THE BIG CONTRACT
Maximillian Shields (not his real name) was awoken by the sound of his Blackberry to the ringtone of the campy 1960’s Batman television series. He pushed the “answer” button and placed the device to his ear.
“Yeah,” he groaned.
“Wakey, wakey,” said the voice on the other line.
It was Lou. It was always Lou.
“Christ Lou, it’s..” he looked over at the clock on his night table. The green quartz numbers read “5:30”.
Lou coughed on the other end. “I know what time it is. I got work. Big job. Fast. No time.”
Shields slowly arose from bed and swung his legs off the side of the mattress. His back ached.
“Quarter mil. From Mr. G.”
Max knew who Lou meant. Frank Gellotti. Scumbag Mafiosi that ran a huge cocaine trade in Manhattan. Fat asshole had beaten the cops time and time again.
Lou continued, “Mr. G. wants this done quick. Like in the next few hours.”
Max placed the palm of his right hand over the region of his skull above the right eye. Headache coming on.
“What’s the rush?”
“You don’t need to know that.”
He was right. The less Max knew about his target the better.
“What’s the specs?” he asked.
He heard Lou muffle the phone with his hand. As if he was talking to someone else in the room and didn’t want Max to hear. He returned after a few seconds. “Don’t know much. All’s I got is that her name is Corinne and she’s blonde. Lives on a residential street, 42 Wendt Avenue in Larchmont. W-E-N-D-T. 42. Got it? 42. Needs to be done ASAP. Like before she leaves the house this morning.”
Max didn’t care if he had to kill a woman. It was part of his talent to have complete and utter emotional detachment. Plus, he now had 250 000 reasons not to care.
“Okay”, Max said. “Consider it done.”
He heard a click on the other end.
It was now 5:45 a.m. and he had a lot of preparation and thinking to do.
He went into the washroom of his luxury Manhattan condominium at 25 Columbus Circle with beautiful view of Central Park South attached to the Time Warner Centre. He shaved and showered and tried to plan out the hit.
Typically, he would like to do business from a distance; perched atop a building with a rifle scope and snipe the target when getting into a car, for example. Then he’s gone like a phantom.
This, this was a little different. Broad daylight. Suburban street. Tons of potential witnesses around. He had to do this one up close and personal.
He left the washroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, shoulder length black hair still shimmering from the shower. He knelt under his bed and pulled out the small toolbox and placed it on the mattress.
He lifted the latch and admired his weapon for choice for jobs like this: a Gemtech Blackslide .45 with attached silencer. Two head shots shouldn’t make that big a scene if grouped together with precision.
Max was always precise.
At 7:45 a.m. Max’s silver BMW pulled onto Wendt Avenue in Larchmont, New York, 21 miles from Manhattan. Ordinarily he would never had driven his own personal automobile on a job, but due to the time constraints, he had no other choice.
He was dressed in a navy cargo pants and matching button down shirt and light nylon jacket with multiple pockets and a fabricated laminated ID badge affixed with a metal clip to the right breast pocket. The ID badge had been made for him quite a while ago, proclaiming him as “Salvatore Di Batista” a maintenance representative for NYSEG Gas Company. He should have used a utility van for something like this, but time was of the essence and he had to make due with whatever was on hand.
He waited for the clock to read 8:00 a.m. and quickly surveyed the street. He had seen a couple of nearby neighbors, typical 9 -5 ham n’ eggers in their Ford Taurses exit their driveways and take off to begin their mundane days, thankfully not giving him a second look.
He stepped out of the car, toolbox in hand and adjusted his matching blue cap with company insignia written on the front. His long hair was tied back with a ponytail creeping out of the back size-centered tab of the cap. He casually strolled past two suburban houses until he reached # 42.
The house was a Colonial style abode, large but looking old, about 1700 square feet, Max figured. It was white with green shutters and matching door, a cute wooden staircase leading up to a small verandah at the front of the house.
He climbed the four steps leading to the door and knocked.
After a few moments a woman of about 42 years answered the door. She had shortly cropped red hair and wore minimal make-up. She was far from beautiful, but had a certain attractiveness to her. Slim, wearing a red pullover and neatly pressed jeans, a steaming cup of coffee in her right hand.
“Can I help you sir?”
Max cleared his throat. “Yes hello ma’am. NYSEG Gas? I’m here to ask your permission to read your gas meter.”
She looked at him with some skepticism easily readable across her face. “It’s outside,” she said. “Normally my husband reads it and phones it in.”
Husband. Shit. Only one car on the driveway, a Dodge Durango. Maybe he’s already gone. But was this the woman? Lou said “blonde”. Hair dye job? Or more than one person home?
“Yes ma’am, that’s true but lately we’ve been receiving a lot of fraudulent readings and it’s now company policy to have the service reps read them, with the customer’s permission of course.”
His hand tightened around the toolbox.
He could see her eye his ID tag. She paused for a moment and said, “Um…yeah..okay sure, whatever. Be quick though, I gotta leave soon.”
Max smiled warmly, non threatening. “No problem ma’am. I’ll be done in a jiffy.”
He made his way to the right of the house, the wife’s eyes peering at him from the verandah.
“It’s on the left,” she hollered.
Max held up a finger. “Oh, yes, thank you.”
He walked across the neatly manicured lawn to the left side of the house where he crouched down, just out of her view. He flipped open the latch of his box and withdrew the gun and carefully screwed on the silencer.
Maybe I’ll nail her in the car. Then stroll off and ride into the sunset. Call Lou and tell him Gelloti got his money’s worth.
He cautiously peered around the side of the house to the verandah. The same red haired woman now had on a long brown coat that hung below her waistline and looked like it was made out of plastic. She appeared rushed, searching through her purse as she neared the staircase. Then she said something very interesting indeed.
“Corinne honey, c’mon! You’re gonna be late for school!”
Then a girl of about 8 years old stepped out of the house, following her mother. She was zipping up a pink jacket and dragged a school bag on wheels with a floral design on it behind her. Her hair was braided into two pigtails and was blonde.
Max felt his heart skip a beat. A kid! Jesus Christ, what the hell did Gelotti want with a kid? Why was she worth such a mint dead?
I can’t do this, he thought. It’s just…it’s too weird. I can’t.
He jammed the gun back into the toolbox and hurried off back to his car.
He didn’t care if the woman was watching him at this point. He didn’t look back.
He stepped into his car and turned the ignition. He did not speed off for fear of attracting too much attention, but he knew he had to leave.
Get back to the condo, pack of as much as he could and start fresh somewhere else. Gelotti would never stand for an unfulfilled contract. He was smart enough to know that.
As he drove back through the crowded Manhattan streets, his phone rang. Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh Batman!
He knew it was Lou. Calling to see how everything went. He would ignore him as long as he could and by that time he would be gone. Long gone. Max always worked well under pressure.