Its not hard to kill people. I am not saying this because this is my profession but killing someone is nothing more than a mind-game. Its awkward for the first time, I agree, but that’s because your mind is not used to the idea….like we were not used to the earth being round. After you get over the shaky hand and the sweaty palms, its a cakewalk. Think of people as targets in some video game and that is it.
I live in New-York and on the risk of being pompous, I must tell you that I am notoriously famous. It just happens that I am good at my work. Having an impeccable track record is not everyone’s cup of tea. People know how to find me even though I don’t remain at a single place for a long time for obvious reasons. The key to success in this profession is good homework skills. Before you hit a target, you need to gather all the necessary information about them. From the time they open their eyes till the time they close them again. Basically the daily itinerary of the target.
Mrs. Elizabeth O’Connor made her first appearance on a windy Sunday evening. I was tossing a pair of eggs when a knock at my door brought me to full alert. I reached for the door.
“Yes?”. I said.
“Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle towards my hand?”, said a quivering voice on the other side.
That was the password. I usually changed my passwords every week and drop it in various ears. The voice was painful. It was not difficult to decipher that. I opened the door and encountered a face in great agony. She was wearing a black cocktail dress with a thick diamond necklace wrapped around her neck. She was not very beautiful but had a glow on her face, an attractive glow. She was looking at me with her huge brown eyes as if making a decision. I too was a little amused as this was not something that walks up my door usually.
“Arthur?” she asked.
“Yes. Come in please”. Arthur was the alias I used.
“I am Mrs. O’Connor. Perhaps, you know me.”, she said while rotating her eyes around.
“I might know you in the future, if someone give me the money and requires me to.”
“I beg your pardon.”
“Please come to the point. I like conversations with strangers to be really short.”
She stared at me for a while. She was again doing the same thing. Making a decision. She was someone who may never have imagined in her wildest dreams that she will land up in a killer’s lair. She was completely out of place, the same way a murderer is before committing his first sin.
“I want you to kill someone for me.”
“I presumed that much.”
I stared at her for a while before she understood that I was waiting for her to proceed.
“Two months back, I started to have this nagging feeling that something was wrong with my husband. He was too romantic, too cautious, too understanding….as if he was trying to hide a layer. A layer which would expose if he stops acting. Ours was a love marriage and things were going great from the past 5 years before this feeling hit me. Believe me, it took great courage on my part to hire a private detective. This is what he crushed me with.”
She took out a few photo and threw them on the table. I picked them up to have a closer look. The detective was good. The woman for which Mr. O’Connor has royally ditched his wife was stunningly beautiful.
“They look good together”. The words had almost slipped my mouth by the time I realized what I said. Mrs O’Connor stared at me with her mouth slightly open. She extended her hand and I placed the photos in her hand.
“She works in his office. Yes, it sounds very clichéd, but its happening for the first time in my life. You can use these photos and I also have other details. The detective has been collecting them from the past one month.”, she said while handling me a file filled with papers and more photos.
“I generally do the research myself”, I told her while taking the folder.
“I really don’t think wasting another month on creating a similar file is wise. And moreover my patience won’t stand the test. I just want her dead. As soon as possible, in full public view and in front of my husband. I want her to stare in my husband’s eyes when she takes her last breath. I want my husband to hold her while her body goes limp”. Her eyes were blazing and for a split second I saw the venom of hatred. She had finally taken the decision.
“Now we are talking. You know the price. I will give you an account number. Transfer the money in that before the D day or the deal is off.”
“My husband has planned a huge party in the Plaza on the 18th of this month. You have 10 days. The party is in the Grand Ballroom. I’ll be sending you more details soon.” , she said while getting up.
I got a few more visits from Mrs. Elizabeth O’Connor over the next few days. She came to provide me some more feed on the event – How the event was shaping up, what Sarah(yes, that was the target’s name) would be wearing etc. She also arranged my entry pass but I told her that it was not required. I did my own research on the Grand Ballroom at the Plaza. I looked up the probably points of entry and exits in the nearby buildings, the best location to carry out the assassination and all the worst case scenarios. One day before the event, the money reached my account.
***** ***** *****
The party was in honor of a new client of Mr. Neil O’Connor. It was the biggest deal in the history of his organization which explained the show off. When you succeed, don’t forget to show it off to your enemies. I took my sniper gun and landed on a nearby building from where I could have a clear view of the ballroom. She was there….Sarah….in a stunning red gown, hovering over Mr. Neil O’Connor. For a second, she just took my breath away and I stared at her through the telescope of my gun. Elizabeth was also there, polite and sad, meeting guests and trying to smile. I assembled my gun and locked in my target. Elizabeth was a little nervous. She knew I was around, watching everything and she was waiting……
Nobody realized that Sarah was shot till she had fallen and removed her hand from her chest as blood spurted out. The floor was choking with her blood and there were screams. Mr. Neil O’Connor took her in her arms but it was too late. He was bewildered, screaming and frantically looking around for some help. Elizabeth was standing in one corner, expressionless, staring at the corpse. I ran down the building, walked a few streets in random directions before finally taking a cab.
***** ***** *****
I woke up late next morning. As I was roaming around in a departmental store to pick up my meals, my eyes wandered over the newspapers. At first, the headlines didn’t registered. I had almost walked away when I sharply turned back and grabbed the newspaper. I read the headlines at-least ten times before it all started making sense. I bought the paper, went home and switched on the television. The news was splashed all over.
“Mrs. Elizabeth O’ Connor, wife of the famous industrialist Mr. Neil O’Connor, was shot dead yesterday in the Grand Ballroom of the famous Plaza hotel. The incidence took place at a party given by Mr. Neil O’ Connor to celebrate the largest deal finalized by his company. The motive behind the killing is still unclear”.
Yes, the news was all over. I flipped through a few channels. There was no mistake. I started laughing. I could not understand the reason of the deception. I could have tried to go till the depth of it all, but somehow it didn’t mattered. I did a job and I was paid well. Soon I got busy in other assignments and the incidence was pushed back in my memory. But the nagging question was still there…..WHY?
***** ***** *****
Then around four months later, I received this letter. It was just lying on the floor. There was no address.
How are you?
I could not have written you this letter, but as I am beginning a new chapter in my life(all thanks to you) and the least I could do is to let you know.
Don’t think too much about why things happened the way they did. Try to reason, and you will find the answer. All I could say is that Neil is an extremely successful man and successful men have a lot on their conscience. He could not have done it himself and you would have doubted me and asked too many questions, specially money related.
I am very sure all this doesn’t matter to you. You did a fabulous job and Neil and I are in-debt to you for our whole lives.
We got married yesterday and are leaving for our honeymoon tonight….and don’t worry about the letter. You won’t find it the next time you enter your house.
Mrs. Sarah O’Connor.
***** ***** *****
That was the last I heard from her. It was a case of the hunter being hunted, the trickster who got tricked. Should I blame her for taking away the last ounce of trust I had in my heart or should I be thankful to her to reaffirm my lost faith in any human? But I guess I don’t have the right to complain. There are so many people who die for all the wrong reasons….and the right ones. Who cares!!!