confessions of a failed hit man: a love story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Two brothers following in their father's footsteps just aren't cut out for it. It takes one of the top assassins in the business to set them straight... and she does just that.

Submitted: May 25, 2016

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Submitted: May 25, 2016



I guess it was never meant to be. We were following in the footsteps of a father we had not seen since we were young. He had performed dozens upon dozens of hits for various firms and organizations before disappearing in Peru on what was to be a routine takeout of a local black market software game dealer who had ripped off Donkey Kong. They said it was like an expert who defuses hundreds of monster bombs and then gets destroyed by a small grenade.

My brother Wilbur and I had never been good with grades and with Mom moving from one rehab clinic to the next, Dad’s friends raised us and kept an eye on us in between assignments. We grew up listening to various uncles describe great hits they had been on: dispatching a politician in the Ukraine, neutralizing a mobster in Italy, obliterating a corrupt television evangelist in Virginia. They told me I was the smarter one and to keep an eye on Wilbur. We knew what our future careers were. We even told the guidance counselor at school: professional assassin. She promptly sent us to the school shrink. Even when we took career tests, it came up the same thing in assorted occupations:  hit man, cleaner, finisher, free agent assassin and Intelligence Analyst.

We were hired straight out of high school and we racked up some hits overseas in a dozen small countries, but we never seemed to crack the big time. After a decade or so, we began to get the usual bitterness: you blame your agent; clueless executives who don’t value experience and focus only on up and coming pretty young things; an industry that only cares about the bottom dollar and not the quality of a job well-done. We began to get the crap jobs – deadbeats who owed money, drunks who robbed the wrong guy, entertainment agents poaching clients; things like that. The low point, being a nutbag who wanted us to kill what he believed were aliens among us and tried to pay us in Monopoly money.

So when we finally got a gig back in the states, we were excited. It was a small job involving a New York stockbroker who had bilked dozens of clients before disappearing. The word was he was hiding out on some Greek island, but we found out he was in rural Pennsylvania living near an Amish community biding his time as a local locksmith.

We quietly moved into town and set up shop, pretending to be antiques dealers looking for old time locks for pre-World War One steamer trunks. We had the perfect setup, when the former stockbroker got cold feet and skipped our meeting. We thought we were out of luck until we found out the local Fourth of July parade would go right by his shop that weekend.

As the parade started, my brother Wilbur watched through binoculars as I waited; my rifle poking through a hole in a fence. I knew the old man would walk out onto his porch to watch and figured the high school band music and firecrackers would cover the noise. The first small town floats were arriving when I noticed an old Amish buggy pull out of line and speed up. It was being driven by a woman with a large floppy hat covering her face. Wilbur wondered who would be so rude, but I just hung my head. I knew.

The buggy sped by the locksmith shop just as the old guy came to the door. One quick shot from the buggy and the old huckster dropped to the floor. As the crowd turned to see what had happened, the buggy separated from the horse and the woman leaped onto the mare’s back, her long blond hair flying under her floppy hat. It was Nellie Tappaja, the world’s number one professional hitperson. She was known as the “Finnish Firefox.” In a flash, she was gone, the black mare taking her into a field and over a hill as the buggy slowly ambled into a ditch and people gathered around the now-dead conman.

Nellie Tappaja was a legend in the underworld, both nationally and internationally. Her hits were masterstrokes of perfection. Taking out a syndicate leader while hiding in a mailbox; popping out of a cake to neutralize a gangland leader and all his henchmen in the St. Urho’s Day Massacre; exterminating a rogue agent from underneath an outhouse while he was hiding in a rural cabin being protected by six agents. She spared the agents. There was no one with her cunning, ruthlessness and bravado. She was the one you wanted. The problem was she was the one everyone wanted and she was so quick, she was able to take out several hits quickly, culminating in a record fourteen hits in one weekend during Mardi Gras.

We had met her once at the annual Marksman’s Ball in Chicago. Wilbur had a selfie taken with her at the autograph table, which set him back, $400. She had served three tours in Iraq as a sniper for the air cavalry and always wore her “If you ain’t Cav, you ain’t sh*t” shirt. She had gone pro after that and moved to the top of her list combining mesmerizing eyes, long flowing hair and a very athletic build with skills that pros said took decades to perfect. Wilbur said she also smelled incredible. It was said she had the best perfumes from Italy.

We thought we had finally arrived when we were assigned to take out a Columbian Banking firm that was ripping off hundreds of wealthy customers by regularly skimming money out of their account. We were flown in, told to sneak into the building on a Sunday morning and take everyone out during their monthly secret meeting. We arrived and were delighted to find the back door unlocked. Making our way to the elevator, the security checkpoints were all unmanned; not a person in sight. Incredible, we thought.

Making our way to the boardroom, we found every door easy to open. We had ten targets we were to take out and we were to take a Polaroid of each of them and leave the pictures on their bodies. Somebody definitely wanted to send a message. We took a few deep breaths and stormed into the conference room. There was no one around.

“Look!  Bodies!” Wilbur exclaimed. Sure enough, all ten were lying on the floor with one Polaroid on each body. We walked around looking at each body, when we heard a noise in the adjoining kitchen. Slowly, we opened the door aiming at anything.

There was Nellie sitting at a table surrounded by containers of Chinese food. She had a plate and was enjoying the food.

“This is awesome,” Nellie said, “They ordered Chinese food and the delivery boy arrived just in time.”  Sure enough, beside her on the floor was the delivery boy. “Try the General Tsao’s and the broccoli beef. Even the sesame chicken is amazing!”  Wilbur mumbled to me about what the protocol was when we found another hitman at our job.

“Stop it, you two. You know I’m ten times faster and if I honestly thought you were a threat, I would have fired through the door and taken both of you out. Don’t be stupid. Enjoy the food. I rarely find good food at jobs.”

“I can’t believe they met without any security,” Wilbur said, shaking his head.

“Oh, there was security,” Nellie replied, “they’re in storage closets on the first floor and this floor.”

“You locked them up?” Wilbur asked.

“No goofus! They’re dead!” Nellie replied, laughing at his question.

“We’d better get going,” Wilbur said nudging me.

“You go get the car, Wilbur. I need to talk to your brother a minute.”

Wilbur left for the car as Nellie picked up her pistols, put them back in their holsters and pushed a plate of food towards me.

“Okay, I’m not getting any younger in this business and neither are you. In fact you two are considered way over the hill.”

“You have a retirement plan?” I asked sitting down at the table and trying some of the food.

“Now I do. I read your file. You really have a home economics degree?” Nellie asked, touching my chest with her chopsticks.

“Well, I took some online courses on that and antiques. That’s our cover when we travel on jobs,” I replied, picking at the food.

“Eat. Food this good shouldn’t go to waste. I read that you are a good cook and you keep a clean house,” Nellie continued, picking out some more pieces of chicken. Her perfume was definitely enchanting.

“I have a proposition for you,” Nellie announced, looking me straight in the eyes.

“You need a partner?” I asked.

Nellie burst out laughing. “No. I work alone and I travel alone. I don’t need any problems while I’m at work. I’m talking more about the home front. I am good at what I do. I am the best. You two are terrible. How you earn a living at this is beyond me. Your heart is not in this. I’m getting older and I need a home base. I need a place to relax and just forget about everything during my down time. I’m tired of having to travel to Milan or Cannes or New York. I end up shopping and sightseeing, but I do it by myself. I’m tired of being in relationships where I have to cover my tracks at home and keep the guy clueless. For my thirtieth birthday I had to take out a General from the Ukraine. I didn’t even get a birthday cake or presents. “I want someone I can come home to and complain about work and they’ll understand. I want to come home to a clean house and dinner on the table.

“Wait a minute!  You want a stay at home husband?”  I asked, practically spitting out my food.

“No, you and your brother can run an antique store. I’ll find one and finance it.”

“But that would mean retiring from this job!” I blurted out.

“And the whole underworld would be cheering. Look, your Dad was very good at this. He was admired by everyone. We worry about you two. You used up like eight of your nine lives. It’s time you stepped down. Everyone would understand. You two can keep secrets. I’m tired of having to end my relationships the way I do. I either leave them confused and traumatized or dead. I want someone that will be there when I’m too old to do this. Having you and your brother run a store in some rural area would be perfect!”

“So we would get married?” I asked, almost choking on my Peking duck.

Nellie put down her fork and pistol and thought a minute. “Marriage. Hmmmm. That would kind of leave your brother out. When I get home for the first few days I have this boundless, nervous energy that needs to escape anyway possible and I know the first week of that would kill you. I don’t want to have to be doing CPR on you. Listen, think about it. We’ll talk more. I’ll pop up again.”

With that she grabbed me and pushed me against the table and kissed me passionately. She held me for what seemed like two minutes before letting me go. “Floss more,” she said. I started for the door and instead of following me, Nellie went out a window, climbed over a banister and headed up towards the roof. I met Wilbur down by the car. He was excited and thought she wanted to partner up. He was shocked and then disappointed. He was very quiet on the drive back as he thought about it.

Finally, Wilbur spoke. “Well, you know, this is getting a bit old. We’re getting old. We haven’t saved much. We haven’t earned much. But an antique store?  We wouldn’t be earning much either. She’d be marrying you?  I’d be the odd man out and I’d be forever single.”

“No,” I replied, “Evidently she’d be including you in the physical stuff. She’d kind of be married to both of us in all its meanings.”

I had to grab the wheel as Wilbur nearly drove us off the road and into a ditch. “You mean we’d get to? I’d get to...” His voice trailed off.

Wilbur kept driving and started to giggle like a middle schooler, “With our busy schedule we’ve never been much for dating. That and hit men are low on the totem pole. I found that out on Tinder. We’d be married to her?”

“Well, we’d kind of be house husbands with the cooking and cleaning and stuff. She’d be the bread winner,” I added.

“I can do the bill paying!  I can set up an excel sheet that does that,” Wilbur said.

“Or you can just buy a program that pays bills,” I replied.

“Married,” Wilbur kept uttering over and over, “I mean she is the cream of the crop when it comes to women. Smart; looks like a model; super athletic; good conversationalist.”

“When have you ever talked to her?” I asked, dumbfounded.

“Well, I’ve heard her talking to others. She’s funny and she has guys laughing and she has an amazing laugh. You should hear it. This one time I slipped on some water walking by her autograph booth and I managed to stay upright but she let out this wonderful laugh. I mean she’s like a perfect ten. I could see myself cooking and cleaning for her. I could wear an apron for her.”

Wilbur kept droning on as I tuned him out and looked out at the road. I figured this would be a major change in our lifestyle. For the next two months we didn’t get a single assignment.

Finally, one came in. A guy had started a GoFundMe for a project which had raised a million dollars for a young girl’s kidney replacement and then he absconded with all the money and was hiding out. The girl’s parents had paid for the hit. We visited the hospital and the sweet little girl looked up at us cheerfully as she said, “Don’t forget to see if his kidneys match!”

It was in a small town in rural Wisconsin. We arrived the morning of the big Labor Day parade. We didn’t have time to do any set up. The parade was starting and the weasel had the audacity to be in the parade as a local businessman who funded the local Little League Team:  the Iron River Flimflams. They would be at the end of the parade and so it would be an easy hit.

We set up on top of a local building. We figured as he approached the bank across the street with its tall clock tower, we could strike from behind and be gone before anyone noticed. The parade began and the floats went by; some of which were very impressive for a small town. There was a giant box of cigars that opened up revealing a dozen men sitting in black robes and beards smoking stogies. There was a float honoring early man in the area with cavemen sitting around a fire smoking the same cigars. There was a float devoted to the history of logging which had two guys sawing a log and a pile of wood chips smoking. The local cigar shop had sponsored a lot of the floats.  Finally the little league team arrived. Walking behind were the sponsors including our weasel wearing a nice new suit bought with the kidney money.

I started to take aim, when to my surprise a shot rang out from the clock tower and the weasel dropped to the ground with a headshot. Nellie, I thought to myself, but then another half dozen shots rang out as people screamed and ran for cover. There was a young man in the tower firing at people.

“It’s crazy Ernie!  He escaped from the nut house,” someone yelled as people ran behind floats and others ducked down. Wilbur and I ducked down as pieces of cement sprayed around us. He was crazy, but accurate. My phone rang. It was Nellie.

“I’m in the building across the street. I’m going to stand up and fire. When I do, take him out.”  I knew it. Nellie was on the job as well. Nellie popped up and fired at him. Shots ricocheted off the bell tower. I stood up and fired, but to my surprise he shot my hat off and then turned and fired at Nellie.

“Ow, dammit!” Nellie screamed over my phone. “Try again!  I’ll get his attention and you take him out!”

“Are you okay?” I yelled into my phone.

“Never mind!  When I fire, take him out!” she yelled back.

Nellie fired again and as he aimed at her, I stood and fired two quick shots and he fell from the clock tower screaming all the way. Wilbur and I raced down the stairs, kicked open the door and tried to run for the car, but we were stopped by the Sheriff and his deputy who immediately grabbed my rifle. A large crowd surrounded us.

“This is them!” the sheriff yelled out!  “These are the heroes who took out crazy Ernie!” The crowd cheered. The deputy patted Wilbur’s back.

“He’s the one who did the shooting, I just was backup,” Wilbur blabbed.

“That was an amazing job. It was just a miracle you were up there!  A miracle!” The sheriff said admiring the rifle.

“He was going on a shooting spree,” the deputy added. “He told a nurse he was going to kill a ton of people. You stopped him.”

“What you were doing up there with a rifle in the first place is one of God’s wonders. You saved the town,” the sheriff said, putting the rifle in his car.

“What were you two doing up there?” the deputy asked.

“Um… we sell antiques. We’re checking out locations to sell from,” I answered weakly.

“Wow! Now that is amazing seeing as we have an empty antique store. The Bunker brothers ran it for years. Mean bastards,” The sheriff replied.

“And he means mean, too,” the deputy added. “How the heck you can run a store and hate people coming in is beyond me. They shut down half the time to go hunting. Always poaching deer. We were always after them for going 15 deer over the limit.”

“A week ago they died in a hunting accident. We figure they were mistaken for deer as they were in camouflage. We found them slumped against a tree. Who ever got them was so far away, there was no way they saw them.  Probably just shot at some deer or grouse through bushes and nailed them.” 

“Dead, but damned if they didn’t smell amazing,” the deputy said. “I guess they were trying to lure the deer with a new kind of deer scent, but it smelled like Eye-talian Perfume.” 

“We got an empty antique shop if you want one!” the sheriff said cheerfully.

“Can we have our rifle back?” Wilbur asked.

“Sure!  Right after our hero parade!  Everyone!”

Before they could answer, the crowd pressed in and grabbed them. Fifteen minutes later Wilbur and I were on a float as the crowd cheered. Wilbur waved at the crowd as I held my head down, despite bunches of flowers falling in my lap.

The little league team followed behind us holding a sheet to catch change. I was thinking how our careers were over when suddenly one girl in a little league cap, long pony tail and sunglasses came running up:  It was Nellie.

“Take the offer. There’s money in your glove box. I’ll be back Sunday night. Have dinner ready… honey,” she said as she kissed me on the cheek and like that she was gone. Our old career was over. A new one had begun.

© Copyright 2018 Chabot1977. All rights reserved.

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