My passion has always been creative writing. I have written a number of stories and enteres them for competitions. This one is a bit slow to take off, but I think it’s worth it in the end. Hope you like it! I wrote this one in 2015.
All of Kin
My mother was a Las Vegas stripper, one of the best until my father happened. Not that you could blame him, my mother was stunning; blonde hair, blue eyes, slender and long tanned legs. My father was English, handsome, powerful and old money wealthy. He swept my mother off her feet, showered her with gifts and attention, all the while the silly naïve 19 year old fell in love with him. Then after a month of this deluded version of reality, he left her with his number – telling her to call if she ever needed anything – and he returned to his typically English wife.
Two months later she rung him, my mother was pregnant with me and she thought this would bring my father back to her. It didn’t, he called her a scheming whore and insisted she would get nothing from him until a DNA test was done when the child was born. A few days later a lawyer turned up and told her that her only way of contact was through himself and any other attempt to contact my father would be filed as harassment. She signed a contract to allow her to have a pitiful allowance, which would be required to be paid back with interest if the child turned out not to be my father’s.
Seven months later I was born, red faced and screaming at 8.04 am on 3rd March. My mother’s friend, my father’s lawyer and an overstretched, stressed midwife were present. Within hours a DNA test had been taken and it was confirmed that I was his child, where I became my father’s evidence of his affair, his wife found out, left him with two teary children and took off on her revenge holiday, had her own series of torrid affairs before returning home to be his dutiful wife again. My mother meanwhile was presented with another set of contracts to read and sign. This time she had a choice to allow me to be adopted by some distance relative of my father’s or to keep me but be subject to a series of conditions which included my education, my holidays and location she would be permitted to bring me up in. My mother being 19, exhausted from just giving birth and being still too young to make a reasonable decision based on her abilities and future, chose to keep me.
The first four years of my life were relatively untouched by my father except for the monthly visits from the lawyer and the arrival of our allowance. My mother moved from Vegas to a quiet town in the country, we had a small modest home and a backyard which was overgrown, making it perfect for a young boy to get lost in, build dens, fight dragons and all the other imaginings my small mind could manage. My mother made a little extra money working as a tailor and dressmaker but not enough that we could have rejected my father’s allowance.
Just before my fifth birthday my whole world began to tilt dangerously on it’s delicate axis, my mother had begun to date a man who drank heavily and treated her appallingly. My mother’s reaction was to start drinking too and to ignore his abusive behaviour. After six months, the man turned up violently drunk, broke his way into the house and raped my mother in front of me while I sat huddled and crying in the corner. After he’d finished with my mother, he got up and started hitting me accusing me of being a pathetic, wet English boy’s son. My mother pleaded with him to stop, pulling at this arm, he turned and pushed her so hard she crashed into the dresser, all the plates and cups rolled off and crashed to the floor as my mother slumped to the ground. The man locked me in the cupboard under the stairs and left; me in the cupboard crying and my mother slumped against the dresser, bleeding from a nasty gash in her head.
I was lucky really, normally people didn’t come to the house for days on end and it wasn’t uncommon for me to miss school so I wouldn’t have been missed. However, the lawyer was due before my birthday to discuss my education with my mother. The lawyer came round the next day and found us. He was too late for my mother, she had given up, her heart had been bruised too many times and it just stopped. I don’t really remember what they told me when she died, I was taken back to the house by the lawyer – whose name turned out to be Alex – and told to pack. I was five by now and had already seen too much of the world. I packed my meagre amount of belongings into the few suitcases and boxes Alex had given me, dragged it to the door and didn’t look back.
From the age of five my father sent me to one of the top boarding schools in England, where I remained till I was 18 years old. I wasn’t allowed to compete with other schools or even visit them in case I met up with my father’s other children, he didn’t want them to meet his riffraff Vegas son. Despite this I did well, I kept my head down and worked hard, in the summer I was sent on every trip and camp the school was offering. By the age of eighteen I spoke fluent French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Hindu, Arabic, Portuguese and Russian. I had travelled extensively, more so than most people do in their whole lifetime, I was top of all my classes, had perfect school record and had given up on the hope of my father ever wanting to meet me in person. His lawyer, Alex gave him reports and attended all the necessary school events and otherwise acted as my step in parent, but even Alex had his own family he’d rather be with. When I was younger he took pity on me a few times, taking me out to learn to fly a kite, walk in the park or to the beach to build sandcastles but even that came to an end as I got older.
As soon as I finished my last college year at 18 years old, my father had lined up an obscure job working for an investment firm, Andersons & Barrett’s, which I had proved I already had a knack for because much of my monthly allowance had been at least tripled by me investing it and making quick returns on it. I did really well, I moved quickly through the company and soon had a large client base who were making big money and fast.
At twenty-five, I learnt I had a skill far more valuable than being able to spot good investments, I learnt I could read people really well and had the ability to fit in anywhere. I could look just at home in a bikers bar as I could in one of London’s top cocktail lounges charming clients into signing away their life savings for me to invest. I started practising my new found skill – it became my hobby – spending time shopping for various different outfits in all manner of shops, adapting my speech to imitate slang or accents. From a hobby it became an obsession, I started to create different personalities, different outfits, different phones, different names to fit with each person and location.
During the day I worked as a man in a suit with little or no noticeable personality. I was just good at my job, with no aspirations to move any higher up in the company and no close friends. However once I left work I could become anyone. Sometimes I was the lowest of the lower classes and acted as a beggar, other times I was the richest of the rich and moved in the highest classes, using my arrogance and ability to talk like a politician to get into every high end restaurant and club, then leaving without paying. I’m a wanted man by many businesses but I work hard to keep myself as bland and uninteresting as possible so as not to be well remembered by anyone.
That’s when I got scouted. Not that I thought that’s what I was happening, I thought I’d got my impersonation wrong and they were taking me off to get beaten to death in some back street of Glasgow. Turned out they needed someone who could slip in out of places, not be remembered and who most importantly, could fit in anywhere with anyone. They were criminals and part of a worldwide organisation called New World, which offered various services to wealthy clients who needed people dealing with discreetly. NW arranged ‘accidents’ after careful planning and scouting of each target, they also had various ‘ideals’ they stuck to.
These ‘ideals’ dictated: that any family member of the organisation was protected whilst they worked for them; employees were safe; the target would have to have done something to deserve the accident (so NW wouldn’t just get rid of someone because they were better than you or you didn’t like them) and surprisingly any extensive damage to the environment was also included on their lists of deserving crimes. I didn’t really get a staff handbook when I joined NW, so I was not fully aware of all their ideals but I knew that the most important one was about social order. This is the one that often caused people to meet accidents, if you upset the social order or were attempting to make a large political argument which was not necessarily in the best interest of NW ideals.
My job was simple, I was a scout. I had to investigate the targets and compile a file based on their personality, the company they kept publicly and privately, their funny habits, what and where they drank, ate, smoked and their mannerisms. I basically had to find out all the things that NW couldn’t find out online. I was briefed through a cash phone which would make its way to me either through post, drops or seemingly coincidences. I lived my double life of investor and criminal scout well. I was busy and it allowed me to delve deeper into my hobby.
After several months of tailing various low key subjects, I heard nothing and began to become restless, when my next target pack turned up in my grocery shopping. Eager to get it done I began to read through my targets information. This person was different, they were high profile and well known by sight, and the complicated coding system that NW used to indicate the type of client we were working for indicated this job was for a foreign government. The targets schedule was included in my pack, along with an entirely new identity that would enable me to get into many of the private events the target would attend. The first event was tonight, an art exhibition.
The taxi dropped my outside the exhibition that evening. I confidently strode inside not even glancing at the security guards at the metal detector gates, flashing my ticket at the girl at the desk, I was in. The target tonight is called Mr Andrew Chambers, a close confidant and friend to the Prime Minister, however the files sent by NW indicated he was also into drug smuggling, contacts with terrorist gangs in foreign countries and planning several attacks on unnamed capital cities worldwide. He is tall man, dark hair, piercing blue eyes and he inherited a large amount of money on the mysterious death of both his parents and grandparents as a teenager. He also has a family he spends little to no time with at all, choosing instead to live in a separate apartment away from the family home. Only going to the family home on perfunctory visits to see his son, who in turn pays his father little interest.
I start to circle him occasionally engaging in conversation with minor people or examining art. I don’t need to talk to him. Just listening and watching in the background is usually enough to collect the information. He’s arrogantly talking to a group of men about how easy women are to pick up at art exhibitions and sharing ‘tips and hints’. The men surrounding him are young, the ones looking for a foot into political world. He suddenly shouts and walking with a confident swagger over to another friend of the Prime Minister. The newcomer looks briefly disgruntled by having been noticed but covers it quickly. He pulls Chambers into a firm handshake and makes a few general inquiries before excusing himself. The night runs much like this, the young people want to be him and his peers want to avoid him. Soon the exhibition will be ending so Chambers, as if by clockwork, turns attention to a new purpose. Its time he caught himself a women. He starts prowling round the room looking for a pleasing figure which he can achieve. He spots one, she is petite, tipsy, giggley and innocently pretty; an easy target for Chambers. He swaggers over to her and starts to work his charms. After half an hour and a few more drinks, he offers to take her home. I follow them, jogging lightly behind their taxi which is going exceptionally slowly; another one of Chambers’ tricks. They pull up outside his apartment, the girl looks confused but has little time to think as Chambers is already leaving the taxi. She follows him.
I pull out the current jobs mobile and send a quick text to NW saying, ‘Target keeps young company. Peers avoid him. Cheats on wife. Preys on vulnerable women. Possible injury in shoulder. Arrogant. Regularly leaves drinks unattended. Never washes hands. Manipulative. In apartment ‘b’.’ Within minutes I receive an answer, ‘Scout finished. No extra info required. Keep phone. Further job may be required.’ I read this as I head home to go bed.
A few days later the mobile rings, initially I’m startled as all the information usually comes by text. I answer.
‘Scout we require your assistance with the target’s accident. It will be very simple. The Target will be eating at seafood restaurant in 2 hours. We need you to go in as a waiter and slip a poison into his meal. The appropriate equipment will make its way to you within the hour.’
‘Destroy phone and file immediately’
And the computer-changed voice hung up. So NW requires me to cause an accident. A feeling of excitement swept through me. I had to prepare, researching the restaurant, location and escape routes. I wasn’t leaving anything to chance. I heard a knock on my door, I jumped, my heart started beating six fold, was it over all ready, was it a set up by the police, as I opened the door I let out a sigh of relief. My elderly neighbour was standing in the door holding a parcel.
‘This was just delivered to my door, dear. Those delivery men are hopeless. You make sure you ring up and complain, dear. Customer service just isn’t what it used to be.’
‘Thank you Mrs Jones.’
I took the parcel from her and thanked her. After shutting the door, I opened the parcel and read the set of instructions for the operation of the job. My uniform turned out to be a perfect imitation of the waiters’ suits online and the poison vial was small enough not be noticed in my hands. I got dressed, finished my research and called a taxi to the restaurant.
The taxi pulled up to the opposite side of the road of the restaurant, I could see that this job would not be as simple as I had anticipated. There were a several policemen patrolling the street outside, I paid the taxi driver and headed towards the side of the restaurant where the bustling staff entrance was. According to NW several new staff were starting today so I was able to slip in unnoticed. I stepped through the door and was instantly hit with the bustling heat of warm bodies and shouting. For the first hour before service we are trained in the basics of our job and were shown how to set the tables, pour drinks, carry and serve dishes. Then service starts, we have a steady stream of customers from famous, political or wealthy backgrounds, most of them I can name. I quickly get the hang of serving and recommending specific wines for dishes. Then half through the service, Chambers walks in, he is seated at a table in the corner away from windows. The table you actually pay extra for because the press can’t take pictures of you whilst eating. He orders a bottle of champagne and sits waiting for his companion.
I keep busy, all the time marking my target, continuing to take note of the habits of all the other staff, all the experienced female staff seem to avoid him and the male staff treat him with over the top courtesy. I’m serving another customer when Chambers’ companion joins him, sitting down at the table joking and smiling. I momentarily pause, smoothing it over with a smile return to the kitchen, to collect the next dishes. Chambers’ companion is my father. A man I thought and hoped I would never see, despite this being an ungrateful view considering he gave me a decent education; but this is the man who thought he could buy me off with money. He never once paid me a visit, he didn’t go to my mother’s funeral, he has never wanted me around his family and he has only ever done the bare minimum money could buy.
My next dishes are handed to me, they are Chambers’ and my father’s starter dishes. I don’t slip the poison in this dish because as instructed I am to add it to the fish dish on the 2nd course. I carefully set down the dishes listening to the conversation.
‘Ah, my oldest son is doing so well at the moment, especially now he has settled down with that lovely model. I thought when he took off announcing he needed to travel the world that he would have blown it but Bethany took him back. Not that I blame her, he can definitely afford her expensive taste.’ Chambers says smiling, he then indicates with his hand towards my father. ‘How are your children doing now?’
‘My daughter, Kate is doing well. She’s working for a charity which is all about protecting our world and not changing it. Charlie is also doing very well; he is fitting into the family business very well; although he is planning a trip to Vegas in a few weeks with some college friends. Boys must be boys, and you have to go to that heaven at least once.’ My father jokes.
‘Well, you certainly knew all about the heavenly offers of Vegas didn’t you? What about that Vegas girl you had your other boy with, what’s the scrap doing?’
‘Oh he suitably tucked away at some investment company just working away according to the lawyer. I would know myself but it’s far too messy to get involved with the boy, I simply can’t afford for him to mess up my image right now. And besides I don’t want to split the inheritance up into three, two is perfect, everything divides so easily. It’s not like he’s actually part of the family.’
As I walk away, I feel something shrivel up inside me and die; a childish belief that my father secretly did care for me in some small way. Clearly I was wrong, my education and even my job was all given to me to keep me out the way of him, his image and inheritance. The calm acceptance of the events of my life which I have felt since my mother died suddenly broke down. With that the emotional years of growing up practically an orphan washed over me; of growing up without love, hugs or having anyone to care about.
I continue to serve and wait on tables, keeping my façade of a waiter intact, all the while seething inside with anger. Eventually the 2nd dish for Chambers’ and my father’s table is ready to go out, this is decision time. I feel in my pocket the small glass vial containing the strangely tinted yellow liquid, the glass is warm touch, not cold like I thought it would be. I look at Chambers and my father, they sit there laughing cheerfully. I resent them so intensely I have to blink away tears. The unfairness of my life comes roaring through my being, it’s my father’s fault my mother is dead, he left her, it’s my father’s fault, I went to boarding school, it’s my father’s fault, I never had a home till I could buy one. But no, I cannot poison him, I have a job and Chambers is harming far more people. I have to kill Chambers not my father. Could I be the one to assassinate Chambers through a seemingly freak food poisoning accident? I look once more between the two dishes. I take a deep breath and I sprinkle the poison on one of the identical fish dishes and carry them through to the restaurant. The walk from the kitchen is the longest distance I have ever walked. I keep my pace steady and stop my hands shaking. I glance left, right, left again, wondering if anyone sees the evidence of my crime on my face. I set them down in front of my father and Chambers, offering them more champagne or wine.
I walk away as they both begin to eat, halfway through the dish Chambers’ begins to complain it’s too warm in the restaurant and heads to the men’s restroom to freshen up. My father continues to eat his meal. Still flushed Chambers’ returns to his meal and continues to eat jovially with my father, totally clueless about the events that are already set in motion. I should leave now before the poison begins to set in and fulfils its job, but I stay, wanting to see the end result, hoping the end result would be not be quick.
The dessert went out next, a crème brῠlée and a tiramisu, apparently this is when the poison will have worked its way through his system. I’m serving a table near the kitchen, when he suddenly stands up looking pale and washed out, complaining he’s dizzy, a number of waiters rush over encouraging him to sit down, rest and drink water, it may just be the heat in the restaurant or the champagne. He’s refuses to sit down insisting instead that he will take a taxi home, and that’s when it happens, my father collapses to the ground, his breathing shallow, then shallower and then his chest stops raising at all.
I realize at this point I have stayed too long. I need to leave, I head towards the kitchen, unnoticed in the unfolding chaos. I can already hear more sirens coming closer and through the main doors the patrolling policemen rush into the restaurant.
In the kitchen I discard my waiter’s uniform to show the jeans and shirt I have on underneath. I stride out the side alley, feigning interest at the chaos in the restaurant. After walking a few streets away I flag down a taxi and climb in returning home. I get home but find I am too buzzed to sleep so start flipping channels on the TV.
I did it. I killed my father. The self-serving idiot that he is. Who didn’t even recognise his own son. At the last moment I swapped their dishes around and gave my father the poisoned dish. But I don’t feel like a weight has been lifted off me, I don’t feel like I have been released from some emotional prison. I feel the same but emptier, like I have lost something, something I’m struggling to put my finger on. I’m disappointed I don’t feel triumph, or like celebrating the death of the man who ignored me my whole life.
That’s when my phone rings, my home number. No one rings that one, I gingerly pick it up and answer.
‘Hello, it’s Alex… your father’s lawyer. I’m afraid I have some rather bad news.’
‘Okay, go on then.’
‘I’m afraid your father is dead. He died at a restaurant a few hours ago.’
‘I know you two weren’t close but well, I thought you should find out from someone who knows you. I have to go now. Bye.’
Alex hung up leaving me with the information I already knew, wondering if I sounded convincing enough. The doorbell rang. I jumped out my skin. It’s the police. They know it was me. I don’t answer hoping whoever it is will go away. They ring a few more times before it goes quiet and they leave. Eventually after hours of channel hopping, I fall into a fitful sleep. Dreaming that I kill my father over and over again, that he picks the lock and breaks into my flat…
I’m shoved roughly awake from behind, held down to the sofa and shot in the chest. Pain engulfs me, for a while it’s all I can think about. Then I catch a glimpse of the person who shot me, she is a beautiful tall young woman, with long auburn hair down to her waist tied in a ponytail. She’s wearing a charcoal suit with white gloves, holding a gun which she casually flips round in her hands. She resembles someone, someone I know, but my mind is getting slower and I’m struggling to make sense of this new piece of information.
‘Why?’ I whisper.
She studies me for a moment, then shrugs her shoulders. ‘Because you broke the rules. You killed the wrong person. You can’t go around killing people if you don’t have the money or power to get away with it. Now NW still have an unfinished job with Chambers. But that’s what happens when you send a scout to do an assassin’s job.’
I’m losing the feeling in my arms and legs, my breathing is becoming more laboured. She walks round moving things, changes the channel on the TV to the news, leaves the phone upside down by the stand and finally comes to me, rearranges my limbs, I shout out in pain, and then positions a gun near my hand, pointing towards. I’m confused momentarily before I realise she is setting out a suicide scene. Seemingly happy with her handiwork she took a few snapshots on a camera and then begins to walk out.
‘Wait – who are you?’ I croak.
She turns round a mixed look of venom and pity in her eyes. She looks so familiar but I know I have never seen her before. She comes up close to me, kisses my forehead and whispers,
‘I’m Kate, I’m your little sister.’