Flash fiction – “Insurance Works”

“Mom, I’m an assassin.”

Her mother laughed as she folded a pair of pants and put it in the laundry basket. “Were you killing mosquitoes with your pillow again?”

“No, Mom. I haven’t done that since I was in primary school.”

She shook out a pair socks before she started rolling them up. “Flies?”

“I kill people. That’s what assassins do – kill people for money.”

Her mother looked up, now a little upset. She stopped rolling the socks she was holding. “Baby, don’t make jokes like that. You know I don’t like it.”

“Mom, I’m not joking.”

Her mother pulled herself up to her full height. “That’s it, Tebogo. Stop it! You’ve gone too far with this. Ever since your father died, you’ve been trying to get attention in all the wrong ways. I’m not playing along with this.”

“Then don’t play. Because I’m not playing.” Tebogo looked out the window. “You remember when I said Uncle Vusi had left the car here for you as a gift? I paid for it with money I got for killing my third mark.”

“No.”

“I bought a rifle the other day when I said I was meeting with Mpho after school. I keep it in a bag under my bed. You know, that red one?”

Her mother’s face was ashen when she looked up at her. The older woman sat down abruptly. “No.”

“Someone had to take over Dad’s work…after he was taken out. Did you think that all the money was still the insurance paying out?” Tebogo laughed.

Her mother sprang up again. Now her face was darker, redder. “Get out! Get out of my house! Get out! Get out! Get out!”

Tebogo looked at her. Her hair was done up again. New extensions, Tebogo realised. She probably bought it with the money from last week’s mark. The dress too.

She stood up. “I’ll send you the money in the old insurance envelopes I’ve been using.”

***

Tebogo’s mother sat staring at the open envelope in her hands. There was R10 000 in R200 bills inside. And a note.

You can use it to have the house repainted. The paint’s been peeling lately.   Tebogo

<<A side note to non-South Africans: The South African currency is Rand. In case you wanted to check exchange rates, the international abbreviation is ZAR.>>

<<General side note: The story was meant to be no more than one page.>>

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2 thoughts on “Flash fiction – “Insurance Works”

  1. Do black people’s faces get red?
    Also I don’t really know what the oomf of the story is. “A kid tells her mom their income has been coming from organized murders.” and? There needs to be some outcome. Like Tebogo feeling relieved at telling the truth, or her mother taking up arms to stop her and to put an end to their reputation as the family of death. Or pterodactyls.

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    • siygrah says:

      Well, let’s see. I’ll answer them in order.
      It really depends on the black person. Some have lighter skin, some darker. The darker the skin, the less likely it would be to show red. I think the fact that she goes dark red sort of implies lighter brown skin that would show darkening?
      The oomf is actually more of a resounding emptiness. I was going for “people will be who they are and they choose to see what they want to see”. That is also the outcome. It is my commentary on what I see in life.

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