Berniece by Matt Potter

Justin cradled her head in his hands as she breathed her last. Berniece had been a good dog. But she was also twenty years old – blind, bald, bedridden, deaf, diabetic, and doubly-incontinent. We should have had her put down years before but Justin couldn’t bear the thought.

We buried her in the back garden with full honours. Then I snuck off to make the call from my mobile in the car.

“I offer a professional service, Mr Smith,” the hitwoman said over the ’phone. “I charge a cancellation fee.”

“But Berniece died of natural causes,” I said.

“I’m not an amateur.” Her voice was measured and menacing. “You told me your home had smelled of dog excrement for five years. And I offered you relief from that. I expect 50% of the agreed fee. In cash.”

I dropped the envelope at the designated spot and parked up the street.

Leisure-suited at a snail’s pace, she came walking three ancient, droopy dogs. Dipping behind the bush, she took the envelope, put it in her pocket, and walked on.

I got out of my car as she drew nearer. She glanced at me from behind huge sunglasses, red lipstick bleeding into the wrinkles around her mouth. Serious grey hair, svelte and bobbed, framed her face.

“Nice dogs,” I said, knowing they were probably dribbly and demented.

“Yes, they’re my life,” she said.

I watched her turn the corner. And wondered how much blood money was keeping those dogs alive.


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Filed under Matt Potter

11 responses to “Berniece by Matt Potter

  1. Oh, Matt! You struck a chord here with a very unusual twist on plot. Nice!

  2. Thank you Susan … I really can’t recall where the idea or ideas came from at all, but I do like the idea of a hitwoman grandma … and no one likes a dog killer, even if the dog is old and decrepit and probably insane … well, unless it’s vicious too.

  3. How does someone even come up with a grandmother hitwoman that does dogs? It would be hilarious were the main thrust of the story not also so sad. A fine line expertly walked, Matt.

  4. Thank you Al – I burst out laughing at your comment. And I just thought this was a silly story, though I did enjoy describing her appearance, a chic grandmother with a nasty job … she probably adores dogs, and sees she is doing many people (including the dogs) a service. Where did the original idea come from? I cannot recall …

  5. Randal Houle

    b-b-b-d-d-d great use of alliteration. enjoyed the rest also.

  6. Ha! Love this evil little story about a grandma gone wrong. The alliteration would not work any place else but here — adds to the charm of this quirky piece. Speaking of… peace!

  7. Kim Hutchinson

    Love this grandma with the bleeding lipstick, Matt. The last line is awesome. Dog stories rule!…

  8. Pingback: Week #29 – The palm of your hand | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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