Congratulations to Jean Buie for taking the honors in this month’s eSpec Books Flash Fiction Contest. Jean’s prize is publication on the eSpec blog and one free ebook from among the eSpec publication list.

Honorable Mentions

Death By Triangle – Hamel Móric         BunkerNine – CS Anderson

Freedom Fighting for the Modern Woman

By Jean Buie

Olivia took a lingering look at herself in the rear-view mirror. Her sky-blue eyes were perfectly lined and shadowed and framed by arching brows, not to thin and not too thick. She raised the left slightly higher, breaking the facade of innocence with a look that said danger to those intelligent enough to read it. It was well known that her target was not so literate.

A valet held open her car door, absentmindedly stroking it with his thumb as he waited for her to exit. She registered the stroke the same way she registered everything around her. All details were noted and stored for later use or report. No detail was unimportant. His stroking of the door confirmed two things: a) she had chosen the right car – a 2016 Porsche Cayman, a little more masculine than she would like but it had the effect of dumbing down the men around her instantly; and b) her own appearance had the same effect.

She placed the keys into the valet’s hand, touching his palm with her finger tips. The corners of her mouth lifted slightly as she watched the electric shock course through him. “Have fun”, she purred. He nodded robotically and didn’t once look at her face. She knew that if she had to be identified later, it would be her tits and ass that he could describe. A male voice filled her left ear with laughter and she tapped the tiny ear bud to turn down the volume. The nano camera hidden in the sunglasses perched on her head were obviously working.

This was one of the easier jobs her team had been hired to do. An insider in the Republican party wanted this guy removed before he did any more damage. But removing him had to be discreet, nothing flashy that would invite a thorough investigation. No downed planes or car crashes, no gunmen or faked robberies. Discretion was her speciality. Nothing like a little biological warfare to solve a girl’s problems.

She was fashionably late to the event; a fundraiser at an exclusive, six-star club in West Palm Beach. People wouldn’t know her but would never admit that. She had the carriage and looks of a high pedigree and the air that she belonged. It helped that she had assumed the identity of one of their own and therefore had an invitation. The real invitee was currently tied up, quite literally, in the Hamptons. She was like many bored women of her caste—enamoured with 50 Shades. The pictures Olivia’s team were taking of her tryst would ensure her cooperation in the future.

As Olivia passed through the front doors of the ostentatious main building she noted the billboard inviting guests to the special event: Lincoln Day Dinner. The keynote speaker’s image was set in the centre surrounded by pictures of Abraham Lincoln. It reminded her of Hollywood Squares, where the centre square was always occupied by some esteemed but declining comedian. Somewhat appropriate, she thought, if he were not the joke.

“There’s a missus from your table in the loo,” the male voice in her ear directed.

She asked a passing waitress for directions to the lady’s room. The facilities were opulent. A shrunken elderly Spanish woman sat at the door handing out towels. Olivia avoided drawing the woman’s eye and quickly stepped inside. She met the wife at the mirror examining her face for imperfections.

Olivia stood next to her and pulled out a gold lipstick tube. It was a perfect twin for Kiss Kiss Gold and Diamonds, but the formula was of her own making—a blend of shea butter, calendula, bees wax, crushed cochineal bugs for colour and a touch of the deadly bacteria she had been designing in her spare time. The colour and texture were stunning. If she ever found herself out of a job as an assassin, she might get into the cosmetics industry. Same same, but different. She held back a laugh and drew the deep red around her full lips, careful to avoid any getting on the inside of her mouth. She had inoculated her whole team against the bacteria but that only meant it wouldn’t kill her. It would, however, make her violently ill.

The missus exited and headed toward the dining room; Olivia sidled up to her. She could hear the keynote speaker’s voice booming: “…great amounts of crime…illegals…strengthen our borders…”. The audience responded enthusiastically. If her timing was right, he would be leaving the podium any second now and would be seated with the missus and her husband.

“He is something, isn’t he?” Olivia said to the woman, giving her voice an airy quality.

“Yes.” The woman smiled at her tentatively, trying to figure out if she should know her.

“Evangeline. Patch’s niece,” It’s always the niece, the male voice said.

“Of course you are.” The missus gave her a tight smile.

“He couldn’t make it so sent me in his stead.” Because he got a terrible case of the flu. “I am, of course, thrilled. I have not seen him in so very long. I was all arms and legs then. He probably won’t recognize me.”

The missus looked Olivia up and down and a smirk parked itself on her face. “I am sure remembering you won’t be an issue. Are you at our table then?” She turned her back on Olivia to take her seat, placing her hand on her husband’s arm possessively. Women were not usually dulled by Olivia’s charms, and despite her choice of spouse, this one was not lacking in intelligence, though it was clear she thought Olivia was. This was a good thing. The woman would also think she knew Olivia’s purpose and easily dismiss the encounter.

The keynote was making his way through the tables toward them. Patch’s assigned seat was next to his but Olivia had no intention of using it. In and out. Very little chatter and don’t leave an impression. Well not one that could be used to trace her.

She caught his eye. It wasn’t difficult. She had the requisite blonde hair and long legs. Her dress was cut down to her navel. It was all she needed to draw him to her. Ever the gentleman, he immediately took her hand in his and leaned in to kiss her cheek. She skillfully maneuvered his mouth to hers, opening it with her tongue just enough to ensure that he got a good taste of the lipstick. She knew he would lick his lips to taste her after. They always did.

She broke free, leaving him gasping for air. “Uncle Patch sends his apologies. It’s been so long, you probably don’t even remember me. I was such a little girl.” Not a little girl now, the voice in her ear laughed.

“Not a little girl now,” the keynote echoed, raking his eyes over her, never reaching her face. He wouldn’t be able to identify her if called upon either. Some men are so easy, she thought.

“Sorry, I can’t stay. I hope you’ll consider calling on me to volunteer on your campaign.” She rushed her sentences with girlish enthusiasm and knew from his dazed look that he would try to find her. As she turned away she saw him suck on his lower lip.

Three days later the news broke on CNN. The Republican candidate was ill, but insisted it was just the flu and he would continue to campaign. Within five days CNN announced that he was dead.

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