Talker (short story)


As I stare into the barrel of the gun, only one thought goes through my mind. I hope this guy’s a talker.

Well, there’s only one way to find out.

“You shouldn’t have taken this job, Johnny Stout,” I say.

If my knowing his real name takes him by surprise, he doesn’t show it. A true professional, Johnny. “And why is that?”

“Because one of us dies here today.”

He grins. “That’s the idea.”

“And then I go and have lunch.”

He raises an eyebrow. “Those are the dumbest last words I’ve ever heard, Professor. Care to try again?”

I am ready now. “How about this then. Your gun won’t fire.”

He pulls the trigger, but I completed my binding spell three seconds ago. His gun is useless; the only thing he gets is an empty click.

Without missing a beat, he reaches for the knife at his belt.

A true professional, Johnny. But I’m faster. I land a jab to his throat and he staggers backwards, choking. I rush in, sweep his legs from under him, and finish him with a burst of Power to the heart.

You may wonder why I didn’t start with that. Then again, you’ve never had a loaded gun pointed at your face. The blasted thing might have gone off.

I step over Johnny’s body, collect my coat and umbrella, and walk out the door, not bothering to look behind. First, I will have lunch; then the bastards who hired Johnny will share his fate.

You see, I am not like other men.