Cockroach 2

You expect efficiency – that is what the public expects: they think of the military as being a finely oiled machine to use the old cliche. When bad things happen they are put down to bad luck, not the inefficiency of those who were tasked to carry out the orders. They thought I was dead. It was not supposed to look like a military strike because they didn’t want to have my blood or that of my family on their hands – they wanted a civilian to find me and jump to the wrong conclusions. Wrong conclusions the seeds for which were planted all around the crime scene. Unfortunately with my body not being there I am now going to be suspect number one – still, even if the local police filing a report on the incident and putting out an APB for me tips them off to the fact I survived they are unlikely to conceive of me attacking them, or if they picture that eventuality how could they guess the angle?

Today I have come across more mistakes – they have not shut down my access codes yet … I mean, who would want to use them, right? And no one knew them except me, and I am dead. Ok, you get the point. They were sloppy. I was trained for this kind of thing, enhanced to a point where everything became insanely easy – perhaps improved to such a degree that they became scared of us.

I have tracked down the men who gave the orders – a joint decision from General Architrave and Senator Bromide from the oversight committee. I have the names of every single man on the team – a group of five – Cisceaux, Jolie, Parrent, Archer, and Hale. I’d worked with all of them at some point but it wasn’t going to be hard killing them – i had formed no attachments to any of them. Any feeling that we had shared between any of us had been burned out in one single act – their killing of my family and attempted execution of myself.

Cameraman 2

Angles – it was all about angles; that was true of life as well as photography, and it was especially true when extorting cash from someone. A lot of people that came by information whose concealment was valuable to the person it concerned made the mistake of thinking that the whole tack you should take in your blackmailing of them should be based around the information – no, the most important thing for any blackmailer was to know just the right person to tell. He’d learnt that the hard way – gone in blind and fallen into reeling off a long list of people to an intended victim, none of whom struck the right spot, and consequentially he weakened his position to the point where the information became worthless.

If there was no way for you to find out who best to threaten someone with then you sold what you had to someone who had a vested interest and generally had to settle for a one-off payment. He could generally hack someone’s information with no problems at all – federal records, financial records; and it went without saying that personal data storage systems were no challenge at all.

‘So, Strunk, who do you have? Who’s been naughty?’

‘I’m sending you a full guest-list now, Milton.’

‘Thank you, darling.’

‘You know one day someone is going to twig to the fact that the biggest con artist in this whole town is the one who writes the most column inches of sleaze.’

‘Oh, Strunk, you silly man, I’m sure some of them know, but they are so goddamned scared for their reputations that they pay up and never try to hand me over. You know of course that I don’t always get paid in cash – sometimes I get them to hush up the hubbub that someone who won’t play ball is causing.’

‘Sure, makes sense, Milton. You know of course I’m recording all this.’

‘Oh, my dear, I should be most disappointed if you were so sloppy as to not be recording it – all this intrigue and these games gets me all wet.’

‘See anyone you like on the list, you terrible old queen?’

‘Oh, Senator Luft – I have a raging hard on for him, darling.’

‘I’m sure you do.’

‘Filthy boy. Anyway – give me, what? Twenty minutes? Yes, that should do it – and I’ll come back to you with names and potential prices.’

He put in a call to Officer Harcut – the local bent copper who was running more rackets than your average mafioso or triad gang boss.

‘So, Strunk, my man – I see the list. How do you feel about a bulk buy? Give me a discount if I take the whole lot?’

‘Give me a price and we’ll see – i have some other interested parties so these things rarely stay static.’

‘Oh, I get you, bro’, I surely do. Remember who I am. Still – I’ll check as a courtesy.’