A Good Day to Die

© 1996 by Miq Millman

Author's Note:

Allen Richmond, the Unkillable man started about 12 years ago as a DNPC in a face to face champions campaign. As he showed up more and more often, eventually he moved to sidekick, then full fledged hero on his own. Last year a version of him played in a game run by Scott Jamison. These are two stories I wrote while playing that game…

A Note From Cheryl: Warning, Miq paints a pretty graphic scene. So if you are easyly offended or faint at the sight of blood. Return to the main page and try another story.

A hand wipes at the steam covered mirror, revealing a face that hasn't looked back before. It's not unfamiliar, it matches the 8x10 glossy on the vanity nearby, just different. The face smiles back, then sticks out its tongue, then puffs out its cheeks and gapes its mouth like a fish.

"You'll do. You'll do just fine." Says the reflection, the voice is the same old voice, just the face is new. It always is.

The hand and its pair pick up the glossy print and a silver lighter. The lighter is lit, the photo burned. The dark curls of ash lie resting in the white porcelain sink, waiting for water to wash all traces away.

He steps out to the main room in the hotel. It's a good room as hotel rooms go. Nice furniture, all dark walnut, well used, but well cared for. The carpet is clean, not making his bare feet feel grungy or sticky. Even the ceiling fan that lazily circles overhead is silent. All signs of a fine hotel. It should, he ponders to himself, quickly figuring out the exchange rate, it set me back nearly $800.

He pads to the armoire, a beige linen suit hangs on the hanger on the left door. On the right, a freshly ironed crisp white shirt, red tie, and matching suspenders. He picks up the boxer shorts and puts them on in place of the wet towel wrapped around his waist. He chuckles softly.

"Heh, eight hundred bloody dollars a night, and they still give ya a towel three sizes to small."

Under the boxers lie a pair of suede saddle back shoes. They were picked more for their functionality than the fact that they also go with the expensive Armani suit. Their crepe soles offer excellent grip, while still remaining whisper quiet on most surfaces.

He quickly dresses the rest of the way, tying the Windsor knot last the same way he always does. The scene from the old Cary Grant movie, "The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer" runs through his mind for the thousandth time, a smirk brought to his new face as he sees Cary Grant being taught to tie a Windsor knot. Indeed.

Dressed, he walks to the large curtained windows and throws open the French doors. The view overlooks another nameless city in the hot stinking rat hole Africa calls Morocco. Below in the streets, turbaned heads and robed figures vie for right of way in the crowded market.

He stands for a moment drinking in the cacophony of sights and smells. A deep breath, then he turns back to his $800 a night room. The bed is still made up, he shakes his head and sighs.

"Ah, Mr. Richmond, today is a very good day… A good day to die."

He quickly scoops up a black leather satchel from the bench at the foot of the king sized bed, and heads out the door. Such a nice room, a pity he never sleeps.

"Watch this for me, won't you Marcel?" he quips, tossing the black leather satchel at the concierge.

"Ah, yes sir." Marcel is caught off guard, surprised that he recognizes the man but not the voice, "but of course Mr. Ramadan, I didn't realize you were staying with us today."

The man with Ramadan's face only nods and smiles as he leaves the plush lobby for the crushing masses of the marketplace.

A glance at his watch, he notes it is still before 7 am, 6:51, leaving nearly forty minutes to make it across the plaza and to the embassy. He decides to hoof it, starting off at a leisurely pace, he'll even have time for a croissant and some of that horrible coffee at the cafe three blocks down.

The gravel digs into his elbows as he uses them to help prop up the powerful binoculars. Carlos curses himself for the fortieth time this morning for forgetting a blanket. The whitewashed walls around the border of the roof are already harsh and glaring in the early morning sun. Carlos scans the inner paddock of the embassy again checking on the progress of the Marine guard unit on watch as they make their rounds. Right on time, he thinks, perfect synchronization like always.

He turns on his side to check the high powered rifle on the tripod next to him. Its gun metal finish has been covered in black shoe polish to prevent any reflections off the low sun. He works the chamber for the thousandth time cycling the rounds of ammunition through as fast as he can. He counts all six rounds as he carefully picks them up and puts them back in the magazine. He is ready, and the waiting game is almost over. Carlos is pleased. He shifts again on the uncomfortable gravel roof. His excitement has made him stiff, but there will be plenty of time and money to relieve that need later today. Carlos dreams about what his escort will look like tonight as he settles down and waits the last fifteen minutes. His eyes close, a dreamy look on the scarred, pock marked face looks peculiar and out of place.

The man with Ramadan's face walks briskly towards the embassy, the morning paper is clutched under his arm. The Arabic headline screams something, but he is ignorant of what it is. He doesn't read Arabic, though Ramada does. It is merely a prop, though he knows without it, he will be suspect.

He rounds the street corner. It is quiet, no crowds like in the market. A high stucco wall demarcates the boundary of the embassy, his goal for the morning. Mr. Ramadan has an appointment with the Under Secretary of Defense, but he won't be making it today. Yeah, but he will tomorrow, thinks Allen, thanks to me.

The man with Ramadan's face looks up at the crystal clear blue sky, the winds have cleared any morning haze; the sun has started to heat the day, on its way to hitting 40 Celsius. He notes the graceful curve and scallop of the top of the wall as it leaps from post to post, he wonders where Carlos is. As he passes under the shade of one of the Olive trees lining the street, he makes a furtive glance to the office building across the street. He can't see Carlos, but he knows the assassin lays in waiting. He is careful to look away before emerging into the sunlight again, non challance is the key to sacrifice. It has to be soon, only two more posts until he reaches the gate, about fifty feet or so.

Carlos trains the rifle's 30x scope on the bright red tie. Such a lovely target, it stands out well against the stark white of the starched linen shirt and stucco walls, and the pale beige of the designer suit. The cross hairs dance along as the target walks down the street, moving in time to the rhythm of the staccato pace.

Carlos takes a long shallow breath that holds deep in his diaphragm, his finger tightens on the well worn trigger, the cross hairs slashing their lethal mark. He can feel the inner mechanisms of the rifle begin their recoil and release of energy, striking the detonator, setting off the powder, sending a steel jacketed telegram of death.

The man with Ramadan's face see the spatter of blood on the white stucco before he feels the wound. The sidewalk spits and burps up bits of cement as the round passes cleanly through his chest and lungs. The pain is familiar, as is the red stain starting to spread across his Armani suit. In rapid succession, three more high powered rounds rip through his torso even before he has a chance to falter in his step. The last of the trio enters his arm right at the elbow, sending the useful yet useless Arabic paper flying.

The pain washes over him like a tepid bath, a smile of satisfaction strikes his mouth just as the fifth bullet rips the top of his skull open. The once pristine stucco wall now looks like the early stages of a gruesome Jackson Pollock canvas, the splatter of reds and grays make an eerie pattern that will be difficult to clean up.

The man with Ramadan's face falls forward, his chin bouncing off the cement. He is still conscious, but he lies still. It's easy to do; give in to the pain, close the eyes, stop the breathing. Five minutes is all Carlos will need, eight minutes tops.

The red tie was a good idea.