William Fitzgerald Sharpens His Pen

The husband is trying to explain himself to William Fitzgerald, how hollow his marriage had been, how loveless; how much he needed the money to get away, to save himself; how his wife didn’t believe in divorce and how he’d found love now, too late, with a wonderful girl; how he’d signed a prenup and would walk away with nothing.

William Fitzgerald stifles a yawn.

It’s nothing he hasn’t heard before, a dozen times at least; the people who have enough money to hire him often marry for money, too. Divorce at the best of times, murder at the worst. He’s a blackmailer at heart, but blackmailing a murderer is more trouble than it’s worth — who kills once will kill again.

The husband has stopped talking. William Fitzgerald glances down at his notepad to make sure he’s captured everything automatically; good. Recordings can be stolen, data recovered. “Fire is safer,” he says, and the husband blinks at him, not understanding, even better.

“Go home,” he tells the husband. “Stay quiet. Make nice for your wife and for god’s sake stop seeing your girlfriend while I’m working. I’ll be in touch.” The man leaves, happy enough, and William Fitzgerald burns the notebook, already forgetting.