I am not a bad person. I care about my family. Which is why it’s so hard to believe I ended up wrapped up in something like Killers, Inc.
I signed my name. I signed my life away. I owed a hundred large to Black Tom, so fifty (in 5 easy payments!) was infinitely better right? Simple math. The only price: a man’s death on my hands.
A week later Karen handed me an envelope from the mailbox. “Looks important, honey.” She went to put Johnny to bed.
Alone in the bedroom I tore it open. Inside, a Polaroid: a man, anonymously grinning beneath a black balaclava, proudly held aloft in his hand Black Tom’s severed head. Scratched in black ballpoint pen on the bottom of the Polaroid was a sequence of shaky capital letters: ORDER COMPLETE
I felt sick. Oh god, what had I done?
The remaining contents made me feel sicker still: a bill for 50K. Payment 1 of 5. I hadn’t read the paperwork at Killers, Inc. too carefully under duress. The price of a man’s life wasn’t fifty large. It was two hundred and fifty.
I drank a lot those coming weeks. I could never raise that kind of money. I expected a gang of burly men to storm my office, bundle me into a van and drive me off to some dark basement to be tortured to death.
They never came, but when I went home last night I found another envelope in the mailbox. Inside, another Polaroid. Karen and Johnny, their eyes covered with black blindfolds and mouths with squares of duct tape. On the bottom of the photo was more writing in ballpoint pen: PAYMENT OVERDUE