I wrote "Last Kiss" for the 2012 Writers One Flight Up Flash Fiction Contest conducted by Pulse the Magazine. Contest rules were to choose one of several offered photographs and write a complete short story related to the photo, not to exceed 650 words. It only took me one look at the photo "Pink Knife" by Steve Williams to know which photo I would use as a writing prompt. My story came in second to a story written by my friend, Lisa Rast. Lisa has not been seen since then, and the Pink Knife is also missing...

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"Pink Knife"

© Steve Williams
www.stevewilliamsphoto.com • photograph used by permission of the photographer


"Hey, hurry up in there. I paid you for an hour and you've spent ten minutes of it in the can."

"Cool it, Johnny. It's been a couple of minutes, not ten. And don't worry, you're not on the clock yet." Sheila leaned closer to the mirror as she glided her lipstick across her lips. Johnny was lying on the bed, but from the bathroom she could see only his feet.

She disliked him already, and she was angry with herself for letting down her guard, if just for a second. She had demanded payment in advance as soon as she had arrived, and as she started to count the bills he had pulled her close and kissed her. Big mistake. She insisted on few rules and would do almost anything for money--but no kissing, ever.

"Aren't you done yet?" he asked. "I’ve got some plans for you."

"Oh yeah, sweetheart, and I have some plans for you, too. One more minute." Sheila pressed her lips together before giving her reflection an approving smile.

The bathroom had a wooden floor. Tile would have been better, but at least there were no throw rugs. The clawfoot bathtub was large and strangely inviting.

Johnny was decent looking, almost to the point of being handsome, and if he hadn't kissed her the evening might have taken a different turn.
But too late for that. Sheila reached inside her purse and rearranged its contents.

"Almost done," she said. "Do you have anything to drink?"

"Yeah, sure. What do you want?"

"Red wine would be nice. And bring two glasses. I never drink alone."

Sheila saw Johnny spring from the bed and head toward his kitchen. She looked around the bathroom as her mind ran through the sequence of events that were about to happen. She put her purse on the sink, within easy reach.

After stepping out of her boots, she pulled her dress over her head and neatly folded it. She took off her bra and panties. Her tanned and firmly toned body would be yet another distraction for Johnny. She opened the door of a wardrobe closet to the left of the sink and placed her boots and clothing inside.

Sheila heard the clink of glasses, then the squeak of a corkscrew as Johnny opened a bottle of wine. When she heard his footsteps coming toward her she glanced at her purse, then moved to the tub and turned on both faucets.

"I hope you like merlot because that’s—"

Johnny let out a soft whistle. "Whoa, take a look at you." He stopped in the doorway of the bathroom and set the bottle of wine and the glasses on the floor. She saw him look toward the bathtub, and the confusion on his face pleased her.

"I thought we'd take a bath first," she said. "I want us both to be very clean." She pressed her body against his and raised her lips to his ear. "And I'll even give you an extra hour, no charge," she murmured.

Johnny's fingers fumbled with his belt.

"Check the water," she said. "We wouldn't want it to be too cold now, would we?"

As Johnny leaned over the bathtub Sheila's hand slipped inside her purse. When he turned toward her again, her knife flashed through the air. It sliced across his throat, followed by three quick thrusts to his chest.

Sheila pushed Johnny backward and he crumpled into the tub with a splash. She shut off the faucets and stood over him, watching as the water turned crimson. He finally stopped twitching.

She knew that soon she’d have to clean up and wipe away all traces of her visit. Experience had made her proficient in those tasks.

But first, a glass of wine.

"Last Kiss" © 2012 Rick Cooper
all rights reserved • do not reproduce or distribute without permission of the author