An executioner methodically carries out her assignment.

“Sometimes I think you like these assignments, maybe you like them a little too much.”

Gabrielle smiled slightly, lips closed, but did not comment. Inwardly, she was thinking, it’s not ‘like’ the way you mean the word. It’s so much more than ‘like’. It’s a pleasure I find very satisfying. So satisfying to know I have done a good job. And by good I mean perfect. Flawless.

Derek said, “I have never known you to fail at this, to come up short. I will give you that.”

She continued to think, it is not for you to give me anything. It is my standards I set for myself that will not allow me to fail.

“Well, okay, the job is yours. I’m sure you will get the job done.”

She thought, I am more than sure. Then she asked, “Last known whereabouts?”

“I was told he was just spotted in our lobby. That is what is so infuriating. In plain sight. I thought we had a secure work environment here, a safe place for our employees to work without fear of this sort of thing. We’re supposed to be concentrating on government contracts. We’ve got our chem lab for god’s sake. What if he ruins some of our experiments?”

“I understand completely how disturbingly unnerving the situation is for you.”

Derek said, “I just don’t need this kind of distraction. What’s next? He sneaks in here from the outside and wanders wherever he chooses. What’s he looking for anyway? What does he want?”

“I am on my way, sir.” But she was thinking, I could have completed the objective by now if you had stopped your prattling.

She walked briskly to her office and went straight to the bottom file drawer, the one that had the higher quality, reinforced lock. Entering the code only she knew, she pulled the drawer out just far enough to retrieve the special alligator briefcase. Special because it was a gift from her father the day she was hired by the firm.

While working the codes on the three chrome locks, she thought as always about her father, employed by the federal government doing work he was never allowed to reveal to his family. Following his example, she was fully aware she would never allow herself to discuss with anyone outside the firm any details of these unique assignments.

Gabrielle slowly ran her perfectly manicured, red nails over the instruments of certain death that were stored in the customized, black velvet interior of the case, pausing at each one to savor its effectiveness in the past. Some would result in instantaneous death, while others would likely result in a more prolonged process causing much pain and suffering before dispatching the target to his well-deserved demise. She was reminded of past assignments, confrontations when she was always the victor.

But remembering her boss’s nerves, she selected one of her favorites. It was quick and it was lethal. And in her expert hands, it never failed.

After carefully securing the briefcase in the bottom drawer, she became the hunter, a hunter determined to totally neutralize the life of this foreign provocateur. Her black athletic shoes, always a daily part of her wardrobe, should prove advantageous in her deadly pursuit.

Since the report was the intruder had been seen in the lobby a while ago, she realized he had probably moved on. But always thorough, she began by questioning the employees who worked there. The receptionists knew from past experience how intensely serious she was about an assignment of this nature.

The uniformed security guard came around the corner and was immediately subjected to her laser-like interrogation. “Why aren’t you here at your post?”

“Well, you see I sorta had—” and then some unintelligible mumbling.

“Speak up.”

“Well, the thing is—” and then he just stopped.

“Out with it, man.”

He blurted, “Today I’ve been having a bowel problem and I had to stay in the restroom.”

“Good grief.”

“My wife’s chili. First time she tried it and I wanted to show—”


“Are you going to report me to the boss?”

“I’m working on— Never mind what I’m working on. But it’s certainly much more important than your out-of-whack colon.”

True to her standards, she did not waste time reporting his lapse to the boss. With her single-mindedness, she would not veer from her priority. She had an intruder somewhere violating company property.

After eliminating the lobby area, which came as no surprise, a quick look-see eliminated the interior of the company elevator. Two offices on this level primarily used for meeting with visiting clientele proved to be unoccupied.

Gabrielle went down the hall to the restrooms. She had some experience of finding invading culprits taking refuge in the restrooms. Her checklist included going down the row and jerking wide open each stall door injecting the element of surprise. Nothing in the women’s restroom and she did not hesitate to shoo out a couple of employee users who were in the men’s restroom. Mindful of the gravity of her mission, she ignored a whiff of the guard’s earlier endeavors.

She checked out the stairway to the second floor. Going down the aisles between cubicles, she questioned each staff member, whether seated or walking around. Always getting the same response was frustrating. You people, she thought, how could there be an intruder roaming the premises and you’re not even aware of him passing by?

Her next stop was the company’s laboratory. She shouted out the situation and her assignment. After her question all she got was “Nope,” or “Not in here,” and several who just shook their heads.

The supply room and then the custodian’s closet were checked and eliminated. The boardroom offered no hiding places except beneath the long table. No infiltrator. She, however, was not becoming discouraged. Rather, just the opposite because she knew she had been thorough and was narrowing down the list of possibilities. And that meant a showdown was in the very near future.

Next, the kitchen. There! Brazenly just sitting on the table of all places. The nerve! She froze, not from fear, but to plan her method of attack. Though his back was to her, she had to assume he was aware of her presence and the danger she presented.

She knew she would have only one shot at it and if she missed, he would flee and she might not get another chance. But she had a clean record of not missing her prey and she was not about to start now.

She began her approach with the slow but deliberate speed of a snail and just as silently. He maintained his position on the table. As she came within striking range, she slowly, so very slowly, raised her weapon above her head. Still, he did not change his position.

Kwack! Faster than the speed of lightning she struck. Death was instantaneous. Nothing left to do but remove the body and sanitize the scene of all the evidence of the violent attack.

Gabrielle entered the boss’s office and with pride announced, “Sir, mission accomplished.”

“Ah, thank you, thank you. Now maybe everyone can stay focused on their work.” His smiling face changed to serious as he said,  “Damn fly. I hate flies.”

Submitted: October 05, 2022

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