M is for Murder (Kill License Part 2)
Wow this post is just making it in under the wire!
If you haven’t read part one, it can be found here. Please enjoy part 2 of Kill License:
Mortimer opened the door and left the drab walls and mood-dampening lighting and walked into an even more depressing office. Hope was among the emotions the firm’s decor was designed to suppress, but this office evoked true hopelessness.
Behind a desk in the middle of the room sat a woman hunched over her desk screen, monitoring reports that never stopped scrolling by.
“You wanted to see me, Ms. Brubacher.”
The woman behind the desk looked up as if Mortimer was interrupting her in the rudest possible way.
“You were about to decline Mrs. Winslow, were you not?”
“Of course. You’ve seen the numbers.”
Ms. Brubacher’s job was to monitor all applications, past and current. Not a single approval or decline happened anywhere in the firm without her knowing about it.
“Indeed I have, and by those numbers you are right in your conclusion. However, this morning I received a carbon copy of an approved kill license. Theodore Winslow was approved for the murder of Mary Winslow.”
“I’ve made the necessary changes to her file and the approval package will arrive at your desk in three and a half minutes.”
“My thanks,” Mortimer said, taking two steps backwards before turning to leave the office.
When two applicants applied to murder each other, if one was approved, they both were. It was automatic, regardless of the numbers. The risk of approving one and not the other was irresponsible. The majority of scenarios would show Mr. Winslow killing Mrs. Winslow, but if the firm moved only to support one of those scenarios and she killed him, the firm would take a loss.
The other rule when two people applied for each other’s lives was that neither applicant was told about the other.
“Good news, Mrs. Winslow. Your application has been approved.”
Mary’s head popped up as Mortimer sat down at his desk. She didn’t smile, though her shoulders came up out of their stoop.
“I didn’t think…I just…”
“It’s okay,” Mortimer said.
Mortimer placed three forms in front of Mary and showed her where to sign. He asked her to place her hands on the desk and scanned her fingerprints into her file.
Just as she initialed the last required spot an armed guard marched over and placed a black box on Mortimer’s desk.
“My thanks,” Mortimer said and the guard spun and marched away.
“Yes.” He slid it over to sit in front of Mary and pulled back the lid. Inside was a simple handgun and three rounds.
“This is it?” Mary asked. “Three bullets? What if I miss? I’ve never fired a gun before.”
“This is what you were approved for. I can file an appeal if you’d like to come back next week.” He nudged the box forward. “I wouldn’t recommend it.”
Mary reached into the box and pulled out the gun. It looked awkward in her hand. She studied it with disgust on her on her face.
“Would you like someone to show you how to shoot it?”
“No, but could someone load it for me?”
The thought of a distressed woman sitting mere feet from him with a loaded gun was less than desirable, but he still loaded the three rounds and handed her the gun. If she even pointed the gun at him an security turret would put her down.
Mortimer walked Mary to the front door. She began to weep but, as he was trained, he kept it professional.
“We’ll be in touch next week about the insurance money. If you decide to cancel the license I’ve included the appropriate number in your package.”
She stepped out the front door without a word in response and stood on the sidewalk. Mortimer watched her through the window and wondered why she wasn’t heading home, or wherever she thought her husband would be.
Instead, she pulled out her phone, pressed a few buttons and tossed it on the ground.
She just stood there, hand inside of her purse, waiting.