No-one will miss him. The Mechanic. I know his real name, but it doesn't matter. He's the worst of the worst and I mean that by society's standards, not my own. As far as I'm concerned, there's no meaningful hierarchy among those of us who end lives for profit or pleasure, or at least there shouldn't be.
His methods are less refined than mine and arguably more creative, but even the people who employ his services keep him at arm's length for reasons of self-preservation. The point is, no-one feels any genuine loyalty towards him. No-one actually cares. No-one will avenge him. A lot of people will breathe a sigh of relief when he's gone. Our only mutual acquaintance left the country almost half a decade ago, so we're not connected in any traceable way and although we may be of the same species, we're very different animals.
Don't get me wrong, this is not an act of vigilantism on my part. I'm not weighing his life against the lives that his removal from the world will save. There's none of that depth to my decision. I chose him because of the lack of complication compared to other potential marks. I suppose I should say victim instead of mark, since this isn't work. This is just for me, because I need it, because I'm done trying to convince myself I don't. Just over a year without it and I'm lost.
I know exactly where to find him. It's miles from anywhere I usually go, although I have been here before, once. It's that kind of place, frequented by that kind of person. His kind of person, not mine. I don't know what my kind of person is anymore, if I ever knew in the first place. I know what it isn't though.
I park around the corner, not overlooked by any surrounding buildings, not visible from the street, and walk to the bar. The plan is to find him inside, keep my distance, then follow him out when he leaves, but fate reaches a hand towards me.
He's outside, smoking, and he's alone. I light a cigarette because I'm done trying to convince myself I don't need that either, as if I'm just having a smoke before I go in, and we get to talking. Or he gets to talking and I get to pretending to listen. He's chatty for someone who should have a lot to hide, but that's what mild intoxication and delusions of invincibility do to a person.
I'm careful with my words because I'm not enough of a fool to believe I'm untouchable. I invoke the name of our mutual acquaintance, talking up work I never did for him, conversations we never had, promises neither of us made. I let him think I'm still in the business and I bullshit about work I have planned, an assignment that may be more than a one person job.
He eats up every word, itching for an opportunity to tell more of his own stories. He likes the sound of his own voice too much for someone who doesn't have much to say, but that's often the way of it. People like him expect their reputation to precede them, but they still need to talk endlessly about themselves, just in case.
We're bonding, as much as two people without one functioning conscience between them can bond, and he looks at my watch. I tell him the truth - it was a gift from a satisfied client - and I can almost see banknotes flashing across his eyes. Then we get to cars and it's all going perfectly.
I tell him I'm pissed off because my last car guy had to go away for a while and I don't want to go to anyone without specialist experience, but something's wrong and I'm not great with engines. None of this is true, apart from me not being great with engines. I've never had reason to be.
He senses money to throw around, says to bring the car in tomorrow and he'll have his boys check it out. I tell him it's parked two minutes away and if he'll take a look now I'll give him cash and keep it off the books for both of us. Then we can come back and I'll buy us a few drinks and we'll talk about that assignment some more, the one that may be more than a one person job. The one that doesn't exist.
YOU ARE READING
Winter FollowsGeneral Fiction
One month, one city, five lives colliding with the forces of fate. A thrill-seeking tech genius with an appetite for dangerous extremes. A retired contract killer fighting to escape his past and himself. An underworld driver tempted deeper into a li...