Spiro sat at his Steinway classic grand piano. It was black and polished like volcanic glass, and darkly reflected his scowl. One hand softly tapped out a sullen melody while he smoked what would be his final cigarette with the other. Beside the empty music rack sat a handheld coilgun.

It only held a single round.

Outside, the verdant gardens burned. The ornately manicured hedges and moss-laden walking paths were well on their way to cinder heaps. And beyond, acres and acres of the finest Dash this side of the Orion Spur. Close to a billion fedcoin-worth of that feathery yellow-leafed plant, all up in smoke. The stuff burned almost as good as it got you high; made the compound look like Mount Vesuvius.

Spiro lit the fires himself as soon as he heard the unmistakable clap of dropships hitting the atmosphere. Then he’d herded all his lieutenants and enforcers into the bunker before chucking in a couple frag grenades and sealing them behind the blast door. Couldn’t have anyone talking, and besides, everyone goes down together. Only one loose end remaining…

He played his sad little tune and sucked his cigarette, wondering who had come for him. It wasn’t the feds—they couldn’t afford it. Rival growers? Could be. There were two or three outfits that might be able to pull it off, and everyone was trying to build a monopoly. But it was probably the Proximas. They might have felt entitled to it, seeing as it was their operation before he’d taken it for himself. They’d kill him for sure, but he doubted they’d make it a quick affair.

His cigarette was done. He picked up the coilgun and held it to his temple.

“You got a license for that thing?”

Spiro whirled around, caught his ankle on the piano bench, and fell on his ass. The coilgun clattered away. “Anson! What are you doing here?”

He stood there looking calm and unperturbed in a tidy white suit with only a slight bulge indicating a shoulder holster. “Just keeping an eye on things. Thought you could use a lift. It’ll cost you though. This isn’t a charity for down-on-their-luck drug lords.”

Spiro could hardly believe it. “Yes, anything you want! Anson, you’re a godsend!”

“A godsend! That’s good,” he chuckled. The tall man smiled and reached out his hand. “No, I’m something else. Let’s go.”

Spiro reached up, grabbed Anson’s hand—a symbol of the agreement he was making, he knew—and let the well-dressed devil pull him to his feet.

Notes: I used a writing prompt for this piece. I had to use the following words: verdant, dash, license, piano, and final. You may find more writing prompts at tylerdealauthor.com. Prompt by Tyler M. Deal, used with permission.

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