The clerk smiled as he handed Abigail a brochure. A plastic tag pinned to his chest named him “Franklin”, but Abigail suspected the man had helped himself to an old nametag from behind one of the retail shops on Market Street.
The brochure was a single page. Tri-folded and laid out in columns and sections, it looked for all the world like a restaurant menu.
Except, of course, it wasn’t.
“So, um, how does this work?”
“Depends on what you need.” Franklin-who-probably-wasn’t-Franklin pointed to the columns in turn with fingernails as white as a French manicure. “Evaluation, sanitation, disposal…”
“What about… before that?”
Abigail struggled for a way to say what she didn’t want to say. Not out loud. “You know… before they’re… dead?”
Franklin folded the brochure and stuck it back in the plastic rack. “We don’t do the actual killing. Just the clean-up.”
With a glance over his shoulder, then another toward the plywood-covered front door, the clerk palmed a business card from his front pocket. “But this place offers certain, let’s say, extra services.”
Abigail took the card. No number, no address. Just three words printed in eighteen-point Helvetica across the middle: THE MURDER STORE.
“How do I–?”
“You don’t. They do. When they call, tell them you’re interested in the daily special. They’ll know what you mean.”
“Thank you.” Abigail started to slip the business card in her purse, then changed her mind and tucked it in her front pants pocket instead.
“No need to thank me,” the clerk said as he returned his attention to the boxes he’d been unpacking when Abigail walked in. “Anybody asks, I didn’t give you anything. Not even sure I remember you coming in.”