Groove without a Goal

-Los Angelos, California-

If I wasn’t clear earlier, I am shitty at killing people. And this Syndicate has kill conditions that must be met with each contract. Some of the contracts state that the target must be killed in a certain area while some state HOW they must be killed. I kinda lose all inhibitions when out in the field.

My very first contract ended up being close to my new living quarters given to me by the Jade Syndicate. I was not allowed to interact with anyone from my past so they erased my previous existence from state records. I was presumed dead amongst family and friends and my appearance drastically changed so I’d never be accounted for among my past. I lost my character-defining afro and learned a trait to hide from people in public at will. It was hell watching my family mourn me, my friends go on like I never existed and the girlfriend I tried so hard just simply move on.

But that wasn’t as bad of an issue like this.

A dossier file was sent to my loft from the Jade Syndicate with a message for me about the target I was to kill. I was told these would start rolling in and as I ranked up, I’d be able to actually handpick missions from an elite stack like politicians, music artists, and even ghosts!

I’m not serious about ghosts, but apparently, there is a mysterious case file Luke told me he had a while back about one. Some guy who faked his death or something.

“The target is James Mahler. He’s a drug pusher who’s been unapologetic about the overdose deaths of his customers in the downtown area. The client has paid in full for his deliverance and would like to request the murder be construed as an accident, something the news would brush off so that no one would suspect the client as he has been openly vocal about his demise. This needs to be completed by 2100 hours.”

I grabbed his photo from the dossier and his location and shredded the remaining dossier before heading out.

When I arrived at the location he frequented, I had a hard time searching for him. His picture showed him at an exact corner, but he was nowhere to be found. As I looked around, I realized that his profession makes it hard for him to stay in one area.

“Boy, I’m in need of some weed!” I shouted around, arousing suspicion of the people around me in an attempt to lure him out.

As the people tried to hide their gazes from me, a hooded individual grabbed my arm and dragged me inside of an empty apartment lobby.

“Yo chill the fuck out! You’re gonna make the area hot like that, are you some first timer?!” demanded the hooded individual.

“I’m sorry, man. I just couldn’t wait much longer. Kind’ve a fiend for the good stuff, my friend.” I bluffed, waiting to see if I could get a glimpse of his face to ID him as the target.

“With a suit like that, you’re lucky I’m selling to you. Must be some sort of corporate party in the area, you boys are coming back over here like this shit is water! Had to send my partner out to get me more supplies. Should be back” he said, readying small bags of illicit drugs to sell to me.

“Ah, you don’t work alone? Should I wait for your buddy?” I asked.

“Nah, he’s some new guy I picked up a while back. Gotta keep an eye on him, he was selling some pretty nasty shit a few weeks back. Killed too many people, can’t trust him to make exchanges anymore.” said the hood figure.

Was that my James target he was referring to? This is my chance. I gotta get a situation started.

I looked around the abandoned apartment lobby and saw many gang tags on the walls. I pointed to a few and asked if these were local gang members who owned these.

“Fuck yeah we do. We’re the Reapers! Sad to see you don’t recognize us, we’ve been taking property back from those skeezer Pyramid losers around the block. Been a bad blood feud for a few months, but business hasn’t been touched.”

Gangs and drugs. That could be an accident.

“You and your partner ever seen any of the…Pyramid guys around?”

“They wouldn’t bother, we’re shooting them on sight. Why, you seen some?”

“Not particularly. I’m gonna be right back though, gotta take a piss.”

As I ventured back outside of the lobby, I searched the area for anyone who matched the green color shown on the gang tags for the Pyramids. Could it be easier to find waring gang members on the SAME street than if I looked elsewhere? Judging how fruitless I became, it would appear I’d need to venture away from the area.

Walking along the main street, I begin to daydream about my past life. I wondered if my family ever envisioned if I survived and was walking as a shadow killer? Of if my friends were drinking themselves silly thinking about me.

Who’s looking for me?

While daydreaming, I didn’t hear the chatter nor see the location I stumbled upon. I bumped into a hooded set of figures all in matching colors. When I regained sight conscience, I recognized them instantly.

The Pyramids were roaming here.

“Hey watch where the fuck you’re going, suit. Don’t make me wet that tie up!” said one of them, pouring himself another shot of liquor into his mouth. 

“My apologies. I’m looking for the Pyramids.” I asked, feigning the knowledge I already had.

“Yeah? Who the fuck is looking?” said another hood figure, lit blunt in his mouth with smoke billowing out.

“There’s a lobby of Reapers around the way who are looking for you guys. Something about erasing the rest of you from the area” I lied.

“Aw yeah, and you’re telling us this because? I don’t know who you are.” said a taller man, body littered in tattoos and healed knife wounds.

Shit. They’re forward thinkers. I thought all gangbangers were shoot first, ask questions later types?

“I’m…the lobby owner who needs them removed. They’re destroying the area and I can’t start to maintain business with them around.” I said, still sitting in my assassin poise in case this all goes south.

“What do we need a renovated hotel for anyhow? All that’ll do is bring people we don’t want around here. Your investment isn’t getting settled here.” the tall tattooed man said.

“Yeah, fuck off and shit!” squirmed the hooded man still drinking the day away.

I realized the state of the domain they all squatted in. It was an abandoned movie theatre that remained boarded up in the main lobby area. It looks like someone attempted to remove the wood, shot at it, and gave up halfway through. 

I have an idea.

“You don’t understand me. I need them gone and you need a better location. What’s the best way to trade?” I pursued.

“We don’t need no new location. We’re fine here.” said the tall tattooed man.

“Actually, we could be in a better spot. No one’s buying our stuff when they cross up upstreet first.” said the small hood with the lit blunt.

“Hmm….is that why we don’t have more customers?”

“That might be, guys”

The Pyramid boy’s lights flickered on above each of their heads

“Hey suit, you got yourself a deal. Leave the area to us.” said the tall tattooed man, reaching for a shotgun in the corner.

They ventured down the street where I originally came from and turned down the side street and vanished from vision.

After a few minutes of waiting, shots were heard. 

I rushed down to the shooting location and accessed the carnage: two confirmed kills of the Reapers and three confirmed kills of the Pyramid. They killed themselves in the process. I went to the unrecognizable Reaper member I didn’t see during my first trip and confirmed it was the target. Upon exiting the scene, I called in the kill.

“It’s done.” I said into my phone receiver.

“Good. Meet at the rendezvous for a debrief.” said the voice on the phone.

I set out to an undisclosed location outside of the city. When I arrived, another man in a suit waited for me. When I came into view, his body language shifted to an enraged man as he charged me.

“Do you know what an accident is?” the handler said, wrinkling up a dossier file he’d been holding.

“Yeah, isn’t that the kill condition?”

“It…was. Tell me, how does getting a gang war started become an accident?!”

“He wasn’t getting killed by me, as projected.”

“Quick question: did you ever read the file I left on this mission?”

“I did.”

“So when it said that this was a hired professional hit by a gang member from PYRAMID, did you think using PYRAMID was a good accidental kill???”

I swallowed hard. This was my first fuck up.

“Uh…so that means…”

“That means that now he’s targeted for the murder of those two and is VERY unhappy with us. This was a huge fuck up. I expect better in the future from you!” said the handler, walking off to his chauffeured car. 

I walked back to my home, shoulders sunken low. I wasn’t cut out for killing and this was proven true today.

But I can’t do it any other way.

I must continue.