I love creating really unsuspecting characters, especially whenever they so perfectly reflect the way that I would love to handle a lot of situations. I love living vicariously through people I create in my head that have no fear of consequence or retribution. It’s how I work through a lot of situations in me head so that I don’t have to be totally miserable whenever I’m doing I don’t particularly like. Today said character is a hitman that’s totally out of their element. I mean really, who among us doesn’t love watching a contract killer squirm the entire way through an uncomfortable evening of normalcy?
I’ve always had trouble connecting to others. I suppose that’s how I ended up in my life of work. Women in particular have always been a mystery to me. I’ve never been interested in anything they are and don’t understand their thought process, despite being one. You would think shared experience would unite us, but the more I try to understand them the less I know and the more questions I walk away with.
Among the many things I have never quite been able to grasp is the cult of pregnancy, which stands as the pinnacle of my confusion. Why do pregnant women need so many parties? They can’t even drink, what is the point? Was having your friends show up, decorate your house and shower you with gifts not enough? Now there are gender-reveal parties and nursery decorating parties on top of the already existing baby shower. I’m sure there are more that that even, but thankfully I haven’t been invited to them yet.
Dane had insisted that I come out to this. “It’s good for you to be involved in things in the neighborhood, and I know Petra would love for you to be there,” he pushed. He was right of course; it was good for me to come out to these sorts of things. It solidified my cover. That didn’t mean I couldn’t be keenly aware of all of the exits.
Petra is also having her first child and our next-door neighbor, so apparently this was a very big deal. I was made to understand that if I declined the invitation it would make things difficult and Petra might even become hostile towards me. Then there would be a good chance that I would have to leave the neighborhood. I have worked entirely too hard on my carefully crafted cover to have it blown by a woman that collects stuffed animals.
So here I sit surrounded by cooing women touching each other’s stomachs and doling out unwanted, and often contradictory, advice. It’s something called a gender-reveal party. Every flat surface is covered in food, most of which are white to continue the gender-neutral theme. Not that it matters, there’s still women claiming that using more red colored foods than blue colored foods is just as good as telling everyone she’s going to have a girl. When we came in we were asked to cast our votes for what we thought Petra might be having: boy or girl, as though our votes would somehow have an effect on the outcome whatsoever.
Amidst this hell of cupcakes and estrogen I’m comforted by the notion that at the very least this morning I felt some ounce of control over my life. This afternoons activities stand in stark contrast to my morning. Here I’m completely out of my element. When I’m tracking a mark, I’m completely in my element. I’m just more myself with a gun in my hand.
His name was Dante, he was a drug lord. His competition had paid me a substantial fee upfront to deal with him, easily twice my normal going rate. I usually find that people do this because they believe the extra zeroes on the check will buy my loyalty. Eventually someone will come along that will want my employer dead and he will believe that the extra money protects him. He is, of course, wrong, but that isn’t something to really think about until there’s money on the table. I give it a year, then someone will want him dead too.
“Oh Jane is a homemaker, you could probably pick her brain for a few ideas about a centerpiece,” I hear Petra say before she turns to look at me expectantly. I hope I’m only grimacing on the inside. “I would absolutely love to,” I say with false exuberance. My face goes taught and I can only hope that I’m smiling. I could kill Petra for offering out my advice, but only if someone paid me very well. One of the drawbacks of being a hitman is only killing annoying people when you’re being paid to do it.
Being a hitman actually has a lot in common with being a homemaker. You pick a particular style and then you build your brand upon that. Do you specialize in domestics, or do you only take on political targets? Do you settle in and live a spotless life, or do you live as a ghost traveling from job to job? I chose to take higher profile targets and live a domestic life with Dale. He isn’t part of my world, but he’s the perfect cover for someone that is. He’s remarkably disinterested in the goings on in my life and I’ve often found myself wondering if he himself isn’t in a similar line of business.
A pantsuit named Nancy has sat down next to me and is blabbering on about swatches and flower arrangements and I’m doling out advice like I’m a walking copy of Better Homes & Gardens. Cover is important and I’ve made a point of really learning my stuff. I’m a threat to Martha Stewart in more than one way. I’ve also made a point of appearing both busy and flaky. The more involved you are the more people expect from you.
In the midst of my practiced bumbling conversation my phone goes off. I’ve already got another job. All the message has are a set of coordinates, a time and a date. Once the specified date rolls around I’ll be sent a picture and a name, all I have to do is text back whether or not I’m willing to take the job. ‘March 8th. 6 am.’
‘Well, I have been wanting to renovate our guest bathroom.’ I reply in the affirmative and quickly store my phone away from any prying eyes. Petra comes us from behind me and catches me by the arm. I pretend to be surprised. “Hey what are you doing in about a week or two? Probably the eighth or so. That’s what we’re tentatively thinking right now.”
‘Funny you should ask.’ “Well I’m busy in the morning, but I should be free most of the afternoon. Why do you ask?”
“Oh me and some of the girls here were thinking about doing brunch. Would you be interested?”
‘God, kill me now.’ “I would love to Petra thanks for thinking of me.”
“Alright ladies, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. It’s time to cut the cake and find out what the newest addition to the Evans family will be.” It’s the pantsuit again. Petra is called away and begins cutting into her cake to the sound of excited cheering and encouraging applause. You would think she were discovering the cure for cancer, not cutting a cake. She removes the first slice and small pink candies spill out. The crowd goes wild. It’s a girl, oh joy.
I tried to go the more sociopathic route and use a lot less emotion. I relied on statements and facts instead of thoughts and facts, which made it more difficult for me but it also made a much more believable sociopath. I also love the idea of a hitman, or woman, sitting through something as unnecessary as a gender reveal party. That just seemed like something that would really boggle their minds and annoy them.
Lots of Love,