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The Hit

by Writewayze 

Posted: 05 February 2008
Word Count: 845
Summary: A short-short from my blog. Just a fanciul notion I had, about what happen to a computer illiterate. Some violence and a little gore.

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The Hit

For some time now, Lou Garino had started to feel sick after a hitting a mark.
Staring at the bullet-hole in the man's forehead, he wondered.
Was he getting too old for this stuff?
He swallowed bile and his stomach lurched, as he heard a door close somewhere along the landing outside. He half turned and froze, watching the door he had left on the latch. His heart thumped heavily, as he waited; not in panic, but listening, his gun ready. There was nothing. Just a neighbour? Probably, but he was sure no one would have heard the slight pop of his silenced .22 automatic; one of the reasons he had opted for the smaller calibre.
Happier now, Garino turned back to the corpse. He grimaced, seeing the head and shoulders thrown into grim relief, by the glow from the PC screen behind the dead man’s chair.
Garino hated computers.
He kept away from them as much as he could.
Now, what he could see of the monitor seemed to be mocking him, the sickly yellowish hue of the screen’s wallpaper making him feel worse. He noticed his hand was shaking. That was something else that had crept up on him lately. Could be, it was time to get out of this business. He shook his head clear and leaned forwards; checked the pulse in the fat man's throat.
There was no real need to do that, but you could never be sure with just a .22 and if nothing else, Garino had always been thorough. One of the reasons he had lasted so long.
The guy was door-nail dead. The job was done.
Then Garino heard a foot-scrape from the landing, close by and his heart flipped; almost stopped as he we whirled around.
There, in the open doorway, stood a young, slim guy in shirt-sleeves. The man had his jacket in his hand, his tie was half-undone and he was wearing a shoulder holster, packing what looked like a .38. Even in this light, Garino could see the gold-shield tucked into the guy's shirt pocket.
Christ... A Cop. An off-duty Cop? Garino recalled hearing the door earlier. The guy must live on this floor. Why hadn't he been told about this?
The Cop spoke, “Who the Hell are you?” He was frowning, trying to peer around Garino. “And what the frig's up with Pete?” Then he must have noticed the .22, because he went for his own weapon.
Garino didn't hesitate. One shot.
The Cop was gazing down at a red stain spreading across his chest. He looked up at Garino, a brief bewildered glance, an unspoken question in his glazing eyes. The revolver fell from dying fingers. He staggered against the door frame and slid downwards. He was dead before his body reached the floor.
There was a moment's panic, unsettling even Garino's cool, professional mind. A Cop for God’s sake… He’d killed a Cop. Garino fought against the nerves. Damn it. He had to stay with it. It was no problem. No one knew he was here. Besides, it wasn’t the first time he had needed to close down a witness to a hit. But a Cop for Chris-sakes. A Cop. He fought the panic. Eventually he managed to regain his composure. The ice came back into his soul and he slipped the automatic into his pocket. Without a glance downwards, he stepped over the Cop, as if the body was no more than a sleeping dog, and headed for the stairway.
Some three thousand miles away, in her London apartment, Sarah James was stirring a fresh cup of coffee, as she shuffled back towards her PC. She wanted to carry on her Yahoo chat with Pete. He was well-versed, educated. It was a delight to chat with him. Also Sarah never ceased to marvel at being able to speak to and see him from all the way over there in New York.
She glanced at the screen. Pete's chair was facing away from her.
Then her coffee cup dropped unheeded to the floor, as she saw a man in front of Pete; a man raising a gun. The movements were jerky, but she saw the flash of the gun, and heard the slight 'phut' over her speakers. Then the murderer just stood there, doing nothing, his face bathed in yellow. He looked ill. God she felt sick too. This was unbelievable and her eyes widened in macabre fascination, as she watched the rest of the horror show unfold.
The frustration of having to watch, in impotence, as this animal went about his work almost overwhelmed her. Suddenly she realised she was biting her knuckles so hard they had started to bleed. Holding back the need to vomit, Sarah pulled herself together and she stretched out a trembling hand. The murderer had barely glanced at Pete's screen, Pete must have minimised her image on the monitor. The trembling abated and, with remarkable presence of mind, she ensured her web-cam had been on record, and reached for the phone.

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Comments by other Members

susieangela at 15:26 on 05 February 2008  Report this post
Hi John,
Well, this is a gripper. I loved it - even tho' I hate gore/killings etc. At first I thought Garino was just in a training club, shooting at a target-person, then realised it was the real thing. The timing/pace is excellent, and the denoument at the end was superb.
Only small things:
We share a trait for putting in plenty of commas. When I went through and took out most of them the writing seemed to flow much more. You could try taking out:

lurched, as

heavily, as he

relief, by

Could be, it

There, in the open doorway, stood

(You could remove 'There' too).
Cop, as if

coffee, as she

fascination, as

I wondered why the cop had come in? If he was a friend, would he not have knocked, and if he suspected something, wouldn't he have gone for his gun from the beginning?
And I also wondered if Garino was leaving evidence against himself by feeling the guy's pulse - presumably they'd pick up the fingerprints from that?

But these niggles aside, I thought it was a great story, well written.

Writewayze at 16:20 on 05 February 2008  Report this post
Thank you Susie,

You are quite right about some of the commas. Although I was always taught that a comma was needed before the word as. Certainly 'Word' always underlines text if I miss one out in these instances. Also if I can lift a clause from a sentence, leaving a sentence that still makes sense, I was taught that the clause should be enclosed in commas. Today things are different.

The comma I used after 'could be' slipped me by and is redundant, as you say.

I was writing this to a tight target and in trying to save words, I probably omitted to show that the cop could be a close friend who always dropped by for a beer after work and I should have had him just walk in with maybe a ‘Hi Pete!’

As a retired officer myself, I know I would go into a room if I thought something was wrong. Of course here in UK we didn't have a gun. I might have sent in my dog first!

Yes it is possible to leave fingerprints on skin. So maybe I should have had the hit-man wear surgeons' gloves.

Again then, thank you for your close scrutiny. I am obliged. If I find a market, I will revise this suitably.

Happy Writing

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