Fidel's Angel

April 10, 2012
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The echo’s of his thick Cuban accent rang out onto the balcony. In the distance I could see his guards standing around him, up on the adjacent buildings they stood with their rifles from their allies from the far north. I know if I’m to do this, I should do it fast, and I should do it right. The weight of the whole world may be resting on my shoulders. Each word he speaks is closer to his last. I may not like my job but it’s the assignment I have been given. Kill Castro, prevent war.
Taking out one of the most infamous dictators of our time isn’t going to be an easy task, that’s why they put me in charge. I’ve got a fifteen minute window to take the shot. When my time runs out, several armed guards will be coming back to their post. I open my briefcase, and start quickly assembling my rifle. One bullet is all I have, one bullet is all I should be needing. I feel the notches slide in place, and feel the cool steel trigger, the gun gleams like an angel, but does the work of a demon. The work of a demon is my profession. Deep down I don’t really understand this revolution. I don’t understand why we need to be fighting it. I force myself to stop, this is the opposite way I should be thinking when I’m about to make the most important move of my life.
I move away from the thought and focus back on the task at hand. I slide the bullet into it’s chamber, like a pawn moving into place in this elaborate game of chess I’ve been playing since I arrived on the island. All there is to do now, is get focused in for the shot. I raise the rifle up onto the ledge, balancing it on the edge of the balcony. Looking down the sights I can see him. A cigar sticks out of him mouth, watching his lungs absorb the sweet smoke I hesitate for an instant. Allowing him a little bit longer to enjoy his smoke, knowing it will be the last bit of joy he will experience. Why do I allow him this? I ask myself. Do I feel sympathy for this man? A tremble overtakes me. I put down the rifle knowing I’d never make the shot in my current condition.
What am I doing? Why is this happening? Do I not realize the seriousness of the situation? I break out in a cold sweat. Before I take another one of my shallow spazmatic breaths I’m soaked in it. Each second I waste could be one too many. I reach into my satchel and take out a small bottle of pills. They’re mood stabilizers and should eliminate my trembling. In an instant I am feeling better, most likely a placebo effect but it’s better not to think about these things. I clank the rifle back onto the edge of the balcony it rinks the sound of the aluminum pipe all the way down to the edge of the building. Looking back down the sights I can see him again. I see the man, yet I don’t know who it is I’m looking at. I know so little about this man they sent me to kill.
I knew in this moment that I wasn’t going to be able to take the shot. A terrible sense of guilt and betrayal to my country overtook me. I had been sent in the best sniper the United States had, and I had failed them. I had to do something I thought. I couldn’t just not fire a shot, it would look suspicious. So I decided to instead take a shot that would just barely miss him. Focusing in, I brought the cross hairs up right next to his head. Then moved it to the right ever so slightly. Without further thought, I allowed myself to pull the trigger. A roar from the crowd rings out, instinctively I throw everything back into the suitcase, quickly disassembling my rifle and shoving the shell into my pocket. I can’t leave a trace of evidence for anyone. I moved so quickly, but I wasn’t in control. All my actions weren’t being made consciously. Because in my conscious I was focused on trying to put together why I did what I did. Why I couldn’t have just done what I was told. Why couldn’t I kill this man and why did I have to betray my country. So many thoughts stirred through my head that I wasn’t even paying attention to what I was doing, currently I was racing down flights upon flights of steps. I had to get to the boat before it left me behind, as well as dodge the army of Castro’s men who would soon be looking for me.
The run to the boat felt like a dream, all I know is that I failed and I should live the rest of my life in wonderment and in shame.

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