Rain, Rain On My Face

By , North Bend, WA
He didn't remember the first time he had touched a gun. He must have been very young because the ease with which he handled them was the same cold detachment with which another person handled a butter knife. Working with weapons was simply part of his life, part of what made him the person he was. There was no dark emotional struggle that he had to deal with when he separated his ammunition from the guns and put all of his equipment away. There was no flash of guilt and no stabbing of remorse when he washed his hands clean of blood. It was business.

During the days, he was the loving, devoted husband. He worked from eight in the morning to four o'clock in the afternoon. He returned home to greet his wife, and they ate dinner together. He kissed her lips before she went to take an evening bath or read a book by the fire or went outside to garden and claimed he was off to the country club to play poker and drink brandy with his friends. It was a nightly ritual, one that had been in place since the early days of their marriage, and it was a wonderful, comforting habit. His wife would smile, kiss him, and tell him to say hello to his friends for her. He would promise with a smile and then leave, picking up his briefcase from where he left it in the living room as he went out the door.

But he wasn't headed to the country club.

In his black BMW, he drove to the inner city, to where crime lords were king and chaos overruled law. He left his car in a different car garage every night and went to the nearest restroom. There, he changed from his crisp white shirts and pressed black slacks to dark jeans and black t-shirts. His expensive Italian loafers were replaced with running shoes, and he fastened a holster around his left ankle, tucking a pistol into it. Around his right went a knife. Straightening up, he would slide his arms into a leather jacket, one that would conceal the Beretta at his hip. The Beretta had always been his favorite gun.

Now he was ready to begin the hunt.

He worked for no one, but he frequently worked with crime lords to eliminate their various enemies for cash or personal favors to be called in at a later date. And tonight, he had his prey: a man named Javier Rosenberg.

Rosenberg was known for his cocaine habit and for his nasty temper. He was often involved with the worst kind of men (and women, the very thought of which made the hunter grimace with the thought of all of the diseases Rosenberg had probably contracted). He was getting greedy, and that was why he needed to be eliminated. He was demanding a lower price for his drugs, and he was killing good salesmen in the process.

Which was not very sporting of him at all.

The hunter casually left the restroom where he had changed and melded into the crowd of people awake for the nightlife of the city. Here, he was one in a million, and no one would be able to recognize him in a police line-up, if they were asked about him in regards to a murder. No one would, except Javier. But Javier would be dead. So the hunter didn't suppose that was too much of a problem.

The hunter easily made it to Javier's last known location. The information was solid: he'd just gotten a text message from one of the drug lords when Javier had completed a transaction with one of his salesmen, not five minutes previous. Javier would be high as a kite, and he wouldn't be able to fight back.

Granted, the hunter smirked to himself, Rosenberg wouldn't have much of a chance. He wasn't like a Hollywood assassin. He didn't stop to make silly banter with his victims. He didn't pause to enumerate the reasons he was involved with this line of work. He didn't consider if this was right or wrong. He merely did the deed and collected his payment so he could return home to his wife.

Ascending the stairs into the seedy apartment building, the hunter was nearly stopped by a prostitute with caked-on makeup and who smelled like sex and cheap perfume. His entire countenance hardened, and he refused to touch the woman who was attempting to proposition him. He merely removed his Beretta from its holster at its hip and pressed the end almost lovingly against her abdomen. The prostitute froze and started to babble an apology, moving out of the way. He covered her mouth with a hand and shot her.

He removed his hand and watched her body drop to the ground with a loud thump. But in this neighborhood, no one would pause. He watched her blood spill onto the stairs, a feral grin sharpening his features. In the dim light, his eyes nearly twinkled.

But he continued moving on. She was a momentary diversion. Rosenberg was mere yards away. He could feel it. The death of the prostitute had only served to sharpen his desire to see Rosenberg dead.

The hunter counted the doors on the left until he came to Rosenberg's apartment. He touched the handle, but the door swung open. Rosenberg hadn't even bothered to close it after he'd closed the drug deal. The hunter snarled. It was almost too easy. But a good assassin didn't despise an easy kill. A kill was a kill. Dead was dead. Either way, he was paid.

The hunter entered the room with military silence, checking each room he came upon quickly before continuing on. He found Rosenberg in the last room to the right, and the man looked jittery. He smirked. High as a kite.

"Who the hell are you?" Rosenberg demanded, his words slurring together because he was speaking so quickly.

The hunter didn't answer. He just pulled the trigger and watched Javier Rosenberg die. He took a quick Polaroid of the dead body and left the apartment building. Rosenberg would rot and would be discovered once the stink of his corpse rose above the stink of unwashed bodies and stale sex.

The hunter met his contact at the street corner and showed him the developing picture. The contact nodded and handed over a wad of cash. With the money safely in his pocket, he left for his car. He retrieved his clothes, changed in a different restroom than before, and returned to his BMW. A quick stop at the bank, as there were several banks that were open till quite late, and he returned home.

His smiling wife greeted him from the couch, a book in her hand, and he kissed her. She mentioned he smelled odd, and he laughed and told her one of his friends had gotten a bit crazy and even lit a cigar, an exotic one from Colombia. It smelled bad, he told her. She nodded and told him to take a shower. He obliged her, and he thought no more of the rotting corpse of Javier Rosenberg.





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