“We had Beirut.”
“We had Beirut.”
“Mumbai was good.”
“And Caracas. Especially Caracas.”
“It’s sad it has to end.”
“You could always come over.”
She stubbed out her Gauloises on the already scarred nightstand.
The garret felt hot and dry; outside she could hear the city softly crying itself to sleep.
The time for tears was over.
“We could have made quite a team.”
“We were quite a team. Unofficially.”
Nobody knew the truth, not even in the official sealed reports labeled Ultra Top Secret, buried in lead-lined vaults so deep and publicly denied so often that even their existence was forgotten…
…or the stuff of legend.
They made quite a pair, one working for this side, one working for that side.
Years of surgery transformed him, changed him, altered him. Years of training and a fanatical devotion to duty enabled him to stay at the top of the game.
He looked so harmless, so innocent.
An adept in nirodha yoga, he could remain motionless for hours, his heart slowed to an imperceptible murmur, his breathing so shallow as to escape detection, his brain operating below even the lowest detectable delta wave frequencies.
He would be a gift to a diplomat’s daughter, a present, a souvenir.
He would sit motionless on a shelf or a dresser in the child’s bedroom, or even tucked in next to the little girl as she slept.
Then, in the dead of night, he would creep out to spy on the diplomats, to learn their secrets, to betray their confidences, to thwart their plans.
He was a great secret agent, and he sacrificed much to the cause, but underneath the plastic surgery and hormone treatments he remained a man.
With a man’s wants and needs and desires.
She came from the filthy back alleys of Wahiawa, daughter of an apostate Mormon stripper, stepchild to a dozen and one soldiers and sailors and other skilled practitioners of homicide.
Her surrogate fathers liked her, and taught her well, well enough for recruiters to notice her and find her and offer her a job at the one thing she did really skillfully, the one thing she truly loved: Killing men.
They taught her all the tricks of the trade that she didn’t already know, then turned her loose and watched in amazement as she invented brand new tricks.
Her original orders were to kill him, only nobody knew who he was, much less what he was or what he looked like.
By the time she learned his secret, she was already in love with him.
She killed his handler on that first mission, and told her handlers that the dead man had been the spy.
She didn’t tell her side that she had kidnapped the real spy, and kept him locked safely in a toy box in her closet.
He escaped, of course, but he couldn’t hate her; that was impossible.
She excited him, aroused him, summoned forth feelings he never thought he’d experience again.
His cause be damned:
She was his woman.
They hid their relationship from their superiors, and she had to hide his true nature from her side as well.
The noose began tightening around them, however. Questions were being asked, demands were being made.
Their brief and sporadic hours of happiness came further and further apart, until finally they came to the one they knew would be the last, the climax (as it were) to their relationship.
“Are you afraid?”
“No, my dear.”
They both knew at best only one of them would leave the garret alive, albeit wounded non-fatally in the heart.
The Latvian was the best assassin for hire. There were men — and one woman — better than he, but they were all committed players.
The Latvian would work for anyone who would pay him.
Who to shoot first? she wondered.
If she shot her lover then the Latvian (she could sense him, practically smell him lurking near the edge of the garret window) would doubtlessly kill her.
And if she shot the Latvian, wouldn’t her lover spring forward with a concealed switchblade and stab her through the heart?
You already stabbed me through the heart, you bastard.
A faint creak on the roof:
The time of decisions had passed.
Whipping out her customized 9mm Taurus PT92 from under her pillow, she fired a single impeccably aimed, instinctively guided Barnes TAC-XP round through the head of her lover and into the heart of the Latvian.
The Latvian blinked in surprise and died with a look of disappointment on his face, as if he’d already been mentally spending his bonus.
Her lover just lay there motionless — genuinely, for once – his now truly lifeless eyes staring at the cockroaches mating on the ceiling.
She gave him a last chaste kiss on the cheek, her tears soaking his fur, then dressed, turned out the lights, left the garret, and locked the door behind her.
Sixteen hours later she crouched atop the Chrysler Building in Manhattan with a 7.62mm Dragunov SVD-63 sniper rifle.
But that’s another story…
text © Buzz Dixon