It’s not a bad career.

“It takes forty two muscles to smile, but only seven to pull the trigger on a sniper rifle.”

This was the kind of things he liked, and to be bluntly honest about himself, it was the kind of thing he would have said, he tweeted it and facebooked it. This side of his life, as was the business cards he carried, the social side of life, he was listed on these cards as the managing director of a recruitment agency. In real life this was his cover story which hid his real profession.

Dave was a hitman, he loved the idea of travelling to new and interesting lands, meeting diverse and intellectual people, and then killing them for a large fee. He had always had a natural ability to hit a target, darts, archery and even the shooting games in the arcade. He was also told he had a malleable grasp when it came to morals, in essence if offered the right carrot, he would kill whom ever he was asked to, without question or regret. He never told his totals of the victims, but it is believed to be in the mid four figures. He also never had a bad night sleep, never haunted by his ghosts.

He had grown up in a very unpleasant part of Manchester. It was ok if you were in with the right crowd, but if you were not, well let’s just say it was hell. He joined the army straight from school, he had not really had time for all the bullshit at school, and found himself in nineteen eighty four of having three career choices, the dole, prison or the army. There was less chance of finding true love in the showers in the army and the dole was just not enough cash for him to do what he wanted. He did think to himself after the first month that the glossy army ads were bullshit, this was proper hard work. Although by the tenth week it was generally understood by all who knew him, that he had found a new passion. He could be found on his down time either practicing at the range or cleaning “Betsy” his own beloved rifle. He could more or less, by now, some twenty years later strip, clean and reassemble any firearm you gave him, blindfolded. Having first told you the history of the particular gun.

As he sits on his leather chair, positioned in the best place to see all four corners of his flat, yet not be seen through the windows from the flats across the road. He surveyed the open plan abode, and noted all the weapons in his home, gaffer taped under the coffee table was a Walther PPK, there was a Beretta 92 in the biscuit barrel in the kitchen, there was a Desert Eagle under his pillow in the bedroom, one taped to the back of each bedside cabinet, one vacuum packed in the toilet cistern and one behind the bath panel which had only been attached by Velcro. This didn’t include the two chrome and ivory Beretta 92’s under his arm pits, these were a feature from the moment he woke up to the moment he went to bed and antique Derringer 22 in his boot. The heavy weaponry, apart from the MP5’s hung up on the coat rack, were kept in his car.

He was famous in the circle of contract killer, for being hired to whack Katie Price, and telling the client when ask his fee, he said….
“Fuck it; I will do it for free!”
There were many other stories about this man and his antics, but he was always guaranteed to have the job finished within seven day of receiving cleared funds, and that’s what made him special. Once having acquired his target, he would assess his target over a couple of days, work a plan and escape route, then bang, bob on. He never missed, never hesitated, the quicker and more successfully he got the job done, the shorter his working week would be. Nothing he loved more than after a job, cleaning his gun while he sat and listened to music, with a large drink.

He was good, he could hit a moving target at fifteen hundred meters, the brain, once unused and un-engaged at school, could now assess winds for the journey of his projectile, which ever method he fancied. It was instinct alone that he worked on, he would not have to sit there with a pencil and a note pad doing long winded equations to give him data, he would just know, he would feel the shot, the weather, humidity, winds and elevation, he would pull the walnut stock in tight to his shoulder, caress the side of his face with dip behind the sight, a quick glance through the lens to adjust position and then he would close his eyes, and envisaged his walk of the bullet path two days ago. He would walk and feel the stresses on the bullet at each part of its journey, up drafts, side wind and dead air. To be blunt, if someone wanted you dead enough and could afford his “consultancy” fee, you were dead; once that contract had been paid for it was set in stone. He would be in bigger demand if he was a little cheaper, but he was as busy as he wanted to be, he felt he had to have a high fee, just so he knows how much you really need this person gone, and it was not just a whim.

He sat and took a few moments before the hire car arrived, and he would take a road trip to his last job. He had ordered a fancy convertible, the sun was always shinning in his next location.

Like many men, there was a woman organising travel, hotels, hire cars, taxi’s and, well, him. She was his girl Friday, she knew all his quirks and foibles, and he would marry her, if, well she is a lovely girl. Hazel, his girl Friday, was not blessed with looks, not only did she fall out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down, but she climbed back up for another go. Definitely the definition of a two bag girl, two bags to cover her face in case the first one fell off. There was no doubting her work though, she was sharp, she would text him the flight details, hotel details and all was smooth. Hazel knew how stressful his job could be, so the less he had to worry about the better.

There was something going on his head of late, she could tell, he seemed distracted, she knew he was getting tired of the travel, swapping one time zone for another several times a week and felt the gloss was coming off the job. The trade had been unionised for almost a year now, and become a very different trade to the one either of them signed up for. He was indeed thinking of knocking it on the head, and although he didn’t realise, his reasons were word for word, the same as his assistants. For example the health and safety officer has decided, any jobs above ground floor must adhere to the “working safely” booklet, a list of suppliers for the correct safety gear and correct elevation guidelines. We now have health and benefits insurance, travel insurance and frequent flyer miles, and he understood this, but wearing a safety harness while in a tree on a job, does not make for a quick or quiet get away, let alone discrete perching, all that clanging of chains and squeaking pulleys. The post job reports he had to fill out, in triplicate to assert he had take the correct measures during his work, safety glasses worn, high visibility vest worn while outside of the car, certificated suppliers only, filling out the full HACCP reports prior to undertaking a job, all this paperwork has to leave a trail, does it not?

He was the proverbial lone gun man, he didn’t want to work as part of a co-op, he didn’t want to submit a portion of his fee to them for membership, health plan and pension. His life expectancy was not high in this job, he may not even make the end of next week, let alone retirement. There are enough son’s looking for revenge of a fathers death, many, many people in high positions would give a limb to know he is dead. The only benefit from being made to join this co-op was the rule that none of its members were allowed to take up a contract on another member. Oh yeah, there were some real nasty buggers amongst them, some no more than a serial killer doing it for cash. Some would kidnap their targets and then take their time, there were the soviet block trained killers now free to take up private contracts, tortures in between coup’s, ex armed forces snipers and mobsters in between jobs. It was the mafia trained killers who really like to play with you, like a cat with a mouse, the mouse will not survive, but they are more fun alive, until they are not.

He glanced over his surroundings, he sat perched behind the the first L of the Hollywood sign, and trained his scope on some youngsters, maybe late teens early 20’s frolicking in the pool in some millionaires back garden, how care free their lives seemed to be and how he wished for this life, not spent constantly looking over his shoulder. He had his off shore accounts in banks whose only questions were, “how are you today” and “what size denominations would you like”. He could access his cash from anywhere he had an internet signal, delivered to a location of his choice within the hour, a credit card that was accepted everywhere. He had a boat being delivered to the Marina del Rey later that week. He planned to sail off in to the sunset, with a full set of clean paperwork, in a name he had not used before.

This was going to be his last job, of that he was certain, once the target was dead, he would phone his girl Friday to tell her to press the red button to the left of the door on her way out. He had taken care of her too with a bumper bonus, so she will never have to work again if she chose not to. She was as much a part of his success, and deserved to be rewarded. It should not be long now, his target was due. Always vary your habits if you ever get to a point in life where scary men whisper your name in the shadows and mark you for death. Why? Because it makes men like him work twice as hard to find a place to pick you off. This guy here, leaves work and drives home for lunch everyday. He leaves at spot on the same time, he drives the same road, in the same car, at the same speed, every day. He gets home bang on the same time, spends the same amount of time at home, then drives back to work. You could set your watch by him. In a few minutes his retirement will begin, concentration kicked in.

As he sat, mentally counting down the seconds, his breathing slowed to a controlled pace, he found his spot, a length of straight road, trained his scope on the stop sign at the far end, and waited, 10…9…8…7 relax in to the stock, feel its silky smooth caress of his cheek, 6…5…4…follow, imagine where he is going to be when the bullet arrives, 3…2…1, POP, the muffled sound of death through the silencer, he took a look down range to see the little red convertible his target was driving lose control, tumbling from the road and bursting in to flames. He put his rifle down, picked up his binoculars and surveyed the scene. There was no visible body on the road or verge, he thought he could make out a human shape behind the wheel, through the flames. He would venture down there as soon as he had dismantled the gun and returned it to his case.

He did stop on his way past and offered his help, he had a small first aid kit if they needed, but he knew this was far beyond the scope of his travel med kit. His target was indeed still behind the wheel, but the only remorse Dave felt was for the destruction of One of Italian motoring’s finest piece of poetry in the key of V12.

He arrived in his suite at the Marina Del Rey hotel and took a long breath of slaty air, held it momentarily, and exhaled. He gazed over the multitude of boats as they gently bobbed in the almost calm water. He cracked open his bottle of Single cask Jack Daniels, poured a generous four fingers, and began his long awaited retirement.

For those of you who are wondering what the red button to the left of the door did, it was a crude but very effective device. He had told his girl Friday on her first day, that if ever she was told to press the button she had five minutes to vacate the vicinity once it had been pressed. It was longer that a five minute delay, but if you only thought you had five minutes to get away, you would not dilly dally on the way out, he also told her she could never enter the building again, so to be sure she had all her belongings with her, once pressed it could not be un-pressed. It did however, have a longer fuse, she would be tucked up in bed before the chemical reaction begun. Once the reaction started, it was a matter of seconds before the bomb, went boom, a boom big enough to destroy any evidence of his business or DNA of either of the two of them. He had placed the bomb in a Christian bookshop below his office, in a time of religious friction as the world was in today, it was more feasible someone wanted to blow the shop up, than the recruitment consultants office above.

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