No Tears for Sara

📅 Published on January 24, 2022

“No Tears for Sara”

Written by J.C. Fields
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 9.50/10. From 2 votes.
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Chicago, Il.

Shorty Small, a man neither short nor small, took a final drag on his cigarette. Without diverting his gaze, he flicked the butt to his right. Glowing flakes of tobacco scattered as the dying cigarette struck the neighboring building’s brick wall. The sparks triggered small nocturnal creatures to scurry away in the debris-littered alleyway. His concentration remained on the back door of a diner twenty yards from where he stood in the shadows. The odor of rotting food in the café’s dumpster permeated the area.

A single low wattage bulb above the restaurant’s door provided a feeble glow, scarcely penetrating the gloom up and down the delivery lane. Accustomed to uncomfortable waits, Small glanced at his watch. No time for another cigarette, his mark could emerge at any moment. He did not care to know the reason why or who wanted the man he waited for dead. The money he would receive for this particular job almost compensated for his discomfort and efforts.

Time passed slowly. He checked his watch again. Late, the man always brought a large trash bag out to the dumpster before closing the diner. Suddenly, the door swung open and a figure emerged carrying two bags of refuse from the restaurant. He walked quickly toward the industrial-size trash bin. When he arrived, he turned his back to Small and sat one bag down to free his left hand to raise the lid.

The hitman slipped from his darkened hiding place, extracted a suppressed Ruger .22 SR from the small of his back and silently approached the man now hefting one of the bags into the trash bin. Placing the gun barrel a foot from the nape of the mark’s neck, he pulled the trigger twice.

Whoever the man was, or would have been, ended there in the darkened alleyway. Shorty Small disappeared into the night, leaving the now deceased target to be discovered by some hapless soul.

* * * * * *

Sleep remained elusive as the big man lay on his bed and stared at the ceiling fan slowly circling above him. Every time he closed his eyes, the faces of his victims gathered to point their accusing fingers at him. Despite the air from the fan, sweat soaked his pillow and stained the sheets on the creaking bed.

He glanced at the digital clock on the nightstand, 4:22 a.m. Only the light of dawn would cause the images to go away and allow a dreamless sleep to overtake him. Somewhere around noon, he rose and sat on the side of the bed. With elbows on his knees, he supported his head with the palms of his hands.

The toll of sleepless nights and constant weariness created an overwhelming weight on his shoulders. He reached for a cigarette on the nightstand. The stench of stale tobacco smoke and the pile of butts in an ashtray saturated the air of his small bedroom. Lighting the cigarette, he inhaled deeply. The rush of nicotine only slightly eased the despair he felt every morning. Alleviating his depression with alcohol or pills did not appeal to him. Individuals within his profession who self-medicated normally experienced a short career.

* * * * * *

A knock on his apartment door startled him as he munched on a sandwich made from leftover meatloaf. Extracting the Ruger from the small of his back, he approached the door and growled, “Yeah, who is it?”

“It’s Sara, you big oaf. Who else would it be?”

He unlocked the door and released the security chain. Properly describing Sara continually alluded him. At first glance, she projected the illusion of a kindly grandmother. Her professionally styled silver-gray hair showcased the short pendant earrings she always wore. The stone in the earrings constantly matched her outfit. Today she wore a maroon pantsuit with black wedge heel pumps. Rumors suggesting a former career as a high-dollar fashion model were probably correct as even in her mid-sixties, she caused men to turn their heads.

Once you were past the outside package, she possessed the disposition of an angry, sarcastic and bitter old woman. As soon as she passed the door frame, she sniffed and wrinkled her nose. “How in the hell can you stand to live in this dump?”

“It’s my dump. No one asked your opinion.”

She dropped an envelope on the small breakfast table and turned to look at him. “The client was pleased, Shorty. They’ve already paid.”

“The guy was a cook on the night shift of a greasy spoon diner. What did he do to piss off someone enough they would pay for him to get whacked?”

“I never ask questions, but rumors are he used to be an accountant who put a decimal in the wrong place and then took off with the money. But, like I said, I don’t ask too many questions. All I do is negotiate the contract, assign personnel and collect the money.”

“Maybe you should ask questions once in a while.”

“Why bother?”

He shrugged as he took another bite of his sandwich.

“Asking questions can lead to problems neither you, nor mainly I, don’t need.”

“Always thinking of others, aren’t you, Sara?”

She smiled as she opened the refrigerator door. “Got any beer?”

“Do you see any?”

“No. Use some of that money I just gave you and buy some for my next visit.” Shutting the fridge, she walked back toward the apartment door. “I have another assignment for you.”

“I’m considering retiring.”

Her shrill laugh filled the small apartment. “Retire. You?”

“Yeah, I’m not getting any younger and one of these days, I’ll make a mistake and pay for it.”

“Well, the biggest mistake you could make right now is to retire.”


“Because I have enough information on your antics over the past decade to cause a judge to throw you into the darkest hole he can find and keep you there for multiple lifetimes.”

“That was not our arrangement, Sara.”

She laughed again. The high-pitched sound grated on his nerves. “Shorty Small, you of all people, should know better than to make a deal with someone like me. You need to keep me happy, because if you don’t…” She wagged her finger and made a ticking sound. “Now do you want the new assignment?”

He didn’t answer right away. He stuffed the rest of the sandwich in his mouth and mumbled. “Give me the details.”

“This one is worth five figures. Much more than the nickel and dime ones we’ve been getting lately.”


“He’s a rich banker. And, surprise, surprise, they actually told me the reason this time.”

He chewed and continued to stare at her. “What’d he do?”

“Seems he’s been a naughty boy and keeps sticking his hand in the corporate cookie jar. He can afford the best lawyers. So, it will be cheaper for them to just have him eliminated rather than the expense of prosecuting him. They are willing to pay a bonus if you make it look like a suicide. You know, like the way you always make it look so convincing.”


“As soon as possible.”

“It will take time to study him and find the best opportunity.”

“I told them that.”


“You have a week.”

“I’ll need the details.”

“You’ll get them the normal way.”

He nodded as he watched her open the front door.

Before exiting the apartment, she turned back to him. “Make this a good one, Shorty, mama needs the money.” The door closed and he stared at the empty space she occupied a few seconds earlier.

* * * * * *

One of Shorty Smalls favorite places to be by himself remained the Grant Park area on South Lake Shore Drive. If he wanted to go to the Adler Planetarium, he could. If he wanted to sit on a park bench and stare out over Lake Michigan, he could. If he wanted to take a simple walk around the park, he could and did more and more often over the last few months. During these solitary excursions, the faces and voices in his mind disappeared. He felt like a normal human being.

Having grown up in the West Garland Park area of Chicago, his survival instincts were heightened by the constant threat of violent crimes in his neighborhood. Graduating from high school he joined the Army and became an MP. After serving four tours in various hotspots around the world, he left the army with an honorable discharge and the skills to effectively break up fights and corral violent men. Because of his size and these skills, a private security firm recruited him to work as a bodyguard for rich clients.

This lasted almost a decade until the wife of one of the security firm’s more wealthy clients seduced him one night. Without even a thank-you-for-your-service, Shorty Small found himself unemployed, without a place to live, and broke.

Bouncing for a high-end bar in the Downtown Loop area provided enough money to find a small apartment and to scrape by. Until one of the patrons of the nightclub posed a question to him one night.

“Want to make some real money, Shorty?”

“Sure. Doing what?”

“Using your hands.”

“I’m all ears.”

* * * * * *

Five hours after Sara’s visit, he knew the name of his next target and where he lived. This usually gave Small a head-start on determining the best way to complete the job. Not so in the case of Homer Morris. The man rarely left the posh apartment building near Chicago’s downtown loop. When he did leave, it usually meant he sprinted from the front entrance, guarded by a huge doorman, to a waiting limousine. Following the limousine proved problematic due to the trips being at random times and never on a daily basis.

An internet search on the man provided information Sara did not. Morris, 69 and a bachelor, did not work for a bank, nor did he have anything to do with a bank. He fell into the status of being the one-hundred-first wealthiest persons in the world, having been knocked out of the top one hundred by a hedge fund operator.

The more Shorty Small uncovered about the enigmatic Homer Morris, the more he suspected Sara might be setting him up for a fall.

In an attempt to discover why Sara would mislead him about the mark, he decided it would be in his best interest to confront the man. A rich guy like Morris might, when confronted by a man like Small, offer to up the ante. If not, well, the sum offered by Sara would work just as well.

Small watched the building for the first three of the seven days specified by the contract. A wide variety of services visited the apartment complex on a daily basis. However, they were always the same companies. AT&T for phone and internet problems. Always There Plumbing appeared to be the authorized vendor to take care of leaky faucets. Heating and air conditioning issues were handled by a company called All Seasons.

The only vendors that varied seemed to be pizza delivery and catering services. Getting into the building as a pizza delivery guy seemed to be the easiest and least expensive method open to Small.

On the fourth day, Morris left the apartment building just before noon. Small, having prepared for this, approached the building, holding an insulated pizza delivery bag and handed the doorman a delivery ticket from a local pizza shop. Ten minutes later, he stood outside Homer Morris’s apartment and, using skills learned as an MP, picked the lock and let himself into the home.

The interior did not appear to be that of a life-long bachelor. Instead, the living area décor revealed Morris to be fond of contemporary steel furnishings. Expensive area rugs accented the dark hardwood flooring.

Small moved toward the flat’s center and found an office with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. They were filled with biographies, autobiographies, history, science and volumes by historic and modern philosophers. A massive oak desk sat in the middle of the room with a flatscreen computer monitor and a wireless keyboard and mouse. An antique lamp sat on the corner of the uncluttered surface.

He sat in the Aeron mesh office chair and looked at the computer screen. After touching the space key, the display came to life. A rectangular box appeared asking for a pin. The home intruder lifted the laptop up to look at the underside of the unit. He found the code he sought and then over the course of the next hour, learned as much as he could about the man who owned the apartment.

* * * * * *

The door to Homer Morris’s place opened slowly as the owner cautiously entered the living area. He stopped and observed the large man sitting in one of his Herman Miller Eames lounge chairs. The intruder sat there with a smile and an automatic pistol within reach on the side table.

Morris showed no emotion as he gradually closed the front door. “I see you made yourself at home.”

Small tilted his head, but said nothing as he watched the apartment owner try to determine the best approach to the problem he faced.

Morris continued. “If you are going to shoot me, go ahead. I hate waiting.”

“I have no intentions of shooting you. At least, not at the moment. Why did you put a contract out on yourself?”

“Ahhh—that. Actually, it only appears I did.”

“Don’t lie to me, Homer. May I call you Homer?”

The billionaire shrugged. “Call me what you like. In reality I am searching for someone to hire for a position I will soon have open.”

“I might have been born at night. But it wasn’t last night. Try again.”

“I’m afraid I cannot give you a different answer. Because this is exactly what I am doing.”

“You put out a contract on yourself to find an employee. Just what the hell do you do, Homer?”

With a smile, Morris walked toward a similar chair to the one Small sat in, only on the opposite side of the fireplace. “I’m not looking for an employee, I am searching for an associate, there’s a difference. I’m in the same business as you, Mr. Small.”

“You know who I am?”

“Yes. I asked Sara to specifically hire you for this endeavor. Although she did not know I was the target.”

“Go on.”

“Sara has always believed she would succeed me. But she has developed an unsophisticated streak, I find her extremely annoying and she is horrible at her job.”

Small stayed silent, his right hand remained close to the Glock on the end table next to him.

“You see, Mr. Small, I have built my company into a global empire with various divisions. I help governments, political parties, regimes and dictators overcome problems they find particularly challenging to resolve.”

With a chuckle, Small said, “You’re telling me, you being one of the richest individuals in the world, you’re a hitman?”

With a shrug, Morris said, “At one time, yes. I, personally, have not executed a contract for over five decades. Others do that for me now.”

“Like Sara?”

“Sara is on the bottom rung of my organization, destined to remain there.”

“Where does that revelation put me?”

“Independent contractor.”

“Why me? Why give me the assignment of trying to take you out?”

“I hope this does not disappoint you, but you were not my first choice. However, all the others I have, uh—let’s say, interviewed, failed. You, on the other hand, are the first one brazen enough to break into my house to ask why. And, to actually get this close to me. Congratulations, you win the interview.”

Small gripped the Glock. “So, how much are you going to offer me to let you live?”

Morris frowned. “I beg your pardon?”

“I’ve had a lot of marks try to talk their way out of me pulling the trigger. But the tale you just spun is by far the grand prize winner.”

“I am not spinning, what you call, a tale. I am actively looking for someone to supervise one of my divisions.”

Sweeping his hand across the room, Small snorted. “How could you have made all this money doing what I do? I barely live from one contract to the next. Yet you seem to have it all.”

Leaning back in his lounge chair, Morris put his elbow on the chair arms and made a steeple with his fingers. “My organization encompasses many endeavors, one of which is helping with, what I like to call personnel problems. But as one of the individuals who actually does the up close and dirty work, you are paid the least. You see, anyone can pull a trigger. The smart ones learn quickly how to get others to do it for them.”

“Then apparently, I ain’t that smart.”

“I don’t believe that’s the case. You actually worked for my organization when you were a bodyguard. I found you to be quite resourceful.”

“Yeah, well that didn’t work out too well for me, now did it?”

“Do you remember the conversation we had at Diva’s on the Loop?”

Small’s reaction told Morris he did not remember.

“I asked you if you wanted to make some real money.”

“That was you?”

“I’m a little older now, but yes.”

“So, if you thought I was so resourceful, why’d you let me get fired?”

“Being over such a large conglomerate has a tendency to draw your attention away from some of the day-to-day details. When all of this happened, I was out of the country. After I learned you were no longer with the company, I asked a few of my associates to find you.”

Small eased the grip on the Glock, but kept his attention on Morris.

“They found you at the bar. I watched you off-and-on over the course of several months and realized my company had lost a valuable asset.”

“Did someone set me up for the encounter with the wife?”

“Actually, the woman was paid to seduce you. The husband could have cared less about her. But someone you know convinced him he should demand you be fired.”

“Who’s the someone?”


* * * * * *

Small stared at Morris for a long time. Pieces of the puzzle fell into place as he once again tightened his grip on the Glock. But his finger remained outside the trigger guard for the moment. “I looked through your computer.”

Morris’s eyebrows rose. “You got past the security code?”

A nod from Small.

“I’m impressed. Resourceful and intelligent.”

Small took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Whatever.” He paused for a heartbeat. “I think you’re making shit up, so I won’t put a couple of holes in you that don’t belong. If I’m so damn important to your company, why have I worked for Sara for so long?”

A sly smile appeared on Morris. “Two reasons, really. The first allowed me to see if you could put up with her abuse. You did, which means you have patience. Second, so you will have no problem helping her retire.”

“So, I had to put up with her for three and a half years just so you could see if I had patience.”


“Where do you want the first bullet?”

“Would you like a glimpse of what your future looks like?”

“That would be interesting to see.”

Morris stood.

Small tightened his grip on the Glock and placed his finger inside the trigger guard. He growled, “Easy.”

“Relax, Mr. Small. Allow me to walk you through the next steps of how you will become an associate.”

* * * * * *

Sara Holcomb started the engine on her BMW M4 and backed out of her townhouse garage. Not hearing from Shorty Small for a number of days, while not unusual, made her nervous. It was time to check on him at his apartment. Her expectations of finding him home and drunk remained high.

She parked the car on the street outside the rundown building. After setting the car alarm she entered the structure. The man lived on the third floor, which in this place meant climbing three flights of stairs.

Her first knock on the door went unanswered. After the third try, she withdrew a key from her purse and unlocked the door. A dark, empty apartment greeted her. The sagging sofa, the beat-up kitchen table and the threadbare armchair were gone.

She rushed into the bedroom and found the same condition. Nothing. His clothes from the closet were gone, as well as the ancient chest of drawers he kept against a wall under the window. A bedframe without a mattress remained the only reminder of the room’s purpose.

Panic quickly spread as she added up the implications of the missing apartment occupant. The largest contract she had ever been offered appeared in jeopardy. Plus failing at an assignment never went over well with her partners. She said to the empty bedroom, “How could you do this to me, Small?”

She heard her car alarm blare below and rushed to the staircase. By the time she emerged from the building, she could see the taillights of her BMW disappear into traffic.

She stamped her foot and screamed, “Son of a bitch.” Taking a series of very deep breaths, she calmed a bit and pulled out her cell phone to call 911.

The police officers who eventually responded, took her statement. When they finished, the older of the two, gave her the information on where to find the police report for submission to her insurance company. As they turned to walk back to their patrol car, she grabbed the sergeant’s shoulder. He glared at her and removed her hand. She said, “When will I get my car back?”

The officer said, “By now it’s probably on a transport ship heading out to Lake Michigan and on to the Atlantic. File it with your insurance company, lady. The car’s gone.”

“You can at least wait until I can get a ride from Uber.”

He gave her a half-smile. “Yeah, you’d think we would. Sorry.” The patrol car pulled away from the curb as she called for a ride.

The sun began to dip below the horizon when she finally returned to her townhouse. After the ordeal of the afternoon, the last thing she expected to happen, did.

Shutting the townhouse door, she turned to find Shorty Small standing in her living room with a Glock 19 pointed at her head.

“Where the hell have you been, Small? You’ve cost me a new BMW M4.”

With a slight smile, he said, “How do you figure that?”

“I was checking on you when my car got stolen. If you hadn’t lived in such a shit hole, I’d still have my car. You owe me big-time, mister.”

“Sara, do you or do you not notice the gun pointed at your head?”

“Oh, put that damn thing down. Where are you on the contract?”

“I haven’t done a damn thing about it.”

Her eyes widened. “Why not?”

“Let me put it another way. I decided not to do it.”

She continued to glare at him with astonishment.

“Who do you work for, Sara?”

“None of your business.”

“How many contractors do you work with?”

“That also is none of your business.”

“I’m looking at this very nice house, in a safe neighborhood and you drove a brand-new BMW M4, while I live in squalor. I’m your only contractor, aren’t I?”

She hesitated and her eyes looked at the floor for a brief moment. “You are not.”

“The information I was given today contradicts everything you’ve always told me. The average contract you get is around fifty-thousand dollars. Since I know what you pay me, it works out to only ten percent. If we complete ten contracts a year, you bring in a cool four-hundred and fifty thou, while I get paid a measly fifty. Plus, I have to pay my own travel expenses.”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Shorty. The contracts you get do not pay fifty-thousand dollars.”

Small rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right. If I remember correctly, when we started this little business agreement, you told me I would get sixty percent of the fee. Ten percent is a long way from sixty. From what I figured out, looking back on what you’ve paid me over the last few years, you owe me close to one point eight mil. Where is it?”

“I don’t owe you anything. I have always paid you sixty percent.”

“May I remind you of who is holding the gun.”

She folded her arms and scowled at him. “If you shoot me, you’ll be out of a job.”

“On the contrary, I’ll have yours.”

“What do you mean you’ll have my job?”

“Exactly that. The last contract you gave me was a ruse. Do you know who Homer Morris is?”

“Yeah, the name of the mark.”

“What else do you know about him?”

“He’s a mark, what else should I know about him?”

“If I remember our meeting, you told me he was a banker. Didn’t you find it odd they actually gave you information about him? I’m surprised…” He paused and chuckled. “No, I’m not surprised you didn’t confirm anything about Morris. You’ve always been lazy, Sara.”

Her face grew flushed and her nostrils flared. “Wh-wh-what are you talking about?”

“Homer Morris is the man who owns the company you work for. He’s a billionaire and considers you an idiot.”

She screamed, “He is not,” as she raced toward Small.

The Glock fired. The bullet entered her skull three centimeters above the right eye.

* * * * * *

One Week Later

Faces. Angry, distorted faces once again, intruded on his dreams. They laughed, pointed and danced in a circle. He wore no clothes as they frolicked and gestured in his direction. Sara Holmes now appeared in the chorus making fun of him. He tried to cover himself, but the laughter only intensified.

Sleep remained elusive as sweat rolled down his forehead, adding more moisture to the already soaked pillow. The hotel room he occupied in northern Detroit made his old apartment seem like a palace. Homer Morris, or whatever his real name might have been, no longer could be found.

The high-end apartment in the building near the Downtown Loop did not have a man by the name of Homer Morris as a tenant. The luxury apartment, full of books and Herman Miller furniture, now stood empty. Records obtained from the building manager showed the lease on the apartment belonged to a high-tech company based in Germany.

As he lay there, smoking a cigarette and staring at the ceiling, his disgust with his inability to resist the prospect of money and status deepened by the second.

After finding the apartment empty, he spent two hours at a library searching the internet for more information about Homer Morris. The man did exist and indeed headed up a huge conglomerate. But the only picture he found on the web bore no resemblance to the Homer Morris he met in Chicago.

As was his habit, he fell into a deep sleep just before dawn. A banging on the hotel door brought him out of his dreamless slumber.

“Must check out. You no pay. Fifty dollar for extra night.”

Opening the door, he found a slight ancient, angry man standing in the doorway. Small said, “It’s not noon yet.”

“Maybe where you from, not here. Noon here. Pay up or leave.”

Small towered over the man by at least a foot and a half and outweighed him by a hundred pounds. Yet he stood there showing no fear. “Let me get my wallet.”

As he handed the man fifty dollars, Small said, “Room ain’t worth fifty bucks a night.”

“Not my problem. You no like, go someplace else.” The diminutive man turned and scurried away.

Looking at his meager reserves, Small counted a little under two thousand dollars left from the eight thousand he found in Sara’s apartment. After purchasing a twenty-year-old Honda Accord, and five nights in flea-bag hotels, there would be little left in another week.

He slammed the door and lit another cigarette. As he did, he stared at the laptop taken from the apartment of Sara Holcomb. With another day and night paid for, Small sat at the rickety room desk and opened the laptop lid. The computer sprang to life without requesting a pin.

* * * * * *

The man known to Shorty Small as Homer Morris sipped a straight whiskey while staring at the mirror behind the bar. A younger man sat next to him, nursing a beer.

“Have you found Small yet?”

“No, sir. He disappeared after leaving Sara Holcomb’s place.”

“I’m not crying over the loss of Sara. But I do care about her laptop. Do you think Small took it?”

“I would bet money on it.”

“Damn.” Turning to the young man he said in a growl. “Find him.”

* * * * * *

The laptop revealed secrets concerning the actual business Sara Holcomb conducted. Multiple excel spreadsheets recorded transactions for two different endeavors. However, both involved crimes against individuals. Small discovered Sara’s main source of income came from the trafficking of female teenage runaways. The second source came from the endeavors of one man, Shorty Small.

The more he dug into the accounting records, he found a disturbing pattern. A sizeable percentage of Sara’s income ended up being turned over to an entity called Potentia, LLC. Records of who owned Potentia were not obvious within the files on Sara’s computer.

A quick search of the Illinois Secretary of State’s office revealed the ownership of Potentia, LLC consisted of three individuals, Sara being one. The other two names Small did not recognize.

Using Google to search the names, one returned no results. When searched, the third name harvested three pages of references, a lengthy Wikipedia article and numerous pictures. The pictures turned out to be the man known to Small as Homer Morris. According to the Wikipedia page, Oscar Lutz presided over a privately held real estate holding company with offices in Chicago, New York, London and Berlin.

Numerous other results in his internet search revealed several articles posted by The Chicago Tribune concerning the rumored reputation of one Oscar Lutz. The public image of the man seemed to be that of a philanthropic entrepreneur. The Tribune’s reporters seemed to have flushed out that Lutz had a checkered past, which he hid from the public eye at all costs.

On the third page of his Google search, Small found a reference to a charity auction being hosted by Oscar Lutz and other rich individuals in the Chicago social scene. When he noticed the date of the event, he smiled. He now knew where Lutz would be and when.

Without hesitation he packed the few items he possessed and hauled them to his Honda.

* * * * * *

The ten-thousand-square-foot mansion near Lincoln Park provided a stunning view of Lake Michigan. The auction being held at the home of Oscar Lutz for the benefit of the homeless seemed to Shorty Small a slap in the face for those unfortunate individuals.

With his experience working for a security company, he dressed in a rented tuxedo and infiltrated the event posing as a part of the security detail.

He stayed in the background, avoiding the real security personnel. Twenty minutes after arriving, he knew where his quarry would be after the event. While the party started downstairs, he entered the private bedroom of Oscar Lutz.

Patience and planning are the hallmark of a good hitman. Shorty Small possessed more than his fair share. He sat in the shadows of the bedroom in a leather wingback chair and listened to the commotion from the auction drifting up from the first floor.

Time passed slowly as he stared at the bedroom door. Sounds from below grew less and less as the clock ticked toward midnight. Finally, at a few minutes past twelve-thirty, the house grew still.

A few minutes later, Small heard female giggling and a clumsy attempt to open the door. Tightening his grip on his Glock, a slight smile came to his lips. The bedroom door burst open as he heard the woman say, “I’ll use the little girl’s room while you make us another drink.”

“A splendid idea.” Lutz froze when he spotted the big man training the pistol on him. “Your resourcefulness has never ceased to amaze me, Mr. Small.”

The drunk woman looked at Shorty and then at Lutz. “Who is this person, Oscar?”

“An old business acquaintance who seems to be upset about his and my last transaction.”

Small remained silent as he stood. Walking toward the two individuals, he motioned for them to move further into the room. He closed the bedroom door, keeping his concentration on Lutz.

“I take it you found Sara’s laptop.”

A nod came from the big man.

“I hope you have not shared it with the authorities.”

“Not yet.”

“Good, that means we can make a deal.”

“I doubt it. After your little stunt of posing as Homer Morris, I don’t believe I can trust you.”

“I imagine there is a lot of information about you on it as well.”

“There was.”


“As you have said several times, I’m a resourceful man.”

“Don’t forget who killed Sara Holcomb.”

“Yeah, there is that.”

Lutz frowned. The woman started to sob.

Small motioned to her with the gun. “Shut her up, or I will.”

Turning to the sobbing woman, Lutz said, “My dear, I believe it would be prudent for you to stay quiet.”

She nodded, but continued to sniffle.

Turning back to Small, the older man asked, “Now what?”

“You’re going to give me access to your bank accounts.”

Lutz smiled. “That means we can deal.”

“We’ll see. It depends on how much money you’ve got.”

* * * * * *

The waitress of a small diner east of Des Moines, Iowa just off Interstate 80, set the plate of eggs and hash browns in front of Shorty Small. She said, “Can I get ya anything else, hon?”

Looking up, Shorty Small smiled and held up his coffee mug. “Could I get a warm-up?”

“Sure, be right back.”

He turned his attention back to the folded Chicago Tribune laying on the table showing the headlines on the front page.

Local Philanthropist Dead in Murder-Suicide.

Chicago police are investigating the apparent murder/suicide of local
businessman Oscar Lutz and his girlfriend Joyce Robinet. Evidence found
in the Lincoln Park home of Lutz point to his involvement in a human sex
trafficking racket and gun-for-hire scheme. Police also indicate
a weapon found in the hands of Lutz is the firearm used to murder a Chicago
woman two weeks earlier.

The waitress filled his coffee mug and glanced at the headline. “He got what he deserved. I can’t imagine what those poor girls went through.”

Looking up, he said, “Yeah, I agree with you.”

She walked away and he returned his attention to the newspaper. He mumbled to himself. “Guess I have to thank you, Lutz. I actually slept all night for the first time in seven years.”

Rating: 9.50/10. From 2 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by J.C. Fields
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: J.C. Fields

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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