Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SKULDUGGERY (09/01/16)
- TITLE: Double deal
By Graham Keet
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As he approached her he began summing up his chances. I think this one’s ideal— wealthy divorcee, reasonable looking, not too bright. If I play my cards right I could score big-time.
On reaching her bench he gave a theatrical bow. “I said I’d wear a carnation in my buttonhole, but I couldn’t find one—does a rosebud work for you?”
“A rose by any other name, Romeo,” she smiled, standing up and taking his hand. “You’re taller than you look on my laptop, maybe I must get a larger screen. Do I look different to you?”
“You look just perfect, Maribeth, even better than on the internet. What say we go somewhere nice for lunch, then maybe a show and coffee at my place? You said you don’t like crowds, but I know a nice quiet place with excellent food.”
“That’ll be great, but let’s chat a bit first. I would really like to get to know you better.”
“Sure, where should we start?” he sat down next to her and took her hand. He was pleased when she placed her other hand on top of his. “I know that you’re divorced, what line of business was your ex in?”
“He developed computer applications—commonly known as apps. He was brilliant; made a fortune when he sold the company.”
Steve smiled when he heard this. “Pity he couldn’t keep his hands to himself, though. You must have been pretty cut up when he chased after other women?”
“I was at first, but I made sure I got a very good settlement.” Steve silently congratulated himself. Seems like I haven’t lost my touch at selecting the right one. I’ll sweep her off her feet, even marry her, bleed her dry, then leave her.
“And you?” she asked. I remember you said you’re in the financial investment business; how’s it going?”
“Well, actually I’m between jobs at the moment—got some good prospects lined up, though. But I’m getting hungry; what say we have something to eat, then we can go back to my apartment for some coffee?”
Suddenly her demeanor changed. “Just coffee?”
“Yeah sure, or whatever else you want,” he said standing up and offering his hand.
She stood up and slapped him hard through the face. “You’ve done this before, haven’t you?”
“What do you mean?” he stumbled backwards, clutching his burning cheek.
“I’ve Googled your history. You troll dating sites, select rich targets and bleed them dry. It’s all just sex and money to you.”
For a moment Hollister looked totally bewildered, then he felt the anger rise up inside him. “Yeah, okay, perhaps I did think you might be good for a one night stand, and maybe I did think of getting some cash off of you, like with the other stupid cows.”
Maribeth grabbed her handbag, and thinking she was about to hit him with it, Hollister pushed her to the ground and tried to pin her down. She was, however, far more nimble than he thought. With a quick movement she rolled away and sprang to her feet, still clutching her handbag.
Suddenly the bushes behind the park bench came alive, and a voice shouted: “On the ground, hands above your head.” Hollister looked up to see three armed police officers. He threw himself face down on the ground, then he heard, “Not you, her.”
Maribeth was about to produce something from her handbag when one of the policemen dive-tackled her to the ground, pinning her arms behind her and handcuffing her wrists. Another policemen took her handbag and removed a Walther PPK with a silencer.
“You’re one lucky fella, mister,” he said. “This is Maribeth Mullins. We’ve been looking for her for months. She escaped from the high security psychiatric hospital where she’s been sentenced to life on three counts of murder. She was abused as a youngster, and now takes it out on men that try to come on to her. Another few seconds and you would have been history.”
Shaking like a leaf, and between sobs, Hollister managed to get out: “Never again, never again.”
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