By Kimberlee Akimoto
Skendar Lazar had seen better days.
Twenty years ago, he wouldn’t have considered such a bread and butter job but he was short on both these days and needed the work. Back then Lazar had been at the top of his game. Jobs were plentiful and easily gotten; money and women were too. He was quicker back then and better looking to boot, although his unusual appearance made him conspicuous – a dangerous trait in his profession. Lazar had, however, long since learned the art of obscurity; even now, no one gave the albino a second glance. He moved easily within the crowd of mourners as he looked for his target.
Woody Woodbine’s funeral presented the perfect opportunity for a hit. The target was sure to attend having just inherited a large sum of money from the recently departed and would be suitably distracted by grief. A quick injection and he’d die of a heart attack. No one would question it, but even if they did, there were others with more obvious motives than his employer.
His employer was Tatiana Dalca, daughter of the head of a Romanian organized crime group that Lazar once worked for. He heard that the family disowned her when she married against their wishes and ran off to America. Perhaps she regretted the recklessness of her youth. Tatiana believed that the target was moving in on her family’s business and hoped that taking this guy out would get her back in. Lazar always liked her and was happy to help. Besides, it almost felt like old times.
A large tent had been set up on the grounds of Tangled Elms, the Woodbines’ extensive estate. Refreshments were being served and the mourners were happy to partake. Lazar spied his target near the champagne table and made his approach. He was poised to strike when something – or rather someone – distracted him. At first he thought he was seeing things, but it was clearly him: Jurgen Goellner, the rival hit man he had hit all those years ago. What was he doing here? What was he doing alive?
Lazar’s reverie was interrupted when someone crashed into him; the impact propelled him forward into someone else – an unintended domino effect.
“Verzeihung! Uh, sorry!” Lazar recognized the German as the Woodbine’s gardener. The German had recovered and was now waving at a tall, thin man across the way.
Lazar noticed then that the man who had broken his fall was staring at an empty syringe lodged in his torso. He quickly scanned the area and found his target on his cell phone across the lawn. Lazar had never botched a job before, but there was a first time for everything.
“Why did you…”
The man clutched his chest and keeled over before he could finish his sentence.
People rushed to help the stricken man. It was time to go, but Lazar couldn’t help looking one more time.
When he did, he saw Jurgen Goellner staring back at him.
Waxings note: This entry, specially written for the 500-word challenge, sits within an intriguing world introduced by Mark Cunningham and Kimberlee Akimoto in Tangled Lines: The Prologue.