Dad taught me well.
Keep your cool. Pretend everything is ok. Then go for the kill.
That is exactly what did when I pulled the trigger. No second thoughts, uncertainty and no mess. There was of course the blood that’s only a small matter. The most important thing is that the job is done. As long as there is no traitor on the loose then the amount of blood spilled.
Play your bullets right. That’s the motto of the family.
It was a foggy winter day, there was a chill in the air, especially when you breathed in you could feel a sting in your throat. I remember going for a walk in the walled garden of our estate, there was a light layer of snow, and I was wearing a thick woolly coat against the cold. It was that day that unofficially I was taking over from my father, so I would sit at the desk, and he would seat on the armchair. Some of my greatest lessons took place in that room. That first day I took my rival the first visitor I had was unexpected, he didn’t have an appointment, he just turned up demanding to be seen. That wasn’t the unusual. What was strange was that he was a rival. A rival by default.
He was thoroughly searched. I saw the questions everybody had in their eyes. The question marks just hung in their irises. Why today of all days they thought. I was both suspicious and curious. I heard him out. It wasn’t anything anybody in the room expected. Of course everybody stayed in fear that in some way he’d attack me. He had a proposition but I knew he wasn’t to be trusted. Nobody needed to say anything for me to know that they felt that way too. They all knew I would have my own proposition but they didn’t know what to expect. It was that he had to go out with me or there was no deal. I’d reclined in my chair and lit a cigar against his face. I saw his eyes jittering in surprise and alarm. There was no way out. I crossed my legs and blew out smoke rings in his face. He parted the smoke with his answer. It was a yes.
He got up and was escorted out. Latter I rang up and arranged things with him. There would be no bodyguards, no tracking or weapons. Obviously he had no choice but to agree since he’d agreed to the arrangement in the first place.
All my people were nervous. Some thought he’d strike then. An instinct in me told me he wouldn’t. I of course was right.
The dinner was a simple affair. Brick walled restaurant with wine red curtains. It had a quiet lull of classical music. The tables were oak with chequered clothes, there was one huge white lily in a brown ceramic vase and one candle that was lit when we sat down. He was quite, quite and silent. I remember thinking is this guy shy, reserved or is he simply scared. I concluded it was probably the last option. Scared that I might kill him. We had red wine of course by the bottle. He spilled some on his white shirt and he spent all evening with a stain that looked like a gunshot wound.
All the time I observed. I wasn’t enjoying myself I was analysing and making lists in my head. My top note was that he had a serious weakness for alcohol. The date ended with both of us alive. We said good-bye at the car doors.
The second date went in a similar fashion. Different place but the same people. The restaurant had wooden panelled walls. Colour scheme was mustard and the floor shinny black marble. Perfect for spilling blood I thought, and easy to mop up. I didn’t smile to my own reflection in it. The wine was sweet and the food was warm delicious. This time he talked a little more, I nodded, and he took this as encouragement that I wanted to hear more. I made a note that he was a men seeking approval. My body and my brain were completing two very different sorts of tasks but yet working together towards one goal. At the end of the evening he gave me a little smile and I returned the gesture. I made a note that he is no longer holding back so much and I was pleased with my progress. He’s good bye was warmer the second time.
One more week I remember thinking. Just one more week. Every time I came back, alive and breathing, everybody was relieved and pleased with the progress. Dad took me to the firing rage every weekend. I never got a bad shot and out of a hundred shots seventy were a bulls eye. It wasn’t bad but not perfect yet. I had to keep training and not let myself fall a victim to my rivals.
The third time we went out I let him choose the place. I didn’t expect it to be so untraditional. An American Diner; a metal capsule building silver and shinny. Neon lighting shone bright into the dark night and into my eyes. The lights made me feel glamorous. I remember wondering if he had planned something…something to catch me off guard. His head was slightly tilted like it always was, his outfit unwrinkled, and his body posture as always slouchy. But the golden rule was that you had to pretend to be yourself that was the rule. I was alert let me tell you. I never once got up to go to the restroom and watched him while he ate. I didn’t order any drink for myself that night and although the food was tasty every second I was afraid for my life. Afraid that since he had set this up then there was a significant opportunity that he could bribe them to poison my food. I kept my cool and as always kept the conversation flowing. When he wanted to kiss me good night at the end of the ending I let him. It was the most positive progress for my cause. The kiss was well…a great kiss but it didn’t matter what it was. The most important thing was what the kiss meant rather then anything else. It wouldn’t have mattered good or bad either way.
My plan was set in motion. I would leave town and make him join me. After the way that date had ended I knew he would be more then willing. I remember phoning him on a windy morning I was standing by the glass window looking out. I had lit a cigarette and talked slowly listening for any signs of alarm, rustling anything. Of course it was dangerous going on this trip but instinct told me know was the time. I leaned back as I heard his breathing over the line and I timed it to see if it was nervousness. It wasn’t and I smiled.
It was arranged we would travel in separate cars. I couldn’t take anybody with me and that again madenervous. They were worried that I might be the one caught out but they had trust in me. Everybody knew it had to be done. I hugged dad and assured him it wasn’t to be his last hug. I wore faux leather trousers that day both for the allure of it and because it was practical if you spilled something it would be easy to wipe it off. I got into the drivers seat, closed the door, and looked back. Dad was standing at the doorway, he saw me looking, and saluted like a solider. I knew he was proud of me, he wasn’t afraid or sad, he knew that in this business you couldn’t let fear rule you even for a second because that’s when they would strike.
The doors opened and my mission officially started. My eyes saw all the cars, the drivers, car passengers, people crossing the street, number plates. I saw everything there was to be seen. I didn’t see him on the road but I didn’t let it get to me. I kept my hands on the wheel and my eyes unblinking. It had snowed the day before but everybody was used to it in this region even the grannies still driving.
When I reached my hotel, I saw his car parked outside, and he was leaning on the bonnet of the car facing away from the road. Not very clever but yet he didn’t suspect which showed my successful progress. When I started to park, he turned around, and I waved. He waved back at me, smiled, and I responded. I rolled down my window, waved him to come to me, and asked if he wanted to go for a drive to see the frozen lake. He wanted to go because obviously it sounded very romantic. I saw him look at my trousers and knew my plan was working in my favour so far.
The drive there was fast and silent. I drove in front, it was dangerous yes, but it was even worse to be tailgating behind. There was more things that could go wrong then – many more. It was I who obviously arrived first, I got out, and waited for him to park. After he did he open the door, leaned against the car, looked at the scenery.
‘It’s beautiful here’ he said.
“It is” I returned.
I grabbed the gun out my bag and pulled the trigger. The bullet shot into the air. fast eager. It wanted to reach flesh. He hadn’t seen it coming and when he did it was to late. I could see the same jittering feeling that he had when he had meet me that first day. Surprise Alarm. The bullet had come so fast and so unexpectedly that I don’t know if his brain could realise that he would die.
“This is for my parents” I shouted out. The shout echoed around the trees and into his ears.
Bullet entered flesh. Right in the heart. Blood soaked his white jumper. He slowly slide down. Collapsed in the snow. Blood started seeping into the white snow. Infusing colour into the blankness.
The gun felt cold in my hand.
“Sorry” he whispered
I shot again. Bullet in his arm.
“That’s for good luck”
He remained silent. Thoughts of death were upon him. Brain having those last twitches before death.
“My parents are waiting hurry”
“I’d rather stay”
“Don’t worry. I wouldn’t let your wealth get lost in the abyss”
“Thanks” I felt sarcasm in his voice. That was the last thing he said.
I’d told dad what the plan was. I knew that men were already on their way. They would get rib of everything. Just leave everything and go I was instructed. I looked at his bloody silent body, got into the car, and drove off.
You see that day everything changed. Everybody knew that I had killed one of the most powerful men without a hitch and that if I was capable of achieving that then I was capable of so much more.
The reason why I killed him wasn’t because I wanted to install fear in the other families no I wanted justice. He was the man who had killed my family, robbed me off the maternal arms that would have raised me from adolescence into adulthood, but they died that night. That night when my parents were out celebrating not only their anniversary but also mum being pregnant again. It was to be a boy. I was supposed to have a brother. He had somehow located where my parents where having their private picnic and murdered them both. I’m told my mother had a bullet to her stomach. They died with the food still in their mouth. Nobody would let me see the open casket, so I wouldn’t be haunted by their dead still bodies, in those wooden boxes. Their funeral was so tightly patrolled that a fly couldn’t have got in if it wanted to. I was only allowed to give a speech by my surrogate mother Maura, who was mums best friend and maid, they shared everyday together. Nobody could have done it better. I was then carried away, given dinner and taken to bed, so I wouldn’t see when they put those boxes in those holes in the ground. Dad’s stepbrother Luciano, was my surrogate father, they loved each other so much. Nobody was in more pain then he was. We were both equally in pain
Luciano and Maura became my parents to be.
That day I came home I made two sets of parents proud. I felt it.
When I came home after killing the man who had killed my parents, the first thing dad did was hand me over the driving licence, and then he hugged me.
I left my lip print on that licence and dad sent of the sign.
Business always first – affection latter was his motto.