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- Story Listed as: Fiction For Adults
- Theme: Mystery stories
- Subject: Crime story
- Published: 01/30/2019
Repeat And Then Repeat AgainBorn 1947, M, from Oceanside, United States
Repeat And Then Repeat Again
My day starts out about the same as it usually does whenever I stay at a four-star hotel. After showering, I call room service and order eggs, toast, juice and coffee, as well as the local newspaper. After I eat, I relax for an hour, perusing the newspaper while, in the background, a re-run of Murder She Wrote runs on the room’s flat screen TV. After the episode ends, I finish dressing then check my watch, and gather my briefcase for my rendezvous with the lawyer.
Although he works for a major conglomerate, he has been collecting monies from a rival firm for giving them insider information, while, at the same time, skimming monies from his own firm. When the CEO of his company gets wind of what the lawyer has been doing, he contacts my employers who send me to handle the situation.
Having been told where the lawyer usually parks in the company garage, I wait behind one of the nearby cement columns, my pistol and silencer already removed from my briefcase. Once again, I look at my watch. 8:30. He should be showing up any moment now. Sure enough, I watch as his silver Jag comes up the ramp and pulls into his space. It only takes him a moment or two to open his door, step out, and reach inside to grab his own briefcase and a cup of Starbucks coffee. Once he closes and locks his door, he starts to walk toward the elevator.
That’s when I step out from behind the column, ready to put a bullet in his head. But before I can raise my gun all the way, I hear the sound of screeching tires and a racing engine. I think both of us turn toward the sound at the same time, and that’s when I see the elderly driver’s eyes grow huge behind the windshield of the old clunker he is driving.
I don’t know who is more surprised—him or me. All I know is, I don’t even have time to register pain as the car pushes me into the garage’s cement wall, and everything goes dark. The next thing I know, I open my eyes to the morning sunlight filtering in through the partially closed blinds of my hotel room.
Whew! That had to be one of the strangest dreams I’ve had in a really long time, I think as I swing my legs over the side of the bed, and sit hunched over, while combing my fingers through my hair. Next, I head for the bathroom to take a piss before starting my shower.
After showering, I call room service and order eggs, toast, juice and coffee, as well as the local newspaper. Placing the newspaper on the tiny dinette chair next to me I continue to eat. Then once I’m finished, I turn on the TV and dial the sound down low while I grab the newspaper to begin reading it except . . . the stories in the newspaper are the same as the ones in my dream. How can that be?
Sitting there, I stare at the newspaper’s front page, while the music coming from the TV I recognize as the theme song of the program Murder She Wrote. I’m still holding the newspaper when I glance up at the TV, waiting to see if the episode will be the same as the one in my dream. Holy crap, it is! While I continue to sit with my mouth agape, I grab the remote and switch stations. Now, I’m watching a rerun of the sitcom Friends.
For a long while, I just kind of sit like a statue, barely paying attention to the Friends episode. But once the half hour is over, I switch to the local news, until it’s almost time to leave. And then like in my dream, I finish dressing, and gather my briefcase, and leave to intersect with the lawyer.
As I walk the two blocks from the hotel to the garage, I go over in my mind everything that happened in my dream. There’s no way, it could have been real. But just to play it safe, instead of waiting behind the cement column as I had the first time, I stand casually next to the waist-high wall that borders the ramp from which my quarry’s Jag will enter that level of the garage.
While I’m waiting, I glance up at a sign that hangs over the top of the ramp. It’s really a solid metal tube with a message painted on it. The message says: Caution, height ten feet, eleven inches! The heavy-looking metal tube is suspended from the ceiling by two chains.
Just then, I hear a short screech of tires below me, and watch as the lawyer’s Jag races up the ramp then screeches its tires once again as it turns and heads for its spot in the parking garage. As I watch, I see the same scenario as in my dream play out before me. The lawyer gets out of his car then leans inside to grab his briefcase and his cup of Starbucks coffee. Then after remotely locking his car he starts to walk towards the elevator.
That’s when I start to make my move, but just like in my dream, I hear another set of tires screech and an engine racing. It sounds as if the accelerator is stuck. When I look to my left, I see the old geezer’s car barreling towards where I had been standing in my dream. He’s coming from the other end of the garage. Unable to stop, he smashes into the cement wall with an impact so huge it crumples his car like an accordion.
I have just enough time to register another noise that sounds like a chain snapping then notice movement out of the corner of my eye. I start to turn towards the movement when the sign that had been hanging above the ramp smacks me in the side of my head. I get to register the bump as it hits me, and then, once again, everything goes black. The next thing I know, I open my eyes to the morning sunlight filtering in through the partially closed blinds of my hotel room. This time, I know it’s not a dream.
What the hell is happening to me? I die, but then come back to life! Why? Switching my position to the side of the bed, I try to remain calm, but find myself trembling like a little kid about to meet the dentist for the first time. It takes me several long seconds to stop asking the same question over and over: if this is for real, how can I stop it? The answer I eventually tell myself is—change the scenario. Instead of ordering breakfast in, go out to eat then take my shower. And don’t watch the same programs on TV. In fact, I don’t turn on the TV at all. Read the paperback I brought with me, until it’s time to leave, which is exactly what I do.
This time in the garage, I stand behind a row of parked cars, watching both the ramp and the direction from which the old geezer’s car will come flying. The seconds tick by and then, sure enough, the lawyer’s Jag appears at the top of the ramp and after making the turn, pulls into its space.
As I watch, the lawyer steps out of his car then leans back inside to retrieve his briefcase and coffee. Then after he locks his car, he starts to walk towards the elevator. He gets no more than ten feet when the old man’s car comes barreling down the lane and smashes into the wall. Next, I turn to look at the sign above the ramp. I see the chain on one side of the metal sign let go, and the metal tube falls sideways almost like a guillotine.
Thank God I wasn’t still standing next to the ramp. Next, I switch my eyes to the lawyer who has dropped both his briefcase and coffee and is running over to the driver’s side of the old geezer’s car. Reaching through the broken window, I see him touch the side of the old man’s neck and hear him ask, “Are you alright?”
Of course, he isn’t alright, jackass, but the old man’s condition is not my concern; I have a job to complete. So stepping out from behind the row of parked cars, I begin to approach the lawyer, who has his back turned towards me. As I start to raise my gun, I hear someone off to my right demand, “Drop your weapon!”
What the hell? I turn my eyes in that direction while still holding my gun, which is probably why the person who spoke before says even louder, “Drop your weapon!”
I see that it’s a very young-looking security guard or cop—I’m not sure which. He’s in a shooter’s stance with both hands pointing his gun at me. I frown as I wonder where the hell did he come from? I never get the chance to find out. As I start to turn in his direction, his gun goes off. The bullet hits me in my left shoulder area, sending me stumbling backwards and slamming into one of the parked cars. The collision sends me tumbling to my right and I hit the pavement hard with my shoulder. Both my shoulder and my chest hurt like hell, but as I roll over and lay on my back, staring up at the cement ceiling of the garage, I begin to laugh. I can’t help it. I’m going to die soon. I know it, but I don’t care; because as soon as I do, I’m pretty sure I’m going to wake up again in my hotel room with the sunlight filtering in through the partially closed blinds.
Once again, the cycle will have begun, but this time, I’m not going to follow the same scenario. Instead of taking a piss and then a shower, I’m going to get dressed, then gather up both my briefcase and shoulder bag containing the rest of my stuff, and head for the lobby. After signing out, I will take the elevator to where my car is parked in the hotel garage. Once I leave the garage, I will turn south and head for the highway.
My employers are going to be pissed that I didn’t finish my assignment, but I don’t care. Something tells me this is what the universe wanted me to do. Otherwise, why did I keep coming back to life? I’ll have plenty of time to figure it out, especially where I’m going. I know of a bar owner down in the Florida Keys who could use an extra pair of legs.
Once I’m there, I’ll grow out my hair and beard and buy a whole bunch of surfing shorts and T-shirts, as well as a case full of suntan lotion. But just to play it safe, I’ll keep my gun and silencer close by on the outside chance my ex-employers discover my whereabouts, and send someone like me to tie up loose ends. Until then, I’m going to try and really enjoy my new life. Hopefully, it won’t involve killing anyone—at least not anytime soon.
Everything down here in the keys has been going great until, that is, my old life catches up with me—sort of. Jerry, who owns the bar, and who was once a colleague, comes to me asking for a favor. A friend of his is in deep trouble, and may need my kind of help to get out of it.
“What’s he into?” I ask.
“It’s a she and she’s being harassed by her ex-husband.”
“Has she been to the police?”
“And why not?”
“Because he is the police . . . at least he was. He’s been temporarily suspended, but you know how that goes. It’s his word against hers, and now she’s afraid he might finally actually kill her.”
“So you want me to have a talk with him?”
For a moment, Jerry glances down at the top of the table we’re sitting at. “I don’t think a talk will do.”
Looking him straight in the eyes, I say, “So you want me to bring old Stanley out of retirement?” Jerry nods his head a little. Stanley is what I call my pistol, only because it’s the name of the manufacturer: Stanley Firearms Inc. “Okay, give me all the particulars, and I’ll see what I can come up with.”
After the bar closes for the night, Jerry hands me an envelope containing the file of information I need. I take it back to the little shack I’ve been renting, and begin going over the info. There really isn’t much. Without the resources we both had back when we were with Allied Inc., our former employers, he could only get me the bare minimum, but it’s enough to get me started.
The suspended cop likes to hang out at a bar called The Pink Lady. Located in the next town over, it’s mostly a biker bar with exotic dancers. Earlier, when I asked Jerry why the cop was suspended, he replied, “They think he might have had something to do with a couple of people disappearing. No one can prove it, though.”
“And what do you think?”
“I wouldn’t put it past him. The guy is a little on the psycho side.”
“Does he have his own gang or anything?”
Jerry shook his head. “No gang, but he is friends with several of the bikers in the area.” That’s all I needed to know.
The next evening, after my shift at Jerry’s place ends, I drive over to check out The Pink Lady. Just what I suspected—several hogs are parked out front, while inside is a squad of rejects from a biker horror movie drinking and watching the dancers. In order to blend in, I’ve put on a pair of jeans, a black T-shirt, motorcycle boots, and a biker-looking, black leather jacket with the patch of a red devil’s face with its tongue hanging out on the back. No one pays me much attention as I order a pitcher of beer, and sit at a table in the corner. From here, I can survey most of the interior of the bar, except for the hallway leading to the bathrooms, and the room or rooms in back where the dancers hang out.
While I sip my beer, I’m watching the suspended cop play pool with a bearded dude who kind of reminds me of the author of that book series that includes The Game Of Thrones. The bearded dude doesn’t look happy. It seems our cop has been running the table with hardly any resistance. Once they finish their present game, and the cop takes the bearded dude’s money, someone else steps up to play, and now the cop seems to be on the defensive.
As I watch, I see my quarry becoming more and more agitated. The problem with agitated people is they tend to make mistakes. He makes plenty, but his biggest mistake is following me out to the parking lot to try and force me to give him back the money I took from him while playing several rounds of pool.
I sense his presence even before I hear him say, “You can give me back my money, now.”
I turn to face him. “And why would I want to do that?”
He sneers. “Because I know you cheated.”
Actually, he’s wrong. I didn’t have to cheat; it’s my skills and dexterity as an assassin that kept me winning, so I say to him, “Suppose I don’t feel like giving you back your money?”
That’s when he produces the switchblade I suspected he was carrying. “Then I’ll just have to take it from you.”
Even before he takes his first step, I fade into the shadows, created by all the various objects in and around the parking lot. I see his eyes grow huge as he turns his head this way and that. “Where the frig did you go?”
“Over here,” I say from about ten feet from where I had been standing.
“How did you get there?”
“I danced,” I tell him.
“Oh, yeah,” he snarls then begins to move towards me, his knife at the ready. “Dance away from this!” Once again, I fade into the shadows.
It’s an ability I discovered at an early age. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been so effective as an assassin, but it’s also something I’ve had to keep secret, even from my former employers. The only reason I didn’t use it back in Miami when I was going to pop the lawyer was because I didn’t get the chance. As you know, circumstances prevented me from doing so. But it’s also had me thinking a lot lately, even before Jerry told me about the suspended cop. What would happen if I tried killing someone again? Would the same thing happen to me that happened back in Miami? I’m worried about what the universe will do to me if I do kill the cop, but in the mean time, I have no qualms about playing with him for a little bit. So the next time I reappear out of the shadows, I’m behind him.
“Over here,” I say from several paces away.
Whirling, he growls, “What are you, some kind of magician?”
“No, just your average everyday paid assassin.”
That one causes him to hesitate long enough for me to step back into the shadows then reappear close enough behind him for me to press Stanley hard against the back of his neck.
He freezes. “You know what this is?” I say to him.
He nods his head slightly. “It’s the barrel of a gun.”
“What are you going to do, kill me.” He’s trying to sound brave, but I can tell by the stiffness of his body, he’s scared shitless.
“At the moment, no.” His body relaxes slightly. “But I do have a message for you.”
“And what’s that?”
“It’s this. From now on you will stay away from your ex-wife. You won’t talk to her. You won’t call her. You won’t even write her a note. She’s off your radar completely. You understand?”
“Did the bitch put you up to this?”
“No, a friend suggested it.”
“And what if I don’t?”
I press Stanley further against his neck. “Let’s put it this way. If I have to return, you won’t see me coming, but I’ll put a bullet so far up your ass, you’ll be pissing and shitting into bags for the rest of your life. And if that doesn’t deter you, the next bullet will end your life, period. You understand? Nod if you do.” He nods his head, but not a lot. “I’m going to leave you now so you can think over what I said.” And that’s when I disappear back into the shadows.
Almost as soon as the barrel of my gun leaves his head he whirls around, but I’m already gone. “Son of a bitch!” I hear him swear.
I stay in the shadows until he returns inside then reemerging, I get into my car and drive back to my little shack. The next day, Jerry calls Janet, the cop’s ex-wife, to meet us for lunch. She’s a brunette with stunning blue eyes who reminds me a little of a girl I once dated when I was a teen. I tell her she won’t have to worry about her ex-husband anymore. At first, she’s skeptical, until Jerry reassures her it’s the truth. Then hitting me with a dazzling smile, she offers to buy me lunch.
“No need,” I tell her . . . “as long as you let me to take you out on a date one of these nights.” I could see her hesitate, but then after thinking it over, she nods and that’s when I think my future might be looking up . . . until, that is, my old life catches up to me again, but this time with deadly results.
I first met Jerry in college. Not only were we roommates, but it turned out that, like myself, he also had been brought up around guns and hunting, and could handle several different types of weapons. This worked out great for the both of us, since the college had a gun club, which also sponsored several shooting competitions. As time went on, our reputations grew. We became known as the best couple of sharpshooters in the entire area, which eventually put us on Allied Inc.’s radar. Even before finishing our senior year, we were approached by Allied to see if we would like to have high-paying jobs.
“What kind of jobs are we talking about?” I asked.
“How about the kind that pay seven figure salaries?”
Jerry’s eyes lit up. “Sounds good to me.”
“Me too,” I said to him. “But what are we talking about here?”
“And that pays seven figures!”
He nodded and gave us a kind of smarmy type of smile. “It could.”
Jerry laughed and then asked, “What would we be guarding, the national treasury?”
The man shook his head, and then went on to explain we would be guarding very important people, both here and overseas. After thinking it over for less than a minute, both of us said yes. What we didn’t discover until later, was the fact that our jobs also included having to kill people to protect the individuals we were guarding. Did we think killing would be an okay thing to do? Well, let’s put it this way. The monies they paid us made up for any moral ambiguities we might have had.
And then Jerry got hurt on the job, and ended up in a wheelchair while I continued on my own. After his accident, Jerry retired to the Keys to work in his brother’s bar, but then his brother got sick and died, and that’s how Jerry ended up running the place. As for Janet, the cop’s ex-wife, things were going great between us for at least a couple of months, until the night my old life caught up to me, and killed whatever good times I’d been having.
It happened after closing. I had returned to my little shack with a bottle of Champaign I planned to keep on ice for when Janet returned in the morning. She had gone to Miami to visit relatives, which had me feeling a little bit on the blue side. In order to help chip away at some of my melancholy, I stepped outside to grab a smoke and enjoy the cool summer night’s breeze, while listening to the distant sizzling of the ocean’s waves as they rolled upon the nearby shore. That’s when I heard it—the shattering of glass followed immediately by a high-pitched scream!
With my stomach squeezing itself like a water-logged rag, I flicked away my cigarette and began hauling ass toward Jerry’s bar, which was situated about a city block away from my shack. Halfway there, I saw two figures emerge from the shadows and run toward the highway. Right away, I knew they were the two waitresses who had been helping Jerry close up for the night. Immediately, I angled my trajectory to intercept them.
Once I reached them, I grabbed the arm of the girl in front, whose name was Peggy, and stopped her from running any further. The other one kept on going.
“What happened?! Why are you running?!” I had to jerk her hard to get her attention.
Crying, she replied, “He shot Jerry!”
“Who?” I shouted, squeezing and jerking her arm again.
“I don’t know,” she said, shaking her head while still crying. Letting her go, I continued my run toward the bar, all the while feeling as if I was sinking emotionally into a bog of quicksand. I prayed that Jerry was okay, but experience told me that more than likely he was dead.
Once I reached the side of the building, I stopped and faded into the shadows. Whoever was inside, I was sure would be coming out any moment. I was correct. Less than a minute later, he emerged still holding his gun. His identity had me take a step back. It was my old supervisor at Allied, George Beck—the one guy who had less qualms about killing than either Jerry or I.
I didn’t give him much of a chance to react. Emerging from the shadows, I stepped up behind him and called out his name, “Beck!”
Even before he could turn all the way around, I chopped him hard in the throat, effectively breaking his hyoid bone, while at the same time, grabbing his gun arm and twisting it so that his pistol pointed upward. Then with another jerk of his arm, I caused his finger to pull the trigger. The bullet went straight up through his throat and into his brain. He was dead before his body hit the ground.
Almost at the same time, I heard a woman’s voice scream, “Aaron, what the hell is going on?” Startled, I looked up. It was Janet! She had come back early!
Standing in the middle of the parking lot, she was staring at me like she was seeing some kind of monster. In effect, she was. My stomach melted into a puddle of tar, while I desperately tried to think of what to say. The only defensive statement I could come up with was, “I think he killed Jerry.”
While still staring at me, eyes wide with shock, she asked, “Who?”
“Him,” I said, indicating the body at my feet.
I didn’t know what to say to her, so I shrugged, “I don’t know.”
Slowly, she started to move towards me. I held up my hand, “Stay out here,” I told her. “I’m going inside to check on Jerry.” She stopped, but I could see the confusion mixed with horror on her face.
Without further ado, I turned and went inside. Sure enough, I found Jerry slumped in his wheelchair in front of the bar, which had been splattered with both blood and brain matter from where the bullet had blown out the back of his skull. My stomach melted even further. “Oh, Jerry, Jerry,” I muttered, as the tears began to roll down my cheeks. I never felt so sad in all my life. After returning outside, I had Janet call 911.
After about an hour of telling all kinds of lies to the cops, I escorted Janet back to the shack. Sitting at my little kitchen table, I described to her my history with Jerry, and with Allied, and what my life had been like before I showed up here. The only thing I didn’t tell her about was what happened to me back in Miami when I was prevented from killing the lawyer, which had me wondering why the universe had allowed me to kill Beck? The only reason I could think of was because of what Beck had become (pure evil), and because of what he had just done to Jerry—he needed to die.
Janet listened quietly to everything I told her, but it was easy to see she was uncomfortable with what she heard. This was proven when I tried touching her hands in a comforting gesture, and she withdrew them. That was the answer I had been dreading all night.
“No, you’re right,” I said to her. “You don’t want to be in my life. It’s dangerous, if nothing else. You should go.” And with that, I watched her get to her feet and slowly walk toward the door. After opening it, she turned to me, her magnificent blue eyes filled with sadness. I thought she might say that she still had feelings for me. Instead, she turned and left without saying a word. That’s when I felt and heard my life crash around me.
The next day, I headed over to the police station to write up and sign my written statement. From there, I drove up to Allied. This was one of those rare occasions when the head of Allied, Robert Jensen, was actually in his office. He wasn’t surprised to see me; he’d already been contacted by the police.
I told him I was out of the game, and that I was going to take over running Jerry’s bar. But I warned him, “If I even suspect for one moment someone is following me, I’m coming back here and I’ll make sure that neither you nor any of your employees get out alive. Do you understand what I’m saying?” Without showing any emotional changes, he nodded, at which point, I got up to leave. But then something struck me, and turning back around, I asked, “How did you guys catch onto my whereabouts? It wasn’t because of a visit from a suspended cop, was it?”
He didn’t have to answer; I saw it in his eyes. So on the way back, I made a phone call to an outfit whose sole purpose was to clean up after killings. Not only do they get rid of the bodies, they also leave the area Spick and Span clean. I paid them a whole bunch of extra money to actually do the deed, and then clean up afterwards. I didn’t want to take any chances on having the universe mess with me again the way it had back in Miami.
As I told Jensen, I took over running Jerry’s bar. I even had it refurbished, while adding a little stage area for musical groups to come in and play on weekends.
Then one night about two months after our grand reopening, I was behind the bar pouring drinks when I sensed someone come in the front door. When I turned around, I saw Janet standing in the doorway. She took one look at me and smiled, and that’s when I knew my life was about to go back to becoming whole again.
And it did.