Now then, my readers, we come to something that I’m sure has been on a few people’s minds: was I betrayed? It’s always something to take into account, especially with my talking smack about people with money lately. These sorts of deals, where payment comes only after the kill, are particularly susceptible to the buyer cheating the hitter. I don’t mind.
I’ve already explained my thinking about the value of people’s lives. Well, the money only means as much as whatever it lets me get away with, and there’s always another source of it. But a contract on someone’s life is a deal. Someone gets to temporarily aim my mayhem in exchange for money that helps me with things later on. The flip side is that if they fail to hold up their side of things, I aim right for them. I’ve taken some missing money out on a person’s ass before. It doesn’t matter what security someone has at that point, except to provide snuff film material that sells surprisingly well in Somalia, Singapore, Argentina, and the Netherlands. Using footage from my armor or eyes would provide a little too much information though.
Ah, but the deal must wait until I’ve explained a few things that led up to it, like when I returned to the lair. I was surprised when I arrived there at the former club where I’ve been laying my head and hatching my schemes. Schemes, you see, are foul, and like all fowl they lay eggs, Hence why you hatch them and why they sometimes require you to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Here I’ve gotten talking about eggs and haven’t mentioned what surprised me about my base. The surprise was in finding my headquarters guarded by a bouncer who wanted to let in all kinds of partygoers, but not me.
Despite my looking like a civilian, the big fellow barred my access to the door like I didn’t own the place. “You ain’t getting’ in,” he told me and pushed his hand against my chest. Some people in the line behind me chuckled at that. Some guy smelling of smoke just wanted to walk in the place? Not much of a joke from where I stood.
I knelt down, though, and that led to a killer punchline. “What you think you’re doing, man?” asked the bouncer as I scanned the floor for the panel I was looking for. When I had what I wanted, I punched through the metal panel and grabbed hold of the wires underneath. I design a lot of things to go off anyway if messed with, most notably bombs, but my booby traps also benefit from that design philosophy. I yanked the wires out and the ground under the bouncer launched upward, propelled by a spring. The floor bounced back down on the spring, but the bouncer didn’t. He shot off into the night, screaming.
I stood up, pushed the launcher out of the way enough to get through the doorway, and walked into my hideout that was, strangely, a club now. It had been a failed one some time before I bought it, so I knew this wasn’t some form of time travel. The sight of Moai in a DJ’s booth wearing huge headphones cleared that up for me as well. Then a mecha roughly two people tall walked through the dance floor to deliver a part of itself to the bartender. No, it only looked like a part of itself because, as I found out upon closer examination, the mecha’s body was predominantly made of kegs. As it turned, I could see that Carl sat in the driver’s seat.
I guess that’s better use than recycling the damn things.
“Boss, you’re back! Oh! Moai and I put this place to good use only, I swear. We hid all your stuff before we set all this up, too, so don’t worry about that. How’d you get in-? Wait, did you kill the bouncer?”
“Relax, I didn’t lay a hand on the bouncer. Matter of fact, I’ll bet you he’s out there doing plenty of bouncing.”
Even in the dim lighting I could see Carl’s eyes widen. Though he’d been working for me a short while, he had caught on quickly. Along with his creative use of kegs to build a powered suit, I think I may have underestimated his intelligence.
“Oh shit. If I’d known you were coming back, I’d have told him to let you in.”
“I guess make sure the new one you hire knows it from the start,” I said.
“Does that mean you’re gonna keep the club?”
“Well discuss that later. For now, beer bot, I’d like to know if you kept the showers and if you have any sort of Tupperware container big enough to contain anything the size and shape of a severed human head.”
“Oh, yeah, the showers are still here. There’s probably something here we can use for the head. Hey, how’d the assassinatin’ go?”
I dropped the holograms covering the head and held it up in front of Carl’s face, my suit better at showing something than it is at showing nothing in its current state. He caught himself before any food came up. I didn’t bother hiding it again as I lowered my hand.
“Right, guess that’s what the head-sized container’s for.”
After that, I had a nice, long shower to get rid of that distinct “burnt sweaty pickled foot” smell that most people find so incredibly pleasant. Couldn’t find the towels, though, so I just had to walk it dry. That drew a variety of looks from the people on the dance floor. While I was out there, I realized I didn’t know what Moai and Carl had done with my clothes.
Figuring it was important for a new small business owner to be clothed, I turned to the nearest person and said, “Give me your clothes.”
The little woman in the pink and black outfit with the fairy wings strapped to her back just giggled and kept whirling around.
I held out my arm and pointed at the floor. “Kneel! Kneel before Gex!” At that point, Moai scooted in between myself and the dancing pixie girl and tossed a blanket over me. He led me to what turned out to be my office, where some clothes were waiting for me, especially my coat.
“Ah, clothes. Thank you, my good Moai. I’d tip you, but I currently lack money so the only tip I’ve got is one I’d rather not give to you. Maybe to the spinning fairy out there, but not so much to you. That my computer there?”
He nodded. I slid down into my seat behind the desk. “Alrighty then, let’s not waste a whole lot of time here…”
Everything seemed to be how I left it in that regard. Was I mad about the club? I don’t know how I was. It was different than how I’d left the place, but different doesn’t necessarily mean bad. Only thing that would have pissed me off was being unable to find my shit, which sometimes happens when people claim they’re cleaning things up. I’ve seen people organize things one day and be completely unable to find anything important the next.
“You need to go see to the music, Moai?” I asked. It’s not like I needed him for anything at the moment. He nodded and headed back out the door of this private office. I was off to the side of the everything like this.
As he left, Carl entered carrying my suit. “Hey, boss, glad to see you found this place and some clothes. Why aren’t you wearing the clothes? Anyway, I got your suit here.”
“Good job, Carl. I’m going to need that thing thoroughly de-stinked. It’s got a few days worth of body odor in it…closer to a week, actually.”
“You got anything to say about the, uh, turning your secret hideout into a big public dancefest?”
I shrugged. “Thanks for the hostages? Nothing at the moment. I’m feeling kinda mellow now. Happens sometimes. You just pop a guy’s head off, get a good shower, scrub up in your sphincter real far, and relax naked on a leather chair. Maybe get me that fairy’s number?”
“She’s a lesbian.”
“Damn! I don’t have enough time for a sex change right now.”
“You’re really freakin’ me out here how cool you are with all this.”
“I’ve gotten pretty good at rolling with the punches. Now, to the de-stinkification with you while I set up a meet and greet to give someone head.”
That’s really all I worried about. He left me to my office with the black carpet, black walls, and black ceiling. A little monochrome, but decent nonetheless. Besides, I could worry about splattering other colors on it another time.
I was in possession of the target’s head. If anyone else wanted to screw me over, this was the time, because the head was the thing to turn in. A little thing like worrying about a club could wait.
So I set up the meeting for the next day. Noon. Possibly high noon, if you enjoy a toke with your lunch.
I have to say, I was surprised by this guy. He was prompt on getting back to me and the location of the meeting was a building called The Hilburg. Not much to the place. Named after some architect who was given a good deal to spite some asshat developer named Trump. This Trump guy tried to buy it off once for a deal, but he was about flat broke at the time and he’d screwed over so many banks that they refused to loan him the money.
The inhabitants included architectural firms, corporate offices, nonprofits, and whatever sorts of organizations buy space in these buildings. I didn’t get a good look at them because the lobby had been cleared for my arrival there. Saw that on my approach, this time wearing clothes. If I went nude outdoors in this weather, my little buddy would probably just break off. Or if I slipped on some ice and fell on the side walk, I’d be trying to tug him the whole day, and I don’t have time to sit around tugging on my dick in public. Damn sure cuts out the catcalls from those construction crews, though. You’d think they’d have thicker skin the way they talk.
So I saw the lobby cleared through the reflective glass even before I walked inside. I was greeted by a pair of Pinkerton agents in their crisp black business suits. As I approached, one of them hit a button on the elevator.
“I’m going to need to take that from you, sir,” said one of them in a soft but firm voice, holding his hands out for the plastic container I had in one hand.
No need to be paranoid. Who said I’m paranoid? Who was it?! I handed the container, labeled “Head Cheese” to the man. He took it and walked off toward a side room. The one who had called the elevator was holding the door open for me at this time. I stepped in, bemused at Pinkertons treating me courteously. When the door closed, the Pinkerton pulled out a card and slid it into a slot on the elevator, then pressed a button for the 55th floor.
The trip was uneventful. Boring, even. I couldn’t even headbang to the music, and believe me, I tried. Damn shame they can’t put something a little more rocking into an elevator. Maybe something specific to the floor. Isn’t the 55th floor a good occasion for “Stairway to Heaven”?
The Pinkerton didn’t even try to attack me. It seemed this character I was to meet with was on the up and up.
When we got off, our stop was a huge office.
“Howdy there, fella, glad to see ya, come on in.”
The owner of that voice was a large-ish man in the sense of taking being big, though not fat. As you may have been able to discern from the way he talked, he was one of those rich Texan-looking guys. Business suit, cowboy boots, white cowboy hat, bolo tie, with a grin on his face and a cigar in his mouth.
I glanced back at the Pinkerton, who followed us in, and walked over to sit down.
“You know, I didn’t expect you’d actually meet me once they took the head down there,” I said as I slipped into comfy chair he had in front of his desk. He slid into his own seat and propped his boots up on the desk.
“A bit of a risk, huh? You’d be right to think it. Really, I just wanted to extend my personal congratulations on a job well done. I know it couldn’t have been easy with all the added competition, and I apologize for having to resort to it, but you did me a service, sir, and I commend you for it.”
“Yes, well, killing people is important to me. It’s been a hobby off and on for many years, and it’s good to turn your hobby into a job. Speaking of jobs and money transfers…?” I ended it as a question to lead him, of course.
He held the cigar in his mouth and sucked in on it. “The money should be clearing escrow as we speak. I expect it has to zip around the world a few dozen times before it gets where you can use it, but it’s yours no problem partner.”
“Nothing more to do at this point than bask, I guess.”
“I s’pose, I s’pose. We’ll dispose of the head I reckon. Got to be someone with an incinerator somewhere. These boys here,” he indicated the Pinkerton agent standing around in the room with us, “are damn good at being discreet.”
“Not in my experience, but then I’ve often been on the other side of them.”
“Ah, usually you’re here to kill someone like myself then?”
“Usually they’re less friendly than yourself, but yeah. Much more like killing grown-up versions of the fucker you sent me after.”
“I wouldn’t call them grown-up. They’re not. Kids with cash. Why, my momma always taught me growing up that those more fortunate than others should protect their fellow man who is in lesser circumstances. Noblesse oblige, she said, seeing as our family was old money. People forget that if you dress up like a cowboy though, know what I mean?” he raised both eyebrows at me as he said it. I liked this guy.
He continued, “It means that nobility isn’t just about having money. It’s about being noble. If you want to think of yourself as the better man then you should act like the better man. Now, I don’t know if that’s who you are. That’s for the good Lord to judge, not me. But I do know what it’s like to lose someone to a drunk driver. It hurt me on a personal level to see this kid get off like that. There’s responsibility inherent in being someone like we are, and he didn’t live up to it. So, just this once, I took corrective measures. Noblesse oblige, fella. Noblesse oblige.”
He put his boots down on the floor again and reached his hand over the desk toward me. I stood up and walked over to shake his hand, the hand of just the sort of person I’ve been running down all this time. The same guy who hired me not to get a rival out of the way but, he claimed, out of a sense of goodness and personal responsibility.
In all this, I gained a little bit of respect for the sort of person I normally don’t trust on instinct. Out of all this, I’d say I learned that sometimes there is a level of assholery that surpasses class boundaries, and that sometimes people actually will try to enforce decency when they have the power to, whether those people are racists, mobsters, or even fake Texans.
And if anyone out there is thinking of becoming a drugged-up mass murderer who kills people, gets caught, and then gets sentenced to easily-escapable therapy, remember this: that shit’s for us villains. Don’t you steal the schtick of someone like the Joker and think you can get away with it. Uh uh. As I could have told any of the other assassins sent in to tear this guy a new one, you need to leave the villainy to the real bad guys before someone like myself, the Great and Devious Psycho Gecko, shows you what it’s like to be a real mean motherfucker.
Noblesse oblige, after all.