It’s been so long since I did anything like queue to post a letter. I’m starting to miss it. There’s no talking in this queue, there’s never been any save for-
“Room number four, please.” Right on cue. She even sounds like the automated post office voice.
Room number four. So far as I’ve ever been able to tell there’s little reason for numbering other than for us to distinguish which job is which. I never understood it, the end result is the same. It’s not a glamourous job, but it’s an easy job in terms of effort. One clean shot does the trick, the money gets transferred in and we return to the queue.
I walk through the double doors which open politely for me after I scan my card and select four on the elevator. There’s never any noise. I’ve never figured out what direction this elevator goes in, it doesn’t seem to move at all. I think it’s the quietest job I’ve ever had.
Some days I wish I could hear another human voice but I think that luxury has been stripped from me due to my line of work. Sure I could call up some seedy hotline but it’s not real, there’s no face to the name. Sally’s probably some overweight monster with a surprisingly sexy voice. I could leave the apartment in my downtime, but I don’t trust myself out there anymore. Not like in here. The bell rings and that annoying automated woman reminds me: “room number four.”
I step into the small hallway and flash my card again, the door zips up into the ceiling. I enter into the bleach bright white of room number four. I collect the pistol from the table and wait.
The panel in the floor opens and up shoots a chair with my next job roped to it, squirming as it always is. I put the clip into the pistol and load the chamber.
The gun falls from my hand and I slam my hands down on the table, looking at the sheets. It struggles harder, faster, thrashing back and forward that if the chair were wooden it would already have cracked under the strain.
“Room number four, please finish your job.” That automated bitch.
“Room number four. We will incinerate the room. Finish your job.”
What the hell is this? Damn it shut up.
“Room number four-“
I pull the trigger and silence is restored.
I used to tell myself they must have done something wrong, then it was I needed the money. I even told myself it’s the only thing I’m good at. Once that stopped working I decided they didn’t matter, billions of stars and planets out there, we’re just another light on the grid. Nobody notices if it gets a little darker. I’m still searching for an excuse.