Stanley huffed as he carried a bundle of grocery bags to the mall escalator. He stepped onto the yellow moving stairs and leaned up against the railing. As he thought about his recipe for the night a deep smile crept onto his face.
“Enough grub son? You’re likely to burst!”
The voice came from below him, he reeled and came facing an old man in a brown fedora. The old man’s body had a strange transparency to it, and his voice was slightly muffled.
“Who, what are you!” Cried Stanley.
“Calm y’self champ, I’m Chuck Jones. My cane got stuck in the teeth last October, and damned if I was going to lose it. In the struggle my pant leg also went under, and lord have it I got sucked right in. Now I live on the escalator and I wait for my soul to be freed by the noble deed. Looks like you get off here champ!”
Stanley looked at the ghostly figure of Chuck Jones in awe, clutching his grocery bags with white knuckles. A curious man, though yellow-bellied, Stanley’s wonder overtook his fear and he was able to open his mouth.
“What noble deed? You mean you’re stuck on the escalator?”
“Your milks going to go bad partner.”
“Wait, maybe I can help, what do you need to do?”
“Oh I need a noble man for the noble deed partner. A man with a steel gut and resolution.” A nefarious smile flickered across Chuck’s face in a flash.
Stanley had been captain of the boy scouts, and often daydreamed of great adventures with himself as the hero. He had a good heart, and could prove to be more pragmatic then he looked and thought of himself.
“Stanley if you accept this noble deed, there won’t be another path for you. You must accomplish your task or you will join me in my eternal resting place. Do you have a brave heart, will you help me Stanley?”
Stanley was yanked out of his daydream of slaying dragons and rescuing princesses. He thought about the request for only a moment before he gave his answer.
“You’re going to kill Russell Hart partner, an evil man who was there the day I died. He had the chance to save me, but his wicked heart encouraged him to watch me suffer.”
Stanley’s jaw dropped at the abruptness of how serious the situation had gotten. Had he just accepted a part in the murder of an innocent man?
“You got one hour champ, he’s here in this mall right now, over at the Walgreens. They sell pistols over there, you better hurry up!”
Stanley waited until the gun attendant was distracted, and proceeded to steal a nine-millimetre hand gun and a case of hollow point bullets. He stepped into a bathroom and loaded the gun, sweat pouring down his forehead, hands shaking furiously.
He had two children, and his wife had died in a car accident years ago. Leaving them behind with nobody wasn’t an option, and Stanley’s fate was sealed to the death of Russell Hart so that his children may know their father.
He had a mental image of his target in his mind, implanted there when he accepted his mission. It didn’t take him long to track him down in the sporting goods isle.
The isle was empty except for Russell; Stanley began walking towards him. He brought the gun out of his jacket and brought it up to the back of Russell’s head. A single shot rang out across the store.