There is a pile of money left on my bed. It is unusual to be paid so early on a protection job. Perhaps they sense I won’t be staying long. I’m even more surprised by the availability of currency. American dollars are hard to find. Any dollar is hard to find when you’re a fugitive. I guess it pays to be a war criminal. I stack the cash up without bothering to count it and leave the bundle inside a wardrobe. It will stay there untouched next to a half empty bottle. I take this vial and observe a pale blue liquid kiss the glass as it sloshes around. I place it back inside the wardrobe and before I leave my quarters I remember to grab my gun. The most dangerous time is when everything has been prepared, all is set out, and there is nothing left to do but wait. It is too easy. The heat has made me complacent. Even if I do not intend to use this weapon, I should at least maintain the charade. Yes, this job is wretched but I shall have no qualms or pangs of guilt when it is over.
The squat ginger man stands before me. I have studied him from afar for a long time but, up until now, have not had the opportunity to inspect the smaller intricacies of his demeanour. He possesses an unflinching stare. I return the gaze and note the algae colour of his eyes. They maintain a crystal quality but are muddied by darker patches of green like the murky waters of an untreated swimming pool. He is more intimidating than his photo suggests but at the same time, more vulnerable. That bone-white skin seems frailer. Through a lens it almost appeared shiny, in front of me, it seems brittle. The furrowed brow seems to be a permanent feature – something I noticed yesterday. He is a man who wears his problems like a heavy cape and it is no surprise to see his shoulders in perpetual motion for something must be done to fight their natural slump. Despite the frenetic actions, his speech is stunted, punctuated only by the odd grunt. I listen, intrigued by his growling spurts.
The caramel curve glistens in the sunlight; a lazy arc contorting slightly before slumping into relaxation as she playfully kicks her legs at the end of the lounger. I watch a stray water drop, the sole survivor of the swimming pool, defiantly resist the baking sun. It slides down her posterior, gaining speed as if excited by this slender plane. The journey is stopped suddenly by the slap of a hand and the water disperses in one swift, violent motion. I am far away but even from this height, I can hear the snaffled yelp of the woman as she rolls over to address her attacker.