Slightly used tombstone. Near mint condition. Perfect for someone named Robert Fuller. $1000 dollars or best offer.
Everyone makes mistakes. Fuller or Fulton, what’s the difference? One slip-up and I’m out a thousand bucks. Thank God, I own the company because I can only imagine how angry my boss would be over such a costly mistake. I can only imagine my wife’s anger when she learns we’re out a $1000. I’m not telling her either. My company is close bankrupt. There’s not many people who still hand carve their own tombstones any more. I’m a craftsman who can’t afford mistakes like this
I have an idea. Phonebook: Fuller, Chris…Fuller, Paul…Fuller R (possibly)… Fuller, Robert (more exact)… another Fuller, Robert (better). I know where second Robert Fuller’s address is. Better yet. I’m unsure where the first address is. It’s that Robert Fuller’s lucky day. The second one isn’t so lucky. I’ll plan to leave my business card where his wife can find it. Maybe she’ll look at it as an omen or maybe as a happy coincidence for everyone but her husband.
I chuckle, imagining Wile E. Coyote unwrapping a package from the ACME Company. It’s an anvil and the directions inside read: be careful when dropping from high places. Mr. Coyote’s plans rarely work as planned so I go to plan B. A high powered rifle, a scope, and something to muffle the sound. With my ingenuity, that’ll be all folks.
I scope out the first Mr. Fuller’s neighborhood. It’s lovely: big houses, large yards, and tree line drives. Perfectly laid out for a man to leave his vehicle, slip into a wooded glen, shoot someone, and casually return home for dinner. There is no time delay. Mr. Fulton’s rush order is overdue. I try to be conscientious but the thousand dollar mistake has killed my savings.
Tuesday: I assemble my rifle while perspiring. I calmly track the man who walks between the Fuller residence and a car, several times. He looks to be in his fifties which is what I expect from the information I found on the internet. I’ve spent the last week practicing on Call of Duty. I worry I’ll miss and that screw up will cost me hours of planning. I don’t want to start over. I’m leave the car and I hide in a patch of trees. A car drives slowly around the bend. I stay still waiting for it to pass. I hope he didn’t notice my brother-in-law’s truck parked along the road. If he did it would be bad luck for my wife’s brother.
The moment passes. Nothing but birds and rustling leaves. The man is outside again. I raise my rifle and squeeze my trigger. I hear a distinct pop and the man buckles in the driveway, just like the Germans do in Call of Duty. I don’t even get to enjoy my kill as I believe the place will soon be crawling with police. I quietly walk back to the truck.
I wait all day by my phone… and then another… and soon another. Nobody calls. Two weeks pass. After a lot commotion things die down. The television crews, yellow tape, and the police pack up and leave. My long suffering bank account still hasn’t recovered from the incident.
I’m back on the street mindful that the police are still probably following leads. I ask a boy on a bicycle, where the Fullers live. He says they moved six months ago. I pretend this doesn’t shock me. I wonder if I could even find the second Robert Fuller’s new address or is it still too new or maybe he moved out of the area. I think how I’ll have to look up first Robert Fuller’s address on Mapquest. I maintain my composure, swallowing deeply while subtly asking, “Any idea where the Fullers moved to?”
He shakes his head no and moves on like I’m some kind of weirdo or something. I put my brother in law’s truck in drive and slowly troll the neighborhood.
Later that night, I’ll return to the neighborhood. Park somewhere and return on foot. When there’s no one in the driveway I’ll slip a business card into the mailbox of the grieving family’s porch. I’ve always had a work ethic and it’s never too late to drum up business. Originally published Diverse Voices Quarterly http://www.diversevoicesquarterly.com/Vol8Issue30.pdf