The prompt: Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.
The book: The Talisman by Stephen Kind and Peter Straub.
It was autumn, but this being southern Thailand, the weather was mild.
He and his semi-permanent, Anne, sat side by side on the beach in front of their one-room hut. Anne was flipping through the newspaper. He had not seen her pick up a newspaper since the beginning of summer.
But now that she had, she was bound to come across the story. Maybe not today–it would be front- and second-page news for a while yet, and she was already halfway through–but soon. Unless he could find another way to make her avoid all news. But what were the odds of that? She was starting to get bored.
“Let’s get away for a while, huh? Just the two of us somewhere on a beach, away from everything. No Internet, no newspapers, just us, relaxing.” She had been over the moon about the prospect of spending time together without any work-related interruptions. There had been so many again, lately . . .
Late-night calls to the office, weekend retreats with the other execs–it was incredible that she believed all the shit he fed her, but she had. Like she always did. But this time, when he had to kill the chick he’d been fucking–like he always did in the end–he’d screwed up.
He should’ve known this would happen. He had broken his own rule of never doing any chicks at the office. So when she started talking about wanting more, he’d had to kill her at the office and roll her in the rug. Fortunately it was a Friday night, so she wouldn’t be missed until Monday.
It had been a big risk, carrying the dead rug-rolled chick down the stairwell and into the garage. He had parked his car as near as he could to the door to the office building, but he would still have to cross about twenty feet of the brightly lit garage.
And sure enough, the security guard saw him walking to his car, with the rug over his shoulder. “Need a hand with that, Mr. T?” he called from the other end of the garage, and he turned around and headed over as fast as his golf cart would carry him.
“No, I’ve got it, thanks, Joe.” He managed to click open the trunk of his car with his remote, drop the rug in and close the trunk again before Joe reached him. “Just getting this rug cleaned over the weekend. I spilled coffee and I didn’t want it to sit there until my secretary takes it on Monday.”
“Oh yeah, coffee stains can be a bitch. Well, you have a good weekend, Mr. T.”
“You too, Joe. Say hello to the Mrs for me.”
“Will do, Mr. T, will do.” And with that, Joe had softly zoomed away, in search of unsavory characters breaking into cars in the early hours of the morning.
He buried the chick–what number was she now?–out in the country without further incident.
But on Monday the chick wouldn’t show up for work. Sooner or later she would be declared missing and eventually a homicide would be suspected. Then Joe would remember seeing him carrying a rug to his car late on a Friday night. Saturday morning, really. And the police would begin connecting the dots.
So he suggested to Anne that they get away for a while, and then, as if it just occurred to him, he said, “How about Thailand? I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand. Let’s leave tomorrow.” She just loved his spontaneity.
Now here they were, under false names, of course, using a set of fake passports that Anne thought they had just for the fun of it, to “really get away from it all” now and then.
Except this time his name would be connected to the missing girl, because Joe saw him with the rug. And his leaving had been as good as a confession. The inevitable man-hunt would be expanded internationally any day now.
She wasn’t the brightest star in the heavens, Anne. That’s why she had lasted this long. She never asked questions, or when she did, she completely believed his explanations. But now that they had been here for a few months, the novelty of having him all to herself was wearing off and she had picked up a newspaper.
Some Australian chicks walked by in their skimpy bikinis. Sheilas, that’s what they called chicks Down Under. And he’d soon have to replace his semi-permanent with another blonde who could pass for the girl on the passport photos . . .