Have you ever read Edgar Allen Poe or Stephen King on a "dark and stormy night," all alone and horrified at the vision of the world they manage to conjure up? The eerie scenarios of "The Masque of the Red Death" and "Pet Cemetery" give us hair-raising questions about what it would be like if things really were that macabre.
Just A Job follows in their creepy footsteps. What would population control be like if it included not only pregnancy prevention, but also the removal later in life of those judged to be supernumerary, extra, one too many?
Just A Job explores this question through the eyes of those who must carry out such executions, the mandated Services. All the players in this frequently repeated drama must work together to bring those so selected to their demise in ways that encourage both compliance and cooperation.
Michelle Crenshaw is a master Executrix specializing in the swift and hopefully painless decapitation of Clients assigned to her by the Council. Victoria Patterson, young, beautiful debutante, is second on her list for the day's work. Mirroring the élan of Anne Boleyn or Lady Jane Grey going to the block, the Executrix looks for exquisite attire, detailed ritual, and the promise of top of the line post-mortem care to carry Victoria through her last moments of life.
What are the most unique moments in the victim's life really are all part of a day's work for Michelle and her team. With chilling normalcy, they focus on the carefully scripted sequence of their work as they guide Victoria to her fate with as much ease and dignity as possible. From initial contact to final tribute, those responsible are challenged to maintain themselves in the face of what their profession calls them to do.
How do they keep it all Just A Job?
As she expected, the Advance Team had done a superb job setting up the execution site. A wide runway led to the three steps up to the broad killing platform. The entire scaffold lay covered in a midnight blue carpet. A silver strip indicated the spot where the Ward would undergo her immediate pre-mortem preparations. A row of four seats covered with crushed black velour sat arranged on the left for the family. The transport bier waited at the back, the silver velvet cushions set waist high with a pleated satin skirt of similar color hiding the metal frame and wheels.
Luckily, the pathway back to the driveway was paved and flat. The funeral personnel would have an easy task when they placed the Ward's body on the bier, then rolled her down the ramp from the back of the scaffold and out to where the retrieval car awaited her. No need to manhandle or jostle, just a nice smooth ride.
However pleasing the rest of the setting, there remained only one real focal point, one center of attention, and that was the block. A body cradle set at a forty-five degree angle sloped up from a plush pillow at its base. This cushioned complex ended in the shoulder padding on the block itself. All this lay covered in rich, black velvet, except for a strip of white mink across the top. This draped down both sides of the block. Here Miss Patterson would place her neck for the stroke.
Michelle climbed the short staircase and stepped over to the slaying site. Her Society colleagues had positioned the set-up so she'd face away from the sun. More importantly, her shadow wouldn't interfere with her view of the aiming point on Victoria's neck.
When they calculated her body measurements during her preparations in the parlor, the Associates would transfer those lengths and angles precisely to the block's adjustable elements to customize it exactly for her Ward. They would carry out every detail to make Miss Patterson's last moments as comfortable as possible.
To the right on the scaffold, an extended table offered plenty of space for two key elements. There, an over-sized, square pillow, also in black velvet, sat in place, plump like a Cheshire cat. Next to it lay a similar bolster, only long and narrow.
Yes, this would do quite nicely. She turned to assess her Associates' work. It appeared nicely accomplished. She directed them to bring her Ward to the parlor. Mrs. Patterson bustled off with them.