what beat out that other coat is this one had side pockets large enough to conceal my Beretta.
My client, an eccentric billionaire with a phobia against calling the police, had a killer after him. So he hired me for protection.
My cell phone rang. It was Kirby, my part-time assistant, a full-time gamer, and a techno wiz. He had determined the hit man would come to this northern, seaside resort-town on the commuter train, appearing to be a holiday traveler.
The day before yesterday, I’d spent hours in my car staking out the station. Yesterday I’d used Kirby’s car for surveillance. Today I checked out the place on foot. The trains had come in regularly, expelling passengers laden with luggage and gaily wrapped holiday packages.
The only thing of note was the elderly pot-bellied gent with a scruffy white beard they’d recently hired as a janitor. The man had to be in his seventies. So, it wasn’t likely he was my hit man.
My cell phone rang. “Alex, I’ve got new info. You’re looking for an attractive dark-haired Latino with a mole near his nose. The women find him debonair. Oh, and Merry Christmas.” Kirby chuckled as he rang off.
I walked inside, glad to get out of the cold. Then I moseyed up to the ticket counter, asked for a schedule, sat on a bench, and pretended to peruse it.
The janitor, wearing a pair of plaid flannel overalls, dutifully swept the station. As he came my way, he nodded, smiled. “Merry Christmas, Miss.”
I forced myself to smile back, not feeling in the least cheery and bright.
A train pulled to a stop at the platform. Passengers rushed through the station for their cars parked in the lot, or a taxi. A man in a wool overcoat carried a large cardboard box with the image of a nativity scene on its front. He set the box down to the side of the ticket counter and asked for a monthly ticket for January.
The old gent ambled over to the box. Holding onto his broom for support, he dropped to one knee. When he briefly bowed his head, I got the impression he was praying. Nawh, couldn’t be.
I stood and took a few steps toward him.
Just as the commuter turned to retrieve his box, the old man stood and walked away. He murmured something like, “I remember it well. The glory shown in the night sky.”
“Excuse me. What did you say?”
“Nothing, dear. What are you doing here at this late hour on Christmas Eve? That was the last train.”
“I’ve been waiting for someone, but he didn’t show.”
“I’m sure a lovely young lady such as yourself has folks to spend this joyous night with.”
With my punk-spiky black hair, I’d been called a lot of things, but lovely young lady usually wasn’t one of them. “I have a friend or two I could crash in on.”
He seemed to usher me toward the door and I found myself walking with him, though my professional gut instinct was to wait.
The door of the men’s room opened and there stood a drop-dead-gorgeous Hispanic male who could’ve adorned the cover of GQ. And yup, he had a mole by this nose.
“Do you think I don’t know who you are?” He pulled from under his black-leather duster an AK-47 with its stock cut down and trained it on me.
I had to give him points for the cool black leather.
The old gent stepped in front of me before I could get my Beretta out of my pocket, and I’m a fast draw. Then time seemed to slow down and a faint glowing appeared around the old man.
“Ah, but the thing is, you don’t know who I am.” He hurled his broom as if it were an Irish Shillelagh and it crossed the room in a nanosecond. It knocked the wind out of the pretty boy and set him on his derriere.
I rushed over, kicked the AK-47 out of reach, and slapped a pair of hand cuffs on our unhappy guest. Then I called 911.
As the police left with the would-be assassin in tow, the old janitor said to me, “You’ve done a good thing. The world is safer with this evil man put away. You made Christmas a bit merrier than it might’ve been had that one had his way.”
Nike Chillemi has been called the crime fictionista due to her love of a good mystery story. Alexandra “Alex” Mink will be one of four female detectives and/or operatives, each having their own novel in the upcoming Authorized Operations series. Of course, the female detectives will each have a dashing male hero as her counterpoint. The first novel, introducing the series, HARMFUL INTENT, will debut in the spring of 2014. To find out more about Nike and her suspense stories: http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
Nativity photo Courtesy of Stock.xchng.