Take the Koi


I killed her in the Africa Room, not because she was black, but because there were already some dead animals on the walls.  I figured they would keep her company.

She sent out a plea for help on her cell phone, per my request.  They would come because I’d asked for their best, most expensive girl.  Even mentioned that $800 for an hour of fucking was no problem at all.

“I did what you asked,” Nila said.  “Now what?  And who are you?”

“My name is Theo,” I said.  Not a lie.  Theo Akerman.  But my employers knew me simply as Taker.  A bastardization of T. Aker.  It was a good name because that’s what I do for a living.  I take things.  Objects.  People.  Payments.  In this case, I was taking revenge.  On behalf of a Grosse Pointe doctor whose daughter, now deceased, had been lured into drugs and prostitution by a slick pimp from Lansing named Ronnie Jay.  Nila’s boss.

“I said, who the fuck are you?” she repeated.

“Have you ever seen Out of Africa?” I said, then put the muzzle of the silenced .22 Magnum to her forehead and pulled the trigger.  I was hoping a little blood would splash onto the mouth of the wooden African mask directly over the bed.  But it didn’t.

When I left Detroit and came to Lansing, I chose the Cozy Koi bed and breakfast for three reasons: it was in Ronnie Jay’s neighborhood, it was two separate buildings,  and the whole place looked empty. A fact that was confirmed when I was able to rent every room in the second, smaller building.

There was a rickety stairway leading to the second floor, where an exterior door was positioned just outside The Garden Room.  I went there now, sliding my .22 inside my shoulder holster, and picking up the Mossberg Defender 500 shotgun.  I knew Nila’s driver would approach from the fire escape, not the front door.  It didn’t take long to prove I was right.  I’d even unlocked the door for him to make it easy.  When he stepped in and quietly closed the door, I had already stepped into the hall.  Thick carpeting helped me avoid making any noise.  When he turned, I fired directly into his face.  The double-aught spread took most of his head off.  Chunks of brain landed in the Garden Room, beneath beautifully framed antique prints of Alaskan wildflowers.

I went back downstairs to the Asian Room.  A Geisha looked down at me from the wall, and I relaxed with the help of a little Buddha on the small, lacquer painted dresser.

It wasn’t long before a shadow passed over the wooden blinds, changing the light’s reflection off the gold Japanese fan hung on the wall.  Ronnie Jay and his cousin, Big D, had arrived.

I walked to the front door.  The door was solid wood with a small prism of art glass instead of a peephole.  From five feet away I saw through the glass the shape of a black Adam’s Apple.  I fired the .22 dead center through the little diamond of beveled glass.  I heard the soft thud of someone falling, and a clatter of metal.  I opened the door, saw Ronnie Jay, his throat shredded, and blood on his face, sprawled beneath the big COZY KOI yard sign.

Rest and relax, indeed.

I watched pink bubbles pop from what was left of his throat.  His eyes were already glazing over.  I put one more bullet in his forehead.

I went back inside, snatched the shotgun from the dining room table, and raced up to the Tropical Room.  I caught the scent of coconut, then gently slid open the glass doors to the little tiki porch above the back door.

Big D was trying to look through the kitchen window next to the back door.  I whistled a calypso tune.  When Big D looked up, I fired the shotgun and turned him from Big D into lower case d.

Back in the dining room, I opened the guest book and signed it.

Had a great time at the Koi.  Very restful.

-Ronnie Jay.

~ fin ~

Dan Ames is an international bestselling author and winner of the Independent Book Award for Crime Fiction. You can learn more about him at authordanames.com