The Ruling Planets Are Mars and Pluto

Lucille sits in the bathtub toying with the idea of suicide. She has a straight razor that she’d bought from the drugstore, and she pressed the edge of the blade just lightly against the inside of her thighs, until she could feel her pulse knocking against the metal. It would be so easy, she thinks. Two quick slashes and the water would carry everything away. Her breath catches in her throat with the nearness of death; in the dark her eyes flash with pleasure.

She is busy masturbating when the voices come beating at her through the wall. She doesn’t listen to what they’re saying, but she can tell that several people are talking in the next room. Water starts running and suddenly the voices are much clearer.

“We can talk now,” says one voice, low and steely like her razor. “The water’ll throw off the mikes.”

“I ain’t like it,” says another one, high and sneering. “From tip to tail I ain’t like it. Why’re we meeting together at all? Why we have any contact at all? Ain’t good business. Ain’t smart.”

“This isn’t one of your penny-ante little heists we’re planning, here. Murder’s a personal thing, and it’s got to be handled right.”

“Ain’t good business,” the second voice repeated. “Ain’t smart, being superstitious. But it’s your show.”

“That’s right, it’s my show.” The voice is in her ear like a present. Her pulse knocks against her fingers again and again as she listens to the end of life unfolding through the pipes.