Other Stories in this issue


by Micki Browning

About the Author: M.E. BROWNING served twenty-two years in law enforcement and retired as a captain before turning to a life of crime fiction. Writing as Micki Browning, she penned the Agatha-nominated and award-winning Mer Cavallo mysteries, and her short stories and nonfiction have appeared in anthologies, magazines, and textbooks. As M.E. Browning, she recently began a new series of Jo Wyatt mysteries with Shadow Ridge. Visit to learn more.


Always read the fine print.

Here’s the deal. I kill people. In my line of work, bosses aren’t the kind of guys you want to mouth off to and contracts aren’t always written. In hindsight, though, one clause should have rang some bells, and I’m betting I could have saved myself a whole lot of trouble if I’d just asked a couple questions—made sure me and the boss were caroling from the same sheet of music, so to speak.

It’s not like we don’t go way back, my boss and I, cause we do. I’ve got more than a few Christmas bonuses under my belt. Betcha didn’t know contract killers got bonuses around the holidays, but there’s probably a bunch you don’t know about us.

Truth be told, I’m a nice guy. I pet cats and kiss babies. You’d think I was just a regular working stiff if you met me on the street. Except you wouldn’t remember me. First off, my name’s Clarence, and unless you’re handing out angel wings, it’s not a name that sticks with people. Also, I’m average height, average weight, dark hair, brown eyes. Nothing that marks me as exceptional. Unless you knew what I did for a living. Then you’d either be looking down the wrong end of my Beretta, avoiding me, or wanting to be my best friend.

But that role’s taken.

See, I work for her already.

Story Comments

Dec 20 - Scott Merrow

This is a really clever and fun story. Full of little gems -- Christmas gems. ("Shhhh! Do you hear what I hear?"). Excellent writing -- a fun read for the holiday season.

Dec 20 - Peri Dwyer Worrell

This is HILARIOUS! Enough to get me out of my bah, humbug frame of mind this year!

Dec 20 - Jacqueline Seewald

Micki, I love your use of point of view in this story. Very enjoyable, sucks the reader in immediately.

Dec 24 - Frances Dunn

What a story! All I can say was I loved it. More than just a funny seasonal Santa story.

Dec 29 - Nancy Sweetland

What a fun story! - Just the right tongue-in-cheek to be entertaining. Love the last line!

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