Night (fiction)

I think it started with the taxi driver. Oh, of course there had been things before that; it built up slowly, but the taxi driver was the final straw. The one that broke me.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re lucky. You might not want to keep reading. It’s a nasty story.
Here goes.

A taxi driver in my beloved home city of Melbourne was violently attacked by his three young male passengers, apparently for doing nothing more than refusing to drive through a red light. They broke his nose. They damaged the taxi. And they took money from him.
How many times have you seen similar stories? How many times has somebody needlessly attacked another? How many times has violence scarred an innocent life? Every day, am I right? Every stinking pathetic day on this pitiful planet, somewhere, someone is hurt or killed. Innocents, criminals, soldiers, civilians: it’s all the same. Victims and perpetrators differ; the result is the same.
And so here I am now, crouched upon the scaffolding in the middle of the tenebrous night, watching this unshaven scum bag finish his business, waiting for my moment to strike. The PVC chaffs; I need a new suit. Leather, perhaps. I shift uncomfortably, sweating in this stifling summer night air. The street light dimly illuminating my target flickers slightly, and I wonder briefly if it will go out entirely. It doesn’t matter. I am never seen, in light or dark. Except by my victims: the last thing they see.
At last the customer takes his purchase and move on. The dealer is left alone on the street. He glances around warily – has he heard me, seen me? No, the wariness is part of the job for him. Always cautious, always a little afraid. Of the law, which it seems cannot touch him in any meaningful way. But I can.
From my position almost immediately above him, I drop down suddenly, landing with the slightest of sounds on my feet behind him. He turns, and I grasp his throat. He stares at me in surprise, but with no real fear yet. Until he sees my small pistol, pointed directly at his face.
‘Did you sell to Sandy Jennings?’ I ask in my best ominous whisper.
‘Who’s askin’?’ he says, but his voice trembles and his attempt at bravado is weak.
‘Did you?’ I ask again.
‘Yeah,’ he says. ‘But I won’t do it again.’ Now he has started to realise what this is about. ‘I won’t, I swear.’
‘Of course you won’t,’ I reply slowly. ‘Because she’s dead. Your gear was bad. She OD’d. And you’re not far behind.’
‘I just sell the stuff,’ he says desperately. His breath stinks. Why do all these people smell so bad?
‘Not any more, sunshine’ I say quietly, and pull the trigger. I might have seen too many British cop shows. As he slumps down, dead, in front of me, I repeat the final thing he heard: ‘Not any more.’

It was a nice job: unnoticed, effective, quick. I’ve been watching him since last week when he had gotten off a charge of possession on a minor technicality. But I’ve seen him before. I know he’s no good, and I know the police know it. They won’t make more effort than they have to to find his murderer. Me. They won’t find me.

Back home, morning. I resume my normal life. Yes, of course I have a normal life. Nobody pays me for cleaning up the streets at night. A girl’s gotta make a living.
I’m pretty tired, that goes without saying. But the guys at work just figure I was out partying – I’ve invented all sorts of wild stories in the past to explain night time absences and day time tiredness.
I work as an office administrator. Nothing flashy. I don’t have any other skills or qualifications. I have no criminal record, not even a parking fine. I am unexceptional in every respect. Unnoticed. I like that. It means I am unsuspected.

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