The hammer clicked into position almost as soon as the magazine did. And then the murders began.

First came the man who had called her “Sweetheart.” He’d been eyeing her hungrily throughout the meeting, licking lust onto his lips and sending his left hand on excursions under the table. He looked good in this lighting, she had to admit. Nice haircut, nice tan. She might have given him her number on a Saturday with bad weather. As it stood, he’d fucked up. Not even her father got away with “Sweetheart.”

Not-Sweetheart blew her admirer something that wasn’t a kiss, sending him toppling through one of the glass panes on his side of the room. As glass rained in thunderous waves and the body hit the floor with a sickening thud, the people around the conference table jolted to their feet, their suits and ties almost flourishing, but not quite. They looked stupidly between their fallen comrade and the barrel of the smoking gun, confused, enraged, but most importantly, coming to their senses. They’d thought they’d been dealing with a fool. Now they knew they’d been flirting with Death.

She allowed them a grace period. They deserved that much. They’d accommodated her well this past half hour, while she hadn’t been much of a proper guest. No, she shouldn’t have asked for three grand on the hour. And no, she definitely shouldn’t have insisted when they laughed. So what if her male counterparts earned that much? To these patriarchal figures, equal pay was a middle finger.

The purple-haired vixen to her right made a sudden move. With one more tug of the trigger, Not-Sweetheart put the fool in its place. Another tug put down the East European model to her left who, sweet Mary, had looked absolutely dashing in her yellow-patterned headscarf; a third tug, the tomahawk Scot beside her. Screams, yells—the usual chorus of panic—started filling the air as everyone finally began to hustle. Not-Sweetheart fell into her element. Tug, tug, kill, kill. Twenty targets became nineteen became eighteen became…

She backpedaled into the bald-headed security measure who’d been stationed behind her, and had just made an attempt to grab her from behind. She trapped him against the wall, crushed his big toe. She spun him around as she saw the piece emerging from the local Idris Elba’s belt, turning him into a shield, then Security went limp on her shoulders to the sound of rampant gunfire. It seemed two of the quicker ones had drawn their weapons. Using their reflections in the specular wall for reference, she aimed the barrel over Security’s shoulder and, tug-tug, put holes between their eyes.

The room was a flurry of activity now, its occupants that were not falling behind curtains of red having lifted handguns and rifles out of their briefcases and taken aim at Not-Sweetheart’s concealed back. Tug: there went the lights. More glass rained on the room from the vantage point of one very expensive chandelier.

Their bullets still flew through the darkness, propelled less by tactical forethought and more by insolent reflexes. Though the moonlight and gun sparks made a veritable light show, Not-Sweetheart didn’t see it, as she’d already dropped to the floor and leaped sideways into the space between the seat and spidery legs of a rolling chair. She now took off, loosing thousand-dollar rounds on thousand-dollar pant legs under the table. Shapeless masses crumpled in the shadows, and she didn’t need the lights on to see what expressions they wore.

The man nearest the window was the footnote on her passage. He caught sight of her as she slid into view, and too late. Tug: she put a fat one in his collarbone, then, tug, she weakened the glass. She pushed her chair in front of her, splashed into the night, and was gone, throwing one last metal kiss in her wake.

(Disclaimer: This is an updated version of the original story. Read the first draft here.)


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