FOR HIRE by Townsend Walker

He was a sweet lay. Charlie, I think that’s what he said his name was, picked me up at The Pub. He thought he did the picking, but then most guys do. The Pub was a neighborhood bar, stained glass, heavy on the wood, pretenses of English. We went back to his place, block away. Nice, but the decorator’s hand was heavy: faux ancestral photos, tinted engravings, leather, plaid throws.
What I liked about Charlie: he lit a fire, we sipped cognac, and then slowly, slowly and gently, he unwrapped me, kissing as he moved down my body. By the time he got below my belly I was very ready. In the second act he cuddled, all sugar and warm. After the third act he fell asleep. I waited an hour, got up, dressed, and left. I had places to go, people to kill.
Yeah, you read that right: kill. It’s what I do. Don’t advertise; in this line of work, don’t need to. Over on 47th and Second, west side of the street, look up, you’ll see gold lettering on a third story window:

Allan & Monroe
Private Investigators
For Hire

That’s the office. I’m the Allan, Miriam Ivanna, though it’s been Mia ever since I had the choice. There’s no Monroe, never was, but a double barrel name is reassuring. That’s what the marketing prof at Wharton said, though I don’t think he had this in mind.

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Townsend Walker is a writer living in San Francisco. During a career in finance he published books on foreign exchange, derivatives, and portfolio management. His stories have been published in over 40 literary journals and included in five anthologies. One was nominated for the PEN/O.Henry Award. Another was runner-up for the Gordon Award given by Our Stories Literary Journal. Four stories were performed at the New Short Fiction Series in Hollywood. His website is

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