I originally wrote this short story for a Write In Weekend Challenge for WriteOn Refugees. Recently, Neoleaf Press decided to publish a “Strong Women” anthology for Mom’s Favorite Reads group. I figured this was the opportunity to expand on this particular story. My friend, author Sue A. Hart, had encouraged me to tell readers more about Elle.
My grandma used to say that ‘everyone is talented, but some people haven’t discovered their talent yet.’ Grandma was a wise woman. I don’t know if she would be proud of my new-found talent, but I’m getting ahead of myself…
My name is Elle. My dad was a fan of Elle MacPherson. What can I say? It was the 80’s, and my dad was a scumbag who left us years ago. I was as far from the supermodel type as someone can be. I’m short, plump and unremarkable. No one notices me. This fact helps me as I hone my new talent.
I discovered my new talent quite by mistake. I was minding my own business walking down the Las Vegas strip towards my hotel. I was at a conference of greeting card writers. You know — those little sayings inside of special occasion cards. In the age of the internet and social media, the greeting card business is looking for innovative opportunities to expand their market. And that is how I happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.
I was sipping on my diet soda running through some ideas for a “Happy Divorce” card, and I heard the squeal of tires. Turning, I saw a black sedan jump the curb and continue to skid in my direction.
My little stubby legs didn’t carry me very far. I stood with my mouth hanging open and my diet soda spilling onto the sidewalk awaiting my imminent death. I squeezed my eyes shut and said a quick prayer. But death never came. I cracked open one lid far enough to see the black sedan inches from me. Prayer does work! Hallelujah!
What happened next defies any rational explanations.
Two beefy guys sprang from the car; their guns were drawn. I sidled back hoping they weren’t interested in a greeting card writer.
“Stop right there, toots!” One of the behemoths rumbled in my direction. I felt the cool press of steel against my temple. Sweet Lord! I’m gonna die! In Vegas!
I don’t know what came over me, but I decided right then and there that if I were going to die, I would go out fighting. I stomped on the guy’s foot, slammed into his solar plexus with my bent elbow, and as he leaned forward gasping, I socked him in the nose with my clenched fist. Blood gushed out of his nose, and the dumbass dropped his gun right where I could grab it.
I didn’t hesitate. I put a slug into my attacker’s forehead. His friend was frozen for a second before he charged me. That second was all I needed to put gangster #2 in my sights. I hit him in the chest and the forehead. They call those “kill shots.”
I wiped my prints off the weapon with my shirt, picked up my cup (DNA, you know) and blended into the growing crowd. Remember, I said no one ever notices me. It comes in handy when you moonlight as an assassin.
I’m not in the greeting card business any longer. I’ve found my talent.