Do Unto Others
I don’t get a lot of mail, so it was a bit of a surprise when the package showed up on my front step. Of course, the real surprise wasn’t the box. It was what was in the box. But maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
The name’s Jack. Well, it’s not my name in the strictest, birth-certificate, government database sense of the word. It’s what people call me though, so that’s what I go by. Why do people call me Jack? Well, mainly because of my trade – or lack thereof. I do a little of everything – vandalism, trespassing, a little B&E, some occasional coercion. Oh, yeah. And there was that one time I killed a guy. But recently, I’ve settled in a pretty nice rut. I’ve mostly been doing graffiti – sort of a hobby of mine. If you’ve seen the dragon under East Bridge, then you’re familiar with my work.
What? You want to hear more about the time I killed a guy? Don’t worry – it was self-defense. And I’m talking real self-defense, not “he was looking at me funny” self-defense. I went to court and everything. You can even look it up if you don’t believe me. But look, you got me way off topic. This story isn’t about who I had already killed. It’s about who I was going to kill.
It was an ordinary morning. I got up at around seven, made myself some coffee, opened the window to let in some “fresh” air (smog, really, but I preferred the polluted air outside to the stuffy air inside), and went out to yell at the kids messing around my front step. But when I opened the door, I realized the faint sounds I had heard weren’t kids. It was someone delivering a package.
A plain cardboard box, with no labels or address or anything. A bomb! My mind screamed, proving once and for all that I watched too many action movies. It’s not a bomb, you idiot. I replied. Who would use a bomb to take out a minor player like me? A knife between the ribs? Sure. A gun? Equally likely. But a bomb? That’s just a waste of good ordinance. Having convinced myself of my lack of importance to all the powers that be, I picked up the box and brought it inside. It was heavier than I expected, which brought back a bit of the paranoia.
I put the box down on the kitchen table, and grabbed a knife from the knife block. With a smooth motion that belied the sense of foreboding that was festering deep in my gut, I cut through the tape that was holding the box shut. Still clutching the knife like a child clutches a teddy bear, I opened the box.
The gun caught my eye first, but the money is what really held my gaze. I didn’t know it at the time, but I counted it later, so I can tell you that I was staring at five hundred thousand dollars. That’s right. $500,000. 500 Gs. Five thousand Benjamins. No matter how you say it, it’s a ridiculous amount of money.
Then I shifted my attention to the gun. I reached out the hand that, just a moment ago, was holding a knife. I hadn’t even noticed I dropped it, or even that my foot was bleeding due to said knife hitting it, before bouncing off and landing on the kitchen tile. I picked up the gun. It fit my hand perfectly, as if my hand and this pistol were destined to come together.
I took out the clip and saw that it was, of course, a loaded gun. At least the safety’s on. I thought to myself. Somehow, this didn’t make me feel any safer. I noticed that there was a slip of paper in the box, right under where the gun had rested. I put the clip back in the gun and tucked it into the back of my waistband.
I picked up the paper and read it quickly, hoping it would shed some light on the situation. Unfortunately, it did. It was a date and an address. The date was this Friday. Six days away. The address was somewhere downtown.A gun, a location, a time, and a crapload of money? This was a hit. Somebody wanted somebody else dead, and they thought I was the guy to do it. Why? I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a hitman.
Then, the bigger question hit me. Who am I supposed to kill? And why didn’t they just tell me?
First things first, hide the money. After I counted it (500,000 Dollars!), I ended up shoving it under my bed. Not original, but what can you do?
What I had to do next was obvious: