It’s only business

Don, for all intents and purposes is a hitman. He does not work for an overseas cartel, mafia or political party. He wears a three piece Italian silk suit, handmade to his exact requirements, his shoes are also handmade and polished to a high shine, his shirts fit to perfection, because? Well they are handmade to his measurements, the only thing in his office uniform bought ‘off the peg’ is his silk tie. Unlike the accepted image of a hitman, given contracts on an individual to kill, for a fee, Don works in a corporate office, a special wing of the personnel department. So why is he a hitman I hear you ask, well settle back and I will tell his story.

Don thought to himself, as he laid under Jane whats-her-name’s, from accounts, car, hooking an unfurled wire coat hanger around the spokes of one alloy wheel, the other end hooked around the break lines. ‘This was a very lucrative idea I have had’ he vocalised on a hushed breath, a wry smirk on his face. He was a truly sinister characters, born in to money, he knew the right hands to shake, and backs to stab. The ‘idea’ he had a few months back now, was to insure the lives of their employees. Simple? No so much. Once their employees were all insured they could be looked upon as any other commodity, with a value in cold hard cash, the hippie new world bosses value their employees potential, but potential don’t pay the bills. If his company were to permanently say goodbye to a colleague, it would be nice to receive a windfall in such an event. So, when his employees die while employed, their insurance payout would look nice on the company ledgers.

His company was a blue chip business, they made enough profits in a year to give all their upper management and shareholders a generous yearly wage for an employee, and two dividend payments per year. $100,000 every 6 months, its not to be sniffed at, in fact you could live off that payment alone, but mans greed knows no bounds. Don stumbled on to a plan to make money out of thin air, insure the lives of your employees, and instead of taking the less productive members of staff through a long and drawn out disciplinary procedure and still face an unlawful dismissal case, potentially, the company could decided whom needed getting shot of, and Don would work out a way to bump them off. No court case and a lump sum payable Mathews, Mathews and Stern, thank you very much. He though himself to be very cunning with this idea, and wished at this moment more than any other preceding it, that he would love to have a big waxed moustache, just so he could sit there twiddling it in a menacing manner. He dragged himself out from under the car, removed his overalls, removed the rubber gloves, tossed both in to a black rubbish sack, went to his car to wash his hands and re-dress in his Italian finery, before getting back to his office for the remainder of his day. For those of you still scratching your head as to why he was under an employees car with a wire coat hanger, I will explain. In theory the wire coat hanger should snap the cars break lines as the wheel turned and increased the tension in the wire, and hopefully in the burning wreckage the wire would be un-discovered, in theory.

Twenty minutes later he was sitting on the sofa in his office, a fresh cup of coffee and a view over New York to die for. Jane whats-her-face from accounts was not his first, or second, she was the third, the first had been Eric Kent, the union boss on the shop floor, he demanded more and more from the company for his member to do less and less, it was almost like we were running a charity for the inept, Don thought to himself when he threw the first name in to the pot for review by the only other four people who knew the purpose of directive 5. He had been a thorn in the arse of this company over the 5 years he had been working here. It had been a rushed unprofessional start to his new directive, he had called him in for a chat, he had planted a large amount of weed in Erics locker earlier, it was stinky, the whole locker room smelled like Bob Marleys woolly hat within just a few hours, the alarm was raised by another employee, Don had instructed the lockers to be searched and informed of results. About 11.30am Dons phone had rung and the line manager told him it had been in Erics locker. Putting on his most disappointed tone Don asked him to send Eric up, and he would try to deal with it discreetly, for the good reputation of the firm. Eric arrived upstairs in the company of his manager who handed the bag of weed to Don, and Don asked if he and Eric could be left alone. Well, Eric protested his innocents with all he had in him, sobbing and snuffling throughout. Don placed his hand on Eric’s shoulder and asked him if he wanted a smoke out on the balcony, a Marlboro red, not the Chemdog from the bag, Don Joked.
“How did you know it was Chemdog in the bag?” Eric sobbed with more than a little surprise in his voice.
“Come outside Eric, have a smoke and we can have a little talk” Don urged gently,
“Just lift the latch there Eric, and then slide the handle left” Don asked Eric.

Both men stepped out through the sliding doors, and Don offered Eric a smoke. As they both leaned on the rail and smoked Don explained everything to Eric, Directive 5, the weed and how it got in his locker. Eric flushed with anger, and as Don though about it later he would have said it was as red as a Red Delicious apple, and as Eric started to dry reach or vomit over the side of the building, Don bent down and grabbed him by the ankles and just lifted. It had been surprisingly easy to toss him off the balcony. Don acted suitably flustered when he told his PA to call the police, ambulance and who ever else as Eric has just jumped off the building. His statement to the police had been that he had told Eric he was going to have to let him go, after what was found in his locker, Don lied and said it was stolen bits from the shop floor, he was going to get well in to the bag of bud when he got home. If anyone queried it he would say he lied to protect the company, but he guessed that most people would assume that for themselves. Once Don had told Eric he had flown off in to a rage, stormed through the doors and jumped so he would not have to face the consequences, That was his official line and he was sticking by it.

It had been decided by the gang of five that a monthly meeting would be held in a private dinning room at their club. This would give them chance to discuss who had ‘left’ and who would be next to be made permanently redundant. It was the same room eight months before that Don had floated this idea on the gang. They had employed their own service staff, all having to sign NDA’s, just in case they were to overhear any of the topics being discussed, although they were very discreet while being served. They had good food and good wine while plotting the deaths of their employees, all very civilised. These five guy to a man would make Charles Manson look like a Sunday school teacher, their power over people, politicians and judges made them feel above the law, they considered they were providing their own idea of natural selection. These five were the only ones involved in the selection and although Don had so far been the executioner, the other four were sure they would eventually be too tempted to be able to resist getting their hands dirty. There were no minutes taken during this meeting, no recordings no evidence to catch them out at a later date.

The second happened on the way to the club, this months employee was ‘taken out’, Don had changed in to an ‘Off the peg’ suit, mass produced shoes and artificial moustache then blended in with the other ‘suits’ on their way home, Terry ‘thingy-me-bob’, from overseas development, was next. Don followed Terry on to the subway. They both stood on the platform and waited, and as the rush of stale air started to gust and the tracks began to reverberate, Terry stepped forward, and Don took his place behind him. ‘Patience’ Don told himself, ‘patience’, as the engine roared in to view Don took a long deep breath, the world slowed to a snails pace, he counted himself down, and then one hard shove in to Terrys back saw him fly forward like a rag doll, and….splat. Don was snapped from his dream like state as fellow passengers screamed and took a second look at their last meals, Terry, however, was now just a scarlet smear on the subway, Don quietly left the scene, found a clean bar, hoping for a clean restroom to change out of this horrid scratchy clothing the ‘peasants’ had to wear, and slip back in to his usual Italian number, placing the crap clothes in to a black plastic bin bag. He left the bar and headed towards the club, he could murder a single malt and a cheeky bottle or two of red.

It was gone 2am when the meeting finally broke up, Don text his PA to tell her he would be out of the office all day, he could feel a round of golf was due for the morning or as close to morning as he could drag himself out of bed. He then text his four amigos to see if anyone else was up for a round later, he could always pick a player or two up when he gets to the course if all else fails, but at least he knew how his mates played. He walked in to his apartment, flicked on the stereo and poured himself a generous nightcap, and took a long hot shower. Within the hour he was settling back on his sofa and surfed the net for news. After an hour or so he could hear his bed calling, and finished the fourth of his nightcaps. He settled in to slumber. When he woke later that day he had to confess it had been a wonderful nights sleep. He made his way through an entire just of fresh coffee, got himself together and headed out to the golf club. He had a great day breathing fresh air, not a bad round of golf, half time burger and beer and finished breaking 80 for the first time, he was, a happy bunny. He had remained in the bar talking to other members drinking, and talking about his awesome round, by 6pm he had decided to wait for the restaurant to open at 7pm, he had nothing in and was too tipsy to think about cooking. He left the club about 10pm and made his way home, as the previous day, he put on the music, had a shower, a number of nightcaps and returned to the land of nod.

The next day back in the office he felt invigorated, and in his space, he planed Jane from accounts and her way out of the company. He had heard in years gone by, of being able to rig a wire coat hanger to the wheel of a car and the break lines, wether it were true, or just an urban myth, he was going to give that idea a lot more thought. He had spent a few looking in to the feasibility of the wire coat hanger, the coat hanger was not the issue as all his clothes were sent out to dry cleaners, and always came back hanging on a million and one of the bastards. He was trying to visualise how it would work, but had come to the conclusion over the last few hours that if it did not work, no harm done, and if found at anytime he guessed you would just spend your time wondering how it got there, attempted murder would not be your first thought. I mean, who would have a grudge against a fifty years old woman who has only ever worked in the accounts department?.

By Tuesday evening he had convinced himself it was a go on the coat hanger. Hence the reason he found himself under an employees car on Wednesday afternoon in his old cotton overalls. He mused as he looked out over the skyline that life was indeed perfect, and chuckled at the thought of Jane, desperately pressing the break peddle as she speeds down the spiral exit from the top of the car park, getting faster and faster, more hurried panicked stamps on the break peddle, more speed and “BOOM”. He laughed hard enough now to alert his PA as she popped her head around the door
“Everything ok sir” she asked in a confused tone, in all the years she has worked here he has never even cracked a smile, now he is giggling to himself, breakdown was her first thought. Don pulled himself together as much as was possible, he could not shake the horror stricken face of Jane from his mind, an was it weird that it had given him a semi, this just made Don crack up all over again…
“Every thing is fine, I’m fine, just had a funny text from a mate, it caught me unawares” Don wheezed through his stifled giggles, tears streamed from both eyes, he kept them shielded from her view, next thing I’m being pined down by burley nurses and the nutty doctor jabbing a needle of night night in my arse, he thought, and imagined walking up at a later date in a rubber room in a jacket that ties up at the back. The door swished closed and he was once again alone, he lit a smoke and wandered over to the balcony..

“Returning to the scene of my first crime” he chuckled to himself, he took a big deep breath of the cold air as it rushed at him, the salty tear chilled on their march down his cheeks, wiping them away with heal of his left hand. Life is indeed beautiful, he thought as he gazed down from his lofty perch on to the minions below, they looked like ants scurrying around at the behest of their leaders, some of those may even be his ants, making money for the greater good. He was full of the giggles today, which he would have understood had he been smoking weed, but he never smoked before pouring his first drink after arriving home. He was stone cold sober, had not even had his mid afternoon snifter yet either, and he hurried over to the drinks cabinet to pour himself a lovely Japanese single malt, and returned to the balcony to enjoy it, and another ten minutes off his life expectancy. He was starting to get cold after a quarter of an hour, and returned to his warm office to relax in to another generous pour.
He must have dozed off for a while when he was woken by a tremor shuddering through the room, and sometime later his office phone rang, snapping him completely out of his slumber,
“Yeah, Don, who’s this?” He grumbled like the first words of your day, barely coherent to everyone’s ears but your own
“Don, its Freddy, there has been an accident in the company car park, we need to evacuate the building until the fire is under control” he could hear the panic in the voice of another one of the gang of five, he instantly knew why. He was excited to see his work, he left the building in haste.

Standing across the street from the scene, he had to admit he had never imagined it could have been this big, at least six victims, all insured, bumper day. Freddy leaned in and whispered..
“It’s Jane, the next one on our list, saves you doing it, what a nice coincidence for us” and Don smiled that half smile, sinister, and one again though of having a big waxed moustache.
“It’s sweet you believe in coincidences at your age Freddy” Don whispered back and gave him a wink, now the shocked look on Freddy face was giving him a semi. Therapy is needed he though.
“No! You didn’t! did you? But how did you? Did you?” He had never seen Freddy stumble and bumble over his words before, and the look was priceless, Don pulled out his phone and snapped it for prosperity. He then booked a private dinning room for later that day so he could explain to the group.

By seven that evening they were all in attendance, drinks in hand, and he explain the why, how and wherefore off the ‘accident’. He was astonished at the plaudits laid at his feet by his peers, he was almost as astonished as they seemed to be about activities in the car park today. It was the one and only thing they spoke about during the four hours they were there. It turned out there had actually been eight victims, all insured, and was going down as an unfortunate accident, what a bonus. Even though due to more victims this month than just the one, they would still meet in a few week to discuss next months nominees. The extra this month would go down as a nice little bonus, human greed wins out again.

Two weeks later they met once more, their were two names this month, Don felt a chill run down his spine. Was last months success and ‘bonus’ bodies were just the signal they needed to start pushing the envelope, it didn’t sit too comfortably with Don, he was surprised that he had limits. This months offer were a two-for-one special they said, Gorge Bates from sales, and Trevor Wicks from HR. There was good evidence for the both of them to go, but Don asked if it was completely necessary to do both this month, why not save one for next month? He saw his opinion drop in their eyes as he spoke, he was the ultimate hero two weeks ago, and from this lofty height it was a long drop.
“I am not saying no boys, but I am just trying to offer another suggestion, if we decide two this month then two it is” Don backtracked, trying to make it a, not obvious backtrack, and he watched the relief spread across their faces. That night while sitting in his ‘comfy’s’ post shower, and lightly pickled, he stumbled on a sobering thought. If any of the five of them no longer wanted to be a part of directive five, how could you safely let them go from the gang?
“Must be getting old and sloppy” he announced to the empty room. How had he missed that little fact? He was always OCD about agreeing to things without asking all the salient questions first, and that was quite a major question left in asked. He wrestled with this idea all night, he finally lost his wakeful grasp as the suns first rays hit the new day.

He had already called in to his PA that he was going to take a duvet day, checked if he had any meetings planned, and finished the call with the usual…
“I’m on the mobile if I am needed” and he hung up. Today was a me day he thought, time to put some serious thought in to what he should do next, he opened his yellow legal pad unscrewed his handmade Bespoke Woods fountain pen, and took a mouthful of coffee. The issue, as he saw it, was there was no get out clause to directive 5. If he, or anyone else wanted to stop, surely the other four would have to silence him, just in case. There was the problem, he had taken all the risks, and a stroke of genius with janes farewell has made them want more money from the insurance company, but its not them taking the risk, is it now? So, in the words of his favourite cop show
“Let’s do it to them before they do it to you” he announced to his lounge. If they are going to want more people killed, he was guessing they would, he wondered if any of them wanted to play judge, jury and executioner?

There had been no offer of help with the two they wanted done this month, they had always seemed quite happy to let him carry out the practical parts of the plan. It was his idea though, maybe that’s why they still had relatively clean hands. He had to decide wether it would be best knocking the gang off, would it be the only way he could sleep soundly at night?, rather than to tender his resignation to the gang and sleep with one eye open. His choice now was simple, do I do the two new names first or the gang. He may even be able to delay taking out the two employees while he came up with a plan to take all six out, but he had to also prove after last nights meeting that he was still on plan to the guys. His head was spinning with so many different thoughts on how to proceed, he was unable to focus on just one plan. This called for self medication, he thought, poured himself a large single malt, and rolled himself a fat one, it was only 11am, yes, but this was ‘special’ circumstances surely. His mind began to quiet a little, and he just sat and enjoyed the music that filled the room, like the band was actually playing for just him at the end of the sofa. He was in that void in space and time you sometimes get, as he sat there with his eyes closed enjoying both of his vices, watching colours dancing in his mind. Time no longer meant anything, there were no sounds apart from the music, not a single thought jumped in to his mind, and he rode the wave, afraid to move in case he broke its spell on him.

He came back to the here and now with a crash, from the weight of an idea splashing across his mind, fishing trip. It was the only guaranteed way to get rid of them all in one go, they all loved to fish off the coast of the Hamptons, he had a boat, bingo. He thought about a way to knock them out that didn’t remain in the system too long, he was sure his dealer to get him other naughty stuff beside bud. Lob them over the side of the boat while they are not too compus mentis, make sure they drown, give off a distress’s call to say they were sinking, inflate the life raft, say they got tangled in the anchor rope or something like that, and he was the only survivor. It could just work, give it a bit more thought and he might just have a chance of pulling it off. He now poured another drink and rolled another fat one as pat on the back he, thought. He also noticed as the month dragged on, for the first time the pushy side to the members of directive 5, not a day went passed that a head would pop around the corner and just say
“Anything?/any ideas yet?” From the ensemble. One night in his apartment while watching his back catalogue of Monty Python, rediscovered an old sketch, not one that he really enjoyed, it didn’t seem to hit him as funny as other ones, but tonight the ‘Nudge-nudge, wink-wink’ sketch had him rolling on the floor in hysterics, and just between me and you, a little bit of wee escaped in to his lounging pant and tickled down the inside of his thigh, just before being absorbed in to the material as he contorted in his hysteria. This was just how his associates would appear around his door to hassle him about this months targets. He still had not decided if he were going to do the employees or his group first, but over the last few hours an idea started to formulate in the atomopher of Marlboro red and cannabis smoke that filled his lounge, which was impressive considering the expanse of the room, some people live in houses with less space than this room, the though hit him and he spluttered forth another bout of giggles.

Yes, the idea was there, like a name on the tip of your tongue kind of feel, illusive, but it was definitely there, as he watched the sunset on his skyline view, when it his him like a thunder bolt, he could see it unfolding before his eyes. He would indeed help George and Trevor to meet their makers, and here was the conformation to the group he was back in the fold, and he would suggest a boat trip celebration where they could for once talk openly about the directive 5, drink, fish and just enjoy the escape. The only issue now faced him of how to do Trevor and George, he had gotten away with all three ‘accidents’, not a hint of foul play. It was a winning streak he was keen to maintain, and that was the worst part of it, he would be happy to walk away now while on top, if he could just kill six more people then he could just walk in to the sunset.

He had started stopping on the way to work at a Internet café, a couple of minutes walk from his office, two days ago. He would order a mocha, large, sit at one of the terminals and research his first two victims, there was so much information on line about people with the explosion of social media, he just didn’t want to do it from his home or work computer. He would spend an hour a day just reading profiles, looking at pictures, and finding out their hobbies, he was hoping one liked skydiving, it would be a simple task. Unfortunately it was not to be that simple, one liked golf, and he wished his game was strong enough to pin point a shot directly at his head, but, ooohhh, could it be possible? By the end of the week he was researching rubber bullet rounds and bean bag rounds to see I’d they could be adapted to his idea, one down, one more to go. Trevor was confirmed bachelor, Don often though it was not by choice, there were few people he had ever met who were possibly ugly enough to challenge Trevor, but he was sure there was no real competition, Trevor had the face to scare children, a poster boy for many prophylactic brands of what you might end up with if you didn’t use their products. Fuck me, he was ugly. Looking at his profile he was going to be away in Hawaii on a managerial course for a week, the word ‘empty’ hit his mind. Empty?, oh empty, he had a week in which to fix up something in the house to look like it was an accident. As he sat in his office after reading lifetimes of dross these guys posted on an hourly basis, he felt he need an all day spa treatment on his brain. He needed to go home, he picked up his jacket, called a cab and returned home.
Tonight was going to be a night free from thought, just old movies and vegetate.

The human mind, unfortunately, does not work like that while watching very silly movies, totally absorbing his conscience mind, at the back, like a pot on a stove, were ways to kill the ugly Trevor. After four hours of constant giggling he decide to watch something more stimulating, and scrolled the list of documentaries Netflix had on offer. He was immediately struck by a series telling about bizarre deaths. The tennis player in his friends pool house with carbon monoxide poisoning, and the imaginary light bulb flicked on to 1000watts. He researched his own gas water heater to find out how it worked and more over if it could be tampered with. He though after hours of research, he had guessed it to be about 1am, until the first finger of sunrise caressed the windows of his apartment. He looked at the clock at the corner of his laptop to be hit by the fact it was fast approaching 8am. He stretched out his weary bones, sculled his final drink, and stumbled to his bed one step forward, three steps back, two steps forward, one back, he eventually made it to his soft bed, and left the plain of consciousness.

He woke around 2pm, and felt as though he had been re-born. No hangover, no lethargy and not one bit of fatigue. After the usual first ablutions of the day, he skipped to the kitchen, another bonus of living alone, naked as the day he was born, skipping to the kitchen. It would take a very determined stalker or peeping tom to perv at him living this high up in the clouds. He filled the coffee machine, poured himself a glass of juice to drink while he waited for his coffee. On his way back to the lounge his grabbed the morning paper from outside of his door, sat on the sofa, pulled the large coffee table towards him, laid the paper on top and began to read the worlds event while slurping his brew. At no point so far today had his impending missions entered his head, he managed to read the whole paper and grabbed another coffee, it was not until he flicked on the TV did it started to creep back, he didn’t mind. He wrote both plans out, looked at them from all directions, the pluses and The minuses, and just before the sunset on another day he stood at his window, watching night envelope this day, then he saw it, it chilled him to the bone, staring back at him with the grin of a lunatic, this horrific caricature, wide eyed, touched by insanity and quite clearly in full grip of psychosis, only to be struck dumb by the realisation it was his reflection in the glass. He dropped his empty glass and ran to the bathroom, and stared in to the mirror. There was no difference in his appearance, he looked as he always had, maybe his reflection in the window was a Dorian Gray image of what he had become since the creation of directive 5.

He was more than glad his glass was empty, he hated to waste good booze. He returned to the comfort of his sofa, went back to watch ‘silly shit’, happy to veg out again tonight as his plans were beginning to take shape. He was to add touches to them for the rest of the evening, and for George plan to work he would need to call the school drop out, one off those billionaire brats that has a season ticket to the local jail for misdemeanours, possession, dealing and a DUI or six, always to be bailed out by daddy. He knew the kind of people Don would need to dispatch George, and he was getting short on bud, so he would call him to get some, and then launch in to a ‘do you know someone’ conversation. He had awoken at about 10am on that Sunday morning, and no sooner had he sat down with the Sunday paper, he grabbed his phone to call Dominic to see if he could pop over later.
“Hey Dom mate, getting a bit low any chance today?” Don asked cryptically avoiding it sounding like a drug transaction.
Yeah mate, you know I am always holding, what time you want me to pop over? stick the coffee on” “Okay chap” Dom replied in a manner of fact tone, not all stoners sound like they have been snorting the chloroform, and Don said
“About 3pm?” He threw in to the hat for consideration
“Yep, no worries, have the pot on, know what I mean, hahahaha”
The phone went dead as his dealer hung up, 3pm gave him plenty of time for breakfast, full English, he though. It would more than likely end up as a long night on the bong, and a delivery take out in the wee hours of the morning.

He was not wrong, he had the good sense before Dom arrived at the flat, that he informed his PA and the crew he was taking a short holiday, he was a little bit more explicit with the gang, and that he had ‘the issue’ to deal with. After Dom had left he looked at his stash tray, stuffed with weed, and on a scrap of paper he had the name and number of a discreet gunsmith, he felt euphoric, it was the only way to describe this feeling, a belly full of excitement, he was worried he may call members of directive5 he and just spew forth all this excited fury upon who ever he rang first. He fumbled with the the door chain, and with it all locked updoor he ‘danced’ through every part of his home, singing lines from various songs that he knew waving his arms in the air like an epileptic ape. After thirty minute of this war dance he sat on his sofa, gasping for air and shaking a smoke from his disheveled packet, it came out bent like a question mark, and Don lovingly straightened it, checked for tears in the paper, lit it, smoked it and wondered why he had not skinned in the first place. So he did, with his new bud. And very good it was too, Dom never let him down.

He had to be up early on the Monday as Dominic was bring over his contact, once introduced, Dominic would disappear so they could talk business. The doorbell rung and there was Dominic, he introduced his companion as Ken, he then made his excuses, and left. Don led Ken through to the lounge, offered him coffee, which he accepted, black, no sugar, easy. They sat in his spacious lounge and he watched Ken gaze around him at how the half lived.
“I’m comfortable, what with the money I make creating weapons for illegal purposes, there’s always a demand for my work, and I ain’t cheep by an means, but this excess, well its another level” he gasped in wonderment
“Take a tour, I am in no rush” Don said with a great deal of pride
“No, your alright, it will give me grandeur’s above my station, I mean look at that TV, I have been in cinemas with smaller screens, Jesus” he exclaimed with a humorous tinge to his outburst. The both sniggered for a moment at this, briefly.
“This is beyond cartel excess. Now Don, what can I do your for?” He quizzed his latest customer.
“I want an air powered gun that fires golf balls” he said matter-of-factly as though ordering an espresso from a barista. Without a missed step Ken replied
“I don’t think the PGA allow them on tour” and laughed. The penny dropped with Don a fraction latter and joined the laughter.
“Yeah? Bugger! No have a use for it other than golf, I has to be powerful and accurate enough to kill someone at up to 300 yards, off the top of my head” Don replied with confidence and streangth.
“Well, now we are talking, a problem to be solved, an act of artistic genius needs to be performed” Ken replied with such excitement even Don felt the tingle of butterflies in his stomach.
“But, can it be done? Or am I off my head” he replied in less confidence than before.
“Anything can be done for the right price, anything..” he trailed off, lifted his finger to his lips and the burst out
“Money, money, fucking money, that’s all that will hamper us on this voyage of discovery, dirt, filthy money” he exclaimed. This didn’t get a flicker from Don, there was not a figure he could come up with that would not be worth paying for.
“What ever it costs…….”
“Now there’s the mark of real money” Ken interrupted
“…… fine be me” Don finished, and cocked his head inquisitively, as if to say ‘WHAT?” But he held the utterance in for now.
“Look, you got me here to build you a golf ball air gun, to do something illegal I would imagine, I don’t want to know specifics, I am sure the news will inform me if you have been successful or not. I tell you that the only hurdle to this is money, you don’t bat an eyelid and tell me moneys no problem, only someone with such immense wealth, as you clearly show in just this room alone have the confidence to throw a line like that in to the pot” Ken explained to his new employer.
“I don’t sell by means testing my new clients, I have the price for work and production that is the same to anyone, the price all depends on what it takes to provide you with the firearm you have requested, it also includes a day of training on how it works, and disposal when you have finished with it” Ken continued,
“I am not a greedy man, Don, I have a certain lifestyle I like to keep to, I don’t have to work every day, I am my own boss, and I have an ample sum behind me for the leaner of times” Ken finished.
“So how much would this cost me?” Don asked quizzically.
“Well that’s the question really, is it not?” Ken said like a kitchen salesman pressure selling.
“Let’s see, couple of thousand for the materials, ten grand for my silence, ten for the training, ten for disposal, design and labour $200,000” he ventured, for many clients this would have them performing mental arithmetic to see if they could find enough money to pay such an amount.
“I can put you in touch with people who charge less for this item” Ken said instinctively, forgetting momentarily of his surroundings.
“Well, I do have enough for that small amount, but I thought you may want something in the way of a deal” Don began, Ken was left speechless by this comment, a man with all this wanting to do a deal?
“Before you go off the deep end or stroke out, let me explain” Don added, Ken waived him on, intrigued in what he was about to be offered.
“Initially it will cost you, I know someone desperate for quick cash, that they will sell you their shares in my company” Don continued, and noticed the confused look on Kens face spreading as he spoke,
“The shares this person is selling are worth far more that this purchase price, and therefore you are already up on the deal, it will provide you with a six monthly income of a minimum of $100,000 every six months, clean money” Don went on and saw the confusion leaving Kens face by the second
“By the third instalment eighteen months from now, we will be square, and in twenty four months you will be up by $100,000, it guarantees me that you will not go to the cops and lose this clean income, and I will have the assurance that should I need you again in the future you will help me out. If I pay you cash, you will be out of pocket after having it laundered, and should anyone look at how you made your money you can show them physical share certificates, I can fudge the dates if needed.” Don finished his sales pitch and silence fell upon them, it was now Dons turn to watch Ken doing the mental arithmetic in his head. As hard a Ken tried to see if there was a catch he could not see one, plus if there were he would drop Don in the shit so fast it would make his head spin, and he knew enough people incarcerated around this land that he could guarantee Don eternal damnation in the prison system. After a few minutes he came back with his reply
“Ok, he is how this is going to work, in eighteen months I will be fully recompensed for this work, I will not do anymore work for you until you have amassed a level of credit, so don’t be thinking you can keep coming to me for items to produce on a monthly basis, with that agreed, we can both move forward on this project, and as soon as the shares are in my name, I will begin the work” Ken laid out his intentions clear, and Don nodded his agreement and replied
“Of course, if my plans for the next few weeks come to fruition you will possibly never see me again, with the exception of office events” he finished with a perfectly measured chortle.
“I will arrange a meeting for you tomorrow to buy the shares, she would prefer cash or bankers draft if possible” Don added as a bit of an afterthought. Ken had plenty of cash to hand, too much, and releasing a few hundred grand like this was a nice little bonus. He thanked Don for his time and left, just saying
“You got my number, text me the details of the meeting tomorrow” he said, looking back over his shoulder as he made his way to the elevator. Don sent the text to the shareholder to organise a time and place to meet, and then forwarded the details to Ken. The last thing Don heard was a text just saying ‘done’ the following day from Ken.

On the Tuesday morning Don got in his car early, and drove over to Trevors house to scope the place out, try catch him before he left for the airport for his trip, you never know, he might hide his key somewhere outside. What luck thought Don as he saw his victim hide the key in a fibreglass ‘stone’. No sooner had Trevors car disappeared around the corner, that Don made his way across the road to his house. He grabbed the key, and entered the house, the first thing that hit Don was a god awful smell of cats, putrid, thought Don. He made his way through the house until he found the gas boiler, squeezed his hands in to some disposable gloves and began the work. The idea being to remove the pipe which vents the carbon monoxide to the outside world, therefore recirculating the odourless and lethal gas back in to the house, and then block the hole with paper towels. He reassembled the boiler and remembered to return the key to the stone and the stone to where he had found it. He disposed of the gloves in to the trash cans on the street, got in his car and drove home. He had the roof down on his car, and was enjoying the late autumn sun, he would drive with the roof down in any weather as long as it was not snowing or raining, he turned the music up, sparked up a smoke and nestled back in to the luxuriant soft leather in his F-Type Jaguar, and thought those Europeans knew luxury, and never let him down.

It had been a few weeks since he had said goodbye to his gunmaker, when a simple text arrived on his phone, it simply read ‘your place, 6pm’, fair enough Don thought, and he didn’t feel it needed a reply. Trevor, the ugly, had passed away before the company had time to get their moneys worth from the course they sent him on, he died the night he arrived home, suffocated by carbon monoxide from a cowboy installation of his water heater. There was no evidence to cause any suspicion of foul play, he had punched the air, he was 4 for 0, his winning streak was still intact, as was his reputation with the group, and all of them had cornered him at some time during the first half of the week and simply said
“You?” And he would discreetly nod or wink in reply, and he got on almost a daily basis the head round the door and a quick
“George?” Followed by the nervous ticks and winks of some one with turrets, and his mind was always thrown back to that Monty Python sketch, and he would giggle to himself, sometimes for hours. On this particular evening he sat and waited for his guest to arrive. Bang on 6pm the doorbell rang, it wasn’t unsurprisingly Ken, this time carrying a briefcase, which was at odds somehow to the jeans and jumper he was wearing, again on the walk through the hall he offered his guest coffee, which he accepted. This time Ken followed him to his kitchen, and it had the same effect on him as the lounge,
“Since my previous visit I have been trying to picture other rooms, to work out wether or not, that held the luxury items like the lounge. You don’t disappoint my friend” ken said with a gasp, if it was a high end product and designed for a kitchen, then it was here.
“Even in my wildest imaginations did I see anything like this” Ken said laughing, I must get your designers number, he joked. Don led them on to the balcony that came ofF the dinning area of the huge kitchen, where Don had left the joint he was smoking,
“Hope you don’t mind Ken, its one of my vices” he said as he sparked it back up, took a drag and offered it to Ken,
“Nah, your alright my friend, I do smoke but never when I have to drive, plus Dom has never introduced me to a client who was not a regular customer of his” Ken replied and as the exhale hit him he said
“Haha, yeah good old Dom, its his cheesy dick and very pleasant too” Don chuckled in reply,
“Got the same at home too, love it” Ken said in agreement.

He popped his briefcase on the table and popped the catches, slowly lifting the lid, he pulled out some drawing, not rough sketches but proper draughtsman style pictures. “Here she is” ken said laying the drawing upon the top of his now closed briefcase.
“I guess a clever fella like you may be able to decipher these, but I will talk you through anyway. This first picture shows it in profile, as you can see its thirty four inches long, it weights in at three kilos, no overly discreet, but as good as it can be due to the specific demands you had for it, the second picture show how the magazine works, it holds twelve rounds, golf balls, sorry, and are dispensed and reloaded in the same way as a semi automatic revolver, yeah?” And ken stopped for a breath and to see if what he was saying was being understood, it appeared to be,
“This one shows the motor that produces the powerful shot of air, there is some delay between shot as it recharges itself, but you seemed confident you could hit him first time when we spoke before” Ken continued, leaving a space for some sort of comment in reply.
“Yeah I am, give me a day or so to play with it get to know the feel and I can hit him first time, sure, yeah. I clay pigeon, deer and sheep hunt, even practice long range stuff, i am very handy” he replied with a great deal of pride, he was good with a gun, bow, crossbow and even the humble dart, he though, but didn’t say, it was too much, so he just finished with a smile.
“You wont have to keep looking at these drawings it was just easier for me to show you and explain how it all worked. Just to make sure of first shot theory there is a laser guide and top of the range sight, should make the job easier” Ken was now looking very proud of himself for having met the specs,
“Perfect, just perfect, the laser sight, wow, I never even thought of that, that banging, thats fucking super” he struggled to find the words to explain his excitement in this design, it was simply, perfect.
Now, I don’t want to burst you bubble, but, there is a but, it has never happened yet, but there might be a first time on this, my last job, but when I have built it, it might not work. In theory, it works like a dream, in reality it may not even be enough of a breath to satisfy a breathalyser, we will not know until we take it out to try it, it might just need a little tinker, but, I guess it could be a return to the drawing board, but like I say its never happened before, but then again I have not built anything as odd as this before”, well that’s well and truly pissed on my bonfire, thought Don, he was all excited there for a moment, why does there always have to be a but? Ken, sensing the atmosphere that was about to shatter the mood,
“Hey, Don! Like I said I have never failed, in theory it will work like a dream, you will ask me to marry you and have your babies once you have successfully used it, but I have to say there could be a chance it may not work, a very small minuscule chance, but I had to say” Ken reassured Don and the atmosphere was receding and joy was coming back,
“Ok, I understand, so when can I get my hands on it?” Don asked feeling a little more reassured,
“It will take a week to put together, a couple of days testing it, and in about nine days you will be able to have two days training on it and zero the scope and laser. So, in a little under a fortnight it will be all yours to use at will, how does that fit with your timescale?” Ken replied,
“Perfect, it will mean I can get it done before the end of the month, nice” Don said, his good vibe now fully returned. No he could plan his time to the last second, but just in case there would have to be a plan b, to cover any delays or inability to deliver the weapon. They parted company once more at the door, Ken walking, head bowed, then looking back over his shoulder to say,
“I will text you when its done” Ken said with a flick of the thumb on his left hand, and disappeared around the corner to the lifts.

Don, once more alone in his apartment, with a smoke and beverage, relaxed in to his sofa and enjoyed the silence. Smoke, drink, smile, smoke drink, smile, this just repeated through his mind as he say there and obeyed all commands. Once bored of the silence he flicked on his TV, he tried to imagine how the gun would look as he held it, what kind of kick it would have, he could not wait to use it, he had been gathering a number of range ball, they are said to be heavier than a normal golf ball and the distances are marked accordingly. Plus he planned to do it on either ninth or or eighteenth hole as there was good cover and both bordered the driving range, and if it were true about range balls it was just a nice little bonus. He was sure he had a similar, albeit, less deadly, version of this as a child, and it shot ping pong balls, he was sure of it. He was confidant that it would work and he could do this, then get his associates to go on a drunken fishing trip, and he was free from this monster he had created. He pondered on this fact most of the night, but what his mind was trying to tell him that it had not taken much of a push to have killed four people and planned for another five, this was the rational side of his brain trying to be heard over the hub-bub of his alter ego screaming for more blood.

Would he indeed be free, as his friends plummet to the ocean floor attached to an anchor, or would his best excuse to go out murder leave him lost in a world of missed opportunity’s? His rational side needed to be heard, the questions needed to be asked of himself, and also answer why he had never lost a nights sleep haunted by his victims? But the scent of blood was in the air, overpowering his humanity, bringing out the beast that lurks within us all.

The following week had dragged, he had even had a nap in his office on three occasions this week, and by his calculations he still had four days still to wait, he had circled Wednesday for the date of delivery, he had no communications with Ken since he left that night, was he on track? Were there any problems? Issues? He went to text him a dozen times or so, then deleted it before he got the nerve up to send it. If there were issues that were insurmountable he was sure he would have been told, as the old saying goes, no news is good news. It was late on the Tuesday evening that he got a text, well not so much a message, but coordinates and a time, 9am tomorrow morning, there was no caller name, just the phone number, and he knew instantly who it was from, and any weariness in his being flew out of the window, there would be no sleep tonight.

He laid out his clothes, paced the floor, smoked and was generally fidgety. The hands on the clock moved in slow motion, hardly moving at all, it seemed. He wanted a drink so much, but knew he would not be able to stop and he wanted to be clear headed for the training. He was like a kid on Christmas Eve, too excited to sleep, as the sun started to come up he began his preparations for the day. By 8.45am on the Wednesday morning he was standing in the middle of nowhere, on the exact coordinates he was given. He had last seen any sign of life about ten miles back, his ears strained on stalks trying to hear the faint whisper of a car on the breeze. Eventually the silence was broken by the approaching sound of a car, he could not tell how far away, but it was getting closer by the second. Eventually a nice Range Rover pulled up and out stepped Ken,
“You ready for this mate?” Ken shouted as he disappeared to the rear of the car and popped the hatch,
“Ready for it? Are you joking, I must have gone to text you twenty times over the last week for an update, then deleted it so I would not disturb you, I am more than ready for this” and pulled a heavy hold-all out from his own back seats, Ken looked at the hold-all with a degree of confusion,
“Cheap lake balls, you know, a bit of ammo” he grinned on,
“What you got for me my friend? Is it nice, fun? Or different?” Don joked in his most playful voice,
“Ohhh, you are going to love this, it exceeded even my expectations, oh what fun” and as he carried to it new owner, Ken though he might just keep this for a bit of fun instead of disposing of it. He did indeed love it, it was comfortable to hold, easy to use and the scope and laser sight made it easy to get you aim right.

They slung almost a hundreds balls down range over the next few hours, and fed the PCI figures in to the computer, the speed and distance, and then the logarithm in the program worked out its pounds of pressure per square inch it would administer upon contact, decreasing in power as it went over distance. This gave Don the vital measurements he needed to plan his attack. By the end of the second day he was sure he could send a ball up a flies arse from 400 yards. He was hitting every target at deadly velocity on all occasions, it felt so good, he too thought he might just see if he could keep it, just for fun of course, pinging golf balls around his garden in the Hamptons. For now he was happy with his new toy, and it would do the job, perfectly. Now he just had to go back to cyber stalking George to see if he can find out when he is playing golf next, if all else fails he will send a free round voucher with a short date on it, always have a back up plan he thought, an ideology forced upon him almost daily by his father, it was character building, his father would tell his mum as he put his sons lack of organisation to the proverbial sword on a daily basis,
“Keep out of it woman, left to you he would be as gay as your cousins son, some times its not so much the information is to vast to take in, sometimes it’s the size of the hammer you bang it in with” he would snarl in her direction if she let out even a stifled sniffle while his father was center stage of this rant. His dad had less of a hammer and more of a ten pound sledge hammer, his head would reverberate for hours as another rant from father bounced around the inside of his skull. The memory struck ice cold fear down his spine, even as a grown up and farther is six feet under, the memory flooded back as if it were yesterday, the smells, the way that late evening sunsets would make father look like a golden statue at certain times of the year.

He suddenly snapped back to real life, and he found himself in the car park of his apartment, he had no memory of the drive home, the last thing he remembers clearly is pulling on the seatbelt and waving goodbye to Ken. He was standing there, looking around double checking his location, it was his car park, on his normal level, in his normal spot, bizarre, he though. He checked the car for damage, just in case, it was its normal shape and pristine paint work. He laughed to himself, that had blown his mind, and he went up to his apartment. A couple of relaxers latter he pulled out his new toy, he double checked it was not loaded, he was sure it was not when he packed it, if it were to go off in this room, heavens knows what would happen. He sat it on his coffee table and gazed at it through a haze of smoke and fumes from his chosen poison, single malt.

Days of cyber hunting later, he was nestled in the shrubbery between holes eighteen and nine, waiting for his prey to arrive, it was 7am, the sun was still on the rise, the light mist clung to the dew covered grass. but here, trudging up the fairway to the ninth green, looking like the saddest advert for golf to be considered as a punishment, leaving foot prints in the dew, and disturbing the ghostly mist, was George, pink jumper, blue checkered plus fours and pristine white shoes, a shine to give his car a run for its money. Plop, bounce bounce, was a indication that his next victim was closing in. He got on his marks, there, crouched on the green, ‘reading’ the lie of his putt, was George, Don got him in the cross hairs, flicked on the laser, and a deep breath in, ‘POP’. George dropped like a sack of shit, was the first line to come in to Dons head, but George was out of it before he hit the floor, his legs just crumpled like the horse toys with bead and string legs. After quick scan about the fairways, Don ran from the bushes to check for life signs, but there were none, the lights were out, and Gorge had be laid off, to sign on for celestial welfare. The ball had hit him right between the eyes, and in a quick scan of the distance it was right up there in the most powerful part of its flight, still gaining speed. He dashed back to the bushes and picked up the gun and bag and returned to his car. He made sure that he was fully conscious on his drive home this time, he did not want to have to explain the golf ball gun in his boot. Once safely enclosed in his home did he allowed himself a little pat on the back and lap of honour, of course. He relaxed knowing he was so close he could smell his freedom from this curse. Now late morning, he relaxed in his giant bath, that held the water at a comfortable temperature, set what you preference is on the control panel, and just relax. So he did. His phone rang, waking him up from a semi slumber in the bath, it was Kent, one of the other members of the team of five,
“Hey Don, Kent here” the voice said over the phone in a husky whisper,
“Meeting tonight at the club, usual time” then the click as the phone went down. Why did he try to disguise his voice or whisper, why the fuck did he tell me his name? Don thought, as he stared at the now silent phone,
“Bellend” Don said to the room, and rose from the bath, he had a few hours to have a sleep he thought, before I have to go out, and he arrived at his sofa, put on some relaxing music, pull the blanket over himself and dozed off.

The cab he ordered arrived just before 5.30pm, it gave him thirty minutes to make a fifteen minute drive, he hated being late, that hot flustered feeling you get, that doesn’t completely leave all day, as though you have to be seen working twice as hard to make up for being late, he shuddered partly due to stepping out on to the chilled night air, and partly from the though of ever being late for something, the cab was overly warm and as he sat there getting warmer, he could feel the cold retreating to the center of his being as the warm feeling spread toward it. It was not even that cold, it was just that drizzling damp kind of day, so far from the beautiful autumn morning he spent on the golf course. He arrived ten minutes early to the club, he was always the first to arrive, the generations of entitlement in their family lines made them this, it was like they should be praise just for turning up, no matter how late they were, on the second meeting they had, Kent turned up ninety minutes late, sat at the table with his drink and carried on as if he had arrived bang on time, and we should be delighted to be in his company, not even an excuse for being late, no sorry, no recognition of it at all, Don could feel the anger rising as he checked in his coat, intensified when the head butler had shown him through to the bar, telling him
“You’re the first of your party to arrive sir, if you could take a seat in the bar, and when you are all here I will take you through to your room for dinner” Don detected a rougher English accent hiding behind this clipped tone of the butler. He had Known Macintosh all his adult life, he was accepted in to the club when he was twenty one, and in all these years Mac has never aged, and always says the exact same words at a given situation, he knew he would be waiting in the bar for the others, Mac said the same thing every time, why does he feel compelled, why cant he just say ‘bar’ and point in the vague direction? Does he have a list of phrases and someone back of house pulls a string on his back to repeat the same old worn out phrases? Or has it become so much second nature it is just part of his programming? Don pondered on this and always finished the though with, robot, Cyborg, alien or clone? The chuckle caught him at the same moment that his first drag of smoke hit the soft bits at the back of his throat, and he fell in to choking convulsions, until his lungs seem to shut down, his vision narrowed and filled with bursting specks of silver, and once he had regained his composure, there was Mac,
“Water, sir?” He said, not giving this episode any recognition, and it was not the first time Mac had seen Don do this, and he was guessing it would not be the last. Every time, as Don began to regain his composure there was Mac with a glass of water, still, cold, in a long glass and three quarters full, served on an immaculate sterling silver round tray. It was needed, he need to calm the claws scratching at his throat, and the hiccups which lingered on the periphery looking for a way in. He picked up the glass, always noticing there was never a ring of condensation on the tray where the glass sat, magic, Don thought. He had just had his first drink refreshed when the next two were to arrive in the bar,
“Two of the usual” Richard shouted over to the barman, wafting his finger in the space between himself and Alastair indicating who they were for, but Don thought he had seen the barman start both drinks as they crossed the threshold of the room, Don stood as they arrived and Richard called over to him,
“Drink?” Don shook his head and raised he glass almost to prove to them he had a drink, Don cringed at the way Richard could just walk in to a room a demand service, and was all together comfortable to shout in public, to make himself know, Don would never consider shouting back his refusal of a drink, and once again that cold shudder reverberated down his spine. He was not feeling overly comfortable with this meeting, he couldn’t put his finger on why, he had not been in the office much this months with holidays and duvet days, he own internal fear of being branded a lazy person, his actual job only needed him to meet the occasional person to organise deals or collaborations with their company’s, finished with a big night out in New York before dropping them off at an exclusive hotel all paid for by Mathews, Mathews and Stern. Richard was one of the Mathews is the company name, his brother was Kent, the other Mathews. Both had huge personality flaws that Don hated, and an evening with the pair of them one shouting the other late, always was a test of Dons patience, another reason for arriving early, get a drink in before they arrive, Alistair who was the twin of Jack did not have their surname on the company logo, but were mention as directors, although what they direct Was a mystery to Don. The five of them had been inseparable throughout their lives, school mates, they shared an apartment during collage and started at the firm on the same day. They had all taken over their fathers position in the firm, when the time came to retire and the new generations trustworthiness had been proved to have what was needed to carry this firm on to an new millennium. They were so destined to be here at this moment that they could have had business card printed at their moment of birth. Don, if you had not guessed was the Stern in the company logo. Jack was the fiery twin, boy did he have a temper, he was the first born, he was the muscle you called when you needed a body guard or someone knocked out. Alistair while the was the same height was always gangly, even at the gym he could never build body mass, Wednesday legs and Dons father would always call him, Wednesday legs, wens day gonna break, and he would see a rare chuckle spread across his fathers face. Alistair would not say boo to a goose, quiet, and if not prised out off his shell, he could easily be lost as he withdrew himself, Don had a soft spot for him out the four of them, but each had quality you could not do without, to reach the pinnacles of success. It then dawned on Don, that it was these friends who he had been planning to kill all month, nothing had changed with the group, it had changed with Don.

At 8.30pm Kent finally turned up, Don though ninety minutes late seemed to be on time for Kent maybe we should set the next meeting for 4.30pm and he will be on time for a 6pm start, calm, calm, Dons inner voice told him and he bit his tongue, again, calm, calm, came the voice. The moment that the food and wines were ordered and the doors clicked shut there was a clamber to be the first to ask
“Was it you? Did you do George this morning? Was it, was it you?” They all fired at him, Don could hardly keep from grinning a grin big enough to make his jaw just drop off his head as the corners of it met at the back of his head,
“Of course it was, had a special gun made just for the job” don said suddenly realising this meant he had to kill them as well, he had begun to think this evening he would be lost without his pals, they were more than just board members complicit in six murders. They were lifelong friends, he loved these guys. This was going to have to be computed later, when at home alone. His friends all just sat there stunned, leaning back in to the comfortable carver dinning chairs, succumbed to silence, unable to comprehend this positive assertion of his guilt. Then the bravest of their meerkat group popped his head up and,
“How?” Richard barked half in humour and half in bewilderment,
“I mean, he died from blunt force trauma, caused by a range golf ball, that’s just coincidence” Richard finished, disparagingly.
“I had an air gun made, specially, for just this purpose, its fun to fire, worth every penny” Don began to explain,
“You what? How does a posh boy like you know where to get a gun made?” Richard interrupted his flow, with a borderline dismissive manner.
“You all remember Dominic? Don’t you? He knows people or knows of people who know people” Don replied, trying to not let this rage out of its cage, not the time or place,
“I asked him, he sorted me out” Don thought he would just leave it there, it best for now. The evening went on, the conversation turned to the hows and whys of Trevors demise, and then now the group could see Dons temper was under control, they inched back to that story. Don didn’t know they could see his temper rise, and how to stop it, unless they wanted him in full rage. Don still didn’t want to say too much about this mornings job, he didn’t want any of these guys asking for Kens services, Ken might feel Don had been very indiscreet, and that not the impression he wanted to leave him with. The evening progressed to the four names on next months list, the number gets bigger and bigger, and they just add extra in to the chat as a matter of fact, like they had agreed this would happen when the first sat down to discuss this idea. Don put his foot down this time,
“Come on boys, four?” Don questioned them in the tone of the beleaguered, knowing if it went to a vote he would lose 4-1, it was like they had met up to agree to the increase,
“We are pushing our luck here, we have got away with murder, literally, got away with murder on six occasions, how long do you think our luck will hold out?” Don pleaded with the group,
“It’s not like you lot take any of the disposal off my hands, offer to take a victim of two” Don finished, he got up from the table and went to the sideboard to refresh his drink. He turned to face them, and leaned on the sideboard, he gazed at their faces, the all shared the same look of disappointment, disappointment in him, or his view on increasing numbers he could not tell, but it was dissapointment, then from the group,
“It was your bloody idea mate, not got the bollocks to keep going” Kent threw in to the pot, with a generous side helping of anger which promoted a mumbled chorus of agreement from the other three,
“It’s not about having the bollocks or not” Don fired back,
“One I had not a problem with, two was hard and took a lot of organisation, but I got it done, but four…” he added,
“One, two, three or four, what the problem, you have not been the same since you caused a crash in the car park killing eight, by last count” Kent interrupted,
“You lost your bottle mate!” Kent finished with a full helping of anger, Don was the end of a richard roasting like many he had seen before, but it was the first time he was on the receiving end of it.
“No,….it….well…no., its not about bottle, its about our freedom, being sensible, not drawing too much attention to ourselves” Don spluttered,
“I mean, take this morning, would any of you though to cut a hole in the protective netting around the driving range in a direct line of sight to poor old George, thus explaining how a range ball escaped it area, or using range ball? Of course not, because none of you are organised enough, that why the job of executioner has been firmly laid at my door, bloody hell, by the time you had turned up to the course this morning he would have been sitting down at home for two fucking hours” he had the first wind of his fury going now, this could get messy, don thought,
“The kick back would have snapped you in two Alistair, Richard, how many times do you come home from a hunt empty handed, more than seventy percent? Eighty? You could hit a target if it was tied down two feet from you, and as for you Jack, you ain’t the brains of the outfit, are you?” Don had now slagged off the only four people in the world he was trusting with their secret. He looked around the room, it was a very uncomfortable silence that enveloped the room, Don looked at the drink he had just poured and decided someone, other than himself, didn’t speak to break this gloom, he was going to go, and leave it at that. After what had seemed an age, Don grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair, and stormed out of the room with an angry,
“Fuck it!” He spat back in to the room, grabbed his overcoat from the cloakroom, put it on and ventured on to the street. The weather had not improved, just got colder, he hailed the first cab he saw, and then disappeared in to the night.

He was still angry when he arrived home, rolled a smoke, and tried to fight off this feeling that was slowly consuming him. He sat there in his normal place on the sofa, while his mind threw ideas in to his mind to let the anxiety free, to make him suffer locking him up within his own mind, and torture his inner child. He took two diazepam, and a couple of large nightcaps, and within ten minutes or so his mind was cut free and he slept the sleep of the dead. Seven o’clock the next morning he woke moment before his alarm, he stopped it instantaneously, looked around the room with one eye closed, decided, he was going to stay home all day and sulk, and made the necessary text to his PA, she was encouraged never to book meetings for a Friday or a Monday, just in case he wants a long weekend. The phone buzzed just as Don fell over the precipice to sleep, and he had not got the wherewithal in him to avoid the long drop. I did affect his sleep though, as his mind played through all the people who could have made his phone buzz, and his deep vivid inescapable dreams where centred on whats the worse that can happen? His sleep was more exhausting than it would have been to be awake, and when he finally crawled out of bed a 12, he felt awful, dehydrated, hungover and tired.

Thirty minutes of coffee and Marlboro had him feeling a little more human, he checked his phone, the message that had made his phone buzz was just a ‘yes’ from his PA, she should be less wordy, Don thought in a giggle, nothing to worry about. Nothing from the boys, or was this something to worry about? He shrugged this thought from his mind, he wanted some me time, see if he can think a way forward from here. Half way through his cup of coffee the idea hit him with the force of a very annoyed bull. He would message the boys, bury the hatchet so to speak, and he would wine them and dine them on a fishing trip on his boat, bit of a narcotic to put in their drinks, lob them over board, sink the boat, were off to the races. However, he reminded himself, don’t just rush in to it, this could be make or break for him. The longer he went without hearing from any of them was a plus point, he had to get the first message in, but the right words just wouldn’t come to him.

Eventually, mid way through his second joint and third bourbon latte, he started to sketch down his text message on his pad, he would often write out on paper his emails or text messages before he would introduce them to his computer or phone, he felt once it was committed to electronic device there was always a danger he may inadvertently send an email or text before he had polished out an angry rant to just an angry message, what he was left with after this polish was,
‘Hey boys, sorry about last night, its been a stressful months for me, weekend fishing and drinking on the boat? on me’
He gazed over it for an hour, he felt it was quick, concise and evil plan free, more over, it sounded like him. He pressed send, sat back and gave himself an imagined pat on the back. He rolled himself his third fat one of the day, and poured himself a straight bourbon, as the sun dipped bellow the skyline.

The responses to his message came back quicker than he thought they would of, and all seemed to be understanding, and Alistair apologised for the idea be sprung on him with no warning. Now he just had to organise the trip, and he had plenty of ideas. The day of the trip came round, the slowest week he had ever lived, but it was finally here. He stood on the bridge of his old tub, polishing it over with his microfibre cloth, the sun was out and gently warmed this late summer afternoon. He had told Kent they were to meet at 11am, the rest he told to arrive at 1pm, he had not tried this approach before with Kent, but he though he would just see if his idea would work to get him here on time, his last chance to prove his theory. Everyone turned up between 12.50pm and 1.10pm, even though Kent was the last one to turn up, at least he was only ten minutes late. They all climbed aboard and the man hugs were passed around the crew. The boat finally pulled off at 1.30pm, and out to sea they went on an ocean that was flat and calm, this time tomorrow, the sea would not be so welcoming, if the weather warnings were correct. Dons plans hinged on the storm coming down from the artic, the meteorologists had been split between the issue some said it would still be going strong, others thought it would just blow itself out. It was due to hit the area Don was heading for by about 3pm the next day, and his planned drugging of his friends would take place a couple of hours before. It would give Don time to sink the boat and get the life boat ready. For the next twenty four hours he was going to party with his mates one last time.

No one had more than a few hours sleep by midday Saturday, and after a big breakfast, Don passed around the first G&T of the day, three spiked with a generous helping of rohypnol, he sat back and sipped at his clean drink, his heart started to beat twice as fast and twice as hard, and he watched and waited for the effects to take hold. Just as Don started to pour another G&T he heard the first glass smash, one more went as he took his first sip, and as he turned around he saw the third and then the final glass tumble to the floor. He disappeared below decks and came back up a few moments later dragging his suit case, he laid it out in front of his comatose shipmates. They were too far gone to notice as he pulled out the first of two dozen or so lead diving belts, and hooked it around Alistair’s waist, then connected a second, third and finally fourth belt to his boyhood chum, then grabbed him by the legs, and tipped him overboard, he then repeated it for the other three. He sat there for a while drinking his drink, semi stunned. He could not believe he had just drowned four of his friends, it felt like a dream, then his body convulsed with tremors so violent it shook the empty glass from his hand. He stumbled over to the bar area, poured himself a whiskey, a generous double by anyone’s standards, and knocked it back in one swallow, he felt the burn travelling down his body as he gasped huge breaths of fresh air, and as his body started to relax, he poured himself another generous shot, and sat down in the leather bench seat.

He regained his equilibrium, and as he looked to the horizon he could see the storm, the wind had picked up considerably since pouring them all the G&T, and he was sure he could smell the rain of the breeze. He grabbed a bottle of single malt from the bar, and headed back down below decks. He picked up a large petrol can opened the hatch to the engine compartment and emptied the entire contents of the can. He then picked up a second can and poured a trail of petrol through to the first deck, and then poured a large puddle on the deck. He pulled the cord on the self inflating lifeboat as he threw it over the side, grabbing the single malt, his go bag and the flare gun, then jumped in to the raft. As he began to drift away, he loaded on flair in to the gun and fired it on to the deck. He could feel the force of its ignition as the flair reached the fumes, and all at once his pride and joy was burning. As he looked passed the boat, he could no longer see the horizon and the sea had begun to show its anger as the storm approached.

When the storm had its grip on his little raft he set off his emergency beacon and fired another flair, this time skywards. He had only done this on the chance it could be seen, he zipped up the flap on the raft, settled back and began to drink his single malt. His go bag had contained a couple of bottles of water, a few rounds of sandwiches, and a dozen or so assorted chocolate bars, and three large rocks, the rocks were there to help this bag sink to the bottom of the sea with all the wrapping and un-eaten or drunk items, how would it look if he were rescued with these provisions, Don really had thought of everything. As he was tossed around by the storm like a rag doll on a spin cycle, he though on how he could use his skills as a proper hitman, specialising in the hit made to look like a natural death, or accident. He was not sure if he had what it took to make a living out of this idea if he could deal with the stress, since killing off his first victim all those months ago he had almost buckled under the pressure, for the first time he now felt a little more relaxed, although it was hard under his current circumstances, he could just as easily lose his life as be rescued.

He had known since he first played out this scenario it was a gamble to trust his life to the raft and being rescued, it was a huge ocean, and he was just a tiny speck. He had kept some of the rohypnol back with the intention of dosing himself, and he knocked a little back and washed it down with a slug from the single malt. For the next few hours he was lost to its effects, drifting in and out of consciousness, his dreams were vivid nightmares fuelled by his current positions and state of mind. He awoke feeling groggy, confused and more than a little lost. He scrabbled around in the dark on the floor of the raft in the darkness for the torch he had packed in his go bag, his hand stumbled upon an ice cold metallic lump. Realising this was his torch he fumbled for the on/off button, and was temporally blinded by its intense one thousand lumen bulb, as he waited for his vision to clear he chuckled at the excitement of the sales assistant rolling off all the blurb of it being as bright as a thousand candles, he just wanted the torch, not a lesson on how to understand its lighting capability’s. As his vision cleared he looked to his watch, and noticed he had only been out for a little over eight hours, he was cold, hungry and had hoped he had been out for a lot longer. He unwrapped the sandwiches, took a couple of pain killers to ease his aching head, took a slug of the water, and peeked out of the rafts zip front. He was struck by how black the night was out here, how many stars he could see, and even though it was pitch black just the awesome beauty this world had to hold, he was hypnotised. The storm had passed, or he had passed it, there was no way of knowing for sure, and he just sat, eating his sandwich and gazing at the night. He finished the sandwich and bottle of water, returning the empty wrapper and bottle to the weighted go bag, he wanted to leave no trace of him coming prepared to drown his friends. He picked up the flare gun, re-loaded it and fired it skywards, he could drift for another few days, he had the supply’s, but he missed his apartment, the warm, fully equipped apartment, with menus from people who would deliver food to his door. He also knew that this was a risk, there was a good chance he would never be found, he could just die, a quite unpleasant death, waiting to found in this vast ocean. He pushed that thought from his mind….

“Now for the crowning glory of this sumptuous go bag, packed by the one and only Mr Don Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeern” he said in his best Michael Buffer voice as if he were stepping in to the ring at Caesars Palace. He reached in to the front pocket of the go bag, and pulled out a tobacco tin containing twelve perfectly rolled joints, he bit the tip of twizzled paper from the tip and spat it in to the sea, sparked it up and smoked it with his top half of his body outside the raft, like a school boy trying to keep the smell out of his room by leaning out of a window. It did not take very long for the first flushes of the stone to warm his face. He flicked the tail end of the joint in to the sea, zipped up the zip, and settled back down to enjoy the euphoria of some very good weed. He looked again at his watch, he had been drifting in the raft for a little under ten hours, he unzipped the zip once more to scan the horizons all around him in a hope of seeing some sort of light from another boat in the vicinity, nothing. He took another dose of Rohypnol, and settled back for another snooze.

This time when he woke up, it was day light, once again he popped a few pain killers to ease his banging head, unzipped the the flap, and had a look around. This time, he was sure he could see a ship, boat or something on the horizon, he quickly packed up his go bag, loaded the flare gun once more, firing the firework in to the sky. He quickly devoured the last sandwich and one of the chocolate bars, skulled a bottle of water, checked around the floor of the raft to make sure everything was packed away. He pulled the tobacco tin from the bag and stuffed it in to a pocket, then zipped up the go bag and dropped it over the side, he crossed his finger in hope it would sink, and sink it did. All he was left with now was his flare gun, eleven perfectly rolled joints and hope that the ship had seen his flare. He bit the twizzled end of another joint and smoked it, once again hanging his top half out of the raft to avoid contamination, and watched the ship on the horizon. He was convinced it was getting bigger, meaning it was coming close, meaning he was about to be saved, he stared at it so hard that when he looked way the image was imprinted on his vision. Now after thirty minutes he was convinced he was about to be saved, he could now clearly make out it was a cruise ship, there was no mistaking that shape, like an apartment block floating in the sea. There was no mistaking the fact the ship had turned in to his direction. He fired another flare just to be sure, there was no harm in double bagging, he thought, not quite the right phrase for the situation, but there was no one there to correct him. Now he started to realise the enormity of the cruise ship, he had watched documentaries on how they were getting bigger and bigger, but to see one approaching you as you bobbed up and down in a life raft, it was stunning.

He was hoisted aboard this luxury liner and taken straight to the medical facility’s for a quick check up, he was dehydrated, he had only had 500mls of water in the last twenty four hour, and probably the same amount of alcohol, so dehydration was not a surprise, but the cold was still deep in his bones, he was warmed up and fed up, once he was a little more stable the captain came down to see him. The captain was accompanied by the a junior officer with a note pad. The captain asked him a few polite questions, then asked for the full story of events between setting sail and being rescued. He finished by telling Don that he would forward the details to the coast guard and once in dock it would be them who would deal with it further. The captain who was friendly enough, didn’t seen to be bothered at all by the story he had heard showed Don to an empty room deep down in the bowels of the ship, and apologised for not having any better accommodation for him, he then showed him to a clothes boutique on the upper levels so he could get some fresh clothes and toiletries to freshen himself up. The captain left him with….
“I have extended a line of credit to you to get the essentials, and you will be dinning with me tonight, and in the mean time feel free to use all the ships activities” he said. Don gathered up a few bits, and was taken to his cabin, he showered, shaved and relaxed for a while, before popping up to the bar, where he was the centre of attention, a little unexpected entertainment for the passengers, and Don was careful to keep the story the same as the one he gave the captain. His plan all hinged on leaving no doubt in peoples minds that his story was the way it happened. Over dinner that night the captain had told him that even he was worried about meeting up with that particular storm, he had seen it on his radar long before any weather warnings were issued, and was not surprised that Don had been caught out by it or that it had sunk his smaller vessel. For the first time in months Don finally felt relaxed, in less than eight hours he was hoping to be snuggled up in his apartment.

It was a little longer than eight hours, he had been questioned by the coast guard and the local police for a couple of hours. They seemed happy with the story he had given after a few reiterations, he never asked for his lawyer or any legal council during his interview. He wanted to make them feel he had nothing to hide. Now he was where he wanted to be, on his sofa, blowing cannabis smoke with out any concern of the unique aroma it produced, he had taken a proper shower, the one on board ship was like being urinated on from a couple of foot above him, he had not complained, he wanted to keep as low a profile as he possibly could. Here he was the master of his own domain, he had stuck a movie on, poured a large stiff drink, and let his mind fly free, unleashed for the first time in four days. Tomorrow he would fill out the paperwork for the insurance companies for the boat, and then the lost employees from work, they had never realised when he had insured the lives of the workforce he had also taken out huge policies on his fellow management team. He was in for an enormous windfall, and as he thought that the entire apartment filled with blue light and reverberated with the boom of a rouge lightening strike.


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