Adam Dobson knew that by this time tomorrow it would be over. He’d either be in San Jose, Costa Rica, or he’d be dead.
Nursing a beer at 3:30 in the afternoon in a dive bar off State Street, he was going over the options available to him.
Waiting for whoever was sent and then dealing with them was the first option; they would probably find him before his flight left tomorrow afternoon. The second option was to not wait to take the scheduled flight out of O’Hare, but to bus to someplace like Cleveland or Pittsburgh tonight and leave from there as soon as flight arrangements could be made. A little sleight of hand might buy him the time he needed.
Chicago was a big city, but the type of people who would be sent after him could find him easily enough. There were a couple of times earlier in the day he felt he was being watched. Over the years his survival skills had been honed and they served him well.
But when he saw her walk in the door, he knew option number two was no longer on the table. It takes one to know one. He knew he was found.
She casually scanned the bar, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dark. Her eyes rested on him for just the briefest moment and then continued to more carefully survey the shadowy nooks and crannies.
Satisfied, she walked up to the bar, put her purse on it, and sat on the stool next to Adam.
“Buy me a beer, Adam?” she asked.
“I’m thinkin’ it should be you buyin’ me a beer,” he replied.
“You’re right, of course. I’m Anna; I thought you should know,” she said.
“Professional courtesy?” asked Adam.
“Something like that.”
“So, tell me, Anna, why do women carry such big purses?” said Adam.
“Well, I don’t know why “women” carry big purses, but I’ve got a glock with a silencer in mine and two extra clips.”
The bartender finished up his conversation with the only other two customers in the place and wandered down to Adam and Anna.
“What can I getcha, Miss?” he asked.
“I’ll have an IPA and give my friend a new one of whatever he’s drinking; the one he has there is probably warm as piss.”
The bartender raised an eyebrow to Adam, and Adam gave him a wink and a nod.
“I told Greenfield two years ago I was gonna be retirin’ to Costa Rica and he should get his mind ready to be good with that,” said Adam.
The bartender set the beers in front of Anna and Adam, took the twenty Anna had put on the bar, and returned with her change. “Happy Hour,” he said.
When Anna and Adam just stared at him, he shrugged and went back to the other customers.
“Greenfield apparently doesn’t think you’re old enough to retire,” said Anna.
“I’ll be forty in December,” said Adam. “That’s old for this business.”
“He probably thinks you’ve still got a few hits left in you; you’re good, you know.”
“Did Greenfield tell ya that you’re the fourth he sent to get me?” asked Adam. “One in New York, one in Atlanta, and one last week in LA. I’m thinking your orders are not to bring me back; he just wants show who’s boss now, right?”
“I did hear through the office grapevine about Eddie and Billy; who was in LA? Hector?”
“Doesn’t make any difference. How come ya didn’t just walk in, shoot me, and leave? Trying to gimme a fightin’ chance?”
“Oh, hell, no. Giving you a chance would be suicidal,” said Anna, taking a drink of her beer. “I just wanted to meet you, share a beer and a couple laughs, and then do you. Now that I think about it, I guess killing you in here would be more civilized than in the alley out back.”
“Don’t suppose I could talk ya into sayin’ ya just missed me, is there? I’ve got over three hundred grand in a bank in San Jose. I could send you a present when I got there.”
“Not a chance,” said Anna. “I figure if I play by the rules, I might live to be your age.”
“And then what?” asked Adam. “Retire? There ain’t any of us that ever make it to Medicare age.”
“You’re probably right about Greenfield being pissed,” said Anna. “He offered me double pay for this job and a whole year off in Paris. Frankly, I didn’t think it was going to be this easy; are you even armed? If you are, it must be a pretty small piece.”
“I’m also a little disappointed in you,” said Adam. “Did you really think I’d give you enough time to get your glock outta your purse? Actually, Wally, the bartender, has my Sig Sauer.”
As he said this, Adam raised his hand to Wally as if to order another beer. Anna grabbed her purse and rolled from her bar stool to the floor, but she wasn’t fast enough. Wally shot her twice in the head and then shot the two other customers.
“Very well done, Wally,” said Adam. “If I hadn’t already pretty much burned my bridges, I’d recommend you to my former employer. I’ll take my piece and you can have this fat envelope. I’ll empty the register and you can tell the cops the story we decided on.”
Adam took the glock and clips from Anna’s purse so they wouldn’t raise worrisome questions. Wally handed Adam the Sig Sauer and Adam shot him in the forehead.
“I really do appreciate what you did for me, Wally, but I don’t leave any loose ends around.”
Adam locked the front door and then arranged all of the bodies so that when discovered it would look like a robbery. He washed the two glasses he had used and wiped the bar to remove any prints. He then went out the back door, disposed of Anna’s artillery in a Chinese restaurant’s dumpster, and hailed a cab back to his hotel.
He climbed the fire escape in the alley to get to his hotel room window, shot Anna’s back-up who had been waiting just inside his door, and then climbed in and packed his bags.
Adam flew to San Jose, but from there immediately to Quito, Ecuador, where he had a house and money in the bank. It was enough for a comfortable retirement.
Because of the pesky airline regulations, he had to buy new weapons when he got to Quito. But that wasn’t a problem for someone with Adam Dobson’s experience; he hadn’t made it to retirement by being inept. If Greenfield still hadn’t had enough, he’d be ready when they came.by
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Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction published recently in Black Petals, Yellow Mama, Theme of Absence, Near To the Knuckle, Bewildering Stories, Flash Fiction Press, The Story Shack, Spelk, Shotgun Honey, and a number of other online and print journals. Roy is currently the submissions editor at Yahara Prairie Lights, which puts him in the enviable position of sometimes being able to accept his own work. That site is at yaharaprairie.wordpress.com