Two Simple Rules

My profession is not a difficult one. There are only two rules.

Rule number one: do not die.

And rule number two: fulfil your contract.

The first rule is simply a development of the most important guideline: do not be seen. If you go unnoticed, completing your contract will also be much easier. There are, however, things that make contracts more complicated. Allow me to tell you about my last job.


My target was the leader of a gang that had a feud with my contractor, a common request to someone in my business. I told my contractor that my fee would be ten thousand dollars. The price goes up when there is more security involved, you see? The contractor insisted on paying half upfront and half after the deed was done. Against my better judgement, I decided to take the offer.

So, I did some surveillance and learned where my target would be in two days. He was going to a play with his wife at a local theatre. So, I went there, parked my car across the street and waited, waited for him to arrive. When I saw him enter the theatre with his wife and two bodyguards, I followed them.


The target was very early and went to the bar to get a drink. One of the bodyguards brought him a glass of brandy, while his wife had a glass of red wine. As he drank his brandy, other people came into the theatre as well and, slowly, the place filled up. I looked at a picture of Annie and Cate, which is something I always do, before making a hit.


When he had almost finished his glass, I looked at the time and saw that it was twenty minutes before the play started, so I went to the bathroom. I went into the middle stall, locked the door behind me and attached a silencer to my gun. They are easier to conceal, if I keep them on me separately. My hunch was right. My target soon entered the bathroom as well. He took the stall on my right and I heard him sit down. I pushed a small mirror underneath the wall separating the two of us and, as I flushed my toilet, I shot him three times. One in the head, one in the heart and one for good measure. I picked up the shells, unscrewed my silencer and got out of the stall. Then, I washed my hands and went out of the bathroom. I walked right past one of the bodyguards, who stood guard at the door. I sat down again at my table and waited for the chaos.


Before long, someone found the body and the first lady screamed. After more people got wind of what was going on, they started to panic and made for the exits. If there is one thing you can always count on, it is the human instinct of flight. You would be amazed by how quickly everyone followed. In the chaos, I could, of course pretend that I was just as panicked as the rest, and make my way out of the theatre without standing out, abiding my guideline and first rule.


And so, you might think that I lived by the second rule, but that is not the case. You see, every contract holds two parts: mine and the contractor’s. I take down my target and my contractor pays me.


I went back to my contractor and I told him that it was done. Unfortunately, he did not feel like parting with his money. Of course, rule number two dictates that I must insist, but when he drew a gun, the first rule took precedence and I left, escorted by two of his goons. Of course, I knew that those goons were going to kill me the moment we were outside. So, I decided to beat them to it. I broke the one’s nose and the other’s jaw with a few well-timed punches to the head. They collapsed and I snuck away into the night.


There are two things somebody in my profession can do at this point. He can either cut his losses and hope the next contract will pay off, or he can do the thing he should do. So, my next target became my previous contractor.


Before I take any contract, I first make sure that I know some things about the contractor, as well. So, I knew that my target had a wife and two kids, a girl of fifteen, who he had with his previous wife, and a boy of nine. He lived in a mansion in the northern district. He also had a collection of valuable antique music boxes, which I intended to steal, as compensation for not paying me.

The next day, I went to his mansion to look at the building from a different perspective than I had done before. I immediately noticed that the place was heavily guarded. He was expecting me. Two guards at the front gate, two more at the front door, another two at the back and there were patrols all around the garden. It amazed me how big the complex actually was. I noticed that there were areas in the garden that were darker than others, as the lights didn’t illuminate it all. And some areas were not as frequently checked by the guards as others.


A guard, inside the house, revealed his presence as he walked past the windows. He held a sack of ice against his jaw and I recognised him from before. It seemed, though, that there were fewer guards inside the house than there were outside. I guess he figured that, if you patrol the outside well enough, no one would make it inside. Or perhaps he didn’t like the sound of all those footsteps inside the house. Or maybe it was because of the kids. I can see how a fifteen-year-old girl wouldn’t care too much for guards walking past the bathroom as she is taking a shower. I know Cate would’ve objected.


There were walls, which ran through the garden and built up a roofed passage near the back door; one could use it to climb onto the ledge right below the windows of the second floor of the mansion. I also looked at the bushes that were placed against the walls of the building and could provide cover, if I wanted to enter via the ground floor.

There was a gazebo in the park behind the garden, so I went there and found that it had a trapdoor in it. There was little doubt that the tunnel, that was sure to be on the other side, would lead to the target’s mansion. However, it seemed I could only open it from the other side.


I got some rest the next day and, in the afternoon, I returned to the target’s mansion. I waited and saw my target escort his wife and children inside the house after he returned from a day out. I sat in my car until the night was darkest and put on my mask. It was time, so I looked at the picture of my ex-wife and daughter before I attached a silencer to my gun, put the magazine in, and took a spare, just in case. I took my black backpack and got out of my car. I could approach the walls around the garden without being spotted by either the cameras or the guard patrols.


I climbed over the wall and landed, as I planned, in a dark spot in the garden. I waited for a guard to pass and quickly moved to a low wall. I heard some guards saying that they felt a drop of rain and how they hated guard duty in the gardens.

When I heard a third guard tell the other two to continue their patrol, I heard the three of them leave and I moved up, further towards the building. I felt a drop of rain myself and looked up at the sky. It would start raining any second. I wanted to be inside before that would happen, though, or I would leave a trail of mud and water inside the mansion.


The coast was clear, so I moved into the bushes against the mansion walls and slowly crawled to an open window. I heard two men inside talking. Through the window, I could see that they were cooks, cleaning the kitchen.


One of the cooks was carrying a poorly stacked load of pans in his arms and it didn’t take long before one fell to the ground. The cook was, obviously, startled, as he dropped the other pans as well. The other cook cried out something in frustration and quickly finished what he was doing so that he could help the other cook. This gave me the perfect opportunity to enter the mansion.


As I left the cooks in the kitchen, I heard they were done cleaning the pans off the floor. The one was telling the other cook off. Then, one of them closed the window. I heard two talking guards coming down the hallway and I quickly entered a door, which, quite coincidentally, led to the room where the target displayed his music boxes.


Fortunately, the two patrolling guards, there, didn’t see me enter the room. They were talking about a new music box that the target had bought a month ago, according to one of the guards. He said it cost about two and a half thousand dollars. Another guard entered the room and relieved one of the guards.


The guard that remained tried to start a conversation with the other one, but, apparently, he didn’t feel much like talking, since he told the guard to “shut up”. The guard, that was into music boxes, stopped his patrol to look at one of the display cases. That was my time to strike. So, I got behind him and strangled him until he lost consciousness. I left him underneath one of the display cases, before I snuck up behind the other guard and repeated the process. I inspected the display cases to find that they were all equipped with a wireless security system: an alarm. On the wall near one of the doors was a small security panel and I figured that the alarms were all connected to that device.


When I tried to open the panel, I found it was locked. So, I shot the hinges off and opened it. Apparently, an access code was necessary to alter any settings, but adjusting any settings proved unnecessary. The panel showed that the alarm was local and confined only to the speakers in this room. I counted that there were four speakers in the room, so I cut the power to them. I smashed one of the display cases, half expecting an alarm to go off, but it remained quiet. I took the music box and did the same with the other display cases until my backpack was full.


I exited the room and knew I had to move quickly. I went up the stairs and saw the target’s daughter come out a room and walk down the hallway. She passed a guard and, judging from the look on the guard’s face, I think the girl wasn’t very pleased to see him. The guard moved on quickly and I entered a door that was slightly ajar. I looked around and saw that I was in the boy’s room; he was sleeping with a fluffy doll elephant in his arms. There were framed drawings on the walls. They were of his home, of his father and of his mother; a few were of his whole family. The room was colourful. Even in the dark, I could see that this was a happy kid, who loved his parents.

The guard, out in the hall, had passed by now and was walking down the stairs, so I exited the room and walked on. I heard light footsteps coming from around the corner and I hid behind a pedestal with a Ming vase on it. The girl came walking back. She passed me and got back into her room. In the second before she closed the door again, I saw the laptop on her desk. She was chatting with a friend on the internet.


I decided to move on and saw doors that couldn’t lead anywhere but to the target’s bedroom. Behind me, the guard that had passed the girl was making his way back up the stairs, so I quickly entered the bedroom. The target and his wife were sleeping in a king size bed. I took out my gun and aimed it at the target, but before I fired, I stopped and saw the picture besides his bed. It was a picture of his children. It was taken during a holiday at Giza.


On the wall were more pictures, of his wedding, of children’s parties, of family outings and I just couldn’t pull the trigger. I stood there and, suddenly, the gun felt heavy. I lowered the gun and put it back in it’s holster. I couldn’t kill him, but I decided to leave a note on his nightstand. I opened the window and saw it was raining heavily. The guards were not happy about their patrol and they did not notice that I had opened the window. I climbed out onto the ledge and traversed to the passage in the gardens. In the heavy rain, I was a phantom and, since no one cared to look up into the unwanted shower, nobody saw me. I lowered myself onto the roof of the passage. Apparently, someone found the mess I’d made in the music box room at that time, since a guard came outside and, being somewhat panicked, told everyone what had happened. I used that distraction to, swiftly, make my way to the outer wall and get out of there.


I am sure you are now wondering what exactly I wrote on that note, so I will not disappoint you.

I wrote:


Dear Mr Forest,


I am confident that, by now, you will have learnt that your precious collection of music boxes is gone. As someone of your stature will, surely, understand, it was purely business. And while I would have preferred not to burglarise your home, you did not leave me much choice, for I will be paid for my services, one way or another. Know that I stood in your room and could’ve easily ended your life. Perhaps next time, I will.


But for now, consider our contract fulfilled.



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© Copyright 2017, Julien P. Estourgie. All rights reserved.

Two Simple Rules