The Importance of 'O'

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

A young man is taken in the night by a hit man with a special one time offer he can't refuse.

The large dark sedan with heavily tinted windows pulled into the alley and Mr. Green switched off the lights. As he shifted the transmission into neutral, shut off the engine and let the car quietly coast to a resting spot next to a large dumpster. He waited there for a good 20 minutes making sure if anyone had been watching his arrival, they had gotten bored by now and moved on to something else. He used the extra time to go over his check list making sure he had everything he needed. Once he was satisfied, he zipped up the small black overnight bag and left his car.

The building was older with an old fashioned exterior wooden stair case. Mr. Green’s boots used a soft rubber sole absorbing each step and he was very careful to distribute his weight avoiding any loud creaks. Moments later he was on the third floor and found the apartment he was looking for. He checked his watch seeing he was right on schedule. With the ease of a seasoned expert, he bypassed the lock and entered the apartment.

He knew the layout of the small two bedroom flat and quickly made his way to the master bedroom using only a red filtered flashlight to search out surprises. He checked his watch again as he stood above the slumbering dweller tucked into his bed. One minute and seven-seconds; not bad he thought. Things were going great and the young man was thoughtful enough to be sleeping on his back. He pulled out the chloroform soaked cloth from his bag along with a suppressed Glock 19 loaded with subsonic 9mm.

The body in front of him rested gently and he watched the rhythmic rising and falling of his sleeping chest. With the cloth in hand he levelled his gun in the other hand moving it into position just inches from the man’s temple just in case. Timing it with the exhale, Mr. Green slapped the cloth over the mouth and nose. Like countless times before, the sleeping eyelids shot open revealing bright troubled eyes that like so many before, quickly faded back to a sleeping state.

Mr. Green went back to his overnight bag and removed a large duffel bag that was compressed and folded up. With a roll of duct tape, he gradually secured the lees of his victim as well as securing his arms to his sides. Once he was all snug and secure, he loaded him into the duffle bag and zipped it up. He attached his small bag to the duffel bag and hoisted the heavy load up to his shoulder. With a heavy sigh, he headed for his car. This was the hardest part of the job. He had to cover the distance from the building to his car as fast as possible and still make it look as though he wasn’t moving a body.

As a seasoned professional, he drove with confidence being careful not to attract any unwanted attention. He had it all well planned out and in a matter of a few minutes he was outside the city and on the highway. He didn’t need to look for any signs. All he needed was his watch. Just as the hand moved into the 0215 position, the unmarked turnoff was there just as planned, and rehearsed. Now it was time for the hard part.


The first thing Ryan noticed was the cold. He shouldn’t be cold, unless this was a very vivid dream. It was that fog that sits between being in a deep sleep and the first moments of consciousness. He’d woken up slowly like this in the past, but this was different. His head hurt bad. He wanted to open his eyes, but even the lids felt sore and heavy. Was this a hangover? What did he drink? When did he drink? Then a noise sounding like a metal clang was calling him from the depths of the fog.

There wasn’t much light for his eyes to adjust to other than the headlights of Mr. Green’s car bathing the ground in front of it. He was still very groggy, but Ryan could tell something was wrong. The strongest indication was the way his legs and arms had been taped together. He couldn’t move anything but his fingers and feet. He felt so stiff, but he could move his head around and tried to get a better idea of where he was. He had guessed right. He was in some deep shit.

He was completely bound, still in his pajamas, and gagged while propped up against the trunk of a large tree. He was watching a man in a dark suit digging in the ground. That’s when he understood the clang noise he had heard was a shovel making contact with some rock. His instinct was to ask the stranger what he was digging, but as the thick night air cooled his sore head, he started putting things together and became certain the man was digging a shallow grave.

Ryan produced a horrible desperate scream from behind his gag. Mr. Green paid no attention preferring to keep to his schedule. Ryan continued making as much noise as he could to get his captor’s attention and he tried to move as much as his restraints allowed. All he managed to do was fall over onto his side narrowly missed hitting his head on a large rock.

Mr. Green noticed it all and took a moment to dropping his shovel and came over to Ryan. Now that this villain was paying attention to him his heart skipped a beat thinking he’d gone too far. Mr. Green stood above him looking down and as he reached towards him, Ryan started to cry; but Mr. Green only took hold of his shoulders gently propping him back up again.Ryan tried saying thank you, but it was both unnoticed and unrecognizable. If he hadn’t been tied up he would have hit himself for being polite to this brute. As Mr. Green walked back to continue his work Ryan continued to plead with him even though he couldn’t be understood. He got tired of being ignored and decided to save his strength in case he could make a break for it.


Ryan’s breathing became rapid as he began realizing Mr. Green was finishing up with his digging project. It was very close to dawn now. He could see the horizon starting to lighten and the sun was just over the edge waiting to poke through. Mr. Green took his shovel and planted it in the mound of dirt at the front of the fresh hole. As he moved toward him, Ryan started vibrating and shrieking into his gag. He struggled against hid bonds harder than he had against anything in his life.

Mr. Green stopped in front of him and casually leaned down and ripped the tape and cloth away from Ryan’s mouth. It tore against his skin ripping several hairs from his face and lip. The sudden movement caused the flow of sweat to run into his eyes stinging him. He would have screamed but he had a lot more to say that that.

“Holly shit! I don’t know who you are Mister, but you’ve got the wrong guy!”

Mr. Green ignored him and walked over to where he had left his equipment bag.

On the verge of tears, Ryan was hysterical shouting, “I don’t have any money! You’ve made a mistake!”

Mr. Green fumbled through his bag taking his time until he pulled out a small notebook and flipped through the pages.

Mr. Green’s quiet way of doing things only increased Ryan’s anxiety causing him to make another desperate and useless struggle against his restraints. It wasn’t any better now than it had been before so he decided to go back to begging for his life. “This has to be a mistake! I swear, if you let me go, you’ll never hear or see me again. I won’t tell anyone about this!”

Mr. Green put his book down at his side and walked slowly towards Ryan stopping just in front of him. He let out a long hollow sigh like someone about to do the same thing they’ve don a thousand times before. “You are Ryan Johnson, from Thornton Heights?”

Just the fact that the stranger was speaking to him was a shock all on its own making him take a moment to answer and he responded with, “Uh, well  yeah, but a lot of people are from that area.” He decided this must be a good sign.

Refusing to show any hint of acknowledgment, Mr. green continued referring to his notebook. “Mother is Deloris, father Jacob and one sister, Brenda. She is engaged to a Linda Forbes, but your parents don’t know yet.”

Listening to the incredible amount of detailed information this stranger knew about his life and family was making it a lot harder to explain it all away as a case of mistaken identity. He realized he’d have to think fast to find a way out of this. “I can tell you’re a methodical man,” he paused to make sure the stranger was paying attention, “and your research is very good. Isn’t it possible you got the wrong target this time?”

Mr. Green shook his head, instantly whipping the half hearted grin from Ryan’s face.

Feeling like he had played his last card, Ryan’s lower lip started to quiver as it seemed crying was all that was left for him now. The sore tired muscles of his bound limbs surged with pain from not being allowed to move for so long. His body trembled at the realization there was no getting out of this, and he was sure he would have pissed himself now if he hadn't done it already. He steadied his lip and sniffed up his nose searching for one tiny shred of dignity. If this was to be it, he deserved to know why.

“Look, whoever you are, I deserve to know what this is about. Come on, I should at least know why this is happening.”

Again, as though contract killing was the most boring job in the world, Mr. Green sighed before flipping through the pages of his notebook. “On or about, the 13th of June 2011,” he said in a slow deliberate robotic tone, “did you, or did you not say, ‘That Oprah is one whacked out broad’?”

“What! What do you mean?”

“Did you say that?”

Ryan paused to think about it, but not if he recalled it but rather the absurdity of the question. “I don’t know. Probably yeah, I guess.”

“On or about the 16th of October 2012, did you or did you not say, ‘Oprah’s weight goes up and down so fast her shadow can’t keep up’?”

Ryan couldn’t help it and let a small snicker out saying, “Oh yeah, I forgot. That was a good one.”

“That brings us to, on or about the 4th of March 2015, did you or did you not, at a house part at number 15 Albert Close, grab a sofa cushion, stuff it under your sweatshirt and shout out, ‘Hey I’m Oprah,’ followed by parading around the room telling individuals, ‘You get a broom, you get a broom, and you get a broom’?”

Ryan had to admit to himself that one didn’t sound as good as the others and responded with, “That doesn’t sound like me.”

“Are you contesting that one,” said Mr. Green gritting his teeth while reaching behind his back.

Ryan thought the worse assuming he was going for a gun and stammered out, “Oh no! No Sir, I’m sure if you say that’s what happened then you’re probably right.”

It didn’t slow down Mr. Green and he continued eventually pulling out a small clipboard. “No. You’re entitled to make your feelings known. I don’t want you changing your story due to intimidation.”

Ryan’s eyes grew wide with amazement and shock. “Really?”

“Of course,” he replied jotting down notes. “We’re not barbarians. Your concerns and protests will be looked at and researched to get to the bottom of it all and reveal the truth.” He finished with a slight nod towards the newly dug grave and added, “And don’t worry, we will continue to resolve your concerns no matter what.”

Ryan couldn’t hide his puzzled look saying, “I wish I could say that was comforting, but it just doesn’t feel that way.”

“You can take some solace in knowing we take your concerns very seriously.”

Ryan couldn’t help his sarcasm saying, “I’ll try to keep that in mind, but there must be some way to avoid-,” and he ended by nodding to the grave.

Mr. Green was starting to soften his resolve a little and said, “It looks like you are trying to get ahead of me.”

“Oh no! Not at all,” he pleaded while making a failed attempt at back way from the waiting hole in the ground.

“I didn’t mean that. I was trying to say that I’ve not quite finished going over your many misdeeds. There is a lot left to review.”

Ryan thought he was starting to get a feel for this and said, “I’d be willing to skip all of that and mark it all as read. Besides, it seems like a theme is developing. Isn’t there some way for me to get out of this. Like could I make a formal apology, or some sort of public statement.”

“That sort of thing can often seem so disingenuous, or it can be recanted at a later date. I was thinking of something a lot more obvious the makes a much bigger statement,” said Mr. Green still trying to maintain his menacing appearance. Then he leaned in closer to s ay quietly, “There is one thing you could do.”

“What! I’ll do it. I can do just about anything you want. Just name it.” Ryan almost immediately regretted those words after they came out.

Mr. Green looked at his small book again appearing to be weighing options leaving Ryan with only his imagination as to what horrors could be in that little book. He couldn’t help but imagine the worst, and most of that was him doing things that he had imagined would be the result of being in prison. He was at this man’s mercy, and he could have carried out any number of sick things and he was in no position to stop it.

Mr. Green snapped his finger just in front of Ryan’s face to bring him out of his fate trance. “I’m authorized to make you, this one time special limited offer.”

Ryan took a deep breath and stepped over the edge saying, “OK. I’m ready. What is it?”

“I have here the required documentation to sing you up for a lifetime subscription to O Magazine!”

“Are you serious?”

“Like I said, this is a special limited time offer and can not be combined with any other offers.”

“Other offers?”

“This special low introductory price isn’t offered anywhere else and if you act right now! You will be eligible for our annual special editions for less than half the cover price on news stand issues.”

Ryan was having a hard time taking it all in. “Is this for real?”

“Yes it is. Are you ready to sign up?”

Ryan did his best to bounce of the spot and shouted, “Hell yeah! Sign me up right now!”

Mr. Green sort of smiled in his own non toothy way and quickly freed Ryan’s right arm so he could sign the contact. He was both surprised and impressed that Mr. Green was thoughtful enough to have brought Ryan’s credit cards along. Mr. Green wouldn’t even look at the cards insisting Ryan read out the number to him and then processed the order. He was even careful to make sure he had an authorization number.

Once he was finished with most of the paperwork and the payment completed, Mr. Green started to free Ryan from his bonds. When Ryan was up, it took him a few minutes to loosen up. “Can I ask a question about all of this?” he said.

Mr. Green was till clearing up his stuff and said, “Technically, that was a question but go ahead.”

“I was wondering about the lifetime part of the subscription. Whose lifetime does it refer to?”

Mr. Green finished packing up his small bag and then grabbed his shovel getting ready to fill in the hole. He looked at Ryan and then back at the hole.

“Ah, never mind. I can live with the suspense.”

Submitted: March 23, 2018

© Copyright 2023 Brian P Baldwin. All rights reserved.

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