Short story by Colin Devonshire
“WHOA, THAT WAS close,” Jeah breathed.
The door frame splintered above his head.
“His bodyguards must have had shooting practice?” he whispered to himself.
Jeah ducked and rolled sideways, laying on his front he fired two shots in quick succession. The guards crumpled. Walking towards the car, the driver stretched his arms through the window and put his empty hands up.
“Get out,” Jeah ordered.
The front of the driver’s trousers was wet. “Go.”
He scampered away. The real target sat in the rear seat.
Jeah opened the door, studied the man’s face. He knew who he was, and he didn’t make mistakes. The man didn’t have time to beg. A bullet entered between his eyes. A miniature puppy yelped beside him.
“Aw, who’s a pretty boy, then?”
Jeah threw the pistol into the front seat. He walked away, peeling nail varnish from his fingertips.
The gun had been stolen from one of his rivals. Jeah much preferred the police tracked it back, without his prints on it.
A single worded message was posted on Line. “Dead.”
“Good. Come and see me,” was the answer.
Jeah was in no rush to see his boss. He would be given payment and another job. First, he had to visit his temple and talk to his favourite Abbot. The monk didn’t ask questions, he listened, offered prayers.
“Am I getting too old for my job? Should I quit?” Jeah asked.
“You’ll know when to stop,” said the Abbot.
When ready, Jeah would drive to Bangkok and collect his fee.
His boss, Khun Kiat, sat with his feet up, smiled, stood and signalled for Jeah to sit.
“Well done, young man.”
“I’m not so young, I’m feeling my age,” said Jeah.
“You’re still young enough to handle the tasks I give you.”
“The last task’s guards took shots at me. That has never happened before, I’m still picking out wooden splinters from my head.”
“Haha, could have been worse,” Khun Kiat said.
“What? You can’t.”
“I can and I will.”
“Look, I’ve got two more tasks for you. Double pay, and then retire, how about that?”
“I don’t know, I’ve been lucky, I feel the luck is running out.”
“Okay, I understand your feelings. You’ve been great for me, and I’m sorry you want to quit. But I’ve two urgent tasks. The first is simple. A movie star has embarrassed my client. He wants to make sure she only stars on the front page of the newspapers as a corpse.”
“But, you know, I never kill women.”
“Yes, this woman was born a boy. He has had major reconstruction. Hence the problem. Not everyone knows yet, and it must stay that way. My client is not happy, he thinks people are laughing at him. That must stop.”
“Okay, and the last job?”
“That is still a mystery to me. I have no names. But a hefty deposit and a date.”
Jeah, looked puzzled, screwing his face. “I don’t like the sound of that.”
“I agree, let me find out more, the last thing we want is for you to walk into a trap.”
“When is it?”
“It’s to be this Saturday. Not only that, but it needs to be before dark.”
“Let’s refuse it.”
Khun Kiat, smirked, “I have never failed a client. Certainly in the work you’ve handled for me. I’m not happy about it. I don’t aim to start now. Let me find out who we’re talking about and why. Then we’ll decide. Okay?”
An envelope slid across the desktop. A collection of posed photos were pulled out.
Jeah stared at his boss. “That’s a boy? Christ, who would know?”
“It’s been confirmed. We don’t want the world to know.”
“As long as he’s a male, I’ll do it. Where and when?”
“Tomorrow there is the premiere of that new movie. He/she will attend. So will the press. We don’t want one of the hacks to spill the beans. Make sure our star doesn’t get there. The press will have something else to write about.”
“Leave it to me.”
Jeah marched back to his car, considering his next move.
‘Superstar with an unbelievable secret,’ Jeah imagined the front pages.
He rewrote them, ‘Star goes missing.’ “Much better,” he mumbled.
Jeah’s closest friend and aide was a computer programmer. A mugging left Tam disabled and started Jeah’s hit-man career. The first jobs were unpaid. The guys who crippled his friend, won’t cripple anyone else.
“Can I come in?” said Jeah into the intercom.
“Yeah, yeah, you’ve got a key,” answered Tam.
Jeah showed the photo to his mate.
“Yeah, what about her?”
“What do you know about her movements?”
“That’s easy, the first time I don’t even need to flick on the comp.”
“Because every Thursday morning she gives a press meeting in her local Starbucks. The reporters fawn all over her and spread her name on social media. Easy.”
“For your information, she is a he, and her is him.”
“Really? And Mr Big Shot football team owner is not happy?”
“You got it.”
Thursday morning he/she didn’t make Starbucks. Weighted ropes were tied on her limbs and hooked under one of the gambling barges on the Chao Phraya River. These barges only moved when the police raided them. As the police controlled all illegal gambling, they remained in place. ‘Movie star lost to the world.’ Another headline danced across Jeah’s mind.
Jeah’s bank account swelled. “Okay boss. One to go, or not?”
Khun Kiat roared with laughter. “You will not believe this one. What a job to go out on.”
“So we are going through with it? It’s not a trick?”
“No my friend, it’s no trick.”
“Come on then, who is it?”
“It’s Phu Ying.”
“I told you, I never kill women.”
“You won’t have to.”
“And how do you work that out? Phu Ying means lady, does it not?”
“Yes, it does. I need you to kill, my client’s enemies’ favourite female.”
“I’ve never killed or even injured a woman or girl in my private or business life. And I won’t start now. For you or anyone else. I quit.”
“Steady on. This Phu Ying is a cat. A Kanchaburi gangster owns a private zoo. He has upset my client. His revenge will be to kill his puma!”
“I also don’t kill pets.”
Coming soon. Keep your eyes open. Available at Amazon and all good bookshops.