Safwat Muffin Korchinski-Brinkman waited behind a hill by the side of the road for Lorne Behrens' car to pass by. He checked the rifle again, as he had easily a hundred times since stationing himself there an hour earlier. He checked briefly to see that the road was clear, and then stood up and stretched.

He needn't really have come this early, since Behrens has a passion for sticking to his schedule. That was one of the things that Safwat hated about him--his punctuality. And the way he'd stolen Maddie Huckneil's heart from him. And the lead tenor part in the opera.

But all that would be over soon. In less than an hour, Lorne Behrens and that slut Maddie would be dead. That would clinch things once and for all. They would be gone and Safwat Muffin Korchinski-Brinkman would be the tenor they all worshipped. He would find other women besides Maddie.

He could hear a car coming in the distance. This road wasn't used very much. Behrens used it because he always had used it, even after most of its traffic was diverted to the newly-constructed Interstate. Safwat lifted the rifle to his shoulder and crouched down, sighting over the edge of the hill. There was a large rock on the road just below him, and Behrens would be totally mad not to slow down for it. If he didn't, his car would no doubt be ruined, and Safwat could pick him and Maddie off at his leisure. If he did slow down, that would make them easy targets, from this range.

He could hear the car coming closer, and see it in his peripheral vision. He could hear the motor slow down as it came closer to the rock.

Then he heard the helicopter coming closer. A voice blared, "Stand up and drop the rifle! We know you're there!"

No! Not this close to victory! He wheeled and fired two shots at the 'copter. Then he felt a shock of impact in his right shoulder, and his arm went numb. He dropped the rifle, lost his balance, and fell on his right arm, filling him with shooting pain.

He rolled down the hill, in agony whenever his right side hit the ground. He came to a stop at the base of a small tree. When his eyes focused, he saw in front of him a mushroom. He heard the chopper coming down for a landing somewhere nearby. The mushroom looked vaguely familiar, stirring childhood memories. His mother, out in the woods showing him mushrooms. "These ones are poisonous," she'd said. His left arm still could move, and it reached out and plucked the mushroom. There were footsteps in the brush, and the voice was blaring something unintelligible. His left arm put the mushroom in his mouth. He bit down on it, and then swallowed it quickly. Just as long as they didn't pump his stomach before he died.

Based on the words: Passion Clinch Tenor Schedule

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