Professoinal Limits

Behind this door is a man who expects to eat dinner with his family tonight.

Why wouldn’t he?

His wife called just moments ago to ask him to bring home carrots.

He dutifully replied, ” yes dear.”

And now she, his would-be killer, is back to trying to remember how to smile.

She’s always forgetting.

She knows if she can smile, her partner will stop looking so suspicious.

Failing to pull a legit smile she uses muscle memory. The same muscle that can conjure memories of the shattering of a human skull. A 5.56 mm round does its damage on the inside, but the skull breaks and chips and fractures over and over again. It makes a face once normal, bubble and deform.

With the smile also comes the idea of some generic kid waiting at a door that will never open to reveal his father again. She shakes that thought away, deciding neither help, and she has a job to do. The killing still happens whether she has a moral break down or not.

Keep it together Tina! If it’s not me, someone else pulls the trigger, like shit for brains Dan with his fucking thumb hovering in the air.

She places a thumb in the air also, because somewhere it means fuck you, and those old tried and trues twitch for real as she turns back to the door, behind which a functionary waits to receive his retirement.


Published by Bryan

I am an army vet, husband, and father of twins, I am currently working on my next publication, a collection of military fiction, and next year will be publishing an apocalyptic science fiction novel. My urban noir novel, "Compounded Interest," can be purchased on Amazon. I host a podcast on creativity called Origin: Stories on Creativity and co-host the soon-to-be-released show on speculative fiction called Mirage with fantasy author R. Emma Hardcastle. My youtube channel is: The Origin podcast feed is: For updates on "Mirage" and future publications follow me on twitter: @bryaiello More of my short fiction can be found at: My amazon author page is:

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