The Assassin

 

Now that he is into his early fifties he was seriously considering retirement. One didn’t usually live to his age in his line of work. Paddy O’Hallahan is an assassin. He’s starting to put on a few pounds and he was getting a little slower too. But it wasn’t those things that bothered him as much as the jokes. He was really, really getting tired of all the jokes.

Paddy grew up an orphan in Dublin, Ireland. It wasn’t a good childhood by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. By the time he was twelve he had been living on his own on the streets for a year. By age sixteen he’d been in and out of jail more times than he could remember. It was mostly for small things – theft, assault, brawling, and vandalism – nothing too dangerous. But the year he turned seventeen everything changed. He was robbing a corner store and the owner pulled a gun on him. Paddy grabbed the nearest thing he could, a statue of a leprechaun they sell to tourists, and threw it at the guy. His aim was dead on. Emphasis on dead. Paddy was never caught and he found out that he liked the thrill of killing. A month or so later he took a contract where he was hired to kill some rich guy’s wife. Thinking to make a name for himself and to have a trademark in the business he used another touristy object, this time a silver necklace of shamrocks. After a few jobs it started working. People began to recognize him by his trademark.

Over the years and through countless hits he’d used anything he could think of to get the job done that was even remotely considered Irish. He’d used Irish Whiskey (he drowned someone in it), a shillelagh (almost always a beating), limericks (that one took time as he taunted the victim with them until the end when they choked on the last one), leprechauns (in various sizes and ways), shamrocks (again in various sizes and ways), replicas of the Blarney Stone (almost always used for bludgeoning), a stuffed toy sheep (another choking), salt and pepper shakers that looked like potatoes (he shuddered every time he thought about how that one happened), and more.

Besides his age there were the authorities to worry about. Local law enforcement wasn’t much of an issue since he did most of his work abroad. But Interpol had a file on him.  It was basically full of pictures of his successes, one blurry image of the side of his face and his first name. He’d picked up a nemesis at Interpol as well: Agent Craig Green.  Agent Green had made it his personal business to find Paddy. He had no idea why. Perhaps he had killed someone important to him. It really didn’t matter. What mattered is that Agent Green was the man responsible for starting the jokes. And this infuriated Paddy. It was like the man had no respect for his work!

Paddy knew that if he was in the middle of a job and got to thinking about how upset he was about the jokes he might end up making a mistake. When your mind is clouded with anger you make mistakes. Well, just one more job and he was done. He would retire.

A few days later Paddy stood in a crowd of on lookers, blending in as people gaped at the crime scene and took pictures with their cell phones. He watched as Agent Green arrived and looked under the sheet at the corpse.

“Who’s this?” Green asked the nearest cop.

“That’s the Mayor’s wife. Why would someone kill her by stuffing a Celtic cross in her mouth?”

“Don’t you know what we have here?” queried Green.

The cop shook his head.

“It’s the latest Knick Knack Paddy Whack.”

From out of the crowd came a horrible cry of tortured anguish. Paddy ran full tilt at Agent Green screaming obscenities at the top of his lungs and promising to rip his heart out.

Some people just can’t take a joke.

End

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