Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Performance Review

I’m not going to tell you my name, so you can forget about all that. The location where I am ready to confront a lifetime’s worth of sins will remain confidential. Specifics are not important.

What is important is how the cabin, at which I currently reside, sits alone in the forest. A hilltop view overlooking a tear drop blue lake. Pine trees surround the property and there is only one road. In other words, a perfect spot to bunker down and wipe the slate clean.

I have killed people—a lot of people. Call me a professional but cease with the monster talk. The majority of targets were men, some women, but never children. You kill enough people along the way and a trail of broken hearts follows behind. Eventually one of those broken hearts picks up a gun.

The rain is peaceful tonight, like little kittens prancing on the roof. The muggy pine smell takes me back to early Christmas mornings. A midsummer storm, perfect for masking gun shots.

He is coming today. I feel it.

A subpar hitman will meet his fate when he least expects it. An angered party of the recently deceased will creep up behind then BANG! No more mister hitman.

An adequate hitman will spot his murderers long before they even consider how feasible it is to kill him. That’s when one fair hitman baits his murderer into a trap. My preferred method is this beautiful cabin. One hundred percent visibility in all directions except when freak storms pass through.

Now the professionals, the remarkable types, administer the same trap as the adequate ones. Only (and this is key) they survive.

But I didn’t plan for the storm.

The rain has shifted from kittens to lions. Traversing the road would be damn near impossible. So would hearing footsteps in the surrounding brush.

My only source of light is the faint orange glow creeping into the bathroom from the bedroom. I can see my face in the mirror as I sit on the bathtub’s edge. My eyes become more war-torn each passing year. How many times have I waited in the dark for my murderer? I’ve lost count.

“We have been here before,” I think as my hand embraces the Browning revolver that has never jammed on me. “But it wasn’t storming the other times.”

The rain may be punishing the roof but it’s not loud enough to drown out the sound of splintering wood.

Ah, the ol’ crowbar in the front door. He is no professional, but they never are. The wood gives way with ease sending my front door into the wall. A couple framed photos drop with glass-shattering results.

He wears boots—muddy boots that squish against the wooden floors. All is still, but only for a moment, then the lone bedroom light pulls the snarling beast towards me. Vengeance is the goal. Notions of stealth and personal welfare are simply distractions. He is passionate about this kill. Perhaps I have taken a lover or a sibling from him.

The bedroom door crashes into the side wall from the force of his kick. I can almost feel the weight on his chest from the adrenaline-bred panting. He had spent weeks planning his revenge and now the moment has come. I would like to think he smiles a bit, but I’ll never know. I can’t see his face from the bathroom.

He fires into the body shaped pillow pile on the bed. The blasts are tiny pops, more than likely a nine mil.

Silence now. He’s realizing his mistake. Panic takes hold.

That’s when I reveal myself, revolver at the ready. My murderer, dressed all in black, turns to face his fate. Only he is a she. The sweater hood drops setting free plenty of golden curls. Sorrow swollen eyes, rosy windburned cheeks—I could not discern the tears from the raindrops. A childlike innocence gone before her high school graduation.

I don’t know what hurts more: how this deb blames me for all her suffering or realizing that I’m only adequate.

I tongue my arid lips. “I’m no monster.”

Then BANG!