It hadn't been an easy job. Agent Carlos Devoir leaned against a tilted power line pole, sticking awkwardly out of the sidewalk. His eyes were smiling behind his expensive designer sunglasses, but any other outside expressions were bleak and nonchalant. His smart phone was gripped in his hand, dangling by his side. In his other hand he had a cigarette pinched between his thumb and forefinger. He tapped it against the pole, allowing the extra ashes to fall to the ground. His fancy watch was forsaken as he checked the time on his phone. The background was a bleak black screen; the time was twelve 'o clock exactly. The sun hung above lazily, making Devoir's undershirt stick to his back. He firmly resented having to wear the full "men in black" ensemble all the time. He stuck the cigarette back in his mouth, the corners turning up slightly. He glued his eyes to the other side of the street. It was time.
A pickup truck rolled loudly into the driveway, the smell of exhaust permeating the air all around it. The engine clicked off, and the car sat idle. For at least five minutes nothing moved; the air in the neighborhood hung absolutely still. The simple, two-story home stood above the vehicle imposingly. Devoir knew exactly how the man inside of the car felt; that if he were to go out onto the doorstep and ring the bell that it would engulf him. It would suffocate him and trap him for the rest of his life. "Go on," Devoir whispered around the burning butt in his mouth. "Get a move on," he encouraged. Almost as soon as he said the words, the door swung open.
Out of the car stepped a man in his thirties. Devoir had taught him many things in the past few weeks. The man had learned how to comb his hair absolutely straight, and keep the stains off of his trousers. The only remnant of his drinking habit were a few cans in the bottom of his trash can. Devoir thought that remedying that had definitely been the hardest part; it always was. The man's name was Robinson Delbridge, and he had been Devoir's project. When the agent had found him, he was knee-deep in empty beer cans and Chinese food containers. But all in all, he was one of Devoir's easier cases.
The man that was now walking up to the door had been transformed. Gone were the bags under his eyes and the hunch in his back. Now a pristine tie hung around his neck on a collared, ironed white shirt. Despite his greatly improved quality of life, his face was solemn. The reason being that he still had one task to complete, that being the whole reason Devoir had sought him out in the first place. And it was finally time.
"It's worse thinking about doing it than actually doing it," Devoir reminded him silently.
Robinson stood on the doorstep, his shoulders rising and falling rhythmically. He clenched his left fist, and punched the doorbell with his other hand. Devoir couldn't hear it from where he was standing, but he would bet that Robinson's heart rate tripled in that moment. It was for good reason, too. Devoir had assured him with 100% certainty that he would be rejected on the first try. But it wasn't about Robinson; it was about the boy who wished on a star for his father back.
The door of the house opened, and Robinson straightened up immediately. Only then, at that moment, did he finally realize his purpose. Could he really reunite his family, like Devoir had said? There was only one way to find out. As he opened his mouth to speak, the door slammed shut immediately. He started, and his shoulders sagged. He turned over his shoulder to see Devoir watching him.
He had deposited his phone into his pocket, and dropped the cigarette onto the sidewalk. The agent shook his head, and motioned back toward the door. Robinson brought a hand to his chin, gulped, and nodded. He turned back to the door, and rung the doorbell again with a shaking hand. He turned back to the agent, who nodded in approval.
Devoir kicked off of the pole, and walked down the sidewalk. Robinson was a good man who had just made a few mistakes. His kind was more common than one might think. Casting one last look at the man on the doorstep, he turned around and began the trek back to his car. He fully intended to kick back after he got home, celebrating a job well done. The boy, Douglas, would have his father back soon. He was sure of it.
He felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. There was only one person who would be able to contact him so soon after the completion of a job. He looked up to see a tiny white speck in the sky, something that someone else would've mistaken for a rare daylight star. Devoir had to squint to make it out, even with his sunglasses on. He put his phone to his ear with his face still turned to the sky. The agent groaned internally.
The voice on the other end was gruff and stern, speaking very concisely. "There's a girl in Durham, North Carolina with a bullying problem. Be there in two days." The line went dead.
Devoir sighed. "Aye, aye captain," he whispered. So much for his day off. He stuck his hands in hands in his pockets as he set out for the airport.
"Good luck, Robby."
Thanks for reading this short little story I wrote up! Any reviews, as usual, are appreciated!
Based on the Tumblr post by SquigglyDigg, with the post taken from the Night Vale Twitter account!