Harry and the Six Ps

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Proper planning prevents piss poor performance.

Submitted: August 19, 2017

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Submitted: August 19, 2017

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The alarm clock went off at 7:30 a.m. and Harry Rabinowitz jumped up.  He had exactly fifty-nine seconds to make the bed.  It wasn’t a problem when he was at home.  He’d been in the hotel room for three weeks and still hadn’t dialed in the timing.

 

He finished the last tuck, looked at the clock and began counting.  One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three…the display flipped over to 7:31 a.m.  He’d been too fast.  It only took him fifty-seven seconds to make the bed.  

 

That annoyed Harry, but it was just the first of many challenges he would face today.  He’d win some, he’d lose some.  Such was the life of a control freak.

 

Harry didn’t time his showers.  He was too busy counting.  He rubbed the bar of soap around the washcloth.  Always twenty-six circles, always counterclockwise.  The same number of strokes, up and down his face, chest, arms and legs.  

 

Then began the shaving.  Harry had no body hair, except for closely trimmed eyebrows.  Excessive grooming was one of his things.

 

He dressed, then ate breakfast.  Strawberry yogurt, two granola bars, a pack of peanut butter crackers and a bottle of orange juice.  Same as always.  Afterwards, he counted the number of strokes with his toothbrush.

 

The project he’d been working on would conclude today.  He’d check out of the hotel in a few minutes.  Later, he’d go straight from the job to the airport.  He sat on the bed and waited for the clock to show 8:47 a.m.  He gave himself one minute and fifty-nine seconds to pack his suitcase.  

 

He closed the zipper and looked up.  He got in “one Mississippi” and the clock hit 8:49 a.m.  Perfect.  Harry knew it was going to be a good day.

 

It took two hours to drive to the job.  Harry never stayed in the same town where he worked.  He didn’t like leaving a local paper trail.  Another of his things.  

 

The drive gave him time to think through the work that lay ahead.  He would only have one opportunity to get it right.  No second chances.  The consequences of failure would be far reaching and could destroy Harry’s career.  

 

He wasn’t worried.  He always did the job right the first time.  Harry lived by the six words he’d written years ago on a sticky note.  It was taped to the bottom of his computer monitor:  Proper planning prevents piss poor performance.

 

In the car, there was a sticky note blocking Harry’s view of the speedometer.  One of his games.  The interstate wasn’t crowded and the road was straight.  He kept up with his speed by counting the number of seconds between mile markers.  Fifty-two seconds per mile equals 69.2 miles per hour.  The speed limit was 70.  Control freaks do not like being pulled over for speeding.

 

Harry removed the sticky note soon after he exited the freeway.  The narrow road winding up a hill required his full attention.  There was no more time for games.

 

He’d marked the spot with empty beer cans.  Otherwise it was hard to see the narrow gap in the trees from the road.  It was barely wide enough for the car.  Harry parked and retrieved the camera he’d placed in a tree.  He’d been checking for three weeks and nobody had visited.  There were two backup locations in the event anyone showed up.

 

He donned gloves, then spread the contents of several bags around the area.  Hair from a barber shop, clothing purchased at a secondhand store, partially eaten food he’d pulled from a garbage can.  

 

All containing the scents and the DNA of many different people, none of whom were Harry.  His shoes were three sizes bigger than his feet and weighted to make it appear any footprints came from a larger man.  All of this would serve a purpose later.

 

He laid a guitar case on the ground, then pulled a pair of binoculars out of a case.  He scanned up and down the road at the bottom of the hill.  Then found the parking lot, a thousand feet away.  Now it was a matter of waiting.

 

Doyle’s Bar and Grill always had beer specials and a free buffet before kickoff on football Saturdays.  Eddie Hoffman was a huge Crimson Tide fan and watched all the games there.

 

Eddie ran a used car lot a few miles away in Scottsboro.  If anyone paid attention, they would figure out that not many cars got sold.  The business was mostly a front.  His real money came from narcotics.  He’d been in the business a long time and had moved up the chain.  He supplied the wholesalers who supplied the dealers who sold to the customers.  He was the drug kingpin of Jackson County.

 

What he didn’t know was that big fish swallow little fish.  An organization much larger than Eddie was moving in.  Harry’s employers.  Sometimes Harry’s boss would buy out men like Eddie.  Hire them and make them part of the team.  The business was growing and always in need of fresh blood.

 

They’d checked Eddie out and decided they weren’t interested.  He was a violent drunk who’d beaten his wives until they divorced him.  He ignored his kids and often skipped child support payments.  In the past year three customers sued him over the warranty on cars he had sold.  He was a bad apple.

 

So it happened that Eddie’s case fell into Harry’s inbox.

 

It wasn’t hard to spot Eddie’s Hummer on the road.  It was bright yellow and had a pair of Roll Tide flags flapping in the breeze.  Harry set up a tripod and opened the guitar case.

 

Wind, air pressure, altitude, temperature, and humidity are all factors Harry considers when he does his job.  Eddie parked the Hummer.  Harry controlled his breathing.  

 

The car door swung open and Eddie stepped out.  Harry applied gentle pressure with the index finger on his right hand.  Eddie fell forward, face down on the asphalt.  A pool of blood formed around him.  

 

Harry returned the Lapua rifle to its case.  The .338 caliber bullets are accurate at long distances and cause massive internal injuries.  It was his favorite weapon, he’d never missed with it.

 

He could hear sirens in the distance as he drove in the other direction.  At a car rental business, owned by Harry’s employer, he switched cars.  The one he’d been using would be stripped down and shredded by the end of the day.  No evidence.

 

The plane headed north from the Atlanta airport.  He counted the number of seconds as the stewardess poured each passenger’s drink.  For Harry Rabinowitz, life was good. 


© Copyright 2017 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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