“XXX Marks the Spot” by J.L. Delozier

Ella flounced from the theatre, her diamond earrings scattering angry slivers of red light down the deserted street. Not a cab in sight. Not at this hour; not in this part of town. He’d planned it that way.

She stomped one glittery Louboutin against the curb and turned on the lanky man hovering at her side. “I’m so over online dating. Congratulations. You managed to be worse than my ex.”

His silence fueled her rage.

She tossed her faux blonde hair and poked him in the chest with an elaborately manicured nail. It snapped and skittered across the sidewalk like a sequined cockroach. He smothered a grin, and she launched a fiery barrage of creative expletives.

“You think that’s funny? Here’s what I find funny. Your profile made you sound like a goddamned prince—a real catch—but take a look around.” She waved one hand at the dark and dirty street and the other at the seedy theatre behind them. “Only a devil would drag a lady to a porno on the first date.”

He shrugged. “DeNiro did it in Taxi Driver.”

“You, sir, are no DeNiro.” Her cheekbones flamed from 100 watts of neon and too much rouge.

“And you’re no lady.” His eyes narrowed as they caressed her ample curves, squeezed into a shimmering blue dress straight off the runways of Milan. Ella wore it well. He adjusted his stance and briefly considered altering his plan. He shook his head. No. She was worth a helluva lot of money to someone—maybe that ex she’d mentioned—and he wanted his share as promised. He was no genius, but he was a pro. He’d learned a thing or two throughout his career. Don’t ask questions. Complete the contract. Never alter the plan.

He shuffled closer until his lean body was inches from hers. “You wanna hear something funny, sweetheart? Technically, you’re not even my date.”

She twitched, but stood her ground. “Hilarious. What am I, then?”

He fingered the gold chain around her neck and slipped a blade between her ribs. His breath tickled her ear.

“My mark.”


Dr. J. L. Delozier is the author of  Type and Cross and Storm Shelter. She attended Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia (now the Sidney Kimmel Medical College) and has been a practicing physician for over 20 years. She’s spent much of her career as a Federal servant, assisting America’s veterans and providing disaster care during Hurricanes Katrina, Ike and Gustav. In her spare time, she tinkers with home repairs, short stories and her accordion. Her literary goal is to become the undisputed master of the short, short story! Dr. Delozier lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and four rescue cats.


Image courtesy of Pixabay, altered by Cartoonize.

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