The Small Assassin

by Sarah T.

Thanks to Livia for audiencing and inspiration (the Bradbury story challenge). Feedback, positive or negative, welcome.

"Daddy, you're dead," announced Lex.

Lionel didn't even look up from the paper he was reading at the breakfast table. "The kevlar jacket deflected the bullet."

Lex, behind him, touching his back with his toy pistol, frowned with frustration. "But I snuck up on you! I have a gun!"

"And I have a bulletproof jacket. End of story."

Lily spooned cream over her peaches. "Dear! You're spoiling his fun!"

"Only you, Lily, would think of a bungled assassination attempt as fun."

"Isn't that why you're playing this game? Because it'"

Lionel sighed and said patiently, "If it had been a successful assassination attempt, Lily, that would have been fun. As it is, young Lex has just bought himself twenty-five years for attempted murder. And there's not much fun about that."

Lex's lower lip started to push out, but then his expression cleared. "Mommy would break me out. Wouldn't you, Mommy?"

"No, but I would sneak you a knitting needle inside a cake. If you broke out yourself with that, I would hide you."

"I seem," Lionel observed, "to be in the midst of a family of criminal masterminds."

"And you love it, dear."

Lionel reached back to ruffle Lex's hair, but at the last instant changed direction and relieved him of the gun instead. "No comment. A skilled assassin could seize on my sentimental weakness."

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