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Published March 2015




I made a big mistake when I slit his throat. 


Ordinarily, I cut someone’s throat from behind, but I was out of position because the target heard me coming and whirled around at the last minute. 


Before I knew it, my guy was facing me and not looking happy to see me. I had lost the element of surprise, so I had two choices—either stab him in the chest a couple of times or slash his throat with my Benchmade folder. 


Simple. If I didn’t screw up.


I screwed up.


The target was a 36-year-old Indian entrepreneur named Vinish Teanik, CEO of Intra-border Security Solutions. He was wearing an expensive outfit. Well-fitted. Savile Row’s best. Blue windowpane plaid suit with a chalk stripe, a vest with notched lapels, cuffs, pleats, Turnbull & Asser shirt, undershirt and Charvet tie—all very bespoke.


All of that fabric can be tough to penetrate on the first stab. And stabbing from the front means I may lose my grip on the knife, especially if I have to keep stabbing to get through all those layers. 


Another problem was that I was in too close and not in the right position for slashing. You should always hold the knife straight out and slash a torso from top to bottom or side to side when killing someone with a blade face-to-face. 


So I picked the second choice, but it clearly sucked. Basically, slitting someone’s throat or stabbing a guy in the neck is pretty damn messy. A considerable amount of blood shoots out everywhere, generally onto you. Just watch any Tarantino movie and you’ll see what I mean.


Vinish and I were at the back of the World Congress Center in Atlanta—the venue for the 21st annual American Corporate Security show—behind some six-foot tall curtains that masked the show’s storage holding area. The ACS show was the largest electronic security show in the United States. Over 600 security equipment manufacturers and about 20,000 security professionals were walking around looking at the hardware and the latest in security technology. And most of the attendees are former cops, thirsting for the good old days and toting a concealed carry. 


Did I mention that every camera manufacturer in the world was showing the latest high-resolution, 15-megapixel, pan, tilt and zoom beauties? There had to be about 25,000 cameras and DVRs on the premises.


So it made perfect sense to kill the target there. 


There I was, holding my three-incher in my hand—the blade I mean.


Vinish was dialing a number on his cellphone when he heard me behind him and turned around. Which gave me another problem. If his call had already connected, then whoever was on the other end of the line was going to get a real earful. I had to take the chance regardless of who was on the line.


I recognized his reaction— I’ve seen it dozens of times. He looked surprised, irritated and then alarmed when he saw the knife in my right hand. He reacted by raising his right arm to fend me off, but he was still holding his cell phone with his right hand. Vinish should have immediately dropped it, but it was a new iPhone 6. He probably didn’t want to mess it up. So he held on to it—not smart.


Real quick, I slashed his throat from right to left, and then stepped back to get out of the way of the red stuff when it began to shoot out. I thought this one was actually going to be quick and easy. 


Except I missed. 


If you think about it, although I can’t imagine why you would unless you were in the business, it’s not easy to slash someone in the throat from the front and get it right.  Like Goldilocks says, it has to be done “just right.” 


As I prepared to slash, Vinish threw up his phone arm, knocked my hand, and I managed to carve only a nice tear in his $250 collar. 


Well crap, this isn’t going the way I planned it, I thought to myself. When you kill someone up close, it usually doesn’t. Expect the unexpected. 


So we grabbed each other. I bumped stomachs with Vinish and began grappling with him in a sort of weird murder dance number—suddenly we were doing the assassination rhumba amidst the crates. Locked together, we moved in a slow, quick, quick, slow foot pattern while we stumbled across the floor to the music of Kenny G playing on the hall’s PA system. I was trying to stab him and he was grabbing my right arm with his left hand and holding me too close for me to effectively cut him. 


If he’d had the time to think, the smart play would have been to try to head butt my nose. Lots of resulting pain, smashed bone and cartilage, and my face would become something Botox couldn’t help. 


But Vinish was too panicked to make the moves that would allow him to live. He was still holding his phone with his right hand, pretty much making his right arm useless. Without the phone, he could have tried to grab me or tear at my eyes, but he wasn’t exactly a recent graduate of the ninja training academy. They didn’t teach that kind of stuff at the Wharton School.


We moved together like a celebrity couple on Dancing With the Stars until Vinish lost his balance and tripped over his feet. I tore my right arm away, took a half step backward and slashed at his windpipe again just under his right ear. One quick move to the left and he no longer had a throat. The overhead speakers were now playing the disco version of Copacabana.


Just as I feared from previous experience, the blood started to spurt out, not a slow leak, but like a freaking fire hose. I’d cut one of the big arteries. Homo sapiens have about five and a half quarts of blood in them, so more than a gallon of Vinish’s red and white cells were splashing over my suit, shirt and Johnston & Murphys. 


But Vinish didn’t just fall to the ground to bleed out. No. He decides he’s going to try to stumble out from behind the crates and onto the damn trade show floor, holding his throat with both hands. So as I stepped back, he started to wheel around and began making like an extra from The Walking Dead. 


Unbelievable. Vinish is lurching toward the curtain facing the show floor and heading in the general direction of booth 210—an expensive 30’ x 40’ space. 


It was a pretty good bet that a guy stumbling out from behind a curtain onto the show floor in Aisle 200 with blood spurting geyser-like from his neck would attract the attention of the show’s attendees. I had to act fast, so I grabbed him from behind this time, just before he made it to the curtain, stabbed him three times in the front and side, slowly guided him to the floor and dragged him back behind the crates. 


The storage holding area looked like some sort of zombie attack had taken place and I was drenched in his blood. He’s bleeding out in a big pool on the concrete and I’m standing there looking like Carrie at the dance. What to do? 


This is a job for Mr. Clean, but I didn’t have a bucket. 


 I take a quick peek through the curtain and see the attendees strolling by looking for some more cheap giveaways to stuff into their free plastic bags that say, “CAM-DRONE-the Best in Mobile Megapixels.” Is it me, or has the quality of the swag at trade shows gone way down?  


All seemed quiet. 


By this time, I’m sweating like I’ve just run the Ironman in the outdoor Atlanta heat. My shirt and suit are beginning to stick to me and the iron smell of his blood is starting to make me retch. My mother would give me liquid vitamins and iron supplements by the hateful spoonful every day when I was growing up and the metallic smell from Visnish’s insides is dredging up this fond memory. 


I folded up the knife, put it back into my right pocket and thought for a minute. I stripped off my suit coat and shirt and tried to mop my face, head, hands, arms and chest using what little clean areas on the clothes were left. Should I strip off my pants? 


Perhaps the sight of a blood-spattered naked man wearing only his tighty whities is commonplace at the World Congress Center but I couldn’t be certain, so I decided to keep them on. 


I did what I could to rub the blood off my shoes. The front of my pants did not match the backside. Much darker and a bit red. I matched the drapes. 


Now what? I looked for the guy’s cellphone and found it face up in the blood puddle. He’d been halfway through punching a number with an area code different from Atlanta’s 404 but hadn’t finished the dial, so I knew that the party he was calling hadn’t been privy to our rendezvous.


OK. So far and not so good. 


I checked around the body to see if I had left anything that could be linked back to me. Didn’t see anything except a hundred shoe prints from my 10½ Ds across pretty much the entire storage space. I balled up my bloody clothes and peeked out of the curtains again. Saw a couple of guys heading for the men’s room. Two other guys and a girl from one of the concession areas heading to the loading dock for a smoke. The loading dock. Good idea. 


I spotted a forklift parked about 30 feet away and casually—as casually as I could with only my wet pants, socks and shoes on—walked to it carrying my little red ball of clothes and leaving a trail of bloody footprints that even Atlanta’s finest would be able to track. 


Thank God for the overpaid union worker who left the keys in that forklift. I cranked the sucker up and tried to figure out how to move it. Found the throttle and after a couple of noisy aborted shifts, made for the large overhead doors at the back of the hall where the big 18-wheelers were parked. It was a hot day and a shirtless dude driving a forklift onto the loading dock at the largest trade show hall in the country was probably not going to generate much attention. Except for the bloody clothes.


My car was parked on Level 6 in the attached garage. I’d have to wipe down the steering wheel and shifters of the forklift for prints as best I could. It was not going to be an easy stroll to the elevator and then to the car. I would have to hide behind columns every step of the way.


There were cameras in the garage too, but I knew how to look down—most cameras are mounted at the wrong height to see your face. Still, chances were I’d be on a bunch of videotapes no matter what I did, and my face and description would be clear enough to mandate a BOLO (Be On The Lookout) from the Atlanta PD, but by then I’d be long gone.


And then I started to think about the germs and the possible AIDS or Ebola I could get from getting drenched in that guy’s blood. There were three types of Ebola. The worst being Ebola Zaire, the type that was out of control in West Africa recently. First you get flu symptoms and then before you know it you bleed out from your ears and eyeballs. Had Vinish recently visited Liberia? I could feel my vital organs liquefying already.


 Nuts. Next time I’ll use my Glock with a silencer. 


 By the way, my name is George. George Dreme. 


 I kill people for money. 


 And please, no dream jokes. I’ve heard them all.



Copyright © <2015> <Jay R. Stuck>

All rights reserved.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, opinions, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


Opinions and references regarding diseases and health in this book are fiction.  This book is not intended as a substitute for medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms or medical conditions referenced in this book that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

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