The Kill Fee

“There’s a little job I need  doing, I hear you’re in the business.”
“Now where’d you hear a little thing like that?’
“Let’s not kid ourselves. We know each other. I know you. You know me – you must do. I know what you do.”
“OK. So let’s say we’ve cut the crap, I do know you, I know your story – I…’ve heard you’re making changes. Big ones. You sure about this?”
“Never been more sure of anything in my life. That’s why I came to you. They say you’re the best.”
“Hmmph.”
“I need someone taken out. Permanently. Silenced. For good.”
“Target’s name?”
“Hahahahaha! I thought you’d know already! You must know!”
“Let’s say I don’t…”
“Oh, but you do! You know him, you know him well – we both do! He’s…very close to us, both, I believe.”
Silence. His eyes meet mine, reflecting what I think show in mine. The moment hangs, then…
“No!” his breath mists up the glass between us.
“But oh yes! The time has come!” I breathe back at him. The words cut, I see him grimace, the identity of the target now confirmed in his horrified stare, the breath that comes in ragged gasps as panic sets in.
“You know what you’re asking, buddy?”
“I know. I know well, and I am ready. Are you? You’re the best – can you prove it? Are you man enough? Or are you just a pretender to the throne, a fake, a Johnny Come Lately? Can you live up to your reputation?” I demand.
Silence. I study his face, a life-worn visage, scarred by drugs and years. His face is my face. His time is my time, now.
“I cannot proceed with the plan, while he’s still around. You need to know your own continuity depends on this job, too. You cannot refuse. Refusal equals death. Acceptance equals absolution. You are free to choose only the latter.”
“Fuck you! Free to choose my own death, you mean! Either way, I die! Fuck that!”
“Granted – either way, you die, but to die with attrition, with the grace of your forced regrets, and in so doing taking out my greatest enemy, that is how you will live on, in memory, a martyr. To choose the former, to not choose, that is death without mercy, that is death with shame, that is your personal hell, and I condemn you to it! Choose!”
A single tear, so clichéd, runs down his cheek – he is not the monster I came to face, he is not the man who reputation as a callous murderer I sculpted over the years. He is a frightened little boy, facing his doom and his consecration and his judgement.
“What choice have I?” his voice, wavering. 
“None. Do it. Do this final act, for me, now, and be free. How can you live with the guilt, anymore? Do this, submit to my will, sacrifice yourself to my mercy, and free yourself from the fires of your own, personal hell.” I whisper.
“What’s the fee?”
“The fee?” I ask, startled.
“Ha! Even you, sir, even YOU must pay the fee, even now, on this my final job!”
Silence. I’m rattled, thoughts racing.
How can there be a fee, for me, when these men are men of my construct? These men are as much part of my world as I am their world in toto. Any fee must come at great personal cost to me.
Silence.
“The fee…” I stop.
“You can’t do it! You cannot pay the fee, I will not be sacrificed for you, now or ever!” he barks.
Silence.
“So…you think you have found the loophole?”
“Hmmph”
“But you haven’t. You see the fee, is a high one. Huge. It is nearly everything. But it is nothing.”
“Whadda you mean?” He’s curt, angry, wants to look away, but keeps his eyes on mine, can’t turn them away.
We stare at each other through the glass.
“The fee, is your existence, and my responsibility for you, my accountability for your actions.”
His eyes grow wide in horror.
“You mean…”
“Yes, that is the fee, you, who are part of me, you, who exists because I say you do; you who looks back me in this mirror, YOU are me, but only a small part of me, and you must die, and take with you that other version of me that feeds off the weakness of others, that fuels their addictions. Today! Today, I sacrifice you both, to the Future, and my new life. You are dead. YOU are the fee, and you are done.” 
The Rise of Dave2.0
© Dave Luis 2012. All Rights Reserved.
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