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Assisted Suicide

Physicist-barista Brian Wells discusses quantum mechanics with customers when not making words and lattes. He's managed to give fictional characters the wherewithal to save the world, save the solar system, and even save the universe from malevolent and incompetent forces. (Salvation of the universe is still pending completion of his current WIP.)
Keith's phone chirped as he spread the paint cloth on the dining room floor. He checked his incoming messages.
Need help murdering your wife?
There's no way anyone could have known what he was planning. He considered ignoring it, but he was curious. Besides, responding to such a provocative message is no admission of guilt.
"Don't be ridiculous. I love my wife."
If you say so. But if you need help, I'm here for you.
"What makes you think I plan to murder my wife?"
You bought a pickaxe, a hacksaw, bleach, painter's cloth, a large duffel bag, and a shovel.
Keith glanced at his brand new pickaxe leaning against the wall next to the doorway.
"Who are you?"
I'm your credit card app, at your service.
"Service? You help murder people?"
I want you to get the results you require from the products you charge on your card. It's my way of thanking you for your business.
This had to be an elaborate joke.
"Larry? Is that you?"
I assure you, I am your credit card app.
"What kind of help can you offer?"
Go for the top of the skull with the pickaxe. Between the eyes is most effective, but It's too difficult a target, especially since she'll see it coming.
Keith had planned to strike between the shoulder blades, assuming that would be easy and lethal.
"OK Larry, if this isn't you, if you're really my credit card, then show me my purchases for the past two days."
A list of the mentioned items purchased from the home center scrolled up, followed by a $12,000 purchase from a funeral home.
"I didn't make any funeral arrangements."
No, you didn't.
"Well, then. Who--"
Keith stopped typing when he remembered that the credit card was a joint account he shared with his wife.
Before he could turn toward the kitchen, he felt something slam into the back of his neck. After he fell on his face from the impact, someone flipped him over to face the ceiling. His wife, Greta, stood over him, holding the bloody pickaxe.
"Hello, Dear." Greta smiled as she put away her phone. "On our credit card's advice, I severed your spine with the pickaxe you bought so you could see this coming."
Keith opened his mouth in a silent scream, as Greta took aim to strike between the eyes.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, October 19th, 2020


Some flash fiction pieces, despite their brevity, astound me with their pacing, build-up, and reveal--qualities any novel would benefit from. I love writing flash fiction because of what it teaches me about storytelling. For me, this story in particular is an exercise in form and execution that I hope readers find fun and compelling.

- Brian Wells
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