• Eddie Fogler

House of Poison and Spice

I start to settle in behind the bushes when Paula Hensley dies. Her sudden collapse catches me off guard. I don’t even get a chance to break into my trail mix. She had been washing dishes before she stopped, looked out her window, probably wondering where I was hiding, vomited a little, and then dropped. It’s all so quick.


From the brief, she seemed like she would have put up more of a fight or even some effort to stay alive. It was almost as if she had been expecting me. Like she was expecting death and didn’t want to make small talk, so she just dropped dead. Honestly sounds like something I would do.


It has to be a new record for me. I look at the time on my phone. Yup. New record.


I message Cinnamon.


Done.


Wow?! Seriously?!


Yup. Target is totally neutralized.


DAMN JOANIE! That’s crazy. I’m impressed. New record?


Yeah. Not sure I’m ever going to beat this one Cin.


You never know! That’s what you said after Barry Grentz and here we are.


True.


Don’t forget to log it this time!


I won’t.


I’ll see you went you report back. And I’ll start on my paperwork and go ahead and

work on getting you a new assignment.


I send the Thumbs Up emoji.


I’m lucky to have Cinnamon as my handler. All the other handlers in the House seem

so incompetent now. Maybe incompetent isn’t the best word. They’d be fired, well dead, if they were incompetent. They’re just not “on it” like Cinnamon. She gets the importance of our job and our need to efficient. Plus, she keeps me on my toes and organized. Which is why I am sitting on the top after only a year. I’d still be scraping for assignments without her. I tried to tell her once that everyone in The House of Poison and Spice worked better in chaos, we’re fucking assassins after all, but she cracked her knuckles and said that even chaos could be organized. She herded me into her systematic ways and now we’re unbeatable. Shit, I need to log in the kill.


I open the app and let the facial recognition do its thing. I scan the QR code on the brief, and Paula’s warrant pops up. Her photo isn’t the most flattering. They never are. But it does make me wonder if I should get bangs. Nah. I’ll wait until my thousandth kill or something. My ponytail is becoming a signature look anyways.


I mark Paula as Completed. Bye, Paula. Thanks for the 85,000 credits. Even though I know what the results will be, I scroll over to the HPS Leaderboards. They’re suppose to show the House’s overall growth, but they’re basically scorecards. I keep hitting refresh until Paula’s kill registers. It won’t change anything; I’m still at the top of the Credits and Kills list, but I like to see the gap between me and the others grow.


One more refresh, and it hits. I’m still on top. Big, beautiful bold letters: JOAN OF ARSENIC – 167.

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