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Jimmy hated feeling the delicate orbital bones splinter, but he didn’t have a choice. He needed to be free. It was unfortunate. Just the wrong place, wrong time. If he was out he could send money to Sarah.

That’s what all this was all about, helping his people. He didn’t like hurting people. He was really another victim in all this.

He despised beating on the missionary, watching the eyes go chalky. But a good man was willing to kill for his family.

            He pulled the body into the thick brush beside highway 17. It was hot this time of year. He started sweating.

After catching his breath he stripped the corpse. The clothes fit well, except the shoes. He had to keep on his jail-issued sneakers. He looked down at the black polyester slacks, short-sleeve button down shirt, dark-patterned tie, and nametag- Elder O’Callaghan- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

There was a little blood on the shirt, but no one would notice that. Jimmy grew up in Utah and knew the Mormon Missionary thing well.

He wasn’t worried about the corpse. The coyotes would clean most of it up before the stink and birds would get the leftovers.

            He loved this area of the United States. It was calm and green. There weren’t many houses in the South Georgia countryside. After walking for an hour he came on a small beige trailer. A woman sat on the front steps. She could have been thirty or sixty.

She looked him up and down. She stared at his feet for a long while.

Her eyes seemed eager. Jimmy recognized the hunger. Twenty pounds of jail muscle and sharp features meant conning middle aged women, or men, was cake. She tamped out her cigarette. There was no wedding ring.

“Hello sister,” Jimmy said. “Have you heard the good news?”

He reached out and shook her hand. She held on too long.

“Jesus is my savior. But do you want to tell me more?”

“I’d love to, sister. I’m Joe O’Callaghan.”

“I’m Roberta Hansen-Ford. Give me a moment to straighten up, then you come in. I’ll get you some lemonade and something to clean that red stain.”

Jimmy felt her eyes. After a while she called to him.

Plastic over a cheap plaid sofa. A press board table holding a King James Bible and a Book of Mormon. He flipped open the Book of Mormon, he wanted to make sure his missionary act would hold up, that she wasn’t already on the team. There was a name scratched out. Jimmy saw law enforcement awards on the walls and places where the paint was darker, photos recently taken down.

“I notice the removed photos. Are you getting ready to move, sister? You need help?”

He hated the game, but he needed to support Sarah. This was how he did the right thing.

“So kind of you to ask, brother. No. I just had to get rid of some things.”

“I see the police certificates, did you serve?”

“For a time, but that was long ago. I’m just a lonely old woman now.”

This was going to be too easy.

“I understand. I see you already have Joseph Smith’s testament? It looks like a name is crossed out?”

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. That scratched out name… it was like that when I got it.”

“I understand. Sometimes my brothers get overwhelmed spreading the good news. I promise to take my time.”

“I’d like that.”

She ate his shtick up. He talked about church for fifteen minutes. They started flirting, light touching, gentle jokes. Soon she brought out some wine.

He played good Mormon boy and acted like he wanted to say no. She was seemed to enjoy being the temptress. After two hours and two bottles she led him to the bedroom.

They made love.

Afterwards he ran to the bathroom and pulled up tears.

“I’m a horrible person!”

He wanted to sell it hard.

“No, you were bringing me comfort in a time of need. You’re a good man. What can I do to make you feel better?”

A person has to recognize his chances.

“Can you just drive me home? I’ve sinned and this is all too much.”

She smiled and nodded.

“Let me get the keys.”

She walked out of the bedroom.

He looked for something heavy to knock her out, kill her quick. He didn’t want anyone to suffer… but he needed that car. This was the only way. Eventually he found a solid little bust of Julius Cesar. It had a good heft.


It felt like a baseball bat hit him across the back. A thousand hornets buzzed in his ears, stinging him in unison. As quick as it came it was gone. What the hell was that?

He heard Roberta. Her voice was different.

“Where did you get those clothes and why are you wearing prison shoes. Whats that speck of blood, Brother?”

Confusion washed over him.

“Prison shoes? What-“


The pain returned. His mind stopped. He pissed a little.

“Stop messing around. That was ten seconds. Next is twenty. This taser is runnin forty thousand volts.”

“Ma’am, you got it wrong, please-”


She started crying softly and jolted him again.

His whole world was pain.

He looked up. She dropped the yellow taser. She held something new. It was boxy and black.

“Did I tell you my son was a missionary and my maiden name is O’Callaghan?”

He saw a flash, but there was no sound. His right eye stung. The pain floated away.

Then the dark came.




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, Close To The Bone, 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: and



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