Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Hitmen, page 1
MAMA DON’T LET
YOUR BABIES GROW UP TO BE HITMEN
By Leslie Langtry
Copyright © 2017 by Leslie Langtry
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
Coming home after graduating from college without a job is hard enough. But when you’re trapped in a gas station bathroom with a Vic who won’t die and no way to get him out, that’s a bit more of a challenge.
To be honest, taking out this target wasn’t really my problem. Humans are soft and squishy which makes them easily vulnerable to death via sharp pointy things and projectiles. My attempt to exploit that fact, however, was reminiscent of Rasputin. That guy was poisoned, stabbed and beaten before being tied up and tossed in an icy river. How did he die? He drowned. And at the hand of a Bombay, no less. But that’s another story for another day.
“Stop moving!” I hissed as I kicked the guy in the ribs.
He didn’t even seem to feel it. He could at least have tried to flinch to spare my feelings. But no, this guy was selfishly clinging to life. Like moments earlier when I punched him in the throat, tried to garrote him, and did the ear clap thingy with both hands. At least I was able to tie him up and gag him.
This whole thing had gone south an hour ago. I’d poisoned his food at his favorite restaurant and ran over him with my car, but he escaped and still found the energy and desire to buy foot fungal powder (something I thought was a tad optimistic) at the nearest convenience store. That’s when I trapped him in the bathroom. There was only one thing I could do…call for backup.
“What’s up, Cuz?” Louis sounded sleepy. To be fair, he’d just gotten home from graduating summa cum laude from MIT. He’d been sleeping for two days straight, according to Uncle Dak.
“I’m in a situation where I need your help,” was all I could manage.
“What? Like help with your checking account again? Because if that’s the case, you’re on your own this time.”
Of course, he brought up my banking challenges. For some reason, I never could manage accounts. And yes, I know that writing every transaction down in something called a ‘checkbook’ would help, but I didn’t have a checkbook and wasn’t at all sure how to get one. When I’d set up my bank account, all they gave me was a debit card. I couldn’t help it that the technology hadn’t really caught up with good old paper and pen.
I shoved those distracting thoughts on how I could revolutionize the banking industry and got back to the task at hand.
“No.” I paused trying to think of how to say this. “With a job. A Bombay job.”
Louis hung up before I could give him the details. He probably thought I was kidding and went back to sleep.
“Mmmmmrghffff!” The hog-tied body at my feet said.
Sigh. Fine. With one silenced bullet to the head, it was over. Don’t feel bad for him. This was a bad dude. I’d just hoped to make this kill a little cleaner, that’s all. It was my first and that’s a major milestone in my family. My unreasonable thinking that this would be the stuff of legends ended with the pathetic fffft from my silenced 9mm.
My situation with the squirming bastard now improved dramatically but created a new problem - I was in the large, single men’s room of a Quik Mart gas station/convenience store with a dead body and no exit strategy. The minutes ticked by like hours as I ran through a dozen different scenarios, but all of them ended with me getting busted while struggling under the weight of this corpse.
There was a knock at the door. Fantastic.
“I’m going to need a while,” I disguised my voice, dropping the pitch to hopefully sound like a man.
The knob was jiggling. I knew that sound. That was the sound of someone picking the lock. Instinctively I trained my gun on the door and tried to think. I didn’t want to shoot an innocent person. But how was I going to explain the dead, bound and gagged body at my feet?
The door opened slowly and I’d decided to wave whoever it was in here and figure out what to do about it after. Why not? I’d already made a mess of my first job.
“Louis!” I shouted as my cousin slipped inside and closed the door behind him.
Louis Bombay was Uncle Dak’s son and the same age as me. Blond with blue eyes and an adorable space between his two front teeth, he was smarter than I was. Smarter than most people, to tell the truth. He’d made a particle accelerator the first week of his freshman year…and I didn’t even know what that was.
My relief faded as I realized something, “Wait…how did you find me?”
“I created an app to pinpoint a person’s cell phone within two feet of their location.”
I scowled. “You can do that? And you did it to my phone?”
He gave me a gap-toothed smile. “You were kind of my beta tester.”
Louis’s eyes grew wide as he saw the body. “You’re working? Like working working? How did you get an assignment? I want an assignment!”
Maybe I should explain. My name is Romi Bombay and I come from a family whose business since 2000 BCE was assassination. I say was, because our parents quit - putting an end to two millennia of tradition. Instead of using the skills we’d been trained for since age five, we had to go to college and find regular jobs. Our parents couldn’t understand why we weren’t happy about that.
I had majored in botany in protest and now had a degree I had no idea how to use. Louis got his degree in physics, which was good because he liked to invent stuff. Our other cousin, Alta, wanted to write novels, and her brother Woody majored in business. And we all lived at home, because we didn’t know the first thing about getting ‘normal’ jobs.
My mother, Gin, was a Bombay and an assassin, who’d racked up dozens of kills in her thirty-odd years of wet-work. Like her Bombay cousins, she’d worked for the family business. That was – before they shut it down and went legit. We all went legit…whether we liked it or not.
“It’s a long story. First, I need help getting Vic here out of the way.” We referred to our targets as Vic, as in short for Victim. Not exactly subtle, but that was family tradition. Other family traditions included our motto in Greek which translated to KILL WITH NO MERCY, LOVE WITH SUSPICION, and the fact that we all were named after cities, states and countries. Mine was really Roma for Rome. Louis was short for St. Louis, and with their mother big on social injustice, my mother’s cousin Liv named her kids Altamont and Woodstock.
“Does Aunt Gin know about your assignment?” Louis said as he pulled a large, unusually thick black trash bag from his jacket pocket.
My mother thought I was out applying for jobs, not doing one. “Let’s get out of here and I’ll explain.”
I was starting to reach for the bag in Louis’ hands when there was another knock on the door.
“Come back later! I’m washing my hair!” Louis sang in a high-pitched, girly voice.
That was an odd choice of words.
“Ah. You were using code,” Now, I understood the weird lingo.
“You got an assignment?” Woody squeaked.
“How did that happen, and why didn’t you tell me?” Alta asked as she bent down to examine the body. “Head shot. Very messy. And very unlike you.”
“I ran out of time.” And ideas.
Alta and I had trained together and were, like our mothers, the best of friends. We even went to the same college and joined the same sorority. She knew me too well. Because of my botany degree, I was interested in plant-based poison. And I’d tried that first. But this wasn’t the time to explain.
Woody rummaged through the cleaning supplies in a cupboard and with bleach and paper towels began cleaning up the blood. He even got the spray pattern on the walls. I wasn’t sure it was clean enough to stand up to a Luminol challenge, but then, anyone taking a black light to a gas station bathroom was likely to see horrors they wished they hadn’t.
I spotted a piece of cardboard and after pulling a pen out of my purse, wrote OUT OF ORDER. Very carefully, I slid out of the room and using some yarn from the socks I was knitting, hung it on the doorknob. I slipped back into the bathroom with the others.
Alta stood up, pointing at the body that was now in the black bag. “We’re going to say the toilet overflowed, we cleaned it up, and we’re taking out the garbage. There’s an exit right next to the bathroom and my car is backed up to it, trunk open.”
“How did you know to do that? I didn’t tell you I had to dispose of a body.”
Louis turned bright red. “Oh. Didn’t I mention that? I also turned your phone into a video camera. I found out what you were doing before I called these guys.”
“We are going to talk about this later,” I said evenly.
That’s why he had a bag. Clever, but I wasn’t thrilled with him spying on me. Louis was the inventor of the family. Our parents’ cousin, Missi (short for Mississippi), had been the Bombay Family’s version of James Bond’s Q, creating everything from pantyhose that caused blood clots to gelatin bullets. I had no idea what pantyhose were but she said it was a torture device for women back in the ‘70’s that came in a giant egg. Whatever that meant.
Someone cursed outside the door, obviously unhappy that they couldn’t use the bathroom. We stayed silent until we heard footsteps walking away. It was time for us to leave.
“We could toss it out the window,” Woody whispered as he put the cleaning supplies in the bag with the body.
I shook my head. “There’s a fast food place next door. And it’s lunchtime. It’ll be packed.”
Louis nodded as Woody shouldered the bag. He and Alta would walk alongside it to hide it from view while I’d bring up the rear and deal with anyone in the hallway. Opening the door, I did a quick ‘witness’ check. No cameras and no people. I gave a silent thanks that this gas station had an exit next to the bathroom. We’d gotten lucky. Very lucky. It only took a few steps to wrestle the bag into Alta’s open trunk and drive away.
I relaxed a bit. “Thanks guys. Sorry I had to drag you into that,” And I was even sorrier that now I’d have to explain what I was doing.
“We’ll hit the crematorium in the middle of the night,” Louis said. He’d taken the shotgun seat next to Alta. I was in the back with Woody.
“You have a crematorium?” Alta asked, never taking her eyes off the road. She was a very safe driver. That had been part of our training. You wouldn’t believe how many people flee a crime in a panic, only to get into an accident that exposes them to the police. I appreciated her calm approach to this strange situation.
Louis shook his head, “I have the keys to Hollander’s Funeral Home and Crematorium. It’s convenient because the owners are on vacation. I go there sometimes to think.”
We stared at him.
He looked at us. “What?”
We drove across town like a bunch of millennial assassins with a stiff in the trunk. It was a good thing Alta kept her car in good condition. It would be a disaster if we got pulled over because of a broken tail light.
“Hey, Romi,” Alta looked at me in the rearview mirror. “I’ve got a new idea for my book!”
I struggled to keep a smile on my face, but cringed inside. Alta had been working on this book for four years. It was a murder mystery. And it was terrible. As much as I loved my cousin, four years as an English major did nothing to make her a better writer. She was the queen of purple prose, writing stuff like, her mysterious, long blond hair fluttered in the wind like crime scene streamers as she drew her gun. Mysterious hair? And there was this one, Lodewyck gazed at Lizzie with a heart full of fear and loathing as she combed his beard like a mama chimp.
I braced myself.
“I’m thinking Lodewyck should have a hobby to humanize him. Like, collecting teeth or boat keys or something. What do you think?”
That Lodewyck is a terrible name, and who the hell collects teeth?
“Inspired!” I managed a fake look of glee. “Can’t wait to read it!”
“Lodewyck?” Louis frowned. “What kind of a name is Lodewyck?”
“It’s an old Dutch name.” Alta frowned – something she rarely did. “It means bringer of the mountain, I think.”
Why didn’t they go off on the idea of collecting teeth? Did that seem normal to them?
“How do you bring a mountain,” Woody snorted. “You can’t move a mountain.”
“And who’d want to?” Louis agreed. “Where would you put it? What would you do with it?”
“So where are we going?” I interrupted. My best friend wasn’t fragile when it came to criticism…thankfully. But I didn’t want to witness her killing her cousins right here and now. At least, not without know where Louis kept his crematorium keys.
“The garage sale prep at your house,” Alta said. “I told Mom we’d check in. She thinks I’ve been out applying for work.”
Louis nodded, “That’s what I told Dad.”
Woody sort of shrank into the seat. He’d gotten his business degree from Wharton last year and still hadn’t found a job. We didn’t hold that against him. Up until a few years ago, Bombays never had to worry about work, because we were born into our required jobs as hired assassins. My generation was a little lost. We’d need more time to turn all that practice garroting our American Girl dolls into every day, marketable skills.
My throat tightened. “We can’t take a body with us to the garage sale! Mom will totally sniff it out when it bakes in the trunk.”
Alta shook her head. “Louis added AC to the trunk. It runs on its own battery when the car shuts off.”
“You know, for a bunch of kids who don’t get assignments, you sure have a lot of assassiny stuff.” I grumbled.
“I don’t have anything cool like that,” Woody whined. “Why don’t I have that?”
We ignored him. We were used to Woody’s worries. He couldn’t help it – it was just the way he was. Besides, he was a smart guy with black belts in Aikido, Tae Kwon Do and Karate. A very useful resource if backed into a corner by ninjas.
“Are you going to tell us what’s going on?” Louis asked from the front seat.
“We can talk in my room when we get there.”
First, I botch the case, need help from my cousins, and now I have to walk through Mom’s weird garage sale preparations. This day wasn’t getting better.
My mother, Gin Bombay (short for Virginia), her brother, Dak (short for Dakota) and their cousins Liv (Liverpool) and her brother, Paris, were neck-deep in junk. The sale was set for tomorrow and I didn’t want to be anywh
We parked the car a few blocks over to avoid suspicion (and just in case the trunk AC malfunctioned) and walked to my house.
“Mom.” I said as I came up on her in the garage. She wasn’t listening. Typical.
“MOM!” I shouted and watched as my mother, Gin Bombay, jumped a foot in the air, spun around and landing in a defensive stance. I rolled my eyes. Assassins.
“Romi! You startled me. Remember what I’ve told you,” Mom said as she brushed a strand of silver hair behind her ear. I still couldn’t get used to the large, silver streak in her hair. She was too young for that. I was too young to have a mom with silver hair.
I sighed and responded, “Never sneak up on a Bombay. I know. You just didn’t hear me the first time.”
Mom opened a box and started going through it. “Well? What is it?”
“We’re going to my room,” I indicated the cousins standing behind me as the garage door closed.
“Do you think I could sell this as a cheese slicer?” Mom held up a string of piano wire with handles on each end. “Don’t worry, it’s clean.” She squinted. “Maybe I’d better go over it again to make sure.”
“You’re serious?” I asked.
She put her hands on her hips, “I’ve only taken out two people with this garrote. No wait, three. Maybe four. But it’s still in decent shape.”
Voices were mumbling outside. Mom reached for the remote and hit the button. The door slowly rolled up to reveal Uncle Dak, Liv and Paris. We watched our parents for a while as they carried in boxes and closed the sound-proofed garage door. It was too weird for words.
Paris spoke up, “I brought these.” He lifted a set of throwing knives out of a box. “Maybe we could pass them off as kitchen knives?”
Paris was Alta and Woody’s uncle, and a terrible, aspiring poet. He was trying to get his work published in magazines, but so far had no one interested (and quite a few threats if he continued submitting). I often wondered if Alta got her writing skills from him.
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