The story of a professional assassin, who takes on a job that ends up being a little more complicated than it initially seems...
"Can you see him?"
"Yes. He is sitting in his office. His secretary is with him. She should leave soon enough."
I am sitting in an abandoned apartment, opposite a towering office block. In my hands is a heavily customized C14 Timberwolf sniper rifle. In office across the road is Rodney Williams, a New York businessman.
Someone is paying me a lot of money to kill him.
I sit at the window until his secretary leaves. It's lunch, and she won't be back for another hour. Neither will anyone else, Mr Williams works over his lunch break whilst the rest of his staff take a rest. I have been watching his office for several days now. A few innocent questions and lots of patience have paid off with this moment.
I put my eye to the scope again, this time lying down on the bed I've set up in just the right position. In the faint cross-hairs Rodney frowns over a particularly vexing piece of paper. I pull the trigger. He collapses instantly, the shot makes little sound on the street below: at this range I can put a bullet through a window with a silencer. No one will notice his death until one of his staff come to hand him the afternoon papers in, I check my watch, about fifty five minutes.
Time to move then. Dressed in ordinary-looking clothes, with the rifle packed into an ordinary-looking briefcase, I leave the apartment quietly, locking the door behind me as I go. There are a few tenants on the third floor, arguing over who's turn it is to mop the stairwell. They pay me no heed as I walk past.
As I step into the street, by phone rings again. I look at the name on the screen. Sarah.
I don't know whether that is her real name, but I doubt it. No one in this business has less than three aliases. She is, for want of a better term, my boss.
"Well, James, how'd it go?"
"Beautifully, sounded just great too. I wish you could have seen her play. I'm sure you would have loved it."
"I'm sure I would dear. Mr Smith will arrange for fees to be paid electronically, he is most impressed by her performance."
"Ah, that is good to hear. See you soon dear."
An innocent enough conversation, and, if questioned, I know a piano teacher and a sixteen-year-old girl who will swear on oath that I was present at my 'daughter's' lesson that afternoon just down the road from my current location. And whilst Sarah might not be my wife, if push came to shove she would be able to produce 'evidence' that we have been partners for years. As she could for any of her employees. When you get paid as much as we do, you can afford alibis enough to persuade even the most doubtful court.
"Darling, before you hang up, I have a few things I need you to pick up at the grocers, be a dear and get them for me, would you?"
Another job. So soon too. I smile: I like my work.
"Sure honey, I'll go get them now, love you."
In retrospect, I really should have suspected something then. We normally got a few jobs a month, spread over seven people. Getting another job so quickly was really unusual. But I didn't think about that.
I really, really should've.