When you see someone die, they get permanent squatter’s rights in your brain. Look, I’m no hardened killer, death was never my preferred profession. It was never just work for me. It was always personal.
I had shot someone in the shoulder. He had come to my house. Mafia guy. I had debts, he was collecting. Apparently, he had debts, too.
“Finish me off.” He said, gritting his teeth.
He hadn’t suspected to me to use a weapon. Unfortunately for him I was more than a little angry, and he had brought a bat. I knew I had a solid line of legal defense. I had let him in, told him I was going to get the money, and then shot him from a safe distance. Who’d they believe, a mafioso or me?
“Why? I’m sure the authorities have already been called-”
“Do it, or they’ll use my family as leverage. Please.”
“I’m not going down on a murder charge.”
“Fine. Just hand me a knife. You can do that, at least?”
“Are you su-”
I took a cloth out from on top of the counter and used it to grab a knife from the rack. I handed it to him.
He had been shot in the left shoulder, so he grabbed with his right hand. Then he stabbed it right into his stomach.
And that was it. He was dead. He wasn’t the first person to die in front of me. The cops came and took me away. Soon enough, I was out scot-free. That didn’t solve the whole “no money” problem though, and now I had a butthurt mafia looking for revenge.
I had served in the military, drafted. I was decent at killing people, I knew that much.
I saw things ending one of two ways. Either I was going to die, or someone in the mafia was. So, how do you get at the mob? Being a cop was out of the question, what with the dishonorable discharge and all. Being a member of a rival crime syndicate? Hell of a lot easier. I already had a pretty damn good resume.
I got the job. The mob was smart, they saw me for what I was, a loose cannon that was already pointed at their enemy. All they had to do was light the fuse. Of course, I would swivel right back them when I was done, but they didn’t expect me to live that long.
They gave me a sniper rifle and a list of targets. I shot every single one. Some of them were mafia guys, sure, but I had to shoot them all just the same. Old granny? If she was on the list, she got shot.
I got to know these people, in a perverse sort of way. Their daily habits, who they spoke to, where they ate. It was my job to know. I’d report my findings, and the syndicate would choose their preferred location. They always had a flair for the dramatic.
My first job was a low-ranking mafioso.
It was a muggy august morning, way too hot for the hour of day. Guy slithers out of his apartment, so I tail him. He’s wearing a suit, so he’s sweating like a pig the whole time. Picks up two things from a deli. One’s a ham and swiss- I got in line behind him- and the other a kilo of cocaine. Guy was a dealer. He eats lunch and then hits the usual suspects, the regulars. Even offers a bit for free to some guy in an alley, hoping to get a new regular. Then, he starts going to a more upscale neighborhood. Now the suit starts making sense. He makes a couple more transactions, much more discreet this time. Guy takes a quick sit on a park bench to count his stacks. Looks happy, must’ve sold through his whole stock. Next, I see him pick a bit off, and he puts the rest in the coat pocket. The other bit, he sticks in his wallet. Smooth operator, might have a bit of a future in the underworld. Guy heads back, but goes to a different restaurant, Chinese this time. I don’t follow him in, don’t want to chance him recognizing me. Guy pops out an hour later, nursing his right arm. Not that smooth, then. Either way, that takes care of work. Guy heads back to his apartment. I roast in the sun for an hour or so. Guy leaves again, this time with a woman. Girlfriend, wife maybe. He’s wearing a white dress shirt, different one most likely, with black slacks. She’s wearing some slinky red evening dress. He’s got his hair slicked back. More than just a date, probably a party. My suspicions are proven correct when they enter a nightclub. At least it’s not as hot out while they’re in there. They drift out hours later, intoxicated and exhausted. I notice the guy taking a sniff, probably from a bit of his own product. The two eventually make it back to their apartment.
Another time or two trialing him reveals three locations, The deli, the park, and the Chinese place. Syndicate chooses a place, the Deli, to send a sign that they know where the mafia’s doing business. They set me up with an apartment with a view, and I shoot the guy right as he’s walking up to the joint. I leave the place before anybody can snoop around.