Be careful what you agree to...
‘It‘s all a question of finding the right price, isn’t it, Mr Dunn?’
Now there was the, uh, twenty thousand pound question. To someone like Dunn, twenty thousand pounds wasn’t that much. By the time he paid off his helpers, arranged transport, set things up, sourced a throwaway weapon, he’d be killing a man for something in the region of two grand. For that he could barely put a new set of wheels on his car. But then again he needed a new set of wheels for his car.
‘Thirty grand,’ Dunn said.
‘Meet me mid-way and we have a deal.’
It was as easy as that. Or at least wangling his fee was. Killing the mark might prove a little more difficult. Except Jack Dunn wasn’t one to experience moments of insecurity. He was fully confident in his abilities to kill one old man, even if he was surrounded day and night by his gang of knuckle-dragging henchmen.
Dunn organized the hit for a Tuesday evening. In his estimation Tuesdays were none-days in the scheme of the weekly calendar. Whoever did anything important on a Tuesday? The mark would stay home, confident that he was safe in his fortified mansion house in the Essex country-side, and therefore his guard would be lowered. He’d be in his slippers, a whisky-laced coffee at hand, watching some inane crap on TV. His retainers would be as sloppy. Whoever important had ever been murdered on a Tuesday evening?
Dunn and two others arrived at the estate. Johnny Watt was their getaway driver and wouldn’t be involved in the hit. Richard Small – now there was an unfortunate name if ever there was one – was only there to see to the security precautions. Guy who went by the name of Dick Small had to be a computer nerd because Dunn didn’t think he’d have had much of a social life growing up. Shame on his parents for not taking the abbreviated name into consideration when they christened him – or maybe they just had a nasty sense of humour.
While Watt kept the getaway car ticking over and ready for a hasty retreat, Dick got busy with the laptop he’d brought, patching into the alarm system at a junction box on the side of the mark’s house. As soon as he gave Dunn a thumb’s up, he unplugged his leads and jogged back to the car. Now Dunn was all alone. Just the way he liked it. Brand new Michelins here we come, he thought as he pulled out his Glock and screwed on the suppressor.
The front door was too obviously guarded, so he slipped around the side of the building. In his balaclava and boiler suit he was as indistinguishable as the bats flitting along the eaves in search of insects, and almost as silent. His Magnum boots – a quality purchase for one in his trade – barely made a sound on the gravel path that ran along the back of the house to the entrance to the kitchen. Dunn hunkered down, then glanced through a window. He saw a big man in tight t-shirt and jeans eating Heinz beans directly from a can. Now, Dunn thought, that’s just not HP. He chuckled at his own joke.
In the next instant he stepped to the door and swung it inward. He placed a single round through the big man’s chest. Then, as the man slumped to the floor surrounded by a pool of blood and beans, Dunn took careful aim and put another round through his skull. Blood sat on the quarry tiles like crimson mercury.
Dunn left the man where he was lying, moving immediately into a service corridor. Light spilled from the living quarters at the front of the house. Dunn could hear the chuntering voices of people in TV land. He crept along the corridor and at the end he took a quick peek to either side. There was another man – this one in a white jerkin over his shirt – bending over a desk in an alcove. Dunn took careful aim and fired. The bullet took the man in the base of his skull. He’d used 9mm rounds – without the benefit of steel jackets this time – because there was less likelihood that the rounds would pass directly through the target and cause further damage. The man pitched dead over the desk, his hands sliding some of the paperwork he’d been busy with on the floor. A mess like that was no problem, not compared to the alternative.
He spun around. Another man was rushing towards him from the front of the house. The man – a muscle freak by any definition of the term – should have brought a gun if he had any hope of stopping Dunn. But he was too stupid or too confident in his ability to intimidate for that. Dunn smiled faintly at the brute, then shot him in the heart. As big and muscular as he was he still went down like a whore on crack. Dunn was a firm believer in tradition. A double-tap was the accepted method for a hit, so he obliged, putting another 9mm round in the back of the man’s skull.
Then he stood listening. Apart from the talking heads on TV no one else made a sound. He turned from the dead man and headed for the living room. There he found the mark. The old man was propped in his easy chair, and sure enough he had on his slippers and a mug of Irish coffee to hand. The canisters of oxygen and the tubes running from them and into his nose didn’t give Dunn a moment’s pause.
‘Wasn’t expecting you so soon,’ said the mark. His voice was whispery and laden with phlegm. ‘Did you have to pick tonight to do the job?’
‘Could think of nothing better to do on a Tuesday evening.’
‘You don’t think you could see fit to give me another half hour do you? I wanted to see which one of these young beauties is going to be Britain’s Next Top Model.’
‘Got my ride waiting outside,’ Dunn said apologetically. ‘When we did the deal you said you didn’t want to know when I was going to do it. Didn’t think you’d have a favourite TV programme to worry about.’
The mark shrugged his knobby shoulders. ‘Pretty girls. Even an old man like me likes to look now and again. Fifteen minutes..?’
‘Sorry, but a deal’s a deal.’
‘If I give you more money?’
‘Can’t do it. You know me: when a deal’s done it’s a done deal. You said I had to kill you in a way so that it didn’t look like suicide. This way your wife gets your inheritance and you get to keep your reputation as a tough old bastard. Not even your dodgy heart could take you down.’
The man nodded whimsically. ‘I suppose you’re right, Dunn. But just let me get a look at this here beauty in the bikini first, huh?’
The mark turned his head to the TV. He nodded at the gazelle-like grace of the girl on the screen. Dunn shot him in the back of the head.