It was eight-thirty when Stan arrived home from work. Belinda was sitting at the kitchen table, frowning at the bills. Stan kissed her on the top of her head before searching for the leftovers from supper.
“Stan, we need to talk,” said Belinda in a severe tone.
Stan shuttered instinctively. He was too tired for that kind of talk.
“Yes, now. We need to make some hard decisions,” said Belinda.
Stan put his plate in the microwave. “Give me a sec.”
Belinda shuffled financial papers around while she waited. Stan used the two minutes and forty-five seconds to gather himself.
Stan pulled out his dinner with two seconds left on the microwave. He sat down next to his wife.
“There are no two ways around it. We’re facing bankruptcy,” said Belinda.
“The economy’s hard,” said Stan, sympathetically.
“What’re you talking about? You spend money like water. We have TV’s in every room. You have a collection of fountain pens. Who uses fountain pens? I mean, really. And what about the tornado shelter you insisted we build?”
“That’s about safety.”
“We live on the side of a mountain.”
Stan shoveled a fork full of food in his mouth.
“Here’s what I think. We need a side business. I’ve been doing some research online. The trick is to find a need, so here’s what I’ve found,” said Belinda, stopping to take a deep breath. “We can be part time hit men.”
Stan laughed so hard small chunks of food flew out of his mouth.
“Seriously. It’s really in demand right now.”
“What do you know about being a hit man? You’re a pharmacy tech,” said Stan.
“Exactly. I know poisons. You work for UPS. You could get us practically anywhere,” said Belinda.
“Well there it is. You can’t beat that logic. We’re a perfect fit- you can’t be serious.”
“The average hit costs five grand. We could offer low rates, say three grand. That’s how we break into the business. Six or seven hits and we’re debt free,” said Belinda triumphantly.
“You’re talking about people’s lives.”
“Everyone’s gonna die sometime. We might as well use that to our advantage.”
“We’ll become morticians.”
“You’re making fun of me,” said Belinda.
“Of course I’m making fun of you. You’re suggesting we take up murder as a career. It’s dangerous. And what if we get caught? Did you think of that?”
“Well, we’re in real trouble already if we keep doing what we’re doing. Unless you got a better idea, we’ll have to sell your fountain pens.”
Stan suddenly got very serious.
“That’s not funny,” he said.
The two sat quietly for a moment as they stared into space. Stan broke the silence.
“So, is there some course in how to do this, or what?”