[Issue 10 / August 2014]

Fucking lists, man. D'you think I'd get into a job like this if I liked reading? Still, a favour for a favour.

I've just walked in and there's no-one home, like I thought, but at least there's a note telling me where he's gone. Some remote part of Yorkshire while everything cools down. There’s a task list scrawled at the bottom of the sheet. He wants me to house-sit, but he's keeping me busy.

Take the wood home and burn it.

I look out through the window, the view dimmed by the one-way glass and wire mesh, to the large garden. There's a pile of timber on the lawn. I'll have to lump it through the house as the side gate is always padlocked and barb-wired. It's gonna take a while to drag it from one end to the other.

Also burn all the documents on the table, including this one.

Clean the kitchen thoroughly.

The deep red stains on the linoleum make me shudder. Look at that marble work surface, splattered in gore.

I don’t even know what happened here. I read on, trying to focus.

The doorbell rings. My heart pounds. I walk to the door, reading on, shutting the kitchen door behind me. Frosted glass is tacky, but it has its benefits. I could do without salesmen or whoever glimpsing a murder scene. Our guys have got enough on their hands.

I walk past a computer in the hallway.

Wipe the PC hard drive.

Wipe the hard drive? How do I get into—Oh, delete the data. Right. Might have to Google that one.

I've gotta follow these instructions word for word. When you work for a man like him you do what he says, you know? ‘Specially in the middle of the biggest gang war Manchester has ever seen. I didn't do what I was told, and that's how I got this shit job. I've got some making up to do if I don’t want to end up in a hole.

I wonder if he actually gives a shit about me anymore.

Hoover up the dust on the lounge carpet.

If I do all this, no-one would ever suspect that any of our men had been here. Once it's clean, it's just a regular rich guy’s house.

I open the door. There's a man dressed in black with his hand in his pocket.

DON'T ANSWER THE DOOR.

The man pulls out a silenced Glock 9. I wish I could read faster.

*

Matt Tuckey is a writer from Manchester, England. He works a desk job in local government and trains in boxing. Also, he writes about creative writing and the internet at powerisastateofmind.blogspot.com. His work has appeared in publications including Gemini, Flash Fire 500 and The Manchester Evening News.