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The Trouble Shooter: A Short Story

Updated on December 13, 2016
wingedcentaur profile image

The first step is to know what you do not know. The second step is to ask the right questions. I reserve the right to lean on my ignorance.


Like a ghost he opened the door and shot his man five times in the chest. Making it halfway down the hall before the body hit the floor. Making the only significant sound of the event......


Jason French was from Nebraska. A blond-haired, scrapping young man in his mid-twenties. And yes, to confirm the cliche you have in mind, he was born and raised on a farm. Before making the move to Los Angeles he had taken elocution lessons. To get his accent under control. Get the hayseed out of his mouth.

He had seen an ad, somewhere, for a position to be filled. Something called a corporate adjustor. As he'd read the rather vague description of what was required, he thought to himself, "Hell! I can do that." The pay looked good. Real good!

He was grateful, now, for his associates degree in business management from the Paul Bunyan Teachers College.

The interview with Mr. Rogers was pleasant, quick, and perfunctory.


Jason French.



How did you hear about the job?

An ad in some business magazine.


Born and raised in Nebraska. On a farm. Good family. Religous -- Presbyterian. Only child.

Level of education?

Bachelors degree -- a lie. Working on masters -- a double lie.


Collector -- rare books, Civil War era stamps, Chinese porcelin from the Ming Dynasty. Lie! Lie! Lie!

What makes you think you're the right man for the job?

Jason knocked this one out of the park! He wound up his spiel with a bit about how he had been preparing for an opportunity like this his whole life! And added a little flourish with his hands. Looking earnest.

Criminal record?

None. Jason had been a good boy all his life. He was exceedingly grateful for that right now.

Mr. Rogers hired Jason on the spot and wanted him to start right away. He handed Jason a file with a picture and information about a man he needed to see. Jason's first appointment.

They rose and shook hands.

"Thank you very much, Mr. Rogers," Jason said, wondering if that was the man's real name.


Jason stepped outside whistling Dixie. He opened the file.

Basically, he was a glorified corporate hatchet man. Sometimes companies didn't like to fire their senior executives themselves. Too messy and complicated. So, they hired outside contractors to do the job, let the executives know that their services were no longer required.

Jason was in a cab now. Heading for the Aimesworth Arms. Swanky hotel where George Piccolo was staying.

George Piccolo. Jason's first appointment.

George Piccolo: Fifty-nine; married for forty years with three grown children; and a crippled, three-legged dog; twenty years with his firm; senior vice president of transatlantic operations.

"Too bad, George Piccolo," Jason said to himself, closing the file and looking up. "Tough luck."

Jason arrived at the hotel. Paid and thanked the driver. Spoke to the front desk clerk.

A room had already been reserved for him and paid for.

"Any luggage, sir?" the clerk said.

"No, I'm only here 'til morning. Emergency meeting. Got to fly to Chicago in the morning," Jason said.

The clerk handed him the keys. "By the way," Jason said. "Could you give me a wake-up call tomorrow at five-thirty?"

"Certainly, sir."


It was evening and Jason was having dinner in the dining room. On the other side of the room from George Piccolo and his dinner companion. They were eating, drinking, laughing, and drinking some more. Feeling loose and alright.

Piccolo was lewdly groping his dinner companion -- a man dressed as a woman. A very beautiful man. But a man nevertheless. Jason could tell. Prominent Adam's apple.

Piccolo would be better able to take the news in this state. Here he was in a nice hotel, eating rich food and good wine, in the company of the one he truly loves. About to get laid....

Jason discretely followed the pair to their suite. The two inebriated love puppies tumbled into the room without locking the door. Not even closing it all the way.

Jason stood there a moment. Listened. Waited.

He took a deep breath and then.....

Like a ghost he opened the door and shot his man five times in the chest. Making it halfway down the hall before the body hit the floor. Making the only significant sound of the event.

He took the stairs all the way down to the lobby. Slight smile on his face. Nothing in the world was the matter. He was right as rain. Had never felt better in his life, in fact. He was surprised at his self-control. He was really doing good. Not shitting himself or anything!

In front of the building he got a cab. The driver this time was a cute girl, he noticed. "Airport, please," he said, sliding into the back seat. With the briefcase. Containing the gun and silencer Mr. Rogers had given him. Flashing that million dollar smile of his at her.

They took off. Jason wondered, in passing, what Piccolo might have done to get his ticket punched. Sold secrets to the Chinese or something? It really didn't matter. Its not like anybody would tell him.

Jason caught the cute girl's eye in the rearview mirror. So he sat up. Opened his briefcase. And rummaged the pages. As if he was looking for an important document. Trying to impress her. Working up the nerve to ask for her number.

Nonsense, of course. The briefcase was full of comic books. Jason loved comic books! He gave up the charade with a sigh, doing something with his body language that indicated 'the hell with it!' and sat back in his seat.

Jason certainly was glad he'd answered that ad. And broadened his horizons. Because one never knew what he was capable of until he tried. Life was a buffet. Take what you will. Eat what you kill. And all that good stuff.

And this, his work as a 'corporate adjustor.' Why, it isn't just a job. It's an adventure.

He was on his way to the airport. To catch a flight to Chicago, Chi Town. He had another appointment.

The End.


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    • wingedcentaur profile image

      William Thomas 5 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Cool! :D

    • profile image

      PWalker281 5 years ago

      Okay, I get what you mean WC. Probably should have read The Killers movie review first. I'll definitely check out Ania L's work. Thanks!

    • wingedcentaur profile image

      William Thomas 5 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

      Hi P.W.!

      Thanks for the kind word. Now, this is a crime story, not a mystery, whodunnit tale. With the latter the tension is in wondering about the identity of the culprit.

      That was'nt my intent here. Crime fiction is different from mystery fiction in that way. In crime fiction the question is never whodunnit, but how he or she will get away with it, and so forth.

      I want everybody to understand that Jason French is the killer. As for the blurb under the photo, it was just something like a 'prologue.' Now that I think about it, that's a technique I borrowed from another excellent fiction writer here on HubPages. Ania L. is her name; I think you'd really like her fiction, perhaps even find it more relatable.

      Here, check out some of her work, if you're not already familiar with her. Here we go....

      Take it easy and thanks again. :D

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      PWalker281 5 years ago

      An enjoyable read, though you gave away the plot twist (guess that's what it's called) with the blurb under the photo. I'd love to write fiction; tried it back in the 90s without much success (too much performance anxiety). Might give it another go. Voted this one up and interesting.