HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN - GARY DOBBS
Originally published at Thieves Jargon
‘When you live with death on a professional basis, it gives you a fresh perspective on this thing called life,’ he said and stepped over the corpse, careful not to pick up any of the gore on his shoes. They were expensive, the Italian leather brogues, but that wasn’t the point. They had genuine style, looked good, and blood and whatever that grungy stuff pumping from Elton John’s smashed forehead was would spoil the aesthetic value. Brain, sinew and splintered bone would not compliment the tan leather.
He liked to look the part and he brushed his hands down the creases of his trousers, almost sharp enough to cut yourself on, before leaving the room, closing the door behind him.
This was a big house and he had much to do.
No rest for the wicked!
Outside the door, he found himself in a long hall. He removed the small earpieces and listened for a moment. Silence...nothing but silence. Good. It meant that the muted thud of his pistol hadn’t been heard above the music coming from elsewhere in the massive house. It would make his job much easier. Better to remain undetected for as long as possible.
He replaced the earpieces and pressed random play on the I-Pod he carried in his breast pocket. A wonderful gadget that housed almost his entire CD collection in its memory. Rock music filled his head and he smiled as Hendrix rasped into Hey, Joe.
Hey Joe, where you going with that gun in your hand?
He smiled again. Strange how the computerised gadget seemed to select a tune that was somehow related to whatever he was up to at any given moment. Like the other night when he was getting head from Tammy, the attendant at the all-night garage, the damn thing had gone from Eva Cassidy to James Brown; an artist eminently suited to having the old cock sucked to. That was stupid, he told himself. Coincidence is all and there’s no time for fancy thoughts. This is a job. Calls for professionalism.
He didn’t move until Hendrix had faded out, replaced by The Police; Sting bemoaning his loneliness in his distinctive, high-pitched cadence. He continued along the corridor, seeking his target. He moved slowly, steadily, his face impassive - he might as well have been a machine.
The job had come to him in the usual way. He had been contacted by a mutually trusted go-between, the contract dished out, a down payment made. The target’s name was Max Klein, some sort of big shot in the record industry, a billionaire with a penchant for young boys and strong drugs. The guy had fucked about with some boy whose father knew someone who knew someone else with big contacts. The indiscretion was enough to warrant a termination order going out and Traine had been handed the job. Traine was after Klein and the hitman may as well have had Canadian blood running through his veins because, like the Mountie, he always got his man.
Sting went, replaced by Black Sabbath. The heavy beat drove Traine forward. He had come in through the cellar entrance, after negotiating the surprisingly lax security at the main gates and remaining hidden for the length of the gravel drive. Anyone else would have carried out the contract at another time, when it was quiet, and not in the middle of a large party Klein was throwing to celebrate a number one single by his new, ever-so-young, wife. Traine, though, liked a challenge, and he knew that if he carried out the hit in the middle of this celebrity party, this grand show business shindig, and escaped to kill another day, which he had no doubt he would, then his legend would grow even further.
Rep was all important in this line of work. It was money in the Swiss bank.
It had been weird, almost surreal to find aged crooner Elton John in the cellar. What he had been up to, Traine had no idea but no matter. He had taken a slug between the eyes, his head opening up with more multi-coloured splendour than any of the singer’s flamboyant costumes had ever managed.
Candle in the wind, indeed. Your brains were blown out long before your legend ever was.
At the end of the corridor, Traine found himself with a choice. There were doors both left and right and, after removing his earpieces, he stood rigid for a few moments, listening, deciding.
Left it is, then.
He opened the door, another corridor, this one wider, obviously leading up to the main section of the sprawling Wessex property. He quickly closed the door and then opened the other - no harm in checking before moving up into the house proper. Nothing, a storeroom.
Left again, then.
Eminem started hip-hopping through his brain as he carefully walked the length of the corridor, the pistol, a silenced Walther, held rigid, ready to spurt death at any moment. Another, an automatic whose origins no munitions factory in the world could claim, was nestled snugly in the Smith and Burns holster beneath his left arm.
He covered the distance of the corridor without incident and then opened a large oak door at the far end and stepped out into the house proper. He removed the earpieces, stopping Eminem, and stood, getting his bearings. Directly in front of him were two huge doors and he could hear laughter, talk and muted music coming from behind the ancient wood.
He had found the party.
He replaced his earpieces - still Eminem, and removed the automatic from its holster. He kicked the doors open, a gun held in each hand, and saw countless shocked faces turn toward him. It was like a who’s-who of the music industry - all the big players were at the party. He saw Mick Jagger standing next to a tall, very young blonde, two of the Spice Girls were staring directly at him, next to them was Barry Manilow. And there, amongst the famous faces, he saw Max Klein - the target. The guy was standing there, a terrified look on his face. The champagne he had been pouring was running over the carpet like liquid gold.
Traine smiled as The Beatles filled his head.
Helter skelter, when I get to the top, I go back...
He opened fire. Seven from the Walther, thousands from the automatic, making sure he took the security men, who came running at him, trying to draw their weapons, first.
Death gatecrashed the party.
He saw his target go down, the bullet tearing into his throat, throwing his head back violently as the bullet exited out of the newly-formed hole in the back of his skull, but before that, he had the satisfaction of taking one of the Spice Girls’ heads off, blowing a hole straight through Barry Manilow’s chest and totally obliterating Gareth Gates’ face.
This was like some surreal acid trip, a mad celebrity shoot-em-up video game, he thought as he blasted an hole through Sting’s face, sending the singer forever into fields of gold. Chris Deberg screamed and made a frantic dash for the far door. He made too good a target and Traine got him as he tried to climb over a lady in a revealing white dress. The slug took the singer midriff, sending his guts spilling over the lady who instantly became the lady in red, courtesy of the singers innards.
He ceased fire, closed the doors on the carnage. Apart from the lady in red, there wasn’t a person left alive that he could see. His legend was assured. He turned to leave but tensed when he heard footsteps coming towards him.
‘Fuck me!’ Paul McCartney said as he came tearing around the corner and found himself face to face with the big man with the gun. He was holding a tray of vegetarian sausages, which he tossed ineffectively at the hit man.
Traine smiled, ignored the soya sausage on his shoulder, and raised his gun, debating whether or not to let Macca live. He quite liked The Beatles but all that had been yesterday and since then, the Liverpudlian had committed many crimes against music.
‘This is for the fucking frog song,’ Traine said.
McCartney was thrown backwards. The bullet entered the front of his head and erupted from the back with a crimson burst of shattered skull.
‘Bom, bom, fucking bom.’ Traine said, stepped over the one-time mop top, and quickly left the building, walking away into legend.
BIO: Gary Dobbs writes under both his own name and that of Jack Martin. His first novel, a western under the Jack Martin name, will be released on June 30th by Robert Hale LTD. You can find Gary and more of his writings at The Tainted Archive.
K.J. Howe stops by later
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