"...and now we play the waiting game."

He took out a cigarette from his pocket, put it between his dry lips, and lighted it in the dark of the night. His right hand on the lighter, the other shielding it from the wintry wind.

He sucked in the nicotine and felt heat around his belly, before letting it out in the form of smoke. He had nothing else better to do to pass the time. He had to stay, as he had an image to uphold. The image of a professional.

His mental faculties strayed to the past in an attempt to pass the time faster. He thought back to when this all began, a flashback to the dialogue he had in the morning that led up to this fateful night.

He bit his cigarette as the wind became fiercer, even though his light had been extinguished. The howls of the raging wind entered his eardrums as they returned to a few mornings before this fateful night.

The incessant beeping of his alarm clock woke him up from a state of utter languor. He didn't need to uphold the image of a professional behind closed doors. His hand scratched his unkempt hair in reflex, though it had no itch, before hitting the snooze button on the digital clock perched on his small dresser.

He yawned loudly, unlike a professional.

Walked in a slouch, unlike a professional.

Moved towards his bathroom dressed in nothing but his boxers, unlike a professional.

A lazy Sunday morning with no special occurrences, until he finished his cold shower (humming a tune, unlike a professional), checked his second e-mail account—he had several for security—and read the contents of a certain mail.

Said mail awakened a fire in his eyes. A dash of cold professionalism rivaling the season flashed, despite him being in a casual, light blue t-shirt and shorts with a slightly darker hue. One might say the mismatch of his demeanor and his choice of apparels was unprofessional.

After reading through the mail, he entered a state of deep thinking. He had planned not to have plans for the day, but the mail required him to be professional. For the sake of his livelihood, he had to conjure up a plan, stat.

That is what he did, by doing nothing at all aside from thinking, thinking and more thinking. He moved around his room, cramped from the mess he had neglected, shifting from one position to the next while contemplating his next move for the job.

He set the schedules in his mind, estimated the time it would take to complete his agenda, and promptly answered his client as to how long it would take for him to complete the task, inquiring for more information to make sure the client would be satisfied with his results.

After hitting the "send" button, he allowed himself a moment of respite. His left arm spread out, exposing burn marks from a past he wished he could burn away from his memories, while his right arm covered his eyes.

He thought of ordering the parts he would need for the job online with different accounts and in the span of different hours of different days—for security reasons—but before he could order the first part that night, he received a notification from his client.

A fast respondent. How professional, even though it's their first time requesting my services.

He skimmed through the information given by the client and smiled a satisfactory, almost triumphant smirk. He then continued to order the parts. Chemicals from pharmacists. Miscellaneous gadgets and gizmos from the local electronics store. Things that weren't supposed to be put together or have any correlation with one another at all.

Everything is going according to plan.

One unenthusiastic deliveryman after another showed up in his front door for the next few days. He greeted them with a cordial smile that they couldn't see as his face was hidden by a mask. If anyone cared enough to ask, he would simply answer he "had a nasty cold."

He finished his little project a few days before the time he estimated for the completion of his task. A professional would leave nothing to chance. He tested the contraption over and over again to make sure it would carry out its intended mission and produce its desired effects.

1 hour before the promised time, he was at the venue he promised to be. The good tenants of the rural house were fast asleep as their lights had been killed. He had observed their habits from afar in the intervals of rest that he took from his little project. Everything was accounted for. No wasted movements. No procrastination. Not until this moment came.

As a professional should, he didn't ask of the client's personal reasons. He asked for objective data that would aid him in his research for this assignment.

As a professional would, he set the stage with speed and efficiency in mind. He was a magician and the world would be the audience. Magicians were not to expose the secrets of their trades.

The beeps akin to his digital clock now permeating in the foreign kitchen he didn't belong in. The contraption, like magic, would disappear after it's done what it's supposed to do.

He set out without a slight misstep, without a slight sound, until he arrived to this point in place and time.

He spit out his cigarette and cut out the part he bit, pocketing it in his coat, and planted it nearby. He gathered the husband of the house was a chain smoker himself, and had planted several of his favored brand in the house. All of which left no trace of him.

He left nothing to chance.

The enforcers of the loose law of this rural town were paid blind wages. If they found evidence that would pardon their not investigating the scene further like the detectives of popular crime dramas, they would jump to that conclusion and write it off as an accident (not that they would find anything even if they investigated). It's happened before, it would happen again. Old dogs can't be taught new habits.

He walked away after staring down a watch on his right wrist, the burn marks starting to pulse. He counted down the seconds with the needle.





His mission accomplished, with none the wiser. As to be expected of a professional.

He then claimed the bounty from his client. As to be expected of a professional.

His name wasn't known in the public; the law enforcers couldn't discover, let alone trace him, but he was known in the underworld under an alias. Rumors had it that he was a professional, tonight he brought the moniker justice, yet again.

July 04, 2020 11:41

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B.T Beauregard
14:33 Jul 07, 2020

Great job!! I love the repetition of the story and how there are flashbacks in the beginning. At first the reader does not really know whats going on, specifically what he's a professional in, but It all comes together in the end. Fantastic story.


Ethernia Thiadi
09:03 Jul 08, 2020

Thank you!


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Robin Leonard
00:54 Jul 18, 2020

Nicely suspenseful. I guessed what he was up to when the deliveries of items were discussed. The only thing I wondered about was the "why" of the situation. Also, it felt a little like an except from a longer story, rather than a whole story on its own. Well done, though.


Ethernia Thiadi
18:09 Jul 18, 2020

Thank you for the feedback!


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