I stepped outside, the dusk sun a descending bright orange ball of heat. I could feel perspiration's looming threat. I have been doing this for almost a year now, yet I am still a bundle of nerves before receiving my assignment. Who will it be today? A straying housewife? A student who cannot pay his study loans? Perhaps an animal abuser who gets his kicks from an innocent's suffering? It matters not, i suppose. As long as their name is on my list, they will be receiving me in short order.
I trudged along to my car, a silent presence, undetected and overlooked in the throng of humanity. My eyes scanned the road, instinctively looking for threats. It has become a natural action now, to drive defensively and avoid attention. I became just another driver, commuting about our daily lives, immersed in the rat race. Day in, day out, the routine was stifling. But it is a living, in a mundane sort of way. I wished mine was the same. I have seen enough of humanity's darkness.
I pulled up at the sidewalk, a discreet distance so as to avoid the pungent fumes emanating from the pipeline. With a languid gait, i made my way into the back entrance, avoiding prying eyes. The Management frowned upon us being seen by the public. The place was a cacophony of sound. Men screaming at each other, yet giving no offence and taking none. The familiar brotherhood of our organisation relaxed me somewhat, and my lips creased into a small smile.
"Oi, you!" a beefy man rumbled, his cigarette pointing in my general direction. I eyed him, waiting. "About bloody time you got here. Your assignment is waiting round back. Don't be dragging your feet about it either, boyo," he continued, once he knew he had my attention. His arms never stopped moving. Hands toughened from years of hard work in constant motion. The same hands could snap a neck in a single motion, of that, i had no doubt.
I waved at him in acknowledgement and sauntered to another room. This one was quieter, calmer. A few people milled about, shuffling paperwork that was a chore, yet necessary, quite necessary, in our line of work. You simply could not trust computers in this day and age. A well-dressed man approached me, disdain obvious on his face. I knew people like him. People who looked down on us yet knew they needed us to get the job done, never dirtying their cuff-linked hands to do what's required of us.
He handed me a set of keys along with a palm-sized piece of paper. "Here's your assignment. Don't mess it up, and don't be late," he ordered, his tone clipped and his nose wrinkled in disgust. "Yessuh," i drawled insolently. A man is judged not by how he treats his betters, but his lessers. Mr. Cufflinks obviously had not learnt this lesson. But he will, one day. Perhaps i would be the one to teach it to him. The thought amused me, and i shot him another impudent grin before walking out.
I studied the slip of paper in my palm, jiggling the keys. Hmmm, not too far today, i mused. Cufflinks need not have worried, there will be no risk of me completing the job late. A bell was rung, catching my attention. My eyes were drawn to an attractive brunette who smiled at me impishly. She was petite, reaching only my shoulders. A proportionately buxom figure that her crisp black dress shirt failed to hide appealed to me. Immensely.
She grinned, catching me in the act and took pleasure in it.
"Like what you see, buster?" she asked while putting a hand on her hip. "You know i do. You're the reason i continue to do what i do," i replied, blowing her a kiss. She laughed, a musical sound at odds with the sounds of the bustling room. "Yeah, yeah, flattery will get you anywhere. Here's your package. Be careful, i wouldn't want to stop seeing that pretty face of yours dropping by," she winked at me as she passed me a box. It contains everything I will need for this job.
I blew her another kiss and exited the building from the same back entrance. Making my way towards my assigned vehicle, i passed a street bum who looked at me consideringly. I knew he was tempted to call out for alms, but the hard set of my jaw and the flinty look in my eyes convinced him otherwise. I studied him in return. He was skin and bones, the street life has toughened and darkened his skin into a leathery look. Dull eyes hungry for food, desperate and fearful.
I had the power to end his suffering. With a twist of the box i held, i could ensure that no hunger pangs would trouble him this night. It was tempting, but i held back. It was not yet his time, and i had a job to do. I could not indulge in my whims and neither was it my place to end his suffering. I moved on.
I found the vehicle that i was given the keys to: a nondescript motorcycle that could easily blend in with and navigate the rush hour crowd. I knew this particular neighbourhood like the back of my hand. The apartment complex was home to the middle class. I wondered briefly what my target does with his life, and pushed the thought out of my head. It had no bearing on my job, and it will not help me in any case. I started the engine and made my way into traffic, another anonymous commuter.
I arrived at the apartment with time to spare, but was stuck behind a few vehicles that security insisted on checking before allowing entry. I checked the id card i carried for such purposes. Apartment security is easy to get around if you knew what you were doing. Rent-a-cops like these were bored and unstimulated. What do you expect from people earning minimum wage? If you think you can rely on them to provide security, you are dead wrong. Or you might just be dead.
Finally, after precious minutes have gone by, it was my turn. "Yes, what do you want?" the security person asked in a bored tone. "Special delivery, for apartment B 24-6," i replied confidently, an easy smile on my face. "You can leave it with us, we'll take it to them," said the guard. Blast, i hate it when they do that. I glanced at my watch surreptitiously, i had 5 minutes before the deadline.
"Nah, it's alright. I need him to sign off on it, and he's expecting me. I don't want to be late, bro. Please? " i cajoled in a pleading tone. These types love it when you acknowledged their importance and pandered to their ego. He thought for a moment, then he gave me a nod and buzzed me in. Yes, I am in! I parked my bike underneath a tree and proceeded to the elevator. I was very nearly late.
Adrenaline coursed through my veins. I had to maintain my calm as i strode quickly to the unit. I rang the bell, heart beating fast, package at the ready. The door swung open, a middle-aged man peered out at me. I looked him in the eyes and saw surprise, denial and finally, acceptance. "You're very nearly late. I thought I'd be able to escape paying for this," he said with a mockingly sad smile on his face.
"Well, i was kinda worried about the time too, but as you can see, sir, right on the minute," i grinned, passing over the package. "Enjoy your pizza, sir!" i said cheerfully, walking unhurriedly back to the elevator lobby. Mission accomplished!
Hehe Sorry for the lame ending but inspiration hit me to write about a pizza delivery in a hired killer setting that i must put pen to paper (or finger to screen, as it were) my thoughts today.