My name is now Fintan, it would appear.
I’ve always hated that name. Puts me in mind of unwitting, socially awkward dorks who sit up the front of the class and bring the same sandwiches to school every day in aluminum foil. In other words: sad, boring bastards.
To you and me.
So, for a day or two, until I find someone better, a sad bastard is what I will have to be.
Or maybe not.
Maybe I’ll do all the other Fintans out there hiding in plain sight a favor and stick with it for longer than usual, just for the sake of injecting some personality and life into their insular little lives, maybe increase the stock price in their awful moniker.
Really. Come on. Christen your kid Fintan and you’re basically condemning them to a life of tedium. Not saying calling them Bruce would mold them into an automatic action hero, but it would be a step in the right direction.
If your name is Bruce, you have no choice but to lead an interesting life. The name demands it.
But anyway, look, suck it up, my friend. Fintan it is and Fintan you are.
I tuck the driver’s license back into the wallet, and then the wallet into what is now my new jacket. I tie his backpack around his ankles, fill it with rocks and push him off the ledge into the river below.
He doesn’t make much of a splash.
Story of his life right there, one has to imagine.
He goes under pretty much immediately. I give it a few minutes to make sure he doesn’t bob back to the surface. It’s not a big deal if he washes up down river in a day or two. Just don’t need the shout going out while I’m still in the park, especially – and this is a long shot – if he has friends hiking around here who will recognise his clothes on me.
Doubtful, though. Very.
I spotted him yesterday and had been tracking him ever since.
Guy was on his own.
Alone, not just for the weekend, but in life.
His boots, his clothing, his equipment. All brand new, all top of the line.
Latest iPhone. Audi car keys. Just the one credit card. This was a guy with minimal debt and a lot of disposable income. Some kind of engineer nerd in a high tech multinational, according to his work I.D. which, for my money, put him squarely in the single with no kids category.
No one’s going to be looking for him for a while.
I stamp the iPhone in half, pull out the battery and throw the pieces into the river after him. I decide to hang on to the car keys. The license plate number is printed on the fob. Which is handy. I don’t want to leave here in the same vehicle I arrived in, and the Audi will make a refreshing change to the piece of shit Corolla it’s going to replace.
Gravel crunches behind me and I freeze. A man clears his throat. “You know, for a while there, I thought you were a competitor.”
I turn around slowly. He’s wearing camouflage hunting fatigues, matching baseball cap and black wraparound sunglasses, has a scoped rifle on his back and a 9mm in his hand, with a suppressor as big as the handgun itself screwed into the barrel, pointed at me.
“A competitor in what?” I ask. Honest question.
He takes a step forward. “But you’re worse. Do you know what you’ve just done?”
“Yes,” I say. Honest answer. From my point of view.
“You’ve just cost me half a million dollars.”
“Shit, wow,” I say. “Are you a hitman? I’ve never met a hitman before.”
“Believe me, you’re not going to again,” he says. “You were doing me a favor, control-alt-deleting our mutual friend, right up until you tossed his damned phone into the river.”
I look over the edge. “Current’s not that strong. If you’re quick, you could probably slide down there and grab it. Phone’s fucked, but I’m sure you can find someone to retrieve the data that’s on it – I’m guessing that’s why you need it. You’ll probably need to cut off poor old Fintan’s hands while you’re down there. Not sure which finger he uses to unlock it. Better grab all ten of them.”
Hitman shoots me a look would have most people pissing their pants. I like it. Will be practicing that shit later myself in the mirror of whatever motel room I end up in. “You said I’m worse.”
“What?” says Hitman, through his teeth.
“You said I’m worse than a competitor. So what do you think I am?”
“A thief. A scumbag, common thief.” He shakes his head, not completely taking his eyes off me as he looks down ruefully at the water below.
“You’re almost right,” I say. “But a common thief would have hung onto the phone, not cast it into the drink. I think you could have done with me being a common thief.”
“So what do you steal?” He’s genuinely interested. The body language is there. He takes another step toward me.
“Identities. Lives. I was about to make off with Fintan’s. But now I’m having second thoughts.”
The intonation I put on the last few words has the desired effect. He takes yet another step and is so close I could reach out and grab his gun hand. So, I do, catching him by surprise and using his grip on the weapon, and its ridiculous length as leverage, to twist it out of his hand. In the same motion, I deliver a kick to the inside of his lead leg that knocks it out from under him. He’s just realizing what’s happened when I shoot him in the head.
I’m not into the camouflage get-up. It’s a bit too obvious and try-hard for my tastes. I pack his oversize cargo pockets with enough rocks to sink him along with Fintan. But not before relieving him of his wallet. Yeah, shit, why pretend to some mass-produced code monkey when I can be a hitman for a hot minute?
I take out his I.D. and read my new new name out loud.