Next Of Kin

“Sir, we have your extension as a tertiary contact for Mrs. White. Something needs to be done, sir. She’s causing a host of problems.”

“Where’s her daughter? And what the hell am I still doing on their contact information ten years later?”

“Primary and secondary contacts Rebecca and Jordy Fordham are currently unavailable. Their phones are in an area with no service.”

Jordy. He’d never liked that rat bastard. They deserved each other. He looked at his wrist: 6:45am. Then, of course, the numbers scrambled and read: “hell.” Or perhaps that was just his imagination. “Why in the name of holy fuck are you calling me now?”

“Sir, there’s no need to be rude…”

“There is when you call me before the sun comes up to tell me about something my many-years-ex-mother-in-law is doing. I couldn’t care less if she’s eating her own shit or beating bystanders with her bedpan. Shoot her.”

“Sir, we can’t. Euthanasia is prohibited in her contract.”

“Sell her for meat.”

“Also against the contract…and between the two of us, sir, she’s far to stringy and vitriolic to make decent eating.”

“Won’t argue with that one…How about just rendering her down for glue? She’s still useful, and all you have to have are intact bones. A simple shove of the wheelchair when she’s near the stairs should do the trick.”

“Hmm. The glue thing sounds possible, but the monitoring system would clearly indicate we had committed murder.”

“Pay someone to collide with her?”

“Traceable.”

“Fuck it. Drop a piano on her.”

“Excuse me?”

“I was joking…”

“No, wait. That might work. If we can get the movers to drop the piano or sabotage some guywires while she’s outside for her constitutional…”

“Awesome. Looney-tuned to death. Straight out of fucking Bugs Bunny.”

“I’m afraid I’m not familiar with that.”

“Not a problem. We all done?”

“Absolutely. I have your official word to proceed?”

“Sure. Always hated the bitch anyway. Lego-headed psycho.”

“I assume you’re referring to her wigs?”

“Yup. Nasty pieces of work, those. I’ve seen better tupees on corpses. Reminds me of the invading Martians in the old black and white movies.”

“I’m afraid I’ve never had the pleasure of watching one of those.”

“Hmm. Maybe we could get together and I’ll screen one for you. They’re hysterical.”

“Tempting, but I’m afraid my husband wouldn’t understand.”

“Ah. Sorry about that.”

“Me too.”

“Little hint from someone who used to do public service work for a living: even when you’re apologizing for being unable to do much for them, switch phrases. You used ‘I’m afraid’ like three times in a row. People get mad at you, thinking you’re reading from a script. Change it up. Try something like, ‘unfortunately,’ or ‘regrettably.’ It keeps the rubes from getting uppity.”

“Thanks! I’ll try that.”

“Real pity about the husband thing. You sound cute.”

“Wait ’til I get off shift…I’m a lot more fun then.”

“I’ll bet. Does he at least get the benefit of it?”

“No, but he doesn’t complain if I use it only with other women. If I bring home another man, he gets violent. Killed the last one with my ironing board. The mess was frightful.”

“Ouch. I’ll stick to the pretty mental picture of you and your homemaker friends intertwined on the couch.”

“You’ll find someone good for you.”

“Oh, sure. Like Mrs. White’s daughter was a good find.”

“Hehe. Better luck next time?”

“Hopefully.”


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