The Ambush

I knew that he knew that I was waiting for him.

Of course it was intentional. I'm too much of a professional to make that kind of slip. Or so I tell myself, anyway. But in this case, I knew it would play into my hands. The target would panic, and in a situation carefully arranged so that his avenues of flight would be limited.

He wouldn't stand a chance.

About now he would have gotten my note. The blood would drain from his face, his luncheon companion would ask him what was wrong, he'd say he suddenly didn't feel well, and excuse himself to go to the bathroom. Then he'd duck out the back door.

The alley was blocked off in one direction by a big truck, which was being unloaded at a very slow rate. (They were, in fact, putting the boxes back inside the truck through a side panel. They'd been sitting there for at least half an hour.) So he'd go the other way. Then he'd see the figure leaning casually against a lamppost at the end of the alley, just barely visible. Smoking a cigarette, pretending to read a newspaper. So he'd duck into the back door of the bookstore.

That wasn't me, of course. Just someone I'd paid twenty bucks to stand there peeking over his newspaper into the alley and smoking free cigarettes for an hour.

So there he'd be in the bookstore. The man he thinks is me saw him go in, so he wouldn't stay in there. He'd make his way hurriedly through to the front, apologizing as he went. After he got out the front door, he'd go down the sidewalk, away from where "I" was standing, in case "I" went around the corner.

There he was, in fact. Trying not to be obvious about glancing behind him every five seconds. Bumping into people and apologizing.

In about fifteen seconds he'd be directly beneath me. He probably hadn't even noticed me, putting up letters on the marquee in front of the theatre.

As he went under the awning, I grabbed my equipment, ran across it(it was a lot sturdier than it looked)and swung down to land right in front of him.

We stared at each other for a few seconds--my eyes full of triumph, his of resignation.

"Arnold Ranious?" I asked.

He nodded fearfully.

"I have a singing telegram for you."

It was a living.

Based on the words: Cafe Career Marquee Ambush

Back to the Four-Word Stories Page...

The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com