I’ve never turned down a job. Professional integrity, and all that. But even so, when I saw the name in the file, I cringed. At some point in every man’s career, he gets that job he knows is going to make or break his name.

I’d been using this name for a while now, and it had started to get a decent rep behind it. People knew me. Not my face, obviously. I was smart enough to use wigs and contacts; prosthetics, if I had to. A face was too damn valuable, and not so easy to change. Especially if you didn’t go in for all that cosmetic surgery stuff. But names? Names were easy. Names were shoes that you could slip on and off as needed.

This name was one I’d had long enough that it had moulded to fit, like a pair of hard wearing boots that weren’t so much pretty, as reliable. So I took the job, because integrity is all we’ve got, in the end.

I packed up my gear and went to the address. The client had already said where they wanted it to go down, and how. Made my job easier. Well, I guess it did. Truth was, no part of this was going to be easy.

See, the thing about having a rep, is that you’ve also got to know everyone else’s. It’s not often you get hired to hit a hitman, and this particular hitman was one I knew very well. We’d done plenty of jobs together, me and this other guy. But you can’t let nostalgia get in the way of professionalism.

I got to the motel in good time. Traffic was light, which was nice. I always hated showing up to a job late or stressed out. It didn’t make for good work ethic. I dropped my bag on the bed and sat down beside it, taking out the gun and clicking off the safety. It was a Glock-66. One of his favourites. I think that’s why the client chose it. Poetic irony, or something like that.

Me? I’d always preferred poisonings. Figured it was the way to go. Some people thought poison was cowardly, as though it somehow took more guts to pull a trigger, than tip a vial. Personally, I just thought there was less to clean up. But guns were a tool of the trade, and you didn’t often get to pick your methods. More’s the pity. But then, this ain’t really one of those hobby professions.

I checked my watch, and wondered if the client knew how it was going to go down when he hired the biggest name in the business to take down the second biggest. My phone beeped; the money from the deposit was through. No backing out now. If you’re going to commit to a job, you’ve gotta see it through. That’s integrity.

As I put the gun in my mouth, I realised that names aren’t always like shoes. Sometimes they’re like lovers. You leave them. You lose them. And sometimes they come back to bite you in the arse. Guess it takes guts to pull a trigger after al–


Challenge: Write a story from the point of view of an unreliable narrator that is exactly 527.5 words.

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