Shush Money
Joanne Faries
Olafur hung up his phone. “Dagur has my money. He’ll call back soon.”
 
Hanna crinkled her nose. “Since when do you hang with Dagur?”
 
He sidestepped her question. “Doesn’t matter.”
 
Hanna took a swig from a beer bottle and grimaced.  “Fine. I’m hungry anyway. Let’s go somewhere.” She unfolded her legs from the couch and stretched. Her rose tattoo peeked out from her stomach, and Olafur pulled her in to kiss it. She pushed him away and ran her fingers through spiky dyed red hair.
 
Olafur scratched his whiskered chin and looked outside. At 9 pm, the summer sky held a grey light, and cloud wisps lent an eerie atmosphere.  “We’ll eat after meeting Dagur.”
He kissed her as she started to protest, and then guided her out the door before locking it.  Reykjavik in the summer bustled with people at all hours. Couples walked their dogs, teens wandered, and groups headed to bars.
 
Olafur answered his phone as they strolled downtown.  He nodded to Hanna and gave the thumbs up sign. “Tjornin in thirty. Southside.” He rang off, and told Hanna, “Good.  We hang at the pond until Dagur shows.” He took her hand as they walked.
 
“Dagur’s so fake with all of his save the planet campaign. His billboards are the biggest eyesore in town,” Hanna complained. “Typical politician. He was the biggest wastrel on campus two years ago.”
 
Olafur smiled. “Best dealer around.” He shrugged. “He took his dad’s death hard. Taking over the council seat made him grow up.”
 
“I think he’s only looking out for Dagur,” Hanna said. “I don’t trust him.”
 
They arrived at the small lake and found a bench. The south side was quiet. No paved path or food booths to attract crowds. Olafur picked up a mustard-colored rock to toss, giving it a side arm pitch and counted the hops.
 
“You still have it. You should play on the city cricket team.” Dagur appeared from the shadows. He wore a suit despite the balmy temperatures, and carried a brief case. Dark glasses hid his eyes, and the moon glow made his blond hair gleam silver. “Hello Hanna. No more purple hair, huh?”
 
The trio engaged in small talk until Hanna pointedly checked the time. Dagur snapped open the briefcase and handed Olafur a thick envelope. Then he pulled out a pistol and pointed it at Hanna.  She tried to back away. “Dagur? What the …?”
 
Bewildered, she looked at Olafur who said, “You were getting too close on your Nautholsvik hot springs investigation. Dagur and I are the silent development partners.”
 
Dagur pulled the trigger. “Tourist dollars will save our personal city plan. Not journalism tattle-tales. “

First published: May, 2014
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