There is a Room.
It is at the top of a three storey building, but it is not the attic. The ceiling is high, perhaps 12 feet, with sturdy pipes and beams which crisscross at about 10 feet. The windows are blackened, the walls soundproofed, though there wouldn’t have been much of a view and the rooms on the second floor are unused.
There are four small rooms on the first floor; these are rented by the hour. Or the half hour. Depending on what the customer is willing to pay for.
The office on the first floor used to be the pantry, but Sal had cut the door in half, and made it his office. The top part of the door could be closed, and locked with a vertical lock to hold the door together. There is a small card table that Sal used for his desk and for eating his meals. His meals are brought to him by one of the ageing women who work in the rooms that rented by the hour. Or the half hour.
The front door had a chain with a lock, so customers were forced to enter thru the back door.
Sal’s balding, shiny head, looking down at the newspaper, was the first thing customers saw when entering the house.
“Wipe your feet,” is Sal’s greeting.
When he looks up, he is able to tell which room the customer is looking to rent.
Today, he looks up and sees the bulge of cash in the pocket and the hangdog look. He slips the lock connecting the top with the bottom half of the door, and points to a chair for the customer.
After finding out that the customer is looking for the top floor, due to a breakup with a lady, Sal instead calls one of his “girls”.
” On the house,” Sal grunts at the “girl” of 63 years. Sal winks. She will still be paid.
Two days later, another man enters. His head is up, but his neck stiff.
The lock is put in place, and the man sits to the right of Sal.
“Everything is in order,” the man says, handing over a copy of his will and the letter he has written.
Sal reads it, slowly. Sal grunts.
“You know how this works, yeah?” Sal knows the answer. “What have you decided on?”
The man pulls a small handgun from his front coat pocket, and slides it, handle first, towards Sal.
Sal puts his hands in the air, a mock signal of, “I give up!”
“Don’t want no fingerprints, now,” Sal says. The man nods slowly. “Got the fee?”
The man reaches into his pants this time.
“For the room, for the clean up, and for putting the will and the letter in the proper hands.”
The man recites this in a monotone voice. Sal nods and opens his office door. “Top floor,” Sal points.
The man takes the gun and places it back into his jacket pocket. He heads for them slowly but with purpose. As soon as he’s disappeared out of sight, Sal calls for two of his others “girls”.
” Should be about fifteen minutes, ” he says, a loud *pop* from the top floor interrupting him. “Or less.”
The girls get their cleaning materials and head up the stairs, as Sal fills out the tax deduction form for a Suicide Premises.
Sal whistles as he signs his name at the bottom of the form.