Resnick Tucker Resnick sipped his espresso and looked out over the busy street scene in front of him. It was good to be in Cairo. He found the United States vaguely decadent. Vaguely decadent in a specific way. When bartering for a prostitute, he’d asked the madam for the sleaziest hooker in the brothel. There are no sleazy hookers in America, he said to himself. The madam finally introduced him to a woman who had sex with large groups of old fat men, gratis; moreover, she lived in a septic tank. If that’s the best you can do, he sighed…
He had to kill the old German in America. He didn’t know why, nor did he care. He was an assassin…a professional killer. He hesitated calling himself a hit man because he’d only had one mildly successful album, and he’d only done keyboards on it. He no longer used a gun…a gun was too easy. Nor did he use a knife. At this point in his career, he would simply open a dictionary and assassinate using whatever he found on a random page. He’d killed using a holly branch, a desk lamp, twine and the city of Madras. The German he’d killed with a mollusk…not his first choice, but, even he couldn’t figure out how to kill a man using Charlemagne.
He’d had to dislocate every joint in his body to fit in the German’s crisper drawer. To keep the old man from running away, he’d nailed the apartment doors shut. To keep his cries from being heard, he sound-proofed the apartment the day before. To keep from being seen as he left, he knocked out power to the entire neighborhood and caused a total lunar eclipse. No loose ends…except for…
The German had visited a woman, presumably to discuss the amulet. He wanted to kill her right away, but, better to wait until money was offered for the job. He’d kept an eye on her for three days from the roof of the building across the street. She’d spent that entire time naked in front of a mirror, leaving only to get food from the refrigerator and to urinate. He knew where to find her…
The waiter left the bill on the table. Resnick thanked him in fluent Arabic. He spoke all the languages in the world fluently…even Navaho. As the waiter walked away, Resnick thought to himself, I could kill you right now. Kill you with a… He pulled out his paperback dictionary and opened to a random page. Kill you with a locker…somehow. He scanned the rest of the café. And you with a…headlight and you with…fortitude and you with strangely. Did he miss someone in his scan of the room? Yes, the banjo player to his left. He was no good at scanning rooms. At least no comparison to Mike Wistersheshenham. How he hated him!
He was with Mike in Vietnam; although, while Mike was amassing his thirty confirmed kills, he was in the gift shop with the rest of the tour group. He had chosen a commemorative towel and an ash tray. Mike had just walked in as if nothing had happened. Suddenly, a plainclothes policeman arrived and announced that thirty people had been murdered. In a flash, Mike had speared the man’s adam’s apple and bolted through the window. Resnick found out later that he had made it to Thailand three weeks later by spearing the adam’s apples of every person that he encountered. How could Resnick compete with THAT?
No time for sour grapes, even though they were free to anyone who purchased a cup of coffee. He opened his lap top and turned it on. The Glove would be contacting him soon. He’d never met The Glove, but he could deduce many things about him. First, he was a man. Resnick knew this because his communiqués were laced with words like “girl”, “babe” and “knockers”. Second, The Glove was around fifty years old. He deduced this because The Glove had celebrated his forty-ninth birthday the previous year. Finally, he knew that The Glove was an idiot because he had once used the number, “eleventy-three” which later turned out to be one hundred and thirteen.
Resnick typed in his password…one hundred and thirty letters. It was simply the first few lines of the broadway standard, Making Whoopee with every other vowel transposed with the letter before it, except when there were two vowels in a row; then, the transposition went to the letter closest to, but not going over, the correct price of the prize package. After a few seconds, a message appeared on the screen.
YOU ARE LATE
Resnick typed in, “It’s spelled latte’. I was delayed”. He hit the return button.
MUCH HAS HAPPENED SINCE WE LAST CONVERSATED
“Like what?”, Resnick typed.
PLANNED EVICTION OF FINLAND ABORTED. WOMAN TOOK US TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT OVER A STOPPED UP TOILET. CAN NOT EVICT UNTIL REPAIRED.
“How long can that take?”
HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO FIX A TOILET? THAT WAX RING IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SET PROPERLY WITHOUT TEARING IT ON THE COMMODE BOTTOM!
“Hire a plumber”, Resnick offered.
DO NOT TELL ME HOW TO RUN MY BUSINESS! There was a pause, followed by, THE GIRL MUST DIE.
“The girl?”, Resnick typed.
THE NAKED SOAPY ONE. SHE KNOWS TOO MUCH. WE WILL PAY YOU A JILLION DOLLARS TO ELIMINATE HER.
“A jillion is a one followed by how many zeros?”
“Consider it done”
ONE MORE THING, The Glove added, MIKE WISTERSHESHENHAM MIGHT BE INVOLVED IN THIS. I UNDERSTAND THAT HE IS AN OLD FRIEND OF YOURS…
“Are you being ironic, or do you really think that we’re friends?”
WEREN’T YOU TWO IN THE SAME TOUR GROUP IN SOUTHEAST ASIA? YOU HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON THAT I NATURALLY ASSUMED…
“No, I despise the man because his competence is a threat to my self-image”, Resnick typed.
GOOD. LIQUIDATE HIM AS WELL AND WE’LL ADD ANOTHER ELEVENTY HUNDRED DOLLARS TO THE PRICE OF THE GIRL.
“Great”, Resnick typed. Then, he closed his computer and looked out at the busy street scene in front of him. Mike Wistersheshenham, prepare to die by… he flipped through the dictionary again. Prepare to die by…fable.