Animal Kingdom

2 PM and the pub has its regular clientele. Unkempt, broken men pine over their drinks in silence and dream of a better yesterday or an impossible tomorrow. I order a gin tonic and sit in the darkest corner. The ice melts. I look at my right hand and close it. The tiger head is formidable, the proud animal ready to strike. His name was Chen.

I take a little sip, no point in dulling my senses. I look at my left forearm, and the bear seems to greet me with a sad smile. ‘Hi, Anatoly’, I mutter. Nobody pays attention, self-talk is usual here. I can’t see Pedro but I know he’s got my back covered, teeth bared and hissing his lethal rattlesnake tune. Jake, Mario, Carl, and Al got him covered with their claws and fangs on every side.

My target leaves. I shadow him a couple of blocks behind. I kill him when he’s about to get into the car, a quick and clean death. My kind of job. His name was Seth and he will be a spider on my right calf tomorrow.

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