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That One Hit
I was the best there was. There's no denying it. The local cops knew it. The Feds knew it. Most importantly, my well financed clients knew it. I was calm and professional and I never made waves. Well, except for the nature of the job I did.
You see, the reason I was good at what I did was simple: I did the dirty work that some of the scums and low-life hoods would never do. I was quick, clean, and never left my clients with messy little trails leading to them (or to me, for that matter).
Most importantly, I knew it was strictly business. And business was what this vicious world was all about. I never questioned by clients' desires or the crimes that my targets made. They were all part of a ruthless world. You tickle my clients the wrong way -- albeit an unpaid loan -- and I was there to return the favor.
I never worried about the life I led; like I said: This was business.
So when I was given the task to take care of some sorry-looking, down-on-his luck guy who had no business fooling around with my current client, I went in to the job with no qualms.
I found him at some sleaze-pit motel that even a desperate streetwalker would avoid.
Oddly, when I found him, he didn’t look panicked. Maybe he had no clue why I was there. At least, that's what I thought at the time.
“Never was good at hide-and-seek,” he said calmly.
“Yeah,” I said in my usual matter-of-fact tone. “You could’ve saved yourself a lot of problems, pal.”
“I know,” he replied, “I’m tired, so I waited.”
Waited? Nobody waited in this business. Especially, somebody who knew what the business-end curtails.
“I know it’s nothing personal,” he said. “But can I make my peace?”
I don’t bother with requests. That’s when they start pleading for mercy. But that’s not what this guy asked. I nodded. If this made the job easy, so be it, I thought.
“It won’t take long,” he added. “I just need a minute alone. When I’m done, do what you need to do.”
“Yeah, sure,” I said, perplexed.
So, I did something I usually don’t do: I allowed him privacy and I went out to the hallway to wait.
He started Lord’s Prayer. As he did so, I readied my gun and silencer. Then, he said something that felt like a gunshot to my head: “I haven’t been a good father or husband, but I did what I could. So now, lord, look over them. Help them live a better life than the one I tried to give them.”
I had a choice then. You see, for the first time, I was feeling something. This wasn’t good.
After a moment of silence he added: “I’m ready.”
I had a choice then. You see, for the first time, I was feeling something. This wasn’t good. You see, I was getting to know this target and suddenly, it wasn't feeling like business, anymore. Finally I gritted my teeth, cocked the gun, and entered the room. I had a job to do, and clients to satisfy, I reminded myself. But, it still didn't feel right.
He looked at me, once, with a seemingly serene look. At the same time, it was a look that told me he was going to lose more than a bad bet or loan from my client.
I made my way behind him. By that time, he knelt without any orders from me. A sense of uneasiness like I've never felt entered me. Still, I put my gun to the nape of his neck.
"It's just business, I know," he said.
For a moment I hesitated. This wasn't business anymore. Or was it?
"Nothing against you," I finally mumbled without the usual confidence I often instilled in these times. "Strictly business."
And business was what led me to finally pull the trigger.
But, business wasn't the thing that stopped me for good. For it was that day I pulled my last trigger. I stopped loving the business, all together.
© 2015 Dean Traylor