Lars tightened the barrel around the 9mm.
The wooden fence shielding the porch was bent from the rain and the years it went without any upkeep. The fence was more so an accessory to the appearance. A feeble attempt to make the motel room look more presentable. Across from him was the newest member, a woman named Sofia. It was her first time in this line of work so she was a little nervous.
“Do you want to go over what you’re going to say?” Lars asked.
She shook her head and went back to her mental preparation.
Lars looked her over, taking in the real sight of her. Sure, he was notorious for being a player. But this woman was not his typical catch. Sofia’s short brown hair framed her cheekbones nicely. Her red lips were the perfect touch of color. As his eyes wandered down her button-down shirt, he couldn’t help but imagine unbuttoning every single one of them. Maybe she didn’t like making connections with people she worked with and wanted to keep things professional. Lars, on the other hand, liked to push those boundaries and found connections through sex. Maybe she would feel more comfortable with him after the job was done.
He looked through the open screen door into the room. The beds remained perfectly made. They had that musky smell aged motels had. He hated that this is where the business had to be done. Why couldn’t he be with the big boys and doing this same job, only somewhere international? But a paycheck was a paycheck. After his last mistake, this was his only way of redeeming himself.
He looked to his watch. It read 7:01, an hour later than when he was told they would begin. He should be used to things never starting on time by now, especially in this line of work. If anything, being late was more of a safety precaution.
Just then, the boss man came in with his henchmen behind him. He was tall and fat–a beastly combination. He smelled of a long day on the job and the armpit stains on his shirt showed it. He sat on one of the beds.
“It’s time,” he said, opening the screen door.
As soon as Lars and Sofia entered the room the henchmen were on them, taping wireless microphones to their chests. They gave the boss man the thumbs up and left to their stations.
Sofia and Lars followed the boss man around the room, reviewing step by step what they had already planned for weeks now. If they weren’t to follow them exactly as the boss man laid out for them, “they would be replaced.”
“You’ve got to be shitting me man,” Lars said.
“You’re lucky you’re here Lars. No one wanted to take a risk with you. They wanted someone handsome, more muscular, more…” said the boss man.
“Just do the job and leave. You’re done here after today.”
“Do you know who I am? Huh? Do you?”
“I know who you wish you were.”
With that, the boss man left. Leaving Sofia and Lars alone in the motel room. A powerful gust of wind blew in from outside, kicking up the leaves that had collected themselves in the dusty corners of the porch. The screen door was left open to provide more light in this seedy room. Lars wrapped his hand around the 9mm and held it straight out in front of him for that perfect shot. He looked to Sofia, who had her own gun aimed at the door. She nodded.
His thumb pulled down on the safety button. All sound disappeared.
The door to the motel swung open. Standing in the doorway was exactly who the boss man said it would be. A man about 6 feet tall stood there, panting. His trench coat was ripped and dripping wet.
“This is where it ends,” Lars said.
He pulled the trigger two times. The man doubled back from the impact of the bullets. He looked down at his chest as the blood seemed to ooze out of him. Lars lowered his 9mm as it was still smoking. A smile grew across his face. This was a job he was going to always remember.
The boss man walked inside the motel room, all smiles. He hugged Sofia and patted Lars on the back. The rest of the crew applauded. They looked over to the man in the trench coat. He was still lying down on the green screen mat the crew had for him to fall back on. But the typically loud and boisterous actor was unusually quiet.
Sofia walked over to him to see why he wasn’t celebrating with the crew. As she approached, she noticed he wasn’t breathing. She screamed.
The boss man and the crew rushed to her side. A medic was called, but it was already too late. Lars sat down on the bed, loosening the barrel around his 9mm. He smiled to himself, knowing he would finally get that Academy Award nomination he so desperately wanted. It was his to have and now with a dead co-star, there was no reason in the world why he wouldn’t have it.
Alix Maria Taulbee is an east coast born and raised actress and filmmaker. Always one who stood out in the crowd, she didn’t want to be known as one with limits. Rather, she pursued the path of the limitless and fearless. She began her journey in the entertainment industry at the young age of 9. Almost immediately, she took on leading and supporting roles of unique powerful characters in every genre for over a decade. Knowing that success only goes so far, Alix became a filmmaker while continuing to pursue her acting dreams. At age 19, Alix wrote, produced, co-directed, and acted in her first independent feature, which also starred household celebrities.
For the year 2016, her upcoming productions and screenplays, which happen to be untold true stories, have been recognized by some of the biggest names in the industry. From radio shows to interviews to personal industry connections, even producer Harvey Weinstein told Alix at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, “you’re two steps ahead of everyone else.”
Tim Bougger is an artist living in Des Moines, IA. See his artwork at www.virtualtim.com.