“The pay isn’t much, but I know how you feel about widows and orphans.”

“How much, Jack?”

“Only ten, I’m afraid.”

The man at the other end of the phone hesitated for a moment and then decided to take the job.  Ten grand wasn’t much, but he had a soft spot for damsels in distress.

“OK, I’ll do it for ten.  Make sure to pay FICA for me.”

The caller laughed.  “You know the drill, Rex.  You’re an independent contractor.”

Jack Stone arranged to call back in a few days with more information.

Rex Mortimer grabbed a Cuban cigar from the box on the corner of his desk and shoved it into the corner of his mouth.  He pulled a box of wooden matches from the top desk drawer, extracted one, and struck it sharply against the side of the desk.  The match immediately illuminated, and Rex lit his cigarette and enjoyed one final smoke.  After he finished his cigarette, he’d pull the bottle of single malt scotch from the bottom drawer and enjoy a final dose of that wonderful elixir as well.  Rex Mortimer loved fine cigars and quality booze, but he always swore them off when working on a job.  The stakes warranted complete sobriety.

To the outside world, Rex Mortimer was a marketing executive named Alexander Milne.  He operated his front business under the name of Sanders Consulting.  Indeed, Sanders Consulting was small, but had a long history in the industry, and their reputation had continued unblemished after Alexander had bought the company from the old owner.  This was largely because Alexander outsourced the work to people far more qualified than himself.  He had little difficulty outsourcing the jobs, since he paid more than the clients paid him – and paid with cash.

While the business was not profitable from a pure economic sense, it served a very valuable purpose – accounting for Alexander’s frequent business trips and reasonably high level of income.

When Alexander took a road trip, it was his alter ego who performed the work.  Rex Mortimer’s business was death, and business was very good.  Rex was a contract killer.  He wasn’t an elite guy like Jaguar or Condor, but he managed to make a very decent living from his profession.  Most of the money was diverted to safe haven in the Cayman Islands.  The rest was passed along to the flunkies who performed the outsourcing for Sanders Consulting.  The recipients never complained about receiving cash, and the process did a nice job of trading dirty cash from the contract killers for clean cash paid by clients for the excellent work of Sanders Consulting.

How do you like the story so far?

This other half of this particular story will NOT be available on the blog! It will only be available as part of an eBook that I am giving away to my most valued regular readers. Don’t worry, it does not cost any money, nor do you have to give up any personal information.

If you are a regular reader through the web site, look up at the blue bar at the top of the screen. You should see the text “Free eBook” toward the right edge of the bar. If you don’t see this, then you’re just a wee bit shy of being a “regular reader”.

If you are an RSS subscriber, look at the bottom of this story. You will see a “Free eBooks of short stories” link directly to the left of the copyright notice.

Clicking on either of these links will get you to the correct page to download the eBook. The 50 page eBook contains thirteen stories. Twelve of the stories have been featured on The Soap Boxers. The first story in the eBook – The Professional – is only available to members in this PDF.

I hope you enjoy the eBook!

If you aren’t a regular visitor, you can get the eBook by simply subscribing to the RSS feed – or simply look around the site and read a few stories. Before long, we’ll think of you as a regular visitor.

If you run into any problems, just send me an email at kosmo@observingcasually.com

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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