Anita Mechler: A Hitman’s Story

[This piece was written as part of a writing prompt exercise using headlines, divorced from their original story, as a starting point for a new fictional story. I’ll post the headline at the end of the piece so as not to spoil the surprise.]

I should have known. I’m a professional. Look. I’m not the best; even I will admit that, but I’m not a fucking idiot. This was back in the day of phone books, paper newspapers. What didn’t exist in print and wasn’t easily accessible, didn’t exist. I’m not detective, Dick Tracy, Sherlock Holmes, that shit. I got a job to do and I do it my best. But this one time, well, the gods must have been against me.

My mother always told me that I was a lost one. Once I had something in my sights, I couldn’t let it go, just like a dog. I lost my focus, I guess. I could lose everything except for one thought. I wish I could blame in on the women in my life, so beautiful, their sparkling smiles. But this wasn’t the case.

I had concentrated all of my efforts on the supermarket where he shopped. I had recently spent a week or two on him. He came to shop every Tuesday and Thursday. He got the same items: a head of celery, two pork chops, a case of beer, Parmesan cheese in a can, garlic bread, dry spaghetti. He never hurried, but wandered the aisles like something new and interesting would pop out at him. It never did.

You can’t tell from their faces or demeanor why someone else would play me to kill them. It’s not my business to know the reasons why. I’ve got a job to do and I’m here to do it. This one didn’t feel different to me. Maybe I had lost my instinct, too, but there were no warning signs. Maybe something was distracting me: Cecil the pretty cashier girl or my wife Sheila at home with the kids. Who the fuck knows, anyway? I only have time to think about it now.

But I do remember his face. They always look surprised but then, slowly a realizing, a knowing in the back on their mind that something was coming and this was it. You can see it in their faces, their brain working to locate my employer, a recognition and a resignation to their faults and fate before they take their last breath at my hand.

But this one. He knew his innocence, the disbelief in his face stays with me. It joins all of the other faces that haunt me, here behind these bars.

Photo credit

{The headline was “Hit man killed wrong victim with target’s name”}

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