The Hitman and the Tea Lady by Jackson Ford
Halloram’s on a train with an eyeball in a coffee cup. Yeah, even he thinks it’s a little weird, and he’s a hitman, but eyeballs are gross to touch and he has to transport it to London somehow. He gets a little anxious that the man sitting across from him has noticed the eyeball because he keeps looking at the cup. It would sure be a shame if he had to do something about it.
Halloram never really intended to become a hitman and kinda hoped that after a few hits, he’d be the type of guy everyone was afraid of and he’d only have to do a couple of jobs a year, but he’s still small time. He’s good at his job though and does it thoroughly. He was told by Dom Ronson to find this guy called The Bastard, kill him and bring back his eye, and that’s exactly what Halloram has done. Now he just wants to get home.
As he stares out the window, watching Scotland pass in a blur of endless fields, the Tea Lady comes by, offering snacks from her trolley. The man across from Halloram gets a bag of cheese and onion crisps, but Halloram has his own snack of Percy Pig sweets and waves the lady away. He goes back to gazing out the window, thinking of the days when he’s not being a hitman where he lazes around, not really doing anything, but then, he gets annoyed by his seatmate crunching on his snack.
Halloram decides to say something to him but then he realizes that his eyeball cup is gone. He flips at the guy, thinking he’s done something with it, but it wasn’t him. It was the Tea Lady. She cleared away his trash. THAT’S NOT TRASH! THAT’S AN EYEBALL! Halloram gets up and follows the lady down the train. She doesn’t seem inclined to help him and continues serving other customers.
Halloram finally gets the tea lady to speak to him and it doesn’t go well. He says he’d like to look in her rubbish bag and she refuses, citing some health and safety regulations that prohibit anyone other than a trained person from operating the refuse container. He tries to be kind, stating that she’s taken something from him and he’d only like it back, but when she asks what it is so she can look for it, well, he can’t exactly say it’s an eyeball, can he?
Halloram decides to take matters, and the trash, into his own hands. He grabs the rubbish bag, but so does the Tea Lady, and they get into a tug of war that ends with the bag ripping open, the contents flying around the train, including the eyeball, which bounces off a window and into a passenger’s cup of coffee. The tea lady screams and it’s pandemonium.
Later, finally in London, Halloram calls Dom Ronson, asking where to deliver the eyeball, which he retrieved from the lady’s coffee cup, jumped out the train window, ran from police across the British countryside and hitchhiked to London to deliver. Dom is shocked that Halloram actually cut out the guy’s eyeball. He just said that as a joke! Halloram stands there, dumbfounded, as Dom tells him he’s done with him and hangs up. Well fuck.