The Hitwoman and the Flash Mob
Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman Book 40
A mobster may need someone whacked, an attempted murder may finally be solved, and a crazy flash mob may be pulled off, but only if Maggie Lee can stay alive long enough to facilitate the desired outcomes.
It’s not an easy task as she searches for a missing ring, a comic book collector, and a bombmaker.
Her human allies and loyal pets try to help, but you know what kind of trouble Maggie gets herself into…
You just know it’s going to be a bad day when you’re awakened by the sound of wooden tiles rattling against each other.
“No,” I moaned without opening my eyes. “Go away.”
“But there’s a message for you, Maggie,” Armani Vasquez argued from the foot of my bed.
I opened one eye to glare at my friend. I was not in the mood for one of her inaccurate psychic predictions. She shook the cloth bag she held for emphasis; the Scrabble tiles inside clattered.
I groaned. “But I haven’t had coffee yet.”
“The future waits for no woman to have her caffeine fix.” Armani grinned impishly, taking way too much pleasure in my miserable morning.
“Fine,” I sighed, resigned to the fact she wasn’t going away. “If I pull them, will you leave?”
“Sure. Then, we can meet in the kitchen to translate them.”
“I meant, will you leave me alone,” I growled.
“But we have to read them together,” she pouted. “If we go to the kitchen, you can have your coffee. It might help with your grouchiness.”
“Being left to sleep in peace would have been better,” I groused.
She jiggled the bag again.
“Give it to me.” Sitting up, I had to stretch over the pig, Matilda, lazing at the end of the bed. I pulled out seven tiles, but instead of turning them over to Armani, I closed my fist around the wooden squares, holding them hostage. “Now, get out, or I won’t show them to you.”
Armani chuckled and limped out of my bedroom, the remaining tiles in the bag jangling with every step.
“And close the door before somebody else waltzes in uninvited,” I called after her.
“Grouch,” she muttered, shutting it.
“You are grouchy,” God said.
I glared at the anole lizard lounging on a piece of driftwood in his terrarium. “Forgive me for being less than enthusiastic about being woken up for one of her half-assed predictions.”
“Her predictions have saved your life more than once,” he reminded me.
“How’d she even get in here?”
“The cat and dog have discovered that if Piss jumps onto the back of her canine companion, she can turn the door handle. I’m impressed by our feline friend’s problem-solving skills. Today, the problem was that you were sound asleep and the Doberman was whining about being hungry, so Piss opened the door and off they both went without disturbing you. It was actually quite considerate, letting you sleep in. They just haven’t figured out to close the door behind them yet.”
“That is impressive,” I admitted grudgingly.
“Behold, the power of teamwork!” God boomed.
“Teamwork! Teamwork! Teamwork!” Benny, the little white mouse, cheered from his enclosure.
“I said teamwork, not repetition,” the lizard snapped at him.
“Now, which one of us is grouchy?” I asked the lizard. Then, I said to the mouse, “Good morning, Benny.”
“Good morning! Good morning! Good morning!” he squeaked.
Chuckling, I rolled out of bed, pulled on my bathrobe, and scooped up the lizard. I stumbled down the hall toward the kitchen, God in one hand and my future in the other. Sniffing the air, I was relieved to be greeted by the aroma of my favorite brew.
“He wouldn’t get my vote for Sexiest Man Alive,” Armani complained as I stepped into the kitchen.
“He’s got mine,” my sister Marlene declared.
I knew better than to ask what the conversation was about. Instead, I grabbed a mug and shuffled over to the coffeemaker.
“Good morning,” Marlene chirped cheerily.
“Morning,” I murmured. It was nice to see her in a good mood for a change. Between having to decide whether to treat her daughter Alicia as the gifted child she is, breaking up with her boyfriend, Doc, and the dangerous disruption caused by our grandfather Herschel’s girlfriend, she’d been having a rough time of it.
“Griswald is almost as grouchy as you are, Maggie,” Armani announced. “Right, Marlene?”
“He’s been in a mood ever since his car accident,” my sister agreed.
“Probably because it wasn’t an accident but an attempt to kill him,” God, now perched on my shoulder, whispered.
“Aunt Susan has been in a mood, too,” Marlene continued like she’s been a sparkling ray of sunshine lately.
“In Susan’s defense, it can’t be easy having your husband being so secretive,” Armani mused.
“It doesn’t explain or excuse all the other times she’s in a mood,” Marlene muttered.
“She really doesn’t like that Reese Horn guy,” Marlene said.
“Does anybody?” I muttered. While pouring my coffee, I asked, “What did Griswald do now?”
“He barreled out of here this morning without even saying ‘good morning’,” Armani complained. “Come to think of it, you didn’t say good morning to me, either.”
“Because you’d invaded my personal space making demands.” I leaned back against the coffee and sipped from my mug.
Armani glowered at me. “That reminds me. Spill.”
I dropped the seven Scrabble tiles I held onto the table in front of her.
She put them in alphabetical order and read them aloud. “E I N R S T and a blank.”
Marlene peered over her shoulder. “What does it mean?”
“It’s Maggie’s future,” Armani intoned somberly. Then, she guessed, “Sir Net? Sir Ten?”
“What does that mean?” Marlene asked.
“Probably nothing,” I replied dryly.
“Interest?” Armani offered.
“There’s only one ‘e’ and one ‘t’,” I corrected.
“She should never go on Wheel of Fortune,” God griped. “She’s a terrible speller.”
Marlene’s gaze narrowed as she focused on the squeaking lizard on my shoulder.
“R. Stein!” Armani shouted excitedly. “I bet you’re going to meet an R. Stein! I bet you think he’s the sexiest man alive. Richard, Robert, Rafael, Ryan. Ro—”
“Why do you think R. Stein is a man?” I interrupted.
She blinked. “Okay, fair enough. Rachel, Ruth, Ramona Stein could all work, too.”
“It spells ‘insert’,” Marlene pointed out.
“Now she should go on Wheel!” God approved.
I barely heard him because the moment Marlene said “insert”, my heartbeat sped up and my mind began to race. “Insert,” I repeated.
“I’m sure that’s not it,” Armani stated confidently.
“Insert is what the sticky note you found in Reese Horn’s car said,” God reminded me.
“I know,” I murmured under my breath.
“It’s a clue!” The lizard did a happy dance on my shoulder.
Marlene’s eyes grew wide with alarm. “Does he have to poop?”
“Who?” Armani asked.
Marlene pointed at God. “It looks like he’s having some kind of seizure.”
Outraged, God boomed, “I’m not having a seizure and I don’t have to defecate!”
“And now he’s squeaking louder than usual,” Marlene noted.
“I do not squeak!” the lizard bellowed, the orange dewlap under his chin puffing out, an indicator that he was truly annoyed.
Swallowing a smile, as his indignation made his squeaks higher pitched than normal, I tried to explain. “He was dancing.”
Marlene shook her head. “That definitely does not qualify as dancing. It’s more like thrashing.”
“I’d like to thrash her,” God squeaked. He raised up on his rear legs like he thought he was his real name, Godzilla.
The image of the tiny lizard doing battle with my sister snapped my control. I almost sent him flying off my shoulder as I doubled over with laughter.
“Mood swings,” Armani observed. “First, she’s a grouch, and now, she’s laughing hysterically. Sometimes, I worry you’re losing your mind, Maggie.”
“Don’t even joke about that!” Aunt Susan demanded, rushing into the room. “In this house, we do not joke about mental illness.”
Armani recoiled defensively. “I wasn’t. It’s just that her mood has been all over the place.”
“It was my fault,” I said quickly, knowing the situation could escalate.
My mother resides in a mental health facility. Suggesting someone is crazy is a major trigger for Susan, her sister.
My aunt glared first, at me, and then, at my friend. “It’s not funny.”
“It’s not,” I soothed. “But Armani didn’t mean any harm. She’s exasperated and it’s my fault.”
“You should visit your mother, Margaret,” Susan huffed and then marched out.
Armani let out a sigh of relief.
“Maybe you’ll meet someone named R. Stein when you visit Mom,” Marlene joked.
“No doubt they’d be a patient,” God muttered. “That’s the kind of luck you have.”