The plan was to just move out of cover and slot him, shoot him in the back of the head just as the unspeakable cunt deserved but then things got complicated, just as they always do.
He knew I was there.
He poured himself a drink from the cabinet, whiskey over ice, if I didn’t already hate him that would have tipped me over the edge but compared to everything else, adulterating good drink didn’t seem significant somehow. As though he didn’t have a care in the world he turned to the shadowed corner in which I was hiding and spoke, right to me.
“I suppose you’re here to kill me?”
There was no point hiding any longer, I raised the pistol and stepped out of the shadows, keeping it centred on his chest. The gun was suddenly feeling heavy. This was supposed to be an execution, not a conversation. I swallowed and tried to keep the rising nervousness down. I was supposed to be a fucking professional.
“You know who I am I suppose and that doesn’t intimidate or worry you,” he went on, he wasn’t even scared, the ice barely rattled in the tumbler as he drank – unless the drinking was the sign. This was too much like a movie, generally you aim a gun at someone and they piss themselves and do whatever the fuck you want, not this cunt, he was made of sterner stuff, but then, I already knew that.
“I know who you are.” I replied. Swallowing again, to my own ears my voice sounded weak.
“British? I was expecting some crazed internet lunatic from San Francisco, not this. Hardly seems fair. You knowing everything about me and me facing a man dressed like it’s London 1980 all over again.”
I growled and my grip tightened again on the pistol, knuckles white under black gloves.
“Seemed appropriate for killing a terrorist.”
That seemed to surprise him, finally, his eyes widened and he stared at me incredulously. “What? You mean you found me… with the intent of killing me, but you still think I… you still think we…?”
Infuriatingly he began to laugh and that was more than I could stand. I stepped forward and I slammed him across the temple with the gun, skin split, blood ran and he fell to his knees, spilling his drink. Copper over whiskey, on his knees on the thick carpet. I slammed the pistol barrel against the side of his head again, but something stopped me making that last step, he was making me doubt. I couldn’t afford to doubt.
He was still laughing.
“What’s so fucking funny? Three thousand casualties and fuck knows how many killed in an unjustified war, and you can sit here and laugh?” I presed the gun harder against his head, blood was pouring down now, matting his hair, staining his cheek, but he was still laughing.
“You got all the way to me… but you still think we did it.”
I ground the gun against his temple, breathing hard now, furious, angry, teary-eyed, trying to focus.
“We know you did it, you’re connected to each scene, you confiscated the evidence, you masterminded the whole thing, the whole coverup, all of it. We’ve got the evidence, we’ve got the pictures and the documents to prove it and we’re going to get to all of you. Justice will be done.” That was better, a little self righteousness and I was back on track. The man was scum, he deserved to die. I was ready.
“Don’t you want to know what really happened and why? I’ve no reason to lie now, you’re going to kill me,” he looked up, he wasn’t laughing, but he was still smiling. He was mad, that was it, insane, you’d have to be to do what he did. I didn’t shoot, yet, he went on. “Yes, we covered it up, yes we hid evidence, yes we put out false reports and doctored things to look suspicious but no, we didn’t do it. It was just a group of religious zealots and frankly, we’ve had it coming for almost a century.”
“If you didn’t do it, why cover it up?” I was weakening again, my resolve seeping away once more as he spoke, the gun wavering. Maybe he was right, maybe he was just pleading for his life.
“Government’s are transitory, short term things,” he explained. “all they care about is the next election, that’s what; five years at most? They can’t think long term, they’re incapable of it. That’s why China is going to outstrip us. Democracy doesn’t hinder them. But there’s us. Government bureaucracy doesn’t change, we stay the same, us and business, and we can think long term.”
“So it was bureaucrats and business, that still doesn’t excuse you.” If he was pleading for his life he wasn’t doing a very good job.
“No, you don’t understand. We didn’t do anything this time, but one day we might have to. We have to be prepared for contingencies, don’t you see? One day we might have to kill our own to justify a war, or we might have to fake some atrocity or cover up an experiment gone wrong. We haven’t yet, but one day, we might. Its all about contingency. Create baseless stories of conspiracy now and in the future, when we are covering something up, the people crying about it will be dismissed as lunatics just as they are being now.”
I stared down at him, that was insane, all that trouble, all that pain, all that extra grief, just to pave the way for some unformed future conspiracy to get away with things? That was almost worse than masterminding it themselves.
“Why not just tell the truth? Why not just be open? What about the businesses making money off of all this? What about the new crusade?”
“Opportunists.” He answered. “Vultures, nothing more. As to telling the truth? We tried that with Project Bluebook and the crazies are still having a field day with that.” He sighed and looked up at me, right into my eyes. “Look, we didn’t do anything, we just made it appear – to certain people – that we did. Just in case. You kill me and you don’t avenge anyone, you don’t set anything to rights. You just add another number to the bodycount.”
So that was his plea.
“Alright, alright. You didn’t do it,” he smiled, but it was premature. “You’re willing to in the future.”
The pistol barked, once.