Collateral Damage by Charlie Coleman

 

“Hey, please, do you have a minute?” said the raven haired, dark skinned Gauguin style beauty leaning out of the BMW. Her words echoed down the deserted street with her soft, caressing voice distilling any anxiety gestated by the surrounding isolation. They echoed off of the nearby bank windows innocently enough.

“I only need a minute of your time, please!”  That snag statement rolled out of her sensual mouth like chocolate syrup cascading down the sides of vanilla ice cream.

“What can I do for you,” inquired the well dressed man who had just left the bank. His attire proffered all indications of executive status. As he spied her and approached the car his mind raced ensnarling him with a smorgasbord of imagined, delicious sexual encounters.

“I just need you to help me a second if you would be so kind.  I seem to be lost.  Can I show you this map? Maybe you can tell me where I should be going.”

“Sure, no problem,” he said leaning down next to her. Desperately he attempted to focus on the map rather than her cleavage which was viciously imploring his attention.

“See, I want to get there.”

“Well, if you just go to the next corner and make a…”

With that, her accomplice popped up from behind her seat like a jack in the box. Through the open window he thrust a chloroform tainted handkerchief over and into their victim’s nostrils. Utilizing his sleek, bony index and middle fingers as the conduit, he jammed them solidly right up to the first knuckle.  It did the trick. Their mark swiftly slumped and slid down the car door cascading onto the sidewalk.

“Damn, how thoughtless of him, he almost dislocated my fingers collapsing that quickly.”

“Your fingers, what about the car door, Tim? You really have to be more careful.  Sooner or later, one of our catches is going to scratch the side of the car.  I’d hate to have to have to start shopping for a new paint job for this baby.  It can’t be cheap on a Beemer.”

“You’d think our victim would be a little more considerate.  I guess that some people just don’t appreciate classy cars, Susan,” he said as he climbed out and helped load the body into the trunk.

“Tim, let’s be sure and make him comfortable.  We don’t want to be inhospitable hosts now do we?”

With that they covered their find with a wool blanket and shut the trunk lid.

“I hope he’s warm enough.  He has rather long legs, longer than most.  When you bought this car did you ask the salesman about trunk space?  Didn’t I tell you to tell him that we sometimes need extra space for what we haul in our line of work?” said Susan.

“I did, but he was so nosy. I spent the bulk of our conversation evading his questions. I should have told him the truth.  He probably would have just thought that I had a sick sense of humor.”

“Couldn’t you have given him some phony examples?  You could have told him that we routinely transport manikins back and forth from showrooms and have to put them in the trunk.”

“That wouldn’t work.  He’d probably just tell me to place them in the unoccupied seats.”

“We can’t do that.  Why didn’t you tell him that? We’d be ticketed by the police for attempting to fake a car pool and gain access to special toll and driving lanes. Who in their right mind wants police attention? Even if you’re completely innocent, which isn’t one of our strong points; you don’t want a cop’s attention.”

“Let’s get a move on.  We don’t want our new friend to wake up all alone, cold and frightened in the trunk.  That would be so rude of us. I think we’re going to sure as hell frighten him later on in a much more convincing way.”

Pulling out they sped down the street.

“Susan, practice what you preach. Pay attention to the lights!  They’re not red and green Christmas decorations.  If we get stopped by a cop we might have to accommodate him too in the trunk. It’s tight enough back there with one tenant.  We don’t need another right now.”

“I always drive safely and defensively.  Just what do you think I am some kind of criminal?”

“I hope so.”

“How much time do we have before he starts thumping around back there like a coked out rabbit?”

“About fifteen minutes.  We can always give him a refresher.  We’re home in five minutes.”

After turning into the driveway they parked the car and popped the lock on the trunk.  Their prey was stirring as if he was in the throes of a nightmare.

“I hope he’s not having a bad dream,” said Susan.  “That really ruins my sleep when it happens to me.”

With Tim grabbing the shoulders and Susan the feet they carried him to the cellar door on the side of the house.

“Tim, please, please don’t drop him on the tulips.  They took forever to bloom.”

“Man is he heavy.  We’ll have to put a weight limit on the next one.”

“Stop bitching.  Think of this as on the job training for us. I’m sure that kidnapping isn’t any different from most jobs, the more we do it the better we’ll get.  Maybe with enough successes at some point we can write the Kidnapping for Dummies Guide.”

They carried him down into the cellar entering a soundproof room. After sitting him down on a wooden chair they tied his hands and feet together and gagged him.

“OK Tim, now what?”

“Susan, are you serious, now what?  You don’t know? I thought that we had agreed on this part?  This is where you, Susan, take over.”

“We agreed that it had to be done, not on who was going to do it.”

“You should do it.”

“No, you should, man up!”

“Don’t try and weasel out of your obligations, have some sense of moral principle and woman up!”

Their victim stirred with both of his eyes blinking like they were telegraphing some type of visual semaphore.

“Tim, you think that he wants to say something?”

“It’s tough to tell with the gag on.”

“Think I should loosen it?”

“What the hell, let’s give it that a try.”

“That’s true, good point.  I’ll loosen it.”

“I don’t understand what’s going on. I was just leaning over and giving directions to a young lady and then…”

“Does she look vaguely familiar?”

“That’s her!”

“Very good!”

“What’s going on?”

“We’re not quite sure,” said Susan.

“What she really means is that we’re sure of the big picture, if you will, but the details are foggy.  Why, you ask? I asked myself the same question.  The answer is simple, it’s because my partner here hasn’t quite the stomach to execute the next steps of our plan.  After all, I was the one who had to ram my fingers up your nose!  How would you like to shove your fingers up my nose?  I don’t think so!”

“Excuse me, enough with the nasal cavities already.  Can we get back to the original discussion here? Since when did the next steps become my exclusive domain?  Didn’t you use the term ‘partner’ a minute ago?  Please explain that to us.”

“Why am I explaining this to him?  It really doesn’t matter what I tell him.  It’s just a waste of his and our precious time for that matter even if he doesn’t realize it.”

“I don’t realize what?”

“OK, Susan, who’s going to do what needs to be done.”

“Where’s the medical text books. I’m lost without them.”

“Susan, I thought that you would have it all down by this point.”

“Why is it my job to have it all down?  What’s wrong with you?”

“Sir, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to excuse us.  We’re new at harvesting.  You might think of us as apprentice farmers.”

“Farmers, you’re farmers of what?  I’m confused, I don’t get it.”

“We’re farmers harvesting internal organs.”

“What?”

“Sorry, you weren’t supposed to hear that.  We’re way off script.”

“Internal organs, whose internal organs are you talking about?”

“Yours.”

“Mine?”

“That’s right.”

“What? Are you serious?”

“I’m afraid so pal.”

“You definitely have the wrong man.  My internal organs are riddled with toxins. I’ve consumed alcohol, smoked and eaten red meat with gusto.  I currently have more medications in my systems than Pfizer has in its inventory. Take a good look. I’m also not exactly twenty years old.  You could do so much better than me.”

“Possibly, but we don’t have the luxury of time.  Please understand that it’s nothing personal.”

“Susan, look, there’s the anatomy chart on the wall.  There’s the medical textbooks, get to it!  You do the extracting and I’ll do the containerizing and labeling of the product.”

“I can’t believe I’m hearing this.”

“Sorry.  You weren’t supposed to hear that either.  You were supposed to have left our company by this time but Susan here got squeamish.”

“Maybe Susan has a conscience.”

“I sincerely hope not.  We aren’t going to go far in this business if she does.”

“Tim, this is all just so new to me.  If I do it I’ll be on a very steep learning curve.”

“Susan, I hope for our sake you learn quickly.”

“For your sake, hey, how about mine?  You two have given me a rip roaring headache.”

“Susan, do we have any aspirin?”

“I’ll run upstairs and check.”

“Wait, why are we bothering?”

“Tim, please, let’s be civil.”

“Capitol idea, let’s be civil.  Why don’t the two of you be really civil? Why are you doing this in the first place?  Is this some perverse hobby?”

“Well it’s like this, Susan and I can’t afford to meet our mortgage payments due to predatory loan practices.  Therefore, we thought we’d snatch a predatory loan officer, harvest his organs, sell them and use the proceeds to cover the shortfall.  It seems logical and fair, don’t you think?”

“Wait, how do you know that I had anything to do with your loan?”

“We don’t, but we don’t have the luxury of time to ascertain who did. You do work at the bank, which, no pun intended, cut our hearts out. The payment, as I’m sure you’re generally aware, is due.  In a way you unknowingly cut your own throat.  Sorry about the inference.”

“Maybe I can help you find the right one.  Do you absolutely have to have a mortgage banker?”

“We really would prefer one.  It seems like the appropriate thing to do.  Again, don’t you think that it’s fair?”

“I’d have to have the advice of counsel before answering that question. That said, I think that I can come up with a much more workable solution to your problem.”

“What’s that?”

“How about going one step beyond me, how about a family member of a mortgage banker?”

“A family member of a mortgage banker, please explain.”

“Yes, like my wife.  She’s the one who constantly pushed me to make more money, no matter what, no matter how.  She’s the real culprit.  And as a bonus, you’ll get a terrific, first rate set of organs.  She doesn’t drink, smoke, has never done drugs and doesn’t eat meat.  How’s that for you!  She’s always on my case about drinking, smoking, eating meat etc. You get your organs.  I get rid of her.  We both solve our problems. As we say in the banking world, it’s a win-win situation for the both of us. Do we have a deal?”

“You guys really don’t have any ethics, do you?”

“This isn’t about ethics, it’s a business deal.”

“What the hell, yeah, it’s a deal!  There’s one condition though.”

“What’s that?”

“Considering our squeamish Susan here, you’ll have to do the cutting.”

“Fine, for me it will be just like carving the Thanksgiving turkey.  And I’ll be extremely thankful at that.”


Charlie Coleman is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.

3 thoughts on “Collateral Damage by Charlie Coleman”

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