by Chris Hawkins
When the doorbell rang my heart thumped like a thousand mortar rounds leaving their tubes.
She was wearing a black suit probably from New York and Co.; my wife sometimes wore those. She was a head-turner in a business sort of way: short brown hair, serious glasses and a leather briefcase hanging close to her side.
We looked at each other and said nothing. She didn’t offer her hand. I guess that’s how it’s done in this business. Not that it mattered.
I half smiled and motioned her in. She walked through the foyer and straight over to our leather Manhattan. I sat in the sofa across from her. A moment passed, long enough to hear the hollow ticking of our clock on the mantel.
“I think we covered it all on the phone. But just in case, do you have any questions for me?”
“No. You were very thorough.”
“My thoroughness ensures a smooth experience,” she said eyeing a picture sitting on our end table.
“Did you two travel much?”
“We went as often as we could afford which hasn’t been much lately.”
“Yes, you said you hadn’t worked for several years, which is why I agreed to your payment.”
“This was appraised last month for well over what we talked about.” I slid the blue case to the end of the coffee table. “I’ve been collecting these since I was seven.” She opened it, nodded and seemed satisfied.
“Where would you like—”
“Right here is fine.”
She took off her suit jacket and sat down next to me on the sofa. “Why don’t you take off your sweater. It will make things easier.” She gave me a reassuring smile as she dug into her briefcase.
I pulled off my sweater, sniffing the wool as it brushed across my nose. I always liked the smell of wool. It reminded me of Peru even though I’ve never been there. I slumped down making myself as comfortable as possible.
“As we discussed, the first one is to relax you.”
After a sharp pinch, I felt the warm fluid glide up my arm. Within moments a pressure like a dozen hands holding me down pushed my body into the cushions. It was not an uncomfortable feeling, but I was no longer in control. Even if I wanted to go back it was too late. I couldn’t move.
“This is the second and final.”
I faded with the room. Yes, I grew lighter.