Mash


by Emma J. Lannie

I am planning a murder. It is not going to be quick. My victim is a thirteen year-old girl. Every day, she comes into the shop where I work and she makes my life hell. She ‘rearranges’ the displays. She steals things. Vest tops, nail polish, and my good will. I am going to kill her because she has stolen my love for this job in particular, and my compassion for people in general.

I have a spud gun. I spent all of last night cutting potatoes into bullet shapes. I’m not sure if you can be killed by a spud gun, but this is England, and it’s the only gun I could get my hands on. Maybe at close range it will wreak the havoc I want it to. Ideally, it would go in one side of her head, travel through the mush of her brain, and then exit through the other side. But bone is a bit harder then even the fastest moving potato. No, I have to go for a soft spot and hope the God Of Bizarre Accidents is with me. It’s a shame she hasn’t still got a fontanelle. I have been studying the human skeleton, looking for a Way In. With potato. If I had proper bullets, I wouldn’t have to think about it. I know I’ll never get a shot into her heart. Too many ribs. I might get lucky and puncture a lung, but that’s not always lethal. I think the best I can hope for is a clean shot to the neck, popping open that jugular and sending her blood spurting sky high. Messy. But that’s how it is with murder.

I have polished my gun, even though it is plastic. It occurs to me that I could’ve used acid in a water pistol, or just gone crazy in her eye with a staple gun. But I like my orange spud gun. And I love potato at the best of times. Baked potato is my number one choice, hands down. I like them done in the oven, no foil, so the skin goes nice and crispy and nearly black. Roast potatoes are the next best, followed by hassleback potatoes. I like doing the ‘slice them on a wooden spoon’ trick, so the knife cuts most of the way through but not quite. Hassleback potatoes are tasty. A spud gun is definitely a good choice for me. I have a real affinity with the potato.

The spud gun fits in my pocket. I’ve not loaded it yet. The ‘bullets’ are in a food bag in my other pocket. I feel properly balanced out. Her estimated time of arrival is three fifteen p.m. Fifteen minutes is the time it takes for her to walk from her classroom after the last bell, to here. I will have to smile that fake ‘shop person’ smile at her when she comes in. You never know when there is a Mystery Shopper about. She will have that quieter, but equally annoying girl with her, maybe the other one, too, the one they both tend to pick on. They will head straight for the back corner of the shop, behind the tights display. I will do my calm breathing while they try on all the shoes and put them back in the wrong places.

I have waited till a Wednesday because it is the quietest day, for business. After the dinnertime browsing ‘rush’, customers are pretty thin on the ground for the remainder of the day. I’m supposed to do dusting. I’m supposed to re-stock the jewellery spinners. Not today. Today I have bigger plans.

There is a gap between the wall and the tights display. It is big enough for me to get my arm behind. I will attack from there. I will wait till she is up close, hilariously putting the grey Converse onto the shelf where the blue Converse go. She will be doing her sneaky laugh that is one hundred percent hyena. She won’t hear the click. She’ll just see the blue shoe in her hand turn a deep shade of purple. And then she’ll see everything go black.

Emma J. Lannie does not own a gun. She writes plenty of non-gun-related things here. She does, however, love potatoes.

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