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Hit call by Joe R Lansdale

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“Hey. It’s me.”

“Is it done?”

“Lady, it’s done.”

“Did he suffer much?”

“Just like you wanted him to. About the money?”

“You have to give me what I want out of this. Remember?”

“I don’t like talking over the phone. It’s not safe.”

“This is a burner. First and only phone call I’ll make on it. Tell me.”

“It was slow. He suffered terribly. He cried. Kept saying he didn’t know you.

Tried to get out of it hard.”

“Know what?”

“What?

“He didn’t know me.”

“You’re confusing me.”

“I’m not his wife, and I didn’t hire you because he was beating me.”

“You said... You showed me things.”

“You can do wonderful things these days with a long distance camera and Photoshop. And I’m a good liar.”

“I don’t care what he did or if you’re married to him. You owe me five thousand dollars. You said when it was done, you’d pay me.”

“Picked him at random. Learned some things about him, then I found you. Wanted to see what I could get done for a promise of money. Didn’t even give you up-front money.”

“I know where you live.”

“You know where you think I live. You don’t even know my right name.”

“Why would you do this?”

“Because I can.”

“You bitch.”

“This phone, it isn’t really a burner, but it won’t connect to me. It’ll connect to you. I’m mailing it to the police.”

“They get me, they get you.”

“You don’t know who I am. You’ll take the fall for it. They’ll look for me in all the wrong places. For all you know, I might not actually be a woman. It wasn’t like you looked down my pants. It’s been a thrill, dumbass. For me. Goodbye.”

“Hey... Hey... Hey. Hello. Hello. Damn.”

The Thicket by Joe R Lansdale is out now (Mulholland)

(Illustration: Edward Tuckwell)

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