Two seemingly inconsequential gentlemen stand on a street corner in the rain. One is called Sims. He wears a gun in a shoulder holster hidden well beneath an appropriately tailored suit. The other also wears a gun. They have silencers. A necessary addition. They are waiting for a man to meet them. When he arrives they will kill him, take everything he has including the drugs and all identifying documents, and leave. If asked why they would do such a thing, why they would consider such a heinous act so commonplace, the one called Sims would reply simply that ‘the money was right.’ Sims is the more talkative of the two. In fact, to the casual observer it would seem as if he talks needlessly as if only to hear the dulcet tones of his own voice. The casual observer, as is often the case, would be wrong. The other is a veritable stoic, a man hewn from granite and not given in the slightest to the frivolities and excesses of his companion. It would not be wrong to say that these two seemingly inconsequential gentlemen are often and easily underestimated.
Life has fallen off of late. I knew it was going to happen. Deep down. You would not be wrong in assuming that I am a rather intuitive young man capable of seeing deeply into the flaws and imperfections of the human soul. You would also not be wrong in assuming that I was just dumped for an investment banker/consultant/entrepreneur far more successful and capable of social advancement than I. I suppose I should have learned from the Monkees. Or perhaps just have known better than date a girl with a taste for the finer things in life; like following every possible ill advised fashion trend featured in a magazine and a unquenchable thirst for all things unaffordable. Freelancing just didn’t bring enough home, I guess. Or maybe I am missing the point. To be honest, I don’t know why she left. I have a meeting in the morning. Nothing else seems to have stopped.
The man arrived carrying a nondescript duffle bag containing either illicit drugs or a clever ruse intended to imply the presences of the former. The matter is of no importance as he was about to die. Perhaps thoughts were rushing though his head at the moment. Perhaps in a moment of prescience he saw his impending doom and his life mysteriously flashed before his eyes in a series of poorly edited video clips. The one called Sims moved out of the shadows and into the dim pool of light cast by a flickering streetlight. Despite the fact that they were in the middle of a street there was no danger of traffic or notice. No one respectable would come to these parts. It would be an open acknowledgement of the inherent disparity that allows society to function. The other gentleman remained in the shadows. He signaled his presence by lighting a cigarette. The newcomer was far to calm. Either he was a cop or he was an idiot. It became increasingly clear that he had not foreseen his demise. The last look on his face was priceless, or would have been to a collector of such things. A tree fell in the forest and no one heard. There was nothing to mark the act save the indifference of his killers. Perhaps one should be amazed what is truly possible when the money is right. Perhaps it is none so amazing after all.
The meeting went the way I expected. I got approval for the story and a smaller advance than I had been hoping for. The man was a self-indulgent fuckhead. I knew from the moment he started the meeting: “What’s the sound of one hand clapping? Ha! Ha!” What’s the sound of one hand flipping you off? I ignored the comment fully aware that he did not want a response, just a tacit acknowledgement of his subversive wit. I smiled and gave him a nod. He went right on talking. I find that with his type it’s best not to talk. He doesn’t want to hear what anyone has to say. How could he? We all know he’s an ass. Not feeling any better than before, I spend five minutes sitting at a coffeehouse trying to decide how best to slip into oblivion now that I have nothing to do and no promises to keep. I also wait for a phone call.