“Sorry,” he said. “Maybe I misinterpreted your intentions.”

“What?” I said.

“What we have here is a failure to communicate,” he said.

I’d never laid eyes on him before. He bumped up against me on a windy Chicago street and punched me in the mouth.

I was on my way to turn myself in, and I suppose there’s an intention wrapped up in that, but how could he misinterpret something he knew nothing about? Still, maybe that was my problem, going thru life without intentions. I always thought of it in terms of opinions tho, I didn’t have opinions – they gave me the profile, I did the hit, and money turned up in my off-shore account.

Once I even said that to a target who was pleading with me not to kill him. “Please,” he was saying, “I do good things, I help people, I –”

“I don’t have any opinion on that,” I said, and shot him between the eyes.


I wiped some blood from my mouth with the back of my hand. This could be a hit in progress, and the sonofabitch had me comparing intentions with opinions instead of paying attention to what was going down right in front of me. If it was going to be a hit, he was good, unique even, and how come I’d never heard of him?

Right there is the point at which I should have snapped out of it and shoved his nose cartilage up into his brain pan with the heel of my hand, but I just stood there staring at him. Christ Almighty! I was less than a block away from taking the elevator to the 16th floor, dropping a few names, and getting a new life, and now this.

“You’re right” I said. “I do have intentions. I intend to start over.”

“A little late in the game for that,” he said, a faint smile on his face. Then he relaxed, the way you do when you’re about to take someone out, and I relaxed too, waiting to see how he’d come for me.

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