I killed her in the Africa Room, not because she was black, but because there were already some dead animals on the walls. I figured they would keep her company.
She sent out a plea for help on her cell phone, per my request. They would come because I’d asked for their best, most expensive girl. Even mentioned that $800 for an hour of fucking was no problem at all.
“I did what you asked,” Nila said. “Now what? And who are you?”
“My name is Theo,” I said. Not a lie. Theo Akerman. But my employers knew me simply as Taker. A bastardization of T. Aker. It was a good name because that’s what I do for a living. I take things. Objects. People. Payments. In this case, I was taking revenge. On behalf of a Grosse Pointe doctor whose daughter, now deceased, had been lured into drugs and prostitution by a slick pimp from Lansing named Ronnie Jay. Nila’s boss.
“I said, who the fuck are you?” she repeated.
“Have you ever seen Out of Africa?” I said, then put the muzzle of the silenced .22 Magnum to her forehead and pulled the trigger. I was hoping a little blood would splash onto the mouth of the wooden African mask directly over the bed. But it didn’t.
When I left Detroit and came to Lansing, I chose the Cozy Koi bed and breakfast for three reasons: it was in Ronnie Jay’s neighborhood, it was two separate buildings, and the whole place looked empty. A fact that was confirmed when I was able to rent every room in the second, smaller building.
There was a rickety stairway leading to the second floor, where an exterior door was positioned just outside The Garden Room. I went there now, sliding my .22 inside my shoulder holster, and picking up the Mossberg Defender 500 shotgun. I knew Nila’s driver would approach from the fire escape, not the front door. It didn’t take long to prove I was right. I’d even unlocked the door for him to make it easy. When he stepped in and quietly closed the door, I had already stepped into the hall. Thick carpeting helped me avoid making any noise. When he turned, I fired directly into his face. The double-aught spread took most of his head off. Chunks of brain landed in the Garden Room, beneath beautifully framed antique prints of Alaskan wildflowers.
I went back downstairs to the Asian Room. A Geisha looked down at me from the wall, and I relaxed with the help of a little Buddha on the small, lacquer painted dresser.
It wasn’t long before a shadow passed over the wooden blinds, changing the light’s reflection off the gold Japanese fan hung on the wall. Ronnie Jay and his cousin, Big D, had arrived.
I walked to the front door. The door was solid wood with a small prism of art glass instead of a peephole. From five feet away I saw through the glass the shape of a black Adam’s Apple. I fired the .22 dead center through the little diamond of beveled glass. I heard the soft thud of someone falling, and a clatter of metal. I opened the door, saw Ronnie Jay, his throat shredded, and blood on his face, sprawled beneath the big COZY KOI yard sign.
Rest and relax, indeed.
I watched pink bubbles pop from what was left of his throat. His eyes were already glazing over. I put one more bullet in his forehead.
I went back inside, snatched the shotgun from the dining room table, and raced up to the Tropical Room. I caught the scent of coconut, then gently slid open the glass doors to the little tiki porch above the back door.
Big D was trying to look through the kitchen window next to the back door. I whistled a calypso tune. When Big D looked up, I fired the shotgun and turned him from Big D into lower case d.
Back in the dining room, I opened the guest book and signed it.
Had a great time at the Koi. Very restful.