I know I shouldn't qualify this story, but I'm going to it anyway.
I don't know Dan Malmon, save for a few interactions on Twitter. But damn, (fictionally) killing him seemed like fun.
This is the first story of any kind that I've actually finished in more than a year. So no matter how you feel about it (or how I feel about it), in the end I'm just happy to have actually finished something. I take that as a success.
It was late August, and with no fan or air conditioner the air inside was stifling. But Dan was too shaken to care. He thanked God his mother was on her weekly senior’s trip to Atlantic City.
Dan had slipped in to his mother’s house around 3 in the morning. He had parked around the corner, snuck through the back yards of two of his mother’s neighbors and come in through the back door.
Too tired to stay awake but too scared to sleep, he’d been up for nearly 36 hours. He was waiting for 7am and help to arrive.
Even though he was expecting it, Dan jumped when the doorbell rang. They were right on time.
Dan vaulted from the couch, crossing the distance to the door at practically full speed. Standing to the side, he covered the peephole with his hand. He'd seen that on TV once. Make them think you're standing in front of the door and when they start shooting, you'd be safe. It was only as he put his hand up that the thought of a bullet going through his hand occurred to him, but he supposed that was better than his head. Better not to take any chances even if he thought he knew who was at the door.
Thirty seconds passed without any bullets, so Dan risked a look. A young man in a navy blue suit and red tie stood there. Exactly the “uniform” described by the representative of AAA Private Security Specialists he had spoken to last night.
The young man had close cropped brown hair and was younger and more slightly built than Dan had expected. When you take that step of hiring a bodyguard, you think(hope?) you’ll get a Dwayne Johnson not a ganglier Daniel Radcliffe. God. Hiring a bodyguard? That just sounds ridiculous.
The doorbell rang again.
“Mr. Malmon? Mr. Dan Malmon? I’m…”
Dan threw open the door before the man could finish and just as quickly moved behind it, using the door as a shield. “Thank god you’re here. Come in. Quickly.” To his credit, the man didn’t flinch or act surprised by Dan’s manic behavior.
The young man turned his head slightly to look behind him. Apparently verifying that no one else was in sight before stepping inside.
Closing the door, Dan caught himself shaking again. It had been a long week.
“I don’t know how much the agency told you.” Dan said. “But I think someone is trying to kill me.”
The young man’s only response was to raise an eyebrow. He stood ramrod straight, scanning the front room.
“It all started on Monday night.” Dan said. “I go for a walk after dinner, pretty much every night.”
The young man nodded. Dan barreled on with his story.
“A car came out of nowhere and nearly ran me down in the crosswalk. I was scared, but that sort of thing happens to everyone at some point, right? You shake it off and move on. But then they came back and tried to run me over again!”
Dan started pacing the room.
“Obviously, I ran. It was a few blocks later before I looked behind me and realized they had stopped following me. I thought… I don’t know what I thought. Maybe it was gang thing. Maybe it was just some asshole looking for ‘laugh’. I was just happy to make it home in once piece. I called 911 and gave a statement to the cops, but I didn’t have a plate number, just a make and model.”
“That happens right? It doesn’t mean someone is actively trying to kill you. On Tuesday, that’s when I KNEW. Someone actually shot at me!” Dan fought to regain some composure.
“I was watching TV when the window behind the couch shattered. I hit the floor and crawled into the kitchen and called 911 again. It wasn’t until the cops came that I saw the two bullet holes in the TV screen.”
“The police chalked that one up to a drive by or some other bullshit excuse, but two close calls in two days. Someone’s trying to kill me, but I have no idea why anyone would want to. That’s why I turned to you. I need help.”
The young man nodded and spoke for the first time, “Just so you know, It’s nothing personal.”
“Oh, yeah, sorry. These last few days? That was all me. Even the AAA Security rep. you talked to. It was easy enough to capture your cell signal and reroute it to me. Remember my voice?”
“Yeah, I guess you could call me an amateur hitman. When I was a kid, I watched ‘The Day of the Jackal’ with my dad, and damn if that didn’t make me want to be a hitman! Ha! Yeah, I know how that sounds, but a kid’s gotta have a dream.”
Dan, at a loss, sat back down on the couch.
“I convinced my old man to let me learn how to shoot a gun, and then I just bided my time. This past year, I’ve been trying to hone my skills so I can put myself out there. Trying different ways to get people you know? Damn, running someone down with a car is harder than it looks! And apparently I am rusty with that sniper rifle.”
The young man barked a laugh at his private joke. “But like I said, this wasn’t personal. I just needed a practice victim.”
Unbuttoning his coat, the young man pulled out a stun gun and said, “If it makes a difference, I won’t forget how much you helped me out.”
The young man didn’t turn around to watch the burning house. Professionals didn’t stop to admire their handiwork.
Next time, things would go a LOT smoother.