It’s the middle of Winter and there’s a gun in my handbag.
Actually there is a lot of stuff in there, but mostly it’s the usual things that a woman carries, until you get to the envelope stuffed with money and the small calibre hand gun.
The envelope is a pretty shade of light blue and it came from a stationary set that I bought in a little shop in an arcade in Toorak.
I’d been visiting a friend who had made herself invisible in the previous few months.
It wasn’t a big deal, I was just trying to do better in the ‘friends’ department.
I’m a bit slack when it comes to friends so I was trying to make an effort.
After several tries she eventually decided to meet me for lunch.
She was very bad company; obviously depressed and just barely able to put on a glad-face. It was painful, but we got through it and we bought each other a writing set. I knew she liked to write letters so I thought it would be a fun way for us to keep in touch.
I never received a letter from her and a few weeks after our lunch she arranged for her son to come to her apartment. When he arrived he found a note, written on the writing paper I had bought for her, a copy of her life insurance policy and her body, all neatly laid out.
She’d had enough.
Her affairs were in order and she simply, left us; almost as quietly as she had lived.
Her son was evasive about the contents of the note. “Just a goodbye note. Saying how much she loved us, that sort of thing.”
But, there was more to it than that, and while I was still grieving the loss of my friend I received a visit from a certain acquaintance who had come into possession of some information and if i wanted to make sure that the information remained a secret I was to bring along a certain sum of money to a certain park at a certain time on a certain afternoon.
I’m on my way now.
It’s cold, but I have my gloves to keep my hands warm with the added benefit of not leaving fingerprints and protecting my hands from gunshot residue.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t actually decided to kill the blackmailing bastard. I may give him the money instead.
I haven’t decided.
I may flip a coin.
I may kill him if it rains, spare him if it’s fine.
I wonder if he knows that his life hangs on the outcome of a weather report?
He deserves to die for what he did to my friend but that’s not how the world works; people rarely get what they deserve.
My friend made her choice and she cannot be hurt anymore.
I have to look out for me.
Putting it simply, I’ll kill him if I think I can get away with it. If the circumstances are such that I can walk away undetected, then I shoot him and I won’t lose any sleep.
With a bit of luck the park will be emptied by the inclement weather and no one will take much notice of a single gunshot. “I heard it but I thought it was a car backfiring, so I did think much about it, officer”.
The police will go through his papers and see that he was blackmailing a whole host of people, and not just women. They’ll spend months checking all the names and checking to see where everyone was on the day.
“If I had known I needed an alibi officer I would have made sure I had one, but I was just out shopping and I doubt that anyone would remember me. No I don’t own a gun. No I’ve never fired a gun in my life.”
The first bit is true and I’ll look very convincing when I say it.
The gun belonged to a lover from many years ago. He gave it to me ‘for protection’.
It was mostly him I needed protection from, and some of his hoodlum friends, but once he was gone the threat went away and it cured me of ‘bad boys’ for life.
A fully loaded .32 automatic seemed like something that might come in handy one day. I kept it cleaned and well oiled. No use having a gun if you don’t look after it.
There is always a chance the gun will misfire, the ammunition is old, but it will give him the fright of his life even if it does.
I hope I don’t have to burn this coat.
I really like this coat.
Only one more stop and this tram will be outside the park.
The money or the gun?
As I step off the tram it starts to rain.
Painting by Kenton Nelson