Burning Question

“If you hang up you will be charged $900k,” the gruff voice said through the speakerphone. One of the two women in the office, Melody, replied quickly. She wasn’t intimidated but she knew her boss liked to get to the point as fast as possible.

“I’m interested in your services. I’ve heard you’re… discreet,” she said to the speaker. It sat on her boss’ desk.

“The victim disappears without a trace. 100% guarantee the body will never be found.” He replied with smugness coating every word.

“That’s quite a guarantee… it seems almost too good to be true. Can you explain how you ensure that?” Melody asked.  The voice laughed on the other end. 

“Do you have someone in mind for our services? If not I have other calls to make.” The woman sitting at the desk, Dana Sharp, leaned closer to the phone. 

“If you hang up you will be charged 3.84 million dollars,” she said. “The entirety of your bank balance.” Melody beamed a smile at Dana. The man remained quiet for several seconds but the sound of him typing frantically on a keyboard could be heard.

“Shit, how’d you know that!?” he shouted through the speaker. 

 “How do you guarantee the body is never found?” Dana asked her own question. He laughed at her again.

“I’ll admit it, you scared me for a second. Any half-way decent hacker can get our balance; it doesn’t mean anything,” his laughter grew louder as if he were getting closer. He drew closer and closer until a yellow bolt of electricity shot out of the speakerphone and into the office. After a brilliant flash of light, a young man in a yellow t-shirt and black jeans stood in the office with the two women. He had wild hair that looked more sickly, straw-yellow than healthy blonde. “You have no idea who you’re dealing with. You can call me, Buzz,” he grinned at booth women. “for the few minutes you have left to live.” He lifted his hand and wiggled his fingers; electricity crackled between his digits. He took a step closer to Dana Sharp, but Melody stepped between them and stared Buzz in the eyes. Buzz stopped, then shrugged. 

“Okay, you’re first,” he reached for her with his electrically charged hand; she did not blink. 

“What’s your favorite number?” she managed to get the question out before his hand gripped her neck.

“34,” he said and discharged electricity into her neck. She opened her mouth to scream, but her windpipe was being squeezed. Her body convulsed as electricity poured into her. It was just for a moment, then he stopped. “When did I get a favorite number and why did you ask me that?” he asked.

“How do you guarantee the body is never found?” Dana repeated her question from behind her desk.

“Are you serious?” Buzz turned his attention to her. “I have your assistant’s life in my hands and you’re still trying to act tough?” He shook his head. “You must not care about her very much.”  The woman sighed.

“This is taking too long. Melody, find out.” Buzz took a quick look around the room for someone else, he wondered who Melody was. Then the woman he was holding on to reached up and grabbed his wrist. She whispered faintly, Buzz was surprised she managed to speak at all.

“Yes, Ms. Sharp,” came out weak and raspy. Buzz laughed harder and squeezed her neck harder.

“Yeah Melody, find out,” Buzz mocked her. Melody lifted her other hand and showed Buzz her palm; it began to glow with a soft blue light that radiated warmth.

“What.. what’s that?” Buzz asked. The glow grew brighter and hotter; Buzz felt drops of sweat gathering on his forehead. Then he realized his wrist felt warm. He looked down and saw the same blue glow between her hand and his wrist. “Too slow, Melody,” he said and discharged as much wattage as he could into her neck. Electric sparks filled the room, but Melody did not seem to be bothered by it. Her body did not dance with wild convulsions. Instead, his wrist started to hurt; it was burning.

Buzz prided himself on being ‘quick as lightning’. He very quickly decided that he could not win this and let go of Melody’s neck.

“Okay! I give up!” he said. He tried to pull his hand away, but Melody did not let go. He yanked it forcefully but her grip did not loosen; and, she continued to heat up. She was much stronger than she looked. “I give up! Let go!” he began to panic as the pain became almost unbearable. In the back of his mind, he thought he smelled cooking flesh but tried not to think about it.

“How do you guarantee the body is never found?” Melody asked him.

“I got a guy!” Buzz shouted. “He takes the corpses off my hands and gives me a finder’s fee.”

“Who is he?” Melody asked. Buzz shook his head and shrugged. Melody still gripped his hand, but she wasn’t actively trying to burn him. 

“I get paid for killing and I can sell the corpse after. I don’t ask too many questions. I got a good gig, I don’t ask too many questions.” 

“Arrange a meeting,” Melody said. She let go of his arm; he immediately cradled it and started massaging the burn. Buzz nodded quickly.

“Okay, I’ll do it. No problem!” he said.

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