Assassinly - because sometimes you don’t want to share a pizza
Approximately 4 of you reached out to us with investment offers. All of which were $15 or less. So, um, thank you for your generosity and confidence. From the bottom of my heart. A special thank you to Julie, who tried to mortgage her house but the bank wouldn’t let her, because she rents. Tough, tough realities all around.
For our big surprise from last time. I know you’ve been wondering about it, googling, responding to Ben’s marketing emails with a flirty “unsubscribe!” well, here it is: Ben has secured us a spot in the hastily-put-together, confusingly publicized murder games. We’re hoping that will lead to some investment capital when we prove ourselves murdersome. We’re up against some big box murderers. They actually use boxes to do their assassinations--it’s kind of cool if you haven’t seen it. We could really make a name for ourselves.
Entries to the Murder Games are donation-based and tiered depending on company size. We’re four employees. Our required donation was three thousand dollars and a box of cheez-its. We tried to see if they would take only cheez-its. We are still negotiating.
Ben: If your cousin who made the app counts as an employee, which I think he does, it’s 19 thousand and 2 bags of cheetos.
Mallory: To raise money, we are going to sell your mom’s bakery cart. Her muffins are a crime against humanity.
Ben: That’s a playschool kitchen set she put wheels on, those aren’t muffins, and she’s a local treasure. People tag her on instagram.
Mallory: Those aren’t muffins?
Ben: They’re 70% play-doh. Stop eating them. They’re art and they sell for $50 each. I hate having to explain where they went.
Mallory: [confused] She puts one on my plate every time I come upstairs.
Ben: She’s just putting them on a plate and you are assuming they’re for you. She doesn’t know that you’re living here.
Mallory: She doesn’t know I’m living in her basement?
Ben: I don’t tell my mom everything. I have some secrets. Also stop eating capers out of the fridge. Trader Joe’s discontinued them and they are the main ingredient in my caper breakfast smoothie.
Mallory: You can get capers in other places!
(Calmer) Anyway. You might be wondering, what are the murder games? One of the events is probably having Ben’s breakfast smoothie and a side of his mom’s muffins without crying. The Murder Games involves competing in a series of games against other assasination companies and their specialists, just the way Subway names America’s Best Sandwich artist every year in a 6-episode primetime miniseries. Love your banana pepper work, Marco.
Ben: Marco, if you are listening, we are beyond honored. You made me and Mallory cry on night 4. We had dreams about how precise your 6-inch cut was. I bet your friends don’t fight over the bigger half..
Mallory: The Consolidated Board of Murder, the accrediting body for assasination companies in New York, let us compete in the Muder Games as an act of good-faith, and also because most other small companies can’t afford the donation. We...really can’t either.
Ben: You don’t think they could be using us to show everyone just why they should go with the professional experience of big box murderers who have an actual address?
Mallory: is that why they misspelled our company name on the team jersey? Ass-ly. I thought it was a stylistic choice. Or a character limit issue.
Ben: Do you think the giant macrame butt on the front was also a stylistic choice?
Mallory: I thought that was the logo for the murder games.
Ben: I’m not sure why they would go with that one.
Mallory: If they are mocking us, it would be mean-spirited. Bullying, even. We take clients they don’t take on principle. We deal with your trash, Murder-fi! And we treat them like treasure!\
Ben: um, maybe don't’ crap all over our clientele.
Mallory: I’m still a female CEO and I crap where I please! So, two of our mostly registered assasins, Kill Witch and Crystal Murder, who figured out how to take the L train, thank you for asking, are gearing up for round 1. Ben and I are part of round 2. Ben, tell everyone what Kill Witch and Crystal have to do.
Mallory: What do you mean, why? Because I delegated that to you.
Ben: That’s multitasking. It’s easier if you just finish your sentence yourself. You were already thinking about it. I’m not your trained monkey!
Mallory: Jeez. I throw my coat on you one time and suddenly I’m Meryl Streep in that movie. For round 1 they have to kill a real mark. Whoever filed the paperwork to have these people killed signed a waiver and got a serious discount. The public will know who they are, but I think they get a coupon for half off their next murder, too. Are they less human than other people who have their friends and relatives killed on cable tv Twitch? I’m not an ethicist, but, definitely.
Ben: Fun fact: there’s a 2 in 5 chance the people who filed the paperwork will be murdered, too.
Mallory: That is an estimate based on people we both know, and maybe not that fun, but, yes. Kill Witch and Crystal will be scored on stealth, precision, creativity of the murder--because we want or marks to go out in style, we’re not monsters--and time. They’re scored on a 1-10 in each category. So, an ideal murder would happen in 4 minutes in a back alley with a poison icing-covered grappling hook. Or after hours at a state fair with an assassin dressed up like a clown. From behind at work from someone dressed up like an old-timey saloon bartender, but no one ever sees them. You get the picture.
Ben: Do you just make this stuff up?
Mallory: No, these are suggestions on the rule cards. See, it even says here, “you get the picture.”
Kill Witch’s mark is someone’s racist grandma. She is being assassinated on charges of bad gifts, terrible gifts, forgetting to brush her teeth for several days and getting in close to talk, yelling at her grandkids for not wearing socks, and, of course, racism. Ben, do you think it’s a social good to do away with old racists?
Ben: [I don’t know noise]
A very philosophical answer from someone who can talk to racist grandmas after they die. Aaand crystal murderer will be taking care of a 3rd grade bully. Everyone knows bullies don’t get better after the 3rd grade. Their cuteness dries up. They either start hurting small animals, stealing their mom’s credit card, or pretending to have glamorous lives on instagram just to make their classmates and parents feel bad. Where did you go for spring break, Devon? Oh, you went to Iceland and hung out in the blue lagoon with Captain America? [getting more agitated] That was your family’s above ground pool that you dropped dry ice into, you monster. Captain America was your brother’s leg in a blue and red cast because you have no self-control.
Then they’re all, I spent the weekend kayaking in the Delaware. It was dreamy AF. Don’t lie. You were going to visit your grandma, who has cancer. Not even the dramatic kind that will kill her. Just the kind that makes your parents spend a lot of time cleaning her house and lighting her blunts. And don't act like you drove to her house yourself. We all know the backseat when we see it.
Ben, to prove we’re better than this kid, and that we have awesome lives, let’s take a selfie to commemorate this moment.
Ben: It’s called a selfie. Take it of yourself.
Mallory: That’s a misnomer. A selfie alone is sad. It means you have no friends. A selfie with others is a memory. Watch.
Ben: Hey! Don’t photo me! You don’t have a release! And you’re getting way off track. Do you think our shareholders care about the existential definition of a selfie?
Mallory: In the murder games, there is no off track!
Ben: there absolutely is! It’s timed!
Mallory: Ben is way less tolerant of my quirky nonsense today.
Ben: I told you--it’s not quirky nonsense. It’s irritating inconsistencies. You ate playdoh muffins, you monster. You’re off the rails!
Mallory: I’m being called off the rails by someone who drinks chicken soup instead of coffee in the morning.
Ben: It has way more caffeine!
Mallory: Wow, Ben. I think you need to take a chill pill. And that ghost, Cornelia, doesn’t even love you. She’s just using you to talk to her great, great, great grandchildren.
Ben: (whispering) She’s in the room right now!
Mallory: Sure she is, Ben.
Ben: There is no deeper connection than between a ghost and her medium.
Mal: Is that what you told her? Can she hear me? Cornelia?
Ben: it’s Cordelia!
Mallory: Corndelia, I think you’re a fraud and you killed that judge. I think Hamilton glossed over some of the more vile, hot oil-related aspects of your life
Ben: Cordelia has no association with Lin-Manuel Miranda! We’re working on making libel cases legal after death. The dead still have feelings and they can still be mocked to their core!
Mallory: She should be honored that people remember her. Unlike this racist grandma. What is her name? We can’t say it; privacy laws and all, but it’s probably Constance, Ethel, Thelma, Harold, something like that. We’re going live to watch the events unfold from our headquarters. Kill witch is at the senior center and there are multiple cameras to catch cheating at bingo and card games, which happens often. Often multiple times per hour. You won’t believe the number of people who “misehear” B3 as E7. Kill witch is in a secluded location brewing her potion. We can see from her body cam...and that it is straight drano. I hear drano is an ingredient in a lot of witches’ brews going back to the 1700s. Ben can verify.
Ben: there were a lot of real witches burned in Queens. They made people drink drano and told them it was absinthe. They added a little paper umbrella for authenticity. That’s why we put tiny paper umbrellas in fancy drinks today.
Mallory: That’s a Queens fact! Here’s another: In the 90s they put witches in Arkham asylum.
Ben: Currently known as Azkaban.
Mallory: OK, it appears that Kill Witch is usinga plastic cauldron from Party City. Very popular in October. My mom bought 2 of them. Did she need two? No, but there were 2 left and the kid behind her wanted one for his Hermione costume. Anyway, the cauldron is dissolving quickly at the plastic seam on the bottom. I feel like most people would have seen that coming. Perhaps one of the 438 psychics Kill Witch corresponds with on instagram could have helped her there.
I bet this is all part of Kill Witch’s plan. She operates in mysterious ways, many of which start off like this, like that time we thought a skunk was chasing her and she threw it through someone’s window.
Ben: That was just on her way to lunch.
Mallory: Or that time we thought she was going to peacefully unplug someone’s life support, but instead she injected their IV drip with digitalis and arsenic.
Everyone at the senior center is currently taking part in canasta games in various stages and various levels of anger. The mark is currently in an altercation with another player. She called her an old shriveled titty. This would make sense if I knew how canasta was played, I’m sure it’s something offensive you yell when you win, like with old maid.
Mallory: You point and say, haha, you saggy weirdo, you’re the old maid, not me. That’s what my mom would always say. We play on Christmas and, weirdly, I’ve never won. It’s gotten increasingly poignant over the years. She says I’m allowed to stop the “tradition” when I finally win a game.
Let me assure you that there is not a body in this room without at least one shriveled titty. And that’s fine. Man or woman, breast cancer survivor or no, that’s just life. Your titties shrivel. Other things shrivel, expand, or get filled with stuff. Like how grandma’s tooth was completely hollowed out and filled with bacon and condensed milk.
Ben: Thank you for being so body positive.
Mallory: You’re welcome. I try, mom. OK, so, kill witch is coming out of the janitor’s closet
Drano is positioned in the cauldron like a beer in a margarita, a coronarita if you will.
Drano is dripping, dripping, dangerously close to her thighs. Be careful, Kill Witch: This could lose you points. Also, um, I care about your personal safety.
She’s inching toward the light switch. Mind you, she’s wearing about four pounds of silver and bells on her wrists. Fortunately, age comes for your hearing. That’s why seniors looove wind chimes. They don’t know they make a sound.
Ben: She thinks the bells keep spirits away.
Mallory: it doesn’t work?
Ben: Only for the spirits of bears.
OK, Kill Witch has turned off the lights. They should call her kill switch, eh? Eh?
Ben: [grunts, annoyed] I think that’s the pun she was going for. Cordelia hated that one, too. She says leave the comedy to the professionals, like John Wilkes Booth.
Mallory: Ouch. I can see the light of a hundred iphones. I estimate she has between 14 seconds and 3 minutes before someone gets to the switch. Oh, she’s done it! There’s screaming. The lights are back on. The horror, the horror.
Kill witch has dropped the cauldron full of Drano on grandma’s head and slit her throat with a not very good razor. Kill Witch maybe didn’t sharpen her tools, or she used the wrong edge. Or, she’s a clever witch and wanted to make her escape! Grandma is bleeding out, drano dripping all over her, and everyone is crowding around. Ben, I can’t watch.
Ben: Then don’t. Think of muffins instead.
Mallory: This, everyone, is a truly masterful kill. Kill Witch is writhing on the floor, doing kind of a side worm, oof, it looks like she went down on some of the drano, going between two chairs and under a table. Good thing senior centers love long tablecloths.
The other seniors are gathering around, staring, crying, calling for lestoil and scrubbing bubbles, or just playing their game of canasta because they’ve made peace with death in their midst. Kill Witch is everything and nothing. She is drama and mundanity. She is a witch of skill and craft. And, very worrying, she is badly in need of medical attention. By the law she must either wait in silence until the body is gone and canasta is finished, or slither out unnoticed.
And now we wait. Ben, can you get the timer out?
Ben: You know, you have a phone. Unless your grandma turned that off, too.
Mallory: Ah, hang on, I see the table cloth moving. Kill Witch is emerging from under the table in a gray wig and her most outdated, bleach-stained sweatpants. It looks like they were used as an ashtray. She walks with a limp that could be real. Her face is wrinkled mostly from pain but maybe also from smells. Senior Centers are not known for good smells. Her pockets are bulging with what looks like counterfeit bingo balls.
Ben: they’re called dabbers.
Mallory: She’s dropping the balls on the floor--I don’t know why, that just seems malicious with all those walkers around and and all that drano--and making her way out. They’re bouncing like hailstones Seniors are tripping, half a dozen people have fallen into the Drano streaks. Some of them are diving on the floor for the bingo balls, because they’re cheaters and maybe not very discreet.
Ben: Discreet cheaters rob casinos and don’t play canasta at senior centers that smell like pea soup.
Mallory: Kill Witch heads for the door, sweatpants revealing a little bit of crack.
Mallory: People need details! A senior center employee asks if they can call her an access-a-ride but she shoves them over. OK, that was uncalled for.
Well, I think we can agree that was masterful.
Ben: Can we?
Mallory: I was a little bit skeptical, and Kill Witch is mean to me and spent all my money on lint rollers, so there’s a part of me that wants her to stink at her job. But it was expert, worthy of our boutique label and a much higher price point. The assasination blogs will talk of nothing else. That was high-quality murder at its finest.
Ben: Or was it forgettable, crude slapstick comedy from the 80s?
Mal: Take note Ben’s critique of women supporting and holding up other women. Crystal Murderer is next, and she is a wildcard.
Ben: More like a hack who makes it up as she goes.
Mallory: I know you’re jealous
Ben: it’s like they didn’t even read the rules.
Mal: Good feminists don’t play by the rules. Our second target seems to have changed. That’s good because Chrys sometimes screams uncontrollably when she sees a child. Let’s see who it is. [pauses, nervous] Actually, before we get started on the next segment, Ben, can you go upstairs and make me one of your world famous breakfast enemas?
Ben: No. And they’re already getting started.
Mal: Go! Hurry up! And don’t come back until it’s fully liquid. You know that’s how I like it.
Mal: Ok, this is a conflict of interest, clearly. We have to stop this. I don’t know if I can stop it forever, but we--Assassinly--can’t do this. Here is the description of our next Murder Games target:
There’s a woman in Astoria who goes around selling 70% play-doh cupcakes for $50 a pop. She’s simultaneously infantilizing herself and degrading what it means to be an artist. Everyone thinks it’s so cute and endearing and authentic, and I can’t stand what she’s doing. It has to stop. There are actual hard-working artists out there. It’s making everyone dumb. Also, she’s been shoplifting from my dollar store every day for the past 4 years. Our profit margins are thin.
That’s it. There’s only one person this could be. I’m going to fix this. I am texting the game manager. Ok, they’re writing, writing. Still writing. Now it’s white. They're writing again. [text noise] They say, This is legal murder. There are no conflicts of interest. Well, that is unhelpful.
There ARE. That was the point of the legislation. That’s...not acceptable. I’ll tell Crystal to hold off while we get this sorted out.
[texting noises] Game off do not proceed.
Crystal is getting in her car. She’s buckling up. Sometimes her phone doesn’t work because it has a crystal case, and she’s replaced a lot of the parts she’s dropped in the toilet with crystals. She says crystals are very magical and her energy is very unpredictable. Ben says it’s just been on silent for--Oh, poor Ben.
Ben’s mom is out with her playschool kitchen. Someone bought a blue muffin near an actual muffin shop. The bakery owner is sneering a lot. Being a successful woman is hard. She might not know we live in the same house, or that I exist and Ben knows me, but she’s way nicer to me than my actual mom, and lets me eat way more capers.
Crystal is driving down a street. She’s close. I know that bagel place, Appetizing Bagels Deli Toasty.
I’ll tell Ben’s mom so she knows. She’ll come home. It won’t be legal to kill her anymore anymore. The dollar store owner will have to reapply.
[calling frantically] Ben! Ben! I need you to text your mom to come home!
[calmer, but still tense] Crystal shouldn’t be driving anyway. Her license is suspended. A cop actually burned it the last time she made her own highway exit. He said it was better for everyone, especially homeowners. Maybe I can get a cop to pull her over.
Oh, no. Ben’s mom is crossing the street. She’s looking at her phone. No, no, no.
[Ben walks in just in time to see his mom mowed down by a car]
Ben: Stop barking orders at---Oh...oh, no.
Mallory: That...there’s nothing left. Shards of plastic, a playschool hamburger, [voice breaking] colorful muffin crumbs all over the road like chunky new-yorkey pixie dust. I never noticed they were rainbow inside.
Ben. I’m so sorry.
Assassin.ly is brought to you by Stakeout snacks
Filling freeze-dried snacks that take a long time to eat and don’t over hydrate you, because we know vans don’t have bathrooms.
Get astronaut pizza, because an assassin is just as cool as an astronaut. I mean, there are video games about both of them.
Help yourself to some of our low-sodium pita chips with no hummus and granola bars that could be healthy if they’re your only snack. Murder-licious!
Order now, or really at any time because we can’t tell, and get a bag of those thingies that are supposed to make you feel like you brushed your teeth. We ordered too many of them and they don’t work, but you’re stuck in a van with another human and no gum. Stakeout snacks! Get your snack on today!
Assassin.y is brought to you by catered, the funeral food and beverage delivery app, catering direct to funeral parking lots across the country. Get yourself some pigs in a blanket to honor or Mock uncle Gerald at his own funeral. Let our mobile bartenders show up with a full bar at 9 in the morning so you don’t have to bury grandma sober. She never was, so why should you be?
Catered: Loss is hard; bottomless brunch is easy
This week, we’d like to give a special shout-out to murderclean, who brought out their special drano cleanup kit for the first time since 1983. It’s drumroll..more drano.
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Sam Barbaro is a writer for the Fearsome Morning Podcast and Assassin.ly.