Here’s a Flash Fiction challenge courtesy of Chuck Wendig at his Terrible Minds blog. The Challenge is this: Take a Stephen King book title and write a short story based on that alone. So here it is!
After a long life well lived, Mr. Mercedes met his end after finding himself standing under a large grand piano. Normally this wouldn’t end a person’s life outright, but in this case the piano happened to be falling at great speed. Emilio, Mr. Mercedes personal bodyguard, was very bothered by this development.
“S!*t. S$!t B!#$h Motherf%$#ing c*$ksucking fishmonger!” Emilio yelled with much distress.
“You wot?” said a voice over the radio.
“You killed him, Warner! He’s dead!” Emilio yelled in a furious manner.
“Wha makes you fink it’s me?” Warner asked.
“Cuz you’re the one on overwatch! I heard the rifle!”
“I was shootin at some pigeons,” said Warner.
Emilio unleashed a parade of curses and insults not fit for print. Warner didn’t mind though. He’d heard worse from his granny.
“Come down here and help me clean this up before someone sees,” said Emilio.
“Ya know, maybe e’ deserved it.”
“What? That was our boss! He paid us!” Emilio screeched.
“Oh yeah. Hope his next check clears.”
“I swear to God if I didn’t need your help right now I’d kill you dead!” Emilio yelled. A woman nearby stared at him wide eyed and held her child close. “Oh I didn’t mean… I was talking to my partner,” Emilio said, pointing to his earpiece. The woman quickly led her child away.
Ten minutes later, the sadly misshapen Warner ambled toward the newly made crime scene.
“Oy, look at ‘im. Popped like a melon he did,” said Warner.
“What a pointed and grotesque observation. Now keep watch here while I go find some towels and a tarp,” said Emilio.
“Roight,” Warner intoned.
Emilio scrambled into the home of the former Mr. Mercedes. There were many a fine art piece placed with finely tuned precision all around the home. Not a space was left unmarred, not a surface uncovered by abstract expression. Everywhere the fine taste of Mr. Mercedes was on display. Perhaps the old villa had once been an art exhibit and Mr. Mercedes had purchased the property, art and all, leaving the exhibit up as if to say this was all him. Unfortunately, rich men have no need for towels or tarps and so Emilio came up empty handed. He figured maybe the servants had something to spare in their quarters. He raced back outside, then came to a dead stop, watching in horror as Warner talked to a police officer. He collected himself, straightened his shirt collar, and walked toward them.
“So ‘en I says, ‘Blokes get chokes, chicks get di- oh hello partner,” Warner said when he saw Emilio approach.
“Warner. Officer,” Emilio said, waiting for a SWAT team to descend on them. The officer nodded obligingly, throwing Emilio for a loop. Hadn’t he seen the piano? The corpse? Hell, he could have smelled it by now, seeing as Mr. Mercedes had already been baking in the hot sun for a good twenty minutes.
“I was just telling the officer, eh, Officer Jones, about Mista Mercedes new art installation ‘ere,” Warner said.
“That Mercedes is an eccentric fellow, no doubt about it. Not sure what this latest piece means though,” Officer Jones said, rubbing his chin. Emilio felt a ten ton weight come off his shoulders. Of course. An eccentric piece of art. He could work with that.
“Um, maybe it’s a reflection of the state of Capitalism on the common man,” said Emilio, trying his damnedest not to sound nervous.
“Hmm. Maybe,” Officer Jones said. “Okay folks, I gotta split. Stay outta trouble.”
“You got it,” Emilio said.
“Cheerio,” Warner said. Officer Jones tipped his hat and walked off. Emilio let out all of his air.
“How the f%^k did that work?” he asked.
“I’m a charma,” Warner replied.
“You’re a crafty Limey bastard is what you are. Come on. Let’s get this cleaned up,” Emilio said.
They proceeded to sanitize the scene post haste. Being veterans of black ops and cointel, they were rather good at it. Once the piano had been dumped into the lake and the body of Mr. Mercedes hastily scooped into several bags and deposited in the trunk of his personal limo, Emilio began to plan the next steps. Contingencies on top of contingencies. Alibis, cover stories, flight plans. Maybe an airplane accident, or if he got lost at sea. No remains. No evidence of what had truly happened. All the time, Warner picked at his toe nails with a Bowie knife.
“I can’t do this alone, Warner. I need your help at some point,” said Emilio as he poured over nautical charts, looking for the deepest parts of the nearby ocean.
“You seem to ‘ave it handled,” Warner grunted as he picked at a stubborn in grown nail.
“If I go down, you’re coming with me. Don’t you dare think otherwise!” Emilio shouted.
“All roight, all roight. Keep yer stockings on. I figured you were capable is all.”
“One and a half minds are better than one,” said Emilio. Warner nodded, then he went white as a sheet. “What’s the matter with you?” Emilio asked. Warner pointed, a guttural sound stuck in his throat, keeping him from screaming. Emilio turned quickly and went white too.
“Hello, dear boys,” said a very not dead Mr. Mercedes. His body spluttered and splorched as he waddled with difficulty to his lounging chair. “Sorry to bother you, but I think I may have missed my appointment with my old school friend. Could you get in contact with him and apologize for my tardiness?”
“You… you… you’re alive,” said Warner.
“Dude, I think you mean alive??? Cuz nothing about that is normal in the slightest!” Emilio yelled with much justification.
“Hmm? Oh I’m all right, my dear boy. Only, I appear to find myself quite without a head,” Mr. Mercedes said.
“That’s the part I was talking about!”
“Oy. You’re a monsta. I’m having a psychotic break. I’m having a drug fueled fever dream,” Warner mumbled.
“Well that’s rude. I’m not a monster. I am what I’ve always been,” said Mr. Mercedes. “I’m an essential piece. The loveliest cog. I am what keeps the machine running around these parts. I cannot die. Though my body can be severely misaligned.”
“So… I guess we don’t have to worry about covering our asses anymore. Unless you’re looking for some kind of revenge for your… head,” Emilio said.
“Oh, I don’t mind the new look. Honestly, the old cranium was getting a bit boring. In with the new I say,” Mr. Mercedes said.
“Oh. Well that’s good,” said Emilio.
“Now, as we were discussing previously before my body rearrangement, I have quite a few plans for this Caribbean island republic here,” Mr. Mercedes said, pointing at the nautical chart. “Can you say, violent regime change? I can!”
Warner leaned close to Emilio. “We can still take him, yeah?” he whispered.
“We can’t fight the smartest man in the Western Hemisphere. Especially now that we know he’s immortal,” Emilio whispered back. Warner laughed.
“Can’t be that bright. Man’s got no head!”