A kitchen table sat in the center of an empty meadow. Two men approached from opposite sides. It was a long walk for each of them.
The men sat down. One had a cigarette. One didn’t. Neither had a name.
“I’m quitting,” Agent M said.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Agent G said. He was the one with the cigarette.
“I’ve begun to see it as killing,” Agent M said. “I have to quit.”
“What was it before?” Agent G said. “All along?”
“Voluntary termination,” Agent M said. “They wanted to die. I was simply the means.”
“They all just lined up to be shot?” Agent G said.
“In a sense,” Agent M said. “They grew tired of life. Their experience in this world had ended. I helped them move on.”
“Why didn’t they just kill themselves?” Agent G said.
“Because drama plays out,” Agent M said. “We all live within a framework. The system dictates the rules. They needed to be murdered to get out.”
“An interesting justification,” Agent G said. “Why has it failed you now?”
Both men paused to take a breath. Agent G lit another cigarette. Agent M didn’t. The meadow yawned quietly. It was a place where nuclear war had never struck.
“I just played my part,” Agent M said. “Every actor gets used up someday.”
Agent G nodded. “Doesn’t mean there isn’t still killing to be done,” he said.”Quitters make us all look bad.”
“My apologies,” Agent M said. “Morality hinders all human progress, doesn’t it?”
“Only the guilty perish,” Agent G said. “What more can you ask than an infallible system like that?”
“We never even know,” Agent M said, “where our instructions are coming from. Who’s ordering these killings, anyway?”
“I think it’s God,” Agent G said.
“God uses contract killers?” Agent M said.
“All the time,” Agent G said. “Right there in the Bible.”
An ant crossed the table. The two men waited until it was through.
“I’ll kill anyone,” Agent M said, “who tries to stop me from not killing anymore.”
“That’s why they sent me,” Agent G said.
“To kill the killer?” Agent M said.
Agent G nodded. Both men had guns hidden under the table. One was probably faster than the other. Soon they would find out which.