Carl stopped at the warehouse door to light his smoke. Fucking Janet and her overtime. She was ragging his ass big time these past few weeks. Shaking his lighter in frustration, he swore until it sparked.
It was different when Terry, Stan, and the rest were around. Now they were all gone because Janet had fired them. Too foul-mouthed, she said, no work ethic and bad personal hygiene. She replaced them with fucking dykes and ball-less assholes.
He was the last of them, but he’d be around no matter how damn difficult she made his life. All because of what he had on Uncle Henry. Henry who owns this warehouse and other businesses. Whose wife died suddenly with no witnesses.
Well, save one, who took a few pictures. Those pics sure came in handy when he had that little sexual assault charge a few months ago. Uncle Henry’s lawyer came through in spades on that.
Carl wasn’t greedy. A job for life and decent pay raises was enough. So bitch-boss Janet can harp at him all she likes. He’s here to stay.
Grinding out his cigarette, he turned to go inside when he saw her. She walked onto the city property near the railway tracks the warehouse borders on. She was carrying containers for blueberry picking.
Stupid twat. Spending her lunch hours like last week and the week before. Janet maneuvers her way over the tracks and down the hill. Fucking bitch, someone should give her a good one. The more he thinks about it the better he likes his idea.
He checks his watch: 12:05pm. Anytime now. It’s risky, incredibly risky. Carl strides toward the tracks.
Peering over the hill, he sees her about twenty yards in among the blueberry bushes. She’s picking with her back to him. Fucking easy, she’ll never know he’s coming. He’ll drag her behind the abandoned railway ties stacked-up about fifteen feet further in. Jesus, he was swelling already.
Moving quietly, Carl covered the last few feet in a rush and grabbed her as she rose. Right hand over her mouth, left arm around her waist. She struggles as he carries her twisting body behind the ties and throws her down.
On the hill behind them the 12:09pm freight train is right on time and begins its journey past the warehouse. Janet lay there looking at him with hatred but no fear. Why isn’t she afraid? He approaches grinning and pulling at his zipper.
“Far enough,” a voice rose over the squeal of the train’s wheels. A woman steps out from behind the railway ties with a gun in her hand. Janet smirks and gets to her feet.
“Timely Stacey. He was about to show me the finer points of rape. We knew you’d fall for it.” Janet’s grinning face is triumphant.
“Step aside Janet and let’s get this done.” Stacey motions her aside with the gun as she spoke.
Janet moves behind Stacey as Carl pales with realization. “Now wait…”
“No point pleading your case asshole,” Stacey barks raising the gun.
A shot rings out and Carl blinks. There isn’t a mark on him.
Carl runs for his life. A scream of rage is muffled by the train as he rounds the other end of the ties. He stops suddenly. Uncle Henry is in gloves and a plastic zip suit from the warehouse, and has Janet in a death grip. He raises his gun hand and fires a shot into her temple, letting her body fall. A few feet away Stacy lies in her own blood with her .45 next to her.
The freight train continues to move on the tracks between them and the warehouse. Henry takes Janet’s hand and fires a shot into the woods, “Gotta get gunshot residue on her.” He bends down and picks up the third bullet casing.
Carl watches in a daze as Henry quickly removes the gloves and suit and puts them in the plastic bag, pulled from his pocket. He deposits Stacey’s gun in the same pocket.
Taking out his iPhone he works at it for a minute. “Okay Carl, back to the warehouse. When I can’t find Janet later today, the search will bring us where everyone knows she’s been picking berries.
“Stacey’s been cheating on Janet for six weeks now with that redhead at the donut shop. Janet was clueless but hey…looks like murder suicide to me.”
“I suspected Janet of rigging the books, so I installed spy-ware on her computer. Aren’t you lucky I did, Carl?”
Henry’s eyed him with disdain. “I just emailed pictures of you attacking Janet to a security company that provides me with certain…special services. They’ll keep those photos safe for me.”
“Now,” Henry gestured for Carl to follow him, “we should talk about you finding another job.”
◊ ◊ ◊
June Lorraine Roberts
June Lorraine Roberts is a graduate from the London School of Journalism and works as a freelance corporate communications consultant. She also writes about crime fiction books and their authors. Her short stories frequently terrify her husband and he finds it hard to sleep at night. MurderinCommon.com
10 thoughts on “Picking Blueberries”
Gritty, moody, and a delicious shock at the end. Loved it.
Thanks Mike, glad I gave you a suprise
That is a wild ride of a story. Lots of twists and turns and you had me going right to the end.
Glad my twists had you on a ride, thanks!
Moving from inside Carl’s head to an objective view of his interaction with Uncle Henry is a bit of a jolt, and it took some effort to work out Stacie’s gender, but the mood is wonderfully gritty, as Mike remarks. Checkmating incriminating pictures with more of the same may be a bit overdone, but the treble twist of Carl from double victimizer (uncle and Janet) to victim is a good one. AGB
Thanks Alvin, I think Uncle Henry was determined to end his “servitude” and securing pictures was his way of sticking it to Carl. Thanks for your comments.
Excellent story! I really loved the voice in this piece, too.
Thanks Sue…much appreciated!
I too liked the voice in this piece. It also moves at a steady, nervous pace that made me want to keep reading and was surprised by the ending.
Thanks for this Carol, always appreciate the feedback