The Discount Hitman

I’ve always had two sacred commandments in life. First, don’t pet strange dogs. Second, never hire a discount hitman.

I would never have broken either of those rules if it hadn’t been for that damned cat.

The cat sat on my window sill for three days, staring at me with evil cat eyes that flashed green when I turned out the lights. It didn’t move, not even to clean its matted gray fur. The only way I knew it was even alive was the way it would growl and bare its yellow teeth at me over the breakfast table. I couldn’t close the windows or pull the shade; that would have been suicide in the 100-degree summer heat. So instead with stared each other down each morning over a pomegranate and a bowl of Special K, the thin wire screen of my window acting as the only barrier between us.

I don’t have allergies, but cats terrify and disgust me. Those little claws – retractable, like switch blades. Rancid breath that smells of rodent entrails. And they’re always smiling.

On the third day, I could take no more. I leapt out of my seat and made my intentions clear.

“You,” I said, waving my milk-soaked spoon threateningly, “have got to be stopped.”

The cat mewled in response. I jumped backwards so quickly that I knocked my chair over.

Unfortunately, hitmen are very hard to find in the Yellow Pages. The closest I could find in the Hs was “Human Society,” so I settled for that. Three hours later, I had found my assassin.

“Your name is Hector,” I told the Scottish terrier as we reached my front door. “Your fur is black as the night, and you have one purpose and one purpose only. Now go forth and smite the unholy enemy!”

Emboldened by my pep talk, Hector yipped his acceptance of the mission. I patted him on the head, opened my apartment door, and unleashed hell.

I closed the door behind him. I heard a bark and a sinister mew. It would be over soon. Now for a relaxing hour at the local public library.

I returned to a disaster scene. Hector lay asleep on my couch. The cat sat on the kitchen table, licking its paw and rumbling ominously. My screen had been torn open, allowing the unholy beast inside. Hector, I realized, had betrayed me. I should have known better when he had declined to charge me in advance for the job.

I pressed my back to the wall and crept toward the phone. The cat watched, awaiting my next move. I would deal with him soon enough, but first I had to pay Hector back. Disloyalty would not be tolerated.

“Hello…Humane Society? Do you have anything that kills dogs?”

The line clicked and went dead. I realized then that the cat must have cut the phone lines.

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