by Lorna Wood
The Agency hired me so if anything went wrong they could claim I was acting on my own hook. We’d only just opened up diplomatic relations with Dokpur, and things were still delicate.
I observed her shuttling between the workers’ dormitory and the government buildings she cleaned. I figured I’d do it on her half-day off, in the city, make it look like a street crime.
Following her to a photographer’s, I watched through a window as she peeled out of her government jumpsuit and posed in a filmy green negligée, like a butterfly just out of a cocoon. I started to doubt, even though I knew better. Maybe she was just trying to escape—and who could blame her, I thought, looking around and breathing the filthy air.
The photographer was demanding payment. My Dok is not great, but I could tell he wanted more than she had. When he started to suggest, none too subtly, an alternative form of payment, I threw all my experience out the window and intervened.
We went to a café. Engulfed in the grey jumpsuit again, but with her hair still loose, she looked across the table at me with a breathless admiration that filled my head with escape plans and other air castles.
She was trying to be a mail order bride, she said, showing me a letter and a photo from an American man. They’d made a mistake about her, I thought. It wouldn’t be the first time.
I looked down at the photo and felt a jolt. It’s a small world. Not two years ago, I’d offed that guy’s wife. I had to stop this.
It wasn’t until we were in my hotel room and she pulled the gun that I realized it was a set-up.
I am a violinist and writer in Auburn, Alabama. I have published fiction in Blue Monday Review and poetry in Untitled, with Passengers. I have a Ph. D. from Yale University and have also published articles on children’s literature and the American Renaissance.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.