The sweltering heat of a mid-June sun beats down relentlessly on his face. He's always hated mid-western summers, especially the ones in Kansas, and for the moment he can't think of why he took this job. Oh right, the two million-dollar pay off for a rather routine hit. That's why. He takes another sip of water from the bottle carefully wrapped in his coat. It is far too hot for it, but also far too necessary. He looks down at the simple green of the army issued jacket and chuckles soundlessly. He never should have brought it in the first place, but at least it keeps the possibility of the water from reflecting off of the damned sun away.
He wipes the sweat from his brow and checks his watch again.
He think it's too damn hot for as early as it is, and promises himself to only take jobs in the southern hemisphere this time of year.
The crowd is gathering slowly, each black tie wearing faceless worker bee properly taking their place among the hive of white fold out chairs. He sighs and takes another sip of water. He's taken out many important people before. Presidents, dictators, ambassadors. From the rich and elite, to the poor yet politically savvy. In the game he's known as the old man even though he's only thirty-two. He knows the nickname spawns mainly from his preference of older military issued rifles and hand guns. His use of surplus landmines and other explosives.
His hands run affectionately up and down the barrel of his M1E7 sniper rifle. It was his grandfather's in his heyday of World War Two. Granddad had kept it clean and well oiled throughout its existence. He uses it for most of his big hits. He knows his peers frown and the slightly heavy nine pounds of the rifle. Some whining that it was too much to hold, too much to keep still. He kept his calm at the comments. He knows the sniveling amateurs wouldn't have lasted a minute in the European wilderness with this strapped to their backs.
He shakes his head and chides himself for losing focus so easily. He takes his binoculars from their perch on an empty box and looks to the group of the men nearest the podium's faces all etched with false predatory smiles. Another building dedicated by their company, another bundle of millions in their bank accounts. He wants to snort with disapproval but knows he is in no position to judge. His only ground for even thinking of condemning these greedy fools was that business, at least in his line of work, was all blunt and in the open.
You paid him.
He killed someone.
As straightforward, at least in his opinion, as business should be conducted. He knows at least half the men down there have an unlisted number of black marks against them. Insider trading, embezzling, black market practices. He knows that with enough money all of these things can be rendered invisible. He has the slight urge just to go rogue and start picking them off one by one, but he knows he is a professional and such urges are to be quelled instantly. He knows half the men and women in his profession already walked the fine line between mercenary and madman. He doesn't bother to pretend he isn't one of them and shuts his mind off.
It's not his job to think about such things.
He wishes the mark would hurry up and speak already. He is getting bored and his mind is wandering. Two things that never should enter the scenario on a job. It only spells disaster.
The kid had left him with an explicate timetable. When the mark finished his well prepared and well to do speech, he was to fire.
Two million easy.
All simple enough.
He swats a pigeon from the ledge and focuses his eyes on the kid. The building he is perched on is a subsidiary of a subsidiary of a subsidiary, of the marks huge multi-national, and he has to hand it to the kid for covering his tracks so well. It's a surprising trait to see it in one so young, but not as surprising once you met him.
If he wasn't so in control of himself he might have gotten chills. The kid seemed that cold.
The ceremony begins and he lifts the rifle carefully from it's resting place in a modified guitar case. Typical but effective. He leaves the cap on the end of the telescope, squints against the harsh light of the afternoon, and waits. He wonders who the redhead standing next to Luthor is. He'd always had a thing for redheads. She looked a litter older than he was. A little homely despite the power suit she wore. Hell, maybe was a little wiser to.
He imagines Luthor as the person the papers and tabloids make him out to be. The stonehearted merciless businessman. The man who slashed thousands of jobs without so much as blinking. The man who would buy your house, kick you out, and burn it to the ground. Just because he could. He thinks of dictators, drug lords, and right wing nationalists. Lionel Luthor seemed no different. He just wore better clothes.
Thinking of the mark as the devil incarnate makes it somewhat easier on someone whom still has the shadow of a conscious. Luthor is now an invalid. Blind as a bat. He feels the smallest hint of pity. He won't let it stop him.
The kid was very insistent on secrecy.
No one is to know he made the hit. No one is to know they'd even spoken. The kid made it very clear, that if he were ever caught, they did not exist to each other. An extra five hundred thousand to be delivered a week later was just a small token of assurance. If he ever spoke, he was to say a Mr. Green hired him. The kid would take care of the rest.
He briefly wonders how a son could hate his father so completely.
But then he remembers it's not his job to think about such things.
Sweat drips down his neck and he wipes it away with a rag while never moving his eyes from the stage. He takes a quick look through his scope and sees that the kid's posture is one of calm. He does not look anxiously at the rooftops. He does not look longingly at the mark. He pays attention to the speech, grins at a few flashbulbs pointed in his direction, and waits.
He gets the feeling the kid's done this before.
Another quick glance at his watch.
He remembers his first job. Tagging along with his father. Some half-wit irate dictator in Central America. His father let him take the shot. His father collected the money. It beat any summer internship he might have gotten in the city. Grandpa was a World War 2 veteran. His father did his time in Viet Nam. He never joined the military because his father didn't see the point. It was in his blood. There was no need to go and train and be yelled at for four years of his life when his father could do all that for him.
The kid is staring at the redhead.
He sees something he thinks he's not supposed to see.
Perhaps something that no else is supposed to see.
The kid's eyes weren't naturally green. But in the moment he sure wears them well.
Jealously, he knows, makes a person stupid.
It makes them greedy. It makes them angry.
It makes them kill.
Jealousy, he knows, is a large underlying basis for his line of work.
A wife is jealous of a cheating husband, or a husband of a cheating wife. They get a number through a friend of a friend of a friend, and he gets a phone call. It does not matter if it is merely suspicion. There is no need for proof. An irate employee fed up with their boss. A military strategist planning an overthrow. Hostile takeovers. Mafia hits.
He watches the kid and sees jealousy,
Knows that it is reason for hate.
The speech is taking forever.
He is mildly curious as to what the words are. The precisely calculated paragraphs that most likely went through draft after draft. Lionel Luthor throws his hands up to make a point, and cuts them down to make a bigger one. He wonders what he is saying.
He wonders what his last words will be.
The kid takes a step to the left.
He flips open the end of his scope and reads Luthor's lips. Something about the beginning. Something about the future. Something about seizing a new day. He can't help the smirk he feels on his lips. The irony is just too funny to resist.
Luthor mouths `thank-you.'
He takes the shot.
Blood and shock and screams are the sight of a titan falling.
He flips the cap on his scope and quickly wipes down his rifle before loading it into the guitar case. He pulls off his jacket and shoves it into his duffle bag and runs back into the building before the helicopters trying to spot a shooter begin to rise. The service elevator is already waiting for him.
He thinks of the kid's eyes when he was offered the contract.
He thinks that maybe daddy didn't hug him enough.
He gets down to the basement and throws his duffel bag into the incinerator, watches briefly as the flames consume the evidence, then is off walking quickly to the parking garage and his payday.
It's how he makes his living.
He finds the two million broken up and bundled into two first aid kits, hidden in the back of an ambulance, just where the kid said it would be. His van is a few spaces down and he hurries so he can beat the blockades the cops would no doubt be setting up. He'll ditch the van somewhere near the airport and be long gone before Luthor is even resting on the slab.
He can see the headlines already.
"Multi-Billionaire bites bullet"
"LuthorCorp Mogul Slain by mad gunman."
"Luthor gets licked by unknown assassin."
He thinks that, despite the petty motive, Lionel Luthor deserved to die.
He thinks that maybe he rid the world of a plague.
He thinks of the kid's eyes...
And wonders if he rid the world of one plague only to make room for another.
He gets in his van and heads for the airport.
It's not his job to think about such things.
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