The Accountant: A short short story

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Alex Beloff | Dreamstime.com

“Fear is the mind killer, fear is the mind killer, fear is the mind killer—shit!” he spat, cowering behind the dumpster with his ears wide open for signs of approaching footsteps.

Why hadn’t he seen this coming? All of the signs were there—the precocious co-worker suddenly gone silent, the whispers and glances as he passed in the hallway, the emails and calls not returned. No time to think about all that now, though—all that mattered was getting out of this alley alive.

He risked a glance around the corner of the giant garbage container. The alley was empty that way, and he could see no one between here and the other end.

“No time like the present,” a brave-sounding peep emerged from his throat. He stood and ran.

He ran with all of his might, and he could feel stabs of pain in his arthritic hip. No time for that, gotta run – run – run – run – RUN!

He heard the click of a door beginning to open behind him as he emerged from the alley, so he took a sharp turn down the sidewalk and eased his pace to a brisk walk. No way whoever was opening the door would have been able to see before he was around the corner, right? Right? He kept walking just in case, blending into the crowd, and didn’t look back.

A block. Two blocks. Three blocks.

There. Free and clear! He was out of there. All of the obstacles he had seen in front of him were imaginary, or overcome. He was out, safe and sound. All of his fears were—

“Bob?”

His heart froze. He looked around.

“I thought that was you. Hi, Bob. It’s good to see you.”

He eyed the older-looking man cautiously.

“Sam. Sam Lopez. From school.”

Bob relaxed, slightly.

“Oh, hi, Sam.” And then with more feeling, remembering and recognizing. “Sam! Yes, of course. How are you?”

“Doing great. Got a little family started, got work as an accountant.”

“That’s terrific.”

“How about you?”

“Oh,” and Bob’s heart resumed its racing. “I’m—I’m between jobs right now, looking for opportunities, as they say,” with a slight forced laugh. “Sorry I have to hit and run, Sam, but I have a thing I have to get to.”

“Sure, Bob, I understand,” Sam said, reaching into his jacket.

The gun was out and fired twice so quickly that Bob barely had time to register he was going to be shot. He felt the impact but not the pain, even after blood began to sprout from his chest.

“I’m sorry, Bob,” Sam said kindly. “There had to be an accounting.”

– – – – –

Creative log:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016: Krayatura 1 – 140/9,268/60,000; Other – wrote several random scenes

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Published by

WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith, journalist and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, and a couple of cats.