Mallory: It turns out that all hope is not lost. Except maybe for us. Ben and I are coming to you from outside the Queens County courthouse and, no, grandma, we’re not getting married. We would have invited you so you could say you already agreed to go to a neighbor’s wedding. Just like for my first communion. It was the same ceremony. You were just sitting in a different pew, cheering for another girl. The priest asked you to quiet down four times. You didn’t need the maracas and confetti when she ate the wafer.
Ben: I hope she’s enjoying her new trailer in Florida.
Mallory: Mom said an alligator ate two of the wheels off and stole a frozen Di Giorno pizza.
Ben: I didn’t know alligators could open a chest freezer.
Mallory: I didn’t know they fled on bicycles either.
Anyway, the vote happened. We voted. Ben and I used the same booth and someone got mad at us, and apparently election booths aren’t also a bathroom, as for some reason we both previously thought.
It turns out, everyone got the murders out of their systems and they don’t really care about the assasination industry. I always knew it was us against the world.
The legislation still leaves the door open to put legal murder on the ballot every 3 years, which is going to be very bad for business and worse for serious but short-term grudges.
Apparently the phrasing, “should we have state-regulated assasination?” was very clear this time. This was very different from November’s Prop 379-B: Should New York State Entity not not not allow for state-regulated control of human liquidation subsidiaries not maybe?
Ben: Last time, I saw ads telling me to vote a bunch of different ways: Some said vote yes to stop legal murders, another said vote no to stop legal murder, and others said vote and we’ll murder you. Some of them just told me to put the dot in the middle.
Linguists and grammarians are still having arguments about that sentence. Someone’s writing their dissertation on it
Mallory: I just wrote in “Yes, murder.” with an exclamation point. At the time I was really sure one of my roommates was using my razor.
But, this is all just distraction, focusing on the very recent past.
Ben: Tell them about the very recent present.
Mallory: Here’s the problem: Ben never got us the LLC . I guess there weren’t any at the dollar store for your mom to steal.
Ben: The line was really long at the courthouse and there were no voting booths to pee in.
Mallory: We were never incorporated either. Grandma said “maybe for Christmas.” She said that about frozen pizza, and apparently she had one all along.
Maybe you’ve seen us in the news. Murderopolis--and basically every other company---are kind of using us as a sacrifice. What did we expect from a bunch of soulless murderers? Just to be clear, we still think we were the soulful kind.
Ben: We have soul. We even see souls. Right, Cordelia?
Mallory: She’s here to watch my downfall. What did I tell you?
Ben: Why can’t she be here to support me?
Mallory: We were the flaw in the legislation. They were good murderers, the big-box companies. They did it right. They checked the boxes. They didn’t shred their files with a pizza cutter. They didn’t try to murder people with telepathy in the knife section at JC Penny.
Ben: I eventually gave up and threw a few knives.
Mallory: He clipped a few people, but not the one he was supposed to kill.
Ben: Not bad for a guy who has only ever had knives thrown AT him.
Mallory: Apparently the big murder companies saw this vote coming, and that’s why they let us participate in the murder games and also pay the entry fee with cheez-its. Which we still owe them and our ability to pay this debt will factor into this hearing.
After Kill Witch’s viral video, our other records got out, and people started listening to these recordings I made on my phone. Apparently they don’t make us look great. A bunch of them are just me and Ben arguing over what kind of cheese to put on toast.
Ben: Hashtag team Lumburger
Mallory: Because your basement doesn’t smell bad enough
Actually, 6 of the recordings are just butt dials. No one told us this because they thought we were making fun of the killing industry and its regulations. They thought Ben’s marketing emails were a joke.
Ben: I should have known when people were like, “good one,” and, “what a great lampoon of the killing industry and its regulations.”
Mallory: Apparently, based on our records it’s extremely obvious that we did not fully read the legislation, safety protocol, or really anything past the title of a pamphlet, which is called So, Murder Is Legal, Now What? Half the people we took commissions from were overseas shell corporations, a third were dogs with instagram accounts, and one was an international supervillain, which is apparently a no-no.
Kill Witch and Crystal Murderer both tried to flee to Canada, and then realized they were going the wrong way. They ended up in Florida, a state which has weird protections for people who maybe legally murdered someone?
So, here we are. About to face supposed justice. About to listen to all the things I did wrong, just like every time I tried to play Lite Brite when I was four.
Maybe it’s my conscience, or maybe it’s the massive paper trail that’s going to reveal the truth no matter what, or maybe it’s the possibility of a shorter sentence. Should I own it? Is it feminist to own your mistakes?
Susan B Anthony isn’t apologizing for corsets or confusing dollar coins. Marilyn Monroe isn’t apologizing for subway grates blowing ladies’ dresses up and up, or for unrealistic face mole standards. Jane Austen isn’t out here denouncing the rom-com or the bro film. She didn’t even apologize for how long Mansfield Park is!
Ben: They say they’re sorry. For all of it.
Mallory: What? OK, Fine, we got a little out of hand. We took jobs no one else took because we were trying to do some good in the world. Do some good for ourselves, too. There was some self-interest.
Someone should have stopped us. I mean, we were right out there, on rideshare apps and stabbing people in broad daylight with crystals and drano. It’s not my fault that we only got 3 views on youtube and two of them were my brother trying to explain to mom that he wasn’t the most criminal sibling.
At least Ben and I will go to jail together
Ben: No. No we won’t.
Mallory: Fine. Ben was hired by the city as an in-between for ghosts wanting to sue to end legal murder. I think they’re going to give him amnesty since he’s suffered, and continues to suffer by being himself.
I said that I suffered, too. I still have Uncle Gerald. How is there justice for me but not for uncle Gerald?
[starting to break down] MIchelle Obama condemned us on national TV like we were obese elementary school kids.
I’m sorry. It's almost time for us to go in. I think I’m just going through guilt and bargaining, all those stages.
Ben: Ah, adolescence.
Mallory: [deep breath] Ben, will you walk in with me?
Ben: We’ll I’m not going to wait out here and then walk in after you.
Ben: Cordelia’s between us.
Mallory: Of course she is.
Kill Witch: In. NOW.
Crystal Murderer: Get IN.
Mallory: I, well
Kill Witch: This is Queens Boulevard. Hurry up!
Mallory: Fine, but if anyone asks, we were kidnapped.
[car door closing] [car screeching]
Mallory: [whispering] It’s Kill Witch and Crystal Murderer in a Hyundai Sonata. Crystals are taped everywhere to the inside and outside of the car, like it has a shiny bubonic plague. Ben has decided to take his chances with us.
Ben: I’ve never made my own decisions. If I don’t have a woman to tell me what to do, I just sit on the floor and cry.
Crystal: It wasn’t right what they were going to do to you. That trial was going to be a koala court.
Mallory: You mean a kangaroo court?
Crystal: No, they were pulling their jury from the zip code that contains only the Bronx Zoo.
Kill Witch: I’m so glad we got there in time.
Mallory: Thanks. You really brought out the cavalry. I’m touched. Crystal Murderer, what do these crystals do? I will listen to any and all of your explanations.
Crystal Murderer: You can call me Jamie.
Mallory: But your name is Rebecca.
Crystal: The crystals repel those speed radars and they block our license plate. The blue ones make cops fall off their motorcycles. If you hit them right. Kill Witch is operating the Crystal Catapult. I’m going to make millions off of it.
Mallory: OK, that is a crossbow with crystals taped to the arrows. We don’t do this anymore. We’re not allowed to do this anymore.
Ben: We never were.
Kill Witch: I always wanted to live in a world like Mad Max.
Ben: Is that the message you’re supposed to get out of those movies?
Kill Witch: I hate showering and I actually kind of love violence. It’s been a journey for me.
Mallory: Speaking of journeys, where are we heading?
Ben: Are we going to hole up on that part of the highway that’s technically Connecticut until they extradite us?
Kill Witch: We’re going to go stay with my Canadian coven. They said once that they’d never go out for poutine without me. Now I can enforce that.
Crystal Murderer: No way! We’re going back to Florida. We can have a life there.
Mallory: Well, this expressway goes to Long Island, and once you’re out there you’re kind of locked in. Just ask the Long Island Serial Killer.
Kill Witch:Aah!, turn around!
Mallory: You can’t just do that! [tires screeching, honking] OK, I guess you can.
Ben: Wait, we forgot Cordelia! We have to go back.
Mallory: She’ll catch up!
Crystal: Did you guys know you could smoke crystals? They have so much of it in Florida!
Kill Witch: Now that you’re not my employer anymore, I have to tell you something.
Mallory: Oh, boy. Getting flashbacks to every teacher I’ve ever had after. I should have had “You’re never going to make anything of yourself” embroidered on one of those round thingies.
Kill Witch: Mallory, I don’t care what all my spiritual advisors say, I have feelings for you. That time I bought all those lint rollers, that soup that was mostly sand and extra-strength rubbing vodka, that was just because I was nervous, and also my personality.
Mallory: Kill Witch, Kerry--
Kill Witch: Call me Sherry. We’re on the lamb. It’s my Thunderdome name.
Mallory: Kerry, um, Sherry. I’m so flattered, but I don’t feel the same way.
Kill Witch: I thought you were a lesbian.
Mallory: No, you were right about that.
Kill Witch I see [fingers drumming]
Mallory: Well. This is going to be an awkward 15 hours, if we make it. If I make it. And I’m not looking forward to seeing Grandma. Is it possible to go to Florida and not see your grandma? As always, It’s been an honor and a pleasure! Until next time, whenever that is!
Ben: [shouting] Cordeliaaaaaaa
Assassinly - because, oh I don’t know. Does it matter anymore?
Friends, there is no easy way to say this, so let’s get it over with. Assassin.ly ink, and that’s “ink” like squid, because no lawyer would agree to incorporate us, is now a subsidiary of Murderopolis. I come to you from the mostly deserted basement of Murderopolis’s midtown office. Which is where I work now.
They’ve liquidated most of our assets and fired most of our liabilities--Crystal and Kill Witch--but I can’t say they’ve been unkind to us. They gave us murderopolis t-shirts in the sizes they had left and custom glass water bottles--who buys a glass water bottle? People who don’t fly into rages and throw water bottles at random cars on the street, I guess. They even sent an intern to the grocery store to buy Ben flowers after his mom, well, you know.
Someone’s been auditing Assassin.ly's files, including our voice logs. I don’t know the whole story, but they didn’t like the fact that we kept all the paperwork in a Trader Joe’s shopping bag. Apparently that wasn’t secure enough, even after we put everything under Ben’s bed. I tried to explain that no one would ever go there. I promise your files were protected. I risked my life every time I reached under the rusty, barnacled metal frame. It was like the 12 plagues. Every time my arm came out coated in something different: roaches, moldy chocolate cake, blood or maybe liquid rust, we don’t know, baby gerbils with razor-sharp claws. They all have good homes now. In soup. One time I thought I was fine afterward but it turned out I had syphilis.
Ben: That might have been a preexisting condition. Cordelia says it’s more common than you’d think, not that she had it. She just spent some time at our local library.
Mallory: I think we can get Murderopolis to accept legal liability for all these teeny tiny technical violations.
Ben: Unlike your parents, when you brought asbestos installation to school and threw it up in the air like confetti.
Mallory: I wanted someone to acknowledge my 8th birthday.
How did the Muder Games end? If you were part of the 93% of people who turned their TVs off after part 1, you might be wondering this. We kept going. Remember, the games’ tagline is the only televised event that isn’t canceled when someone dies.
Ben’s mom wasn’t the only person who was murdered. Other notable casualties included the office smelly person, and various kiosk owners at the local mall. The world is better off without mall kiosks. No one has ever not regretted their custom candy cane and $75 hair straightener.
We pushed through, but Ben and I were understandably a little distracted. The Second Half was called Unsung Heros: Administrative Professionals and People Managers of Murder. Viewership dropped by 93%. The events involved scheduling, matching skills to jobs, making coffee, a quiz show about one specific legal document, and a mini crossword puzzle. They chose to televise each of our crossword struggles individually. If you’re wondering, that’s like watching an episode of jeopardy where all the contestants get everything wrong for the 4th time in a row. Someone was screaming Ben’s name so hard at her kitchen TV that she was taken to the hospital with a throat rupture. That’s the only time anyone has ever screamed Ben’s name.
Ben: Are you really mocking the bereft?
Mallory: Yup. The video of Kill Witch dumping Drano all over a senior center for basically no reason has gone viral. In the words of the event’s judges, while we do award points for creativity, we do not condone the wanton disregard for the safety of our elders. They also said we were “staining the profession.” And we are murderers, so…
Ben: The second oldest profession
Mallory: The Eastern serial killer alliance will not add me to their union. They turned my application down months ago and it’s unrelated, but, still.
The video of Crystal ignoring her phone and swerving across 4 lanes to mow down Ben’s mom has gone even more viral. News stations are saying that assassins are out of control on all fronts. I think we’re all still coping with the fact that accidents can happen when you ignore your phone, too. Also, though Crystal’s murder was technically legal and received a 7.5 rating out of 10, the street in Astoria was, through a highway-related technicality, legally in Long Island and one lane is actually part of Connecticut. She broke 14 laws and is wanted for questioning. Her whereabouts are probably unknown and she definitely won’t pick up her phone. I think she’s gone to do what she’s always wanted--live amongst the crystals.
Murderopolis let Crystal and Kill Witch go. They probably wanted to get rid of anyone who was loyal to me, but I think Crystal and Kill were only loyal to the occult and wasting people’s time. And maybe Grey's anatomy, which was an interest they both shared that made me feel excluded.
I realize in retrospect--and probably knew at the moment, because I need to learn to trust my Boss Gal intuition--that they were terrible hires and massive liabilities. They weren’t even good company. Crystal would just talk about how she used crystals to cook her eggs, and she didn’t even need a gas hookup to her stove. And how she made crystal-infused soy eggs. Some of the eggs had jagged crystals at the center.
Anyway, due to circumstances, but maybe probably mostly due to a somewhat rude company culture, very different from the warm welcoming culture at Assassin.ly, Murderopolis is making me undergo what they call extensive common sense re-training. I’m the only person in the classroom for hours and hours, but I’m sure everyone had to do it. They’re actually making me listen to my own recordings and explaining exactly what I did wrong. I’m going to be honest, it feels a little condescending at times. Though they assure me they just want to be clear and give me the best foundation possible.
Ben: That’s what your mom says when she describes what’s wrong with your life and body.
Mallory: They’re also providing we with extensive notes on my character, opinions, and appearance. They call it a “performance improvement plan.” I guess it’s nice that they want me to improve.
Legally, they’re allowed to require whatever they want for me to stay employed. Sometimes people come by and ask me rhetorical questions and I just answer because I think they’re testing me. No, I’m not really that stupid; yes I know how to close the fridge; yes, I had part of a gallon bucket of butterscotch pudding for breakfast it was delicious; No I was not raised by an alcoholic Irish Setter, I was raised by an alcoholic pair of heterosexual humans.
Ben is dealing with his mom’s affairs and it turns out she was not using that cupcake cash to pay the mortgage. She wasn’t even buying him capers, and she definitely wasn’t paying for anything at Astoria Dollar.
Ben: I always knew mom didn’t like paying for things. She quit her job as CFO of Trader Joe’s payphone division so she wouldn’t have to pay dad alimony.
She stole so much brillo.
She used so much brillo. [voice breaking] She used it to clean the carpet.
Mallory: You’re going to have a really tough time selling that house..
Ben: [voice still breaking] She’d just soap up the carpet. Just sud it up until the soap dripped through the floor and onto my bed. The floorboards are so rotted now.
Anything that I do inherit after paying all the bills is going straight to Astoria Dollar 2. I can’t imagine that will amount to more than $50, but it’s the thought that counts.
Mallory: Yeah, that’s what your bankruptcy attorney said.
So, how did we fare in this merger? I do have a corner office, by which I mean a slightly smaller cubicle in the back by the men’s room. Easy access to a basement window--just like Ben’s basement--and shade from a plant that looks like it died years ago. Strange, because the company has only been operating for a few months. The roots grew through the pot and into the floor where, ideally, my chair would go, so I’m stretching and twisting my back around it to reach my computer, like a garden snake doing data entry. This is better than yoga, and I hear people pay upwards of twenty bucks for that.
They’re back. I can hear them through the basement window. People with no jobs come to Murderopolis almost every day to protest legal murder. They scream at us when we enter the building in the morning, all the things my mom used to say to me, and when we leave. They have signs like Meat is Murder and Murder is Murder, too and What is to prevent another Assassinly from happening? We’re sort of famous, I guess. Some of them bought the merch that Ben and I put together. Apparently it was so aggressive it’s ironic. But they can’t get too close or hurt us.
Ben: Someone dumped paint on me this morning.
Mallory: I think that was because you were wearing fur.
Ben: I wasn’t even wearing a shirt! I didn’t want to sweat into my mom’s best coat. Look, the paint dried and now it’s my shirt.
Mallory; Oh, wow. That’s...maybe you should go to a car wash or something.
I think we’ve mostly learned to deal with them. I wonder how other people feel when they say stuff their mom used to say to them, like I love you but I don’t like you, You’re making the world a worse place, or Leave the bathroom I’m doing coke / snorting candy / I’m about to use cocaine.
I didn’t actually get any money in the merger. Murderopolis was nice and got grandma some of her wizard of oz props back. Not the condo money or the timeshare money, but mom and dad are taking her down to a trailer in Florida on a land that’s legally swamp, so she doesn’t have to pay that much in taxes. They also gave us a coupon for a free assasination.
What DID I get? A job scheduling and responding to customer complaints. Ben and I can get a studio together, and maybe a cat will finally stick around because I’m living with Ben.
I know what you’re wondering. What kind of customer complaints does murderopolis get?
So far today we have, The murder is done too well and I can’t tell if she disappeared. I said I’d get back to them. Do I still owe you money if grandma died of cancer. Do you put together IKEA shelves? We do. We are actually certified IKEA shelf assemblists, or [TOFTERYDS/ RAGRUND/SILVERAN] as they say in Sweden. Do you accept hits on pets? No, we do not. However, we may assassinate the next person who asks that question.
Ben is working in the mailroom. Ben, do you want to talk about it?
Ben: Well, I wasn’t able to take bereavement leave. There’s a state policy for assassinations that we just carry on and pretend it didn’t happen, which means no time off. So I’ve been working for the past 10 days straight because murder doesn’t take a vacation. That’s what my new boss Valerie says.
Mallory: So, he’s just been crying behind his desk in the office stockroom in between helping people find paperclips.
Ben: Why can’t Chrissy take more than one at a time?! And they’re in the same place every time. Also the FedEx schedule is posted--Sorry, sorry, Cordelia and I are trying to cope together.
I’m also doing inventory for guns and other miscellaneous weapons. Not grenades because those have too much potential for collateral, but stuff like crowbars, larger, rustier kitchen knives, natural poisons, uh, because we do all natural murder sometimes and other people really like Hamlet. Oh, we have those things that people put on either end of corn on the cob so their hands don’t get messy. Those are more popular than you’d think.
I’m basically helping people sign things out and figure out what they need for missions. This is the first job I’ve ever had to leave my house for and I would say it’s fulfilling but was also triggering when someone checked out a Honda Civic because she wanted to mow someone down on her way to the Hamptons for the weekend.
One of the accountants tried to sign out an assault weapon and a machete last night. I told him you only get one, pal!
It’s not BYO-weapons here, but some people do. There’s a mad scientist on the 4th floor. He’s incredible.
Mallory: he is developing weapons in his cubicle and he has caused a lot of people to go to the hospital, especially with the airborne ones. That’s why I'm a big fan of a work from home policy. That and the fact that my diabetes and depression makes it impossible for me to wake up before 10 AM.
And, you know, what if you live on the Lower East Side and you have an assasination 2 blocks away at 11 AM? They’re going to make you come up to midtown? Really? Anyway, I’m on probation indefinitely, so I can’t work from home. But, looking out for others. I’m a natural leader.
By the way, Ben, have you seen her today?
Ben: I haven’t seen her since she crossed over. Maybe she’s too embarrassed of all that stuff she stole that she could definitely afford. Cordelia has been looking for her. Well, I think she’s going to snort ghost cocaine, but maybe she’s also looking.
Mallory: What do you say to your critics who say you don’t have a right to be sad because you can theoretically see your mom as a ghost?
Ben: [angry] Who says that? Did you?
Mallory: Not out loud.
Ben: Grief is grief the way that love is love. Brene Brown said that. Just because someone is different doesn’t mean they have the right to be any less sad. Maybe they found out that their mom was dealing in cryptocurrency and had a brillo addiction. Maybe she was replacing their capers with stolen frozen peas. Maybe she’s not the person they thought she was. You don’t have a right to say what’s worthy of grief.
Mallory: You may wonder why I’m still talking to all of you? Other than the fact that I’ve grown accustomed to the attention. I’m legally obligated to close the loop on Assassinly. I also wanted to keep this line of communication open in c(whispering) in case something happens. If go missing, one of you might know. Because my mom will think I just want attention from the cops and for her to worry about me. Ben would just keep on living. He just lives in the basement, talking to ghosts, not knowing the difference between day and night.
Ben: I’m also subsumed by grief.
where’s everyone going?
Mallory: Let’s see [typing]
We got an email for an all-staff meeting with the Managing Director.
There are no seats. Let’s sit on a filing cabinet. How could they have this many files?
MD: You've all seen the news. We knew this day was coming. We just didn’t know it would be this soon.
You are all brave. You all decided to take a chance on legal murder and, perhaps more importantly, take a chance on Murderopolis as your employer.
Mallory: Whoo! We’re brave.
Ben: Shh. No one woos in meetings.
There is a special election on Tuesday to decide whether New York will go through another 6 months of legal murder or abolish the system permanently. You all have shares. Except for Ben and Mallory, who don’t deserve them. You all have jobs. We are giving everyone the day off on Tuesday to vote.
We are currently putting together some PR campaigns and compiling testimonies. We are releasing a documentary about assassinly and a statement about the murder games. In conjunction with other Murder Startups and Conglomerates, we are doing our best to handle this situation. You as voters have a voice in this as well. If you have any questions feel free to email me directly.
Mallory: I wonder what the unemployment situation is.
Ben: We’ve had jobs for like 10 days. No one here has had a job for more than 6 months.
Mallory: To google! Until next time.
Assassinly is brought to you by Murderopolis. Do you want someone you love-hate to go out like a Greek god? Murderopolis: Where murder meets Greek tragedy. What do you mean that was already a thing? Join the ranks of Oedipus, Achilles, Zeus, Son of Sam, and other names you remember from high school history class or something. Murderopolis: Our murders are epic. Get it? This week only, get a free Greek salad with your murder. Ask for our special white sauce and get a 10% discount. Murderopolis, because you deserve the acropolis, by which I mean that house in deep Queens with columns that your parents died in and your brother doesn’t appreciate.
Murderun club--whether you want to keep your sweet assassin bod in shape, or make sure you’re prepared in the event of an assassination, or just need an activity for Wednesday morning, murderun club and our cadre of murderous coaches will keep you machete fit.
If you’re in last place, we’ll kill you!