karma

Flash FictionThis past week, I was talking to a friend about why I like this character. Part of my affinity for the unnamed assassin is that he has a moral code. It’s a fucked up moral code, but he has one and that makes him interesting to me.

My friend remarked that the significance of this can’t really be understated. Everyone has a motive. All of us, all the time. A character without motive is a flat, boring thing. It doesn’t matter if it’s the hero or the villain, characters need reasons for doing the things they do. And being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is not sufficient.

The unnamed assassin has his own personal agenda. By it, he justifies killing for a living but finds a variety of other things offensive, from fashion faux pas to unfair accusation. Like a real person, there are inconsistencies. That’s what I like about him.

I wouldn’t want to be his friend. I’m not even sure I’d want to meet him, but I’m happy to read about him, and I find writing his stories to be a lot of fun.

This is the last piece of a series within a series–the three part story that falls under the larger umbrella of The Assassin Diaries. Read part one and part two before reading this one.

karma

After the breakup, I asked Leslie, my handler, to arrange to have Alex followed for six weeks. I know that sounds like stalker behavior, but it had nothing to do with the loss of personal connection. I wanted to ensure that he wasn’t already under investigation.

The lackey Leslie hired was good. He–or she, I really don’t know–provided me with detailed reports, pictures, video footage and even copies of Alex’s emails, voice mails and text messages.

Alex’s tail revealed what I had expected. In the weeks following the termination of our relationship he entertained a string of men. He hit the clubs, had a couple of dates, utilized (not one, but two) mobile apps to secure easy hookups, and even visited a massage parlor known for ensuring ‘full relaxation’. I couldn’t fault him, and certainly didn’t take it personally. His sexual appetite had been part of the appeal.

As a matter of fact, it was fortuitous. We were only together for a short time. Less than a month. The more notches on his bedpost, the less my name stood out on the list of his known associates.

By the fourth week, I was satisfied that no one else was watching him and that enough recreational carnality had ensued to protect me. I almost called Leslie to cancel the last two weeks of surveillance, but I’d already arranged for payment and, like my services, a refund was simply out of the question. Like a bet I expected to yield neither profit nor loss, I decided to let it ride.

Halfway through the sixth week, my feelings changed.

Tuesday of that week, Alex was on his way home. He’d taken the afternoon off to pay a social visit to a financially motivated sexual partner. He was undoubtedly high on the aftermath of the experience and most likely not paying as much attention to the road as he should have. He hit a dog.

The dog was a golden retriever, the companion of a 12 year-old boy who’d been taking him for a walk. He was also big. The dog, not the boy. Big enough to slip away from the child and dart out into the street. Alex didn’t see it and made solid contact before he could apply the brakes. The dog most likely died on impact.

I deal in death daily. One might think life means little to me as a result. Such is not the case. It saddened me to think of that boy standing on the sidewalk staring at a red puddle in the road that used to be his dog. But, tragic though that is, I could forgive Alex for hitting and killing the dog. It was, after all, an accident. I knew him to be an animal lover, himself. I can’t imagine that he would ever kill a child’s pet for sport.

What I cannot forgive is his reaction.

Seeing the damage to the grill of his SUV, he lost his temper. He yelled at the boy, even as the child choked back tears over the death of his canine companion. I have the entire episode on video. It shows a side of Alex I didn’t know existed. One driven by wild rage and almost no control. The poor boy fled the scene, undoubtedly terrified and heart-broken at the same time. He ran home, and Alex followed him, continuing his rant when he arrived.

Two days later, the family of that boy was served with papers. Alex intended to hold them responsible for the damages to his car. Here is a man with millions of dollars in the bank suing an upper middle class family for the damage caused when he hit their dog with his car.

Such a man is a sociopath.

I no longer cared about his theft or his carelessness in covering his tracks. And while I felt for the boy, I didn’t fault Alex, even for the death. However, I found his vindictive nature to be, in a word, appalling. That was when I decided he should die.

The funny thing about death is that it comes in many forms. There are living dead people all over the planet. I didn’t need a gun or poison or an elaborate set-up meant to look like an accident to end Alex’s life. I only needed my phone.

I called Leslie and made arrangements for a different lackey to submit an anonymous tip to the accounting department of Alex’s firm. I gave her very specific instructions to make sure the recipient of the tip would be the type to investigate rather than ignore. Within a month, federal agents raided Alex’s home, seizing his personal computer along with all his financial records. It probably didn’t even take three days to hack his offshore accounts.

He’s awaiting trial now, and not one fed has bothered to question me. I am but a blimp on the road map that is Alex’s sexual conquests.

Alex will, most likely, be convicted. That seems to be the prevailing opinion in the media. Without his foreign accounts, he doesn’t have the money to bankroll a team of attorneys. The general consensus is that he’s to be made an example. There will be no plea bargaining. No reduced or deferred sentence. No light security prison country club. He’ll be doing real time behind very real bars.

That makes me smile.

Were I more spiritual, I might call it Karma. It seems fitting. Steal, lie, even kill all you want, but don’t piss on the graves of your victims. That’s going too far.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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