The greatest weapon is skill
By Craig Allan, Business Manager
As a man walks down the dreary streets of Los Angeles on an unseasonably rainy night, he feels uneasy. Wanted on multiple counts of murder, John Keller has his chin on his shoulder so much he is starting to make a dent in both. He never knows how his death will transpire. An assassins’ bullet? Poison in his Earl Grey? The fear has gone on for so long and has become so all-encompassing that it no longer bothers him. Like a long-term illness dulled by time.
As John walks down the street where he has had the longest residence in the last 10 years, he feels something is off. As he turns his head to look behind him, he feels a sharp pain in his stomach. After being hit by a barrage of punches, he is swept by a leg kick; falling to the ground, John is rendered unconscious.
John awakens in a chair. No ropes tying his hands to the chair, or a bomb strapped to his chest. Just a chair. It’s certainly one of the more comfortable attempts on his life that he has had to endure. As he gets up to investigate the room, a man responds. “Whoa, whoa, whoa there. No need to get up. You’re probably still a little woozy.”
Out of the shadows cast by the light over his chair comes a man dressed in a perfectly put-together black suit. He smirks at John as he begins to sit back down: “Why leave now? You haven’t even had your steak.”
Confused, John sits back down as the man brings out a table, chair, steak dinner with mashed potatoes, a medley of vegetables, a wine glass with a bottle of wine and sets them down in front of John.
“So, what’s the angle?” John asks. “Poisoned wine, you’re going to shoot me under the table? What?”
“No, no,” said the man. “Poison is the tool of the spineless and shooting you under the table would be cowardly. This is just a casual steak dinner. Enjoy.”
John begins to eat the steak. He was savouring every morsal; with his past, a nice gesture can easily turn into a knife in the back. As John eats, he and the man talk. They talk about who they have killed, what they killed for, who they killed with. By the end, they had as much knowledge of each other as an engaged couple.
“So, I assume you are going to kill me. Right?” says John.
The man replies: “Oh yes, very much so.”
“So, is this your calling card? A nice meal before an axe to the back of the skull.”
“It is one of my more considerate offerings, but in a way yes. Everyone deserves a last meal.”
“Well,” John says, “If you were going to kill me you have likely missed your window by now. I can see the glowing sign over the exit, and the smell of seagulls makes me think we are at the port. I know this area well. I’ll be out of here so fast that these potatoes won’t be the only thing mashed.” John and the man laugh.
“Do you know what they call me?” the man asks. John shook his head. “They call me The Rich Man. Not because I am rich in money or power, but because I am rich in skill. I can kill any man with such ease that I don’t need a hiding position or a gun. I can kill them with my bare hands. There is honour in that.”
As John takes the final bite of his steak, he can see what is about to happen. “So, looks like we are going to get started.” Suddenly, John flips the table while simultaneously throwing the steak knife at the man. The Rich Man catches the knife with his bare hand. As John runs for the faint exit, one of his legs collapses under his weight. It is the steak knife. The Rich Man has embedded it into his left leg.
As John crawls for the exit, the lights in the room turn on. The Rich Man slowly walks over to the crawling John, flips him over, and begins choking him. As John struggles to escape, he also struggles to grab the knife protruding out of the back of his knee, thinking that if he can get it and stab the man, he will make it out. The Rich Man sees this, releases one of his hands, and pulls the knife out of John’s leg to put it right in his outstretched hand. As John struggles for air under the weight of The Rich Man’s firm two-handed grip around his neck, he begins to flail the knife at The Rich Man’s chest. The Rich Man dodges all of these with ease; John begins to lose strength, consciousness, and eventually his life.
The Rich Man, as calm as could be, gets on a phone and says “The target has been taken out. I await further instructions.” As he walks by the overturned table, he sees the broken wine bottle on the floor with the wine pooling a couple of meters away at a sunken part of the floor. “Shame,” The Rich Man says. “What an expensive bottle of wine.”
To be Continued…