Happy Birthday, Hitman

by Steve Gosling

The call had come in during the early afternoon. An anonymous client, most likely a politician or an eager young executive, had contacted him on his private line; the one reserved for strictly business. The caller had offered fifty thousand for a simple hit.

He went about the paces, tying back his long black hair into a neat ponytail, held back behind his pointed elven ears by a simple black band. He moved into the apartment's egalitarian bathroom and set about grooming, always up to looking his best. While in the process of shaving, his girlfriend entered the small room.

Angel was a petite young woman, with strawberry blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes. He loved her because she was an eternal optimist, which served as an effective balance to his often-somber mood. She was a splash of color in his stark business oriented world. That night she was wearing a cute pair of red shorts and a snug white T-shirt, and as usual, she was smiling.

"What's the birthday boy up to?" she asked, pushing her way in behind him and hugging around his waist.

"I've got business," he curtly responded. "I'll be back later." She knew better than to ask.

She simply reached around him, turning his face to the side and planting a small peck on his cheek. "That's all right babe," she said, her voice melodic to his ears. "I've got some preparing to do for later so I'm heading out myself." With that said, she absently checked her hair in the bathroom mirror and headed out of the room.

He finished with the shaving process and packed up the kit, then made his way to the simply furnished bedroom. Opening his small closet, he selected a gray dress shirt, black Armante Secure Suit, a dark pattern tie, and a pair of dress shoes. As he began to dress, he began to reflect upon his relationship with Angel.

Angel knew what he did for a living; she pretended not to. He knew that much, however. His job was not without danger though. This put her in danger as well, and he cared more about her life than his own; he would be nothing without her.

As he finished dressing, he straightened his tie and retrieved a shoulder holster from his top drawer. It held an Ares Predator, his signature weapon, with integral silencer. As he strapped the weapon on, he made a vow to himself and for Angel: this was his last run.

He again adjusted his tie, as he headed to the closet, taking out a black long jacket, and pocketing his keys. On the elevator ride down, he goes over the job. Medium sized condo complex in a well to do section of Seattle, one target - all he has is a name - living alone. The motive for the murder was not given, and he had not asked for one. As he steps off the elevator he checks his gold watch: seven o'clock, he is a half an hour ahead of plan.

He goes out into the parking lot and gets into his car, a nondescript black Westwind 2000, a model so many executives drive. He puts the car in gear and pulls out of the lot. On route he thinks about the hit, Angel, the ring in his pocket, and how it will all be over tonight. He arrives early.

He makes no hurry of strolling through the plush lobby, and to the double bank of elevators. He admires the tasteful artwork displayed throughout the foyer and whistles a few chords of a song no one ever wrote. When he gets into the elevator, he hits the number ten and stands back, waiting. He removes the Predator from its holster, and checks that the safety is off.

When the elevator arrives he steps off, keeping the heavy pistol out of sight as he makes his way to number 1027. He stops in front of the door, with its emblazoned gold numbers, and takes a deep breath. This is the last stop, he thinks to himself, this one's for Angel.

In a flash he lashes out and kicks through the thin wooden door, sending splinter shrapnel scattering throughout the darkened room. He spots a silhouette in the dim light and fires to silent shots.

His vision is suddenly blinded as the lights are turned on. The room is decorated for a party, and all of his friends are there. Even his Johnson has made the trip.

"Surprise," they yell, cheering and saluting him in various fashions. "Happy Birthday!" He is enraptured by the spectacle, and stops to take in the cleverness of the ruse which drew him here. His rapture, however, is cut short by the piercing scream of one of the guests.

His eyes are drawn down to the floor where a grim scene assails him. Lying prone on the richly carpeted floor of the condo is his only love in life: Angel. Her angelic face forever marred by two gaping holes.

©1998, Steve Gosling - used with permission