Sometimes, vanity speaks for itself. We just don't hear it.
Walking up the stairs, the matte black case hung easily at her side. The lock on the door at the top proved no challenge and access to the roof was hers.
Dressed in a tailored black suit and charcoal shirt, she made her way to the edge. No sound was made by her shoes as she crossed the chat that provided the roof protection from the elements. Once at the edge, she set the case down.
Looking up, she couldn't help but notice how the stars were washed out by the city lights. "It's a shame," she thought. "So high, and not able to enjoy their splendor. Ah, well. To work."
Flipping the latches on the case, she opened it like a collector would open the case of a prized possession; gently and with a certain amount of reverence. Easing the top half onto the chat as not to disturb the small rocks, she went to work with the contents.
One by one, she extracted the pieces, and with a touch lovers share, she fitted them together; feeling every piece slide into its mating part. She felt a sense of pride with the care she gave her equipment. In no time, the broken down rifle was back in business order. With the bi-pod resting pads propped on the edge of the roof, she sat back on her heels.
Pulling her PDA from the breast pocket of her jacket, she thumbed it to life. The time display said she had a few more minutes to spare. She used this time to activate the GPS, and check coordinates.
Looking at the glowing screen, she saw two distinct points; one hers, and the other, her targets. Running through the menu options, she brought up an aerial map for visual reference, checked it, then ran a current weather scan. Numbers and visuals flitted across the screen.
Pleased with the results, she pulled out the last piece from her case; a larger scope than what was fitted on the rifle. Using the reference points from her PDA, she sighted down the street to the park three blocks away.
She had her targets located immediately; walking slowly in her direction. Checking the time and weather one last time, she put the scope back in the case. In a crouch, she shouldered the rifle, settled in, then flipped open the scope covers.
Dialing in the scope, she could make out the handsomely dressed couple in the park. They looked like the King and Queen of the prom; him in his suit, and her in her gown. Corsages adorned both.
Checking the time again, she turned on the laser-sighter. Then, reaching into the case, she retrieved three cartridges; high powered and armor piercing. Normally she would have used only two, but in this case three would be needed. She kissed each one before loading them.
Raising the rifle back to her shoulder, she located the couple again. Through the special lenses in the scope, the near invisible dot of the laser glowed a bright green on the target.
She laughed at their positioning. By their body language, she knew she would have an easy time. They were facing each other, with him to the left, and their shoulders pointed towards her. Timing would mean everything here, and she had timing.
She squeezed off the first round. Paused, shifting her aim. Then squeezed off the second round. Slight pause and shift, then the third. The kick absorbers in the stock kept the gun from jerking even a little. Her aim would be true.
The dull thud of the reports were still echoing between the buildings when the first round made its mark. The mans head jerked, causing him to shift position, as anticipated. That made his partner shift, also, as anticipated.
With the shifting, the second round caught the woman in the upper, middle part of her left shoulder blade. The third caught the man between the top corner of his shirt pocket and the button line.
Three dead-on hits.
"Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy." she said to herself softly. Then, thinking to herself, "you have to take pride in what you do. Always."
Pulling a couple tissues from the case, she started wiping off the gun as she broke it back down for storage. Each section was cleaned until it was free of any residue, and even smelled clean. Even the spent shell casings were cleaned and returned to their spot in the case.
After the last section was laid to rest, she lit a cigarette. More a habit of the profession, than an addiction. She used the time it took to burn down, to check the area for anything she may have forgotten. And before grinding the filter-less butt into a memory, she touched it to the wad of tissues. Treated as they were, they flared like the flash paper magicians use. All gone in a puff of smoke.
She was never here.
She sent the "accomplished" ping on her PDA. Then, closing and locking the roof door behind her, she started the thirty-five floor walk down.
Nearing the ground floor, her PDA chimed with final details on her next assignment. Checking it, she was surprised the next mark was right in the alley she would exit the building into. She knew it would be close, but this was a pleasant change.
Stepping into the alley, she looked both ways; the street was to her left, and her car was to the right. Her marks were only thirty feet from her, between her and her car.
Turning to the right, she sized them up as she approached. The man was maybe twenty, tall and gangly, with slicked back hair and a pair of thick, horn rimmed glasses. The woman was about the same age. She had a equine face, with her hair in pig-tails and was wearing a deep blue sundress spattered with yellow polka-dots.
The whole picture looked like something out of a bad '50's comedy. The man had his hands on the woman's shoulders and was saying something to her, almost pleadingly. Her head was hanging like she couldn't make up her mind and was afraid to respond.
"Never get involved," she thought. "Just do the job."
But their position was beautiful. One shot would do it.
Getting closer, she moved her hand behind her back and reached up under her jacket. Pulling the automatic free from the spring-loaded holster, she waited till she was closer. As she brushed past them, she brought her hand up and pressed the pistol to the girls back, just below the shoulder blade.
One shot. Angled slightly up, and to the right. The angle ensured the right path for the man after the girl. Just one shot. "Damn, I'm good", she thought to herself.
She continued walking, not looking back to see the couple slide to the ground together. At the end of the alley, she easily vaulted the short wall that separated the alley from the car park next to the office building she left.
Walking through the dimly lit garage, she sent her "ping", and received the chime of the next assignment. Sometimes she wished the thing would break down and give her a rest. Then she considered how convenient things are now, with the use of cellphones, linked PDA's, laptops, and "Blue-Teeth" technology. Get the jobs, get the latest information, and report back to the office, and the whole time still working the field. Nothing like the days of pay phones, messenger services, and running all over the place trying to get things done.
Looking at the screen, her eyebrows raised. "Wonderful," she thought, "just, wonderful. Multiple targets, close quarters, in a busy club. They only give the hardest to the best-est."
Crossing the last drive lane, she stood at the back of her car. Opening the trunk, she put away her case. Then she opened a garment bag and took the hangers out of it. Removing her jacket, she hung it up and hooked the hanger to a notch inside the trunk lid. Then, placing a square of paper on the ground, she removed her shoes, standing on the paper to keep her feet clean, and stowed those. Next her slacks came off, got hung up, and they joined the jacket. After taking off her shoulder holster, she removed her shirt and bra. Standing in just her underwear, she put all the clothing, minus her shirt, back in the garment bag and carefully returned it to its spot so the suit wouldn't get wrinkled.
Pulling another bag out, she removed the contents and started getting dressed again. Designer jeans, pair of "footie" socks, and the charcoal shirt went on. Slipping into a pair of "must have" track shoes, she picked up the paper she had been standing on and placed it back in the trunk. After tying up the shoes, she slipped back into the holster, and pulled on a denim jacket.
Closing the trunk, she went around to the drivers side, and slid in behind the wheel. Adjusting the rear-view mirror, she applied darker make up, and finished off with some "take-me" red lip gloss. Pleased with the effect it had on her, she readjusted the mirror.
"Got to have that 'free-stylin', independent, upwardly mobile, trolling man-killer' look. And THIS is it." She giggled at her own joke about her appearance.
Before starting the car, she pulled her hair back into a ponytail. Sitting there, she thought about her younger peers. They just don't get it. They use "smart munitions" to make the job easier. "Fire and forget". IF they do their jobs right.
They just don't get the value of the three "A"s: Appearance, Attention, and Accuracy. Look the part to fit in, pay attention to the surroundings, it matters, and be accurate. Do not give the "clean-up" crews a reason to exist. Take a little pride in your work.
Like with this club. She got the job because of her reputation for doing a clean assignment. One of the "newbies" would probably throw a cluster bomb in and the clean-up crew would spend half the night making it right again.
Turning the ignition, she filled the garage with the deep, throaty bump only a muscle car can produce. Enjoying the rumble as she sat there, she flipped the locks on the roof and hit the switch on the dash, lowering the top. Backing out, she pointed the car in the direction of the street and idled up to the exit.
Turning right, she drove past the building she was just in. As she drove by, two police officers were coming out an alley entrance. In tow with them, were Mr. Horn Rimmed Glasses, still trying to get his pants pulled back up; and Miss Polka-Dot, with her dress in a very un-lady like condition.
Mr. Horn Rimmed was saying to the officer attached to his elbow, "But I LOVE her."
The officer replied, "Yeah, yeah. And you're going to love our night court judge. Now lets move."
Three blocks down, she was stopped by a red light. Sitting there, she looked over and saw the King and Queen of the Prom walk through the arched gateway of the park, holding hands, and looking happy.
As they moved to the sidewalk, they looked up, saw her car, and stopped. Standing there, looking in her direction, a faint smile crossed their faces.
She could only shake her head and smile back, it always happens. Seeing a pink Cobra GT with a white racing stripe down the drivers side does that. And, when that stripe has an arrow head pointing at the front bumper, and a fletched tail in the back, it gets noticed. Especially, when they add in that it has a woman driver.
As the light turned green and she throttled through the intersection, the couple turned their heads and followed her. They half-heartedly raised their hands to wave, and she returned the salute. Then they started laughing as she cruised past to her next destination.
Yup, she thought. It is always the same; smile, wave and laugh. The smile and wave is from the sight of a pink muscle car with an arrow on it, and a woman driver.
And the laugh, well, that comes from when they spot the vanity plate in the back; "Q-PID".
It's a little early but, Happy Valentines Day, Dudette.