The MissionaryNovember 6, 2018
Jimmy hated feeling the delicate orbital bones splinter but didn’t have a choice. He needed to be free. It was unfortunate, wrong place, wrong time.
He hated beating on the missionary, watching the eyes go chalky. But he knew any good man was willing to kill for his family. If he got out, he could send money to Sarah. Family… that’s what all this was all about.
Jimmy pulled the body into the thick brush beside highway 17. He stripped the corpse and changed. The clothes fit well, except the shoes. He kept on his jail-issued sneakers.
He looked down at the black polyester slacks, short-sleeve button-down shirt, red-patterned tie, and nametag, Elder O’Callaghan- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jimmy grew up in Utah in the middle of the U.S.A. He knew the Mormon Missionary thing well.
He left O’Callaghan under a pile of leaves. He wasn’t worried about being caught. The coyotes would clean up before it started to stink.
There were not many houses in the South Georgia countryside. After walking for an hour, he came to a small beige trailer. A woman sat on the front steps. She could be thirty or sixty.
She looked him up and down. Her eyes were eager. Jimmy’s twenty pounds of jail muscle and sharp features meant conning middle-aged women, or men was cake. He was always happy to trade a good time for what he needed.
The woman tamped out her cigarette. She wore no wedding ring.
“Hello sister, you heard the good news?” Jimmy asked.
He reached out; they shook hands. She held on too long.
“Jesus is my savior; you want to tell me more?”
“I’d love to, sister. I’m Elder Joe O’Callaghan.”
“I’m Roberta Hansen-Ford.”
“Can I come in and spread the word?”
She smiled and nodded.
“Give me one moment to straighten up, then you come in, and I’ll get you some lemonade.”
Jimmy felt her eyes. They were hungry. She went inside. After fifteen minutes she called out, “Door’s open.”
Jimmy strolled in. He saw plastic over a cheap plaid sofa. There was a pressboard table holding a King James Bible and a Book of Mormon. Military awards hung on the walls. In some places the paint was darker, some photos had been recently taken down.
“Getting ready to move, sister? Do you need help?” Jimmy asked, laying it on. He hated taking advantage of a lonely woman, but he needed to support Sarah. This was how he did the right thing.
“So kind of you to ask, but no. I’m recently divorced. The pictures of my ex-husband were painful.”
Jimmy realized this was going to be easy.
“I understand. I see you already have some of Joseph Smith’s testament?” He stood close, letting her feel his presence.
“O yes, another missionary came by a few months back. He left the book but didn’t have time to chat.”
“Sometimes my brothers get overwhelmed spreading the news.”
“I promise to take my time.”
He talked about church for fifteen minutes, then started flirting, light touching. Roberta was eating it up. Soon she brought out wine. He played good Mormon boy. Roberta seemed to relish being the temptress. After two bottles she led him to the bedroom.
They made love.
Afterward, he ran to the bathroom and pulled up fake tears.
“I’m a horrible person!” He said. He tried to sell it hard.
“No, you were bringing me comfort in a time of need. You’re a good man,” Roberta said as she massaged his shoulders. “You’ve done the right thing. What can I do to make you feel better?”
“I’m so upset. I cannot believe what I’ve done. Can you just drive me home? This is all too much.”
“Of course. Let me find the keys.”
She walked out of the bedroom.
Jimmy heard rummaging in the next room. He looked for something heavy to knock her out, kill her quick. He didn’t want anyone to suffer. He found a marble bust of Julius Cesar.
It felt like a truck hit him from behind.
A thousand hornets buzzed in his ears, stinging him in unison. As quick as the suffering came, it was gone.
He heard Roberta — voice was different.
“Where did you get those clothes and why are you wearing prison shoes?”
Jimmy’s mind was smoke. How did she know? What did she know?
“Roberta, wait. Prison shoes? What-“
The pain returned. He pissed a little. He couldn’t think.
“Stop messing around. That was ten seconds. Next ride is twenty.”
“Ma’am, you got it wrong, please-”
She started crying, and the agony returned. The whole world was pain.
He looked up. Roberta held something boxy and black.
He saw a flash, his right eye stung. He heard Roberta sobbing.
“My maiden name is O’Callaghan.”
There was a flash. Then the pain left.by
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The Author lives in the southeastern United States with his wife and daughter. He works for the U.S. Marshals Service. He has been published by Mystery Tribune, Out of the Gutter, The Means At Hand, The Deadly Writers Patrol, As You Were, The Report: O-Dark-Thirty, and many others. He can be found online at: https://twitter.com/IamJBStevens