The Client

I was walking into the bank when my cell phone rang. I backed away from the revolving door and stopped at the sidewalk to answer the call. It was Suely.

“Talk to me, hottie,” I said.

“Azevedo has a client for you tomorrow night.”

“Sure, I'm there!” I replied. “Who, where, how?” I followed up with the basic questions.

“I'm shooting you an email. I'm using a Hotmail account now, so you'll get a message from Clotilde, okay? Don't forget to delete it afterwards. Remove it from your trash folder too.”

“Don't worry, gorgeous. It's 100% safe. By the way, when are we gonna throw caution out of the window, meet for dinner and get to know each other better?” I made my move, as gallantly as I could. She had already hung up.

I left the bank after confirming my account had been overdrawn. Great timing with that client. I didn't have two nickels to rub together, not even to buy my daughter a gift. I didn't have a pot to piss in. Two days ago I had gone to her mother's place just to give the little one a kiss on her birthday. I walked in there empty-handed. She asked me for that doll that has whatever kind of hair and all I could say was, “Daddy will bring you one later, sweetie.”

I went around the neighborhood looking for an internet cafe. I found a dirty dark one at Rua São Bento. While I was downloading Suely's message, I could feel fleas getting inside my pants and coming up my legs. I wrote down the information inside a cigarette pack and got the hell out of there.

I read the instructions carefully while I was going back home. The client was a woman. A young one. Fuck, I had already told Azevedo my thing is with men! I told him that I have problems with women, that there was a high chance I couldn't go through with it. But what good did it do? He only hears what he wants to hear. Once in a while he assigns me a lady. I gotta do it, though, gotta put food on the table.

She was 25 years old, tall, slim, very pretty. This was the info I got. She was dating a 58-year-old merchant who was very jealous of her. That was enough to get the picture, including the reason why they hired me.

Payment from Azevedo was a sure thing. He was like a bet collector―the following day my commission had already been transferred to my account, even before the task had been completed. Big fat money, bitch! That sure was a profitable gig for him.

I stopped by the mall in the afternoon and bought me a new shirt. I like wearing something nice and virgin for every new client. Sometimes it's the boxers. Sometimes it's the shirt. That's my tradition, for good luck. I also bought the little one a cute doll. I was dying to see her happy face.

At 10 p.m. I was at the corner, about one yards away, looking at the gym storefront through the binoculars. That gym was the bomb. I saw a bunch of shiny cars coming out of the underground parking. According to my info, she would leave the gym on foot because she lived nearby. The old man took care of his young lady, that was clear. A place like that was easily $400 a month. I had already smoked half my pack and no sign of her.

Soon enough, there she was. I couldn't believe it when I saw her. The most beautiful thing ever. Snub little nose, small waist, tight body under an even tighter workout outfit, long black hair pulled up on a ponytail moving from side to side while she walked.

She turned right on the corner into a narrow street full of old houses. I started the car, left my vantage point and got closer to her, driving right next to the sidewalk and rolling down the window a little bit to get a better look. She looked right at me with those round black eyes and my hands started to shake. I think I scared her, 'cause she started to speed up, shaking her wonderful booty the faster she walked.

I killed the engine and rolled down the window all the way. I looked through the rear view mirrors. Not a soul around. She was about 50 yards away when I pulled the pistol and aimed at her right above the rear view mirror. The silencer was already attached to it. My target was the top of her ponytail. I fired the gun.

She fell forward without making a sound. Face first. She stayed there, kissing the ground. Motionless. A noisy bus went past on the main street behind me. After that, the street fell into complete silence again.

I started the engine and backed up the car with all the lights still off. I got back to the avenue and sped up. I was determined to tell Azevedo, that motherfucker, that I'll never accept another job involving a beautiful woman like that. Not for all the money in the world.

Cesar Cruz was born in São Paulo in 1970. He is married and has one daughter. He writes short stories, columns, and articles. 

Over 100 texts written by him have already been published in collections of new authors, newspapers, and magazines. He also writes for some literary web portals, has a blog called Os causos do Cruz [Cruz's Tales] and has published two books O homem suprimido [The Supressed Man] and A idade do vexame e outras histórias [The Age of Shame & Other Stories]. 

“I believe writing is a lonely activity, but I keep the flame of hope alive and reach out to readers―these quasi-mythological beings―begging for their attention,” he sums up his passion.