[One more losing entry in a creative writing competition. The stipulation here was that the story had to be about 500 words. So without further ado, let me present one more reason why I should stay away from fiction]
He walked up the steps.
He was happy—another job well done. Within moments, he would be with his ten year old son and his lovely wife.
He knew he was not like any other dad or husband. A life of sitting behind a desk was not for him.
Ever since he was a kid, he knew his calling —-to be an artist. But not a painter or a musician—-those had been done to death.You go to an art gallery. You see a painting. You move on. Listen to a tune. Move it from your mind for another. Too ephemeral. He wanted his art to leave a lasting effectâ€”once you would be touched by his “brush”, there would be no going back.
And what, he reasoned, could leave more irreversible impact than personally drawing the line between life and death?
His art was murder– and vocation.
And today he was coming back from a “hit”—oh how he hated that word. He much preferred the word “execution”. A “hit” implied a hodge-podge job whose success depended on fortuneâ€”hit or miss.
However when he did his job, there was nothing left to chance. Every execution was meticulously planned, all emergencies accounted for. Even the person executed suffered the minimum pain possible—a clean bullet through his heart. Nothing messy, nothing unaesthetic.
It was because of the perfection he brought to his work that he never had a police record. As far as the law was concerned, he just did notexist.
But he did. And there is nothing a true artist hates more than anonymity. So he signed each of his masterpieces by leaving a picture of Michelangelo on the dead body—-a calling card to tell the world that the master was here. He always carried a Michelangelo picture card in his jacket pocket because Michelangelo was his talisman. He was Michelangelo.
He knocked on his door. Today had been his sixth execution. A darkroom, a sleeping mafia boss, one muffled shot and then silent death.The streets however will not be silent. Soon they shall burn as the vendetta wars begin. He would be out of it though, reading his son a bed time story.
His only regret was that he could never tell his family what he did for a living. The ones he loved most would never know how great he was.
The door opened and his son ran into his arms shouting “Daddy”â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦His wife was behind him smiling.
” I told him to go to sleep but he is so excited about some prank he has pulled that he insists on telling you about it.”
Yes he thought. His son is at that age when they begin playing pranks. The age of innocence——–he wondered when that passed him by.
Giggling uncontrollably, his son said “Papa papa, today I saw you put a card with the picture of an old man in your pocket. And while you hugged me in the morning, I put my hand inside your pocket and replaced his picture with this pictureâ€¦â€¦â€¦ha ha you did not even notice.”
Clasped in the child’s small hands was a signed family group photo that he had printed out as a card to fit into his wallet. He had printed out two of them—one of which was being held by his son.
The second family group photo lay drenched in the blood of a 60 year-old mafia don.
The master had made a mistake.